And now they have to persecute everyone who did.
A new piece in Smithsonian Magazine, “When Continental Drift Was Considered Pseudoscience,” tells how scientists came to accept continental drift only after decades of rejecting the idea.
This story has long fascinated me, because I find the evidence for continental drift to be highly compelling, and because it’s a classic example of how the scientific community can radically change its mind. The article observes that “One hundred years ago, a German scientist was ridiculed for advancing the shocking idea that the continents were adrift.” As every student of geology learns, that scientist was Alfred Wegener (1880-1930). The “ridicule” he faced was pretty harsh:
Of course, the Smithsonian mag then hastens to assure everyone that Darwinism is quite different. (Otherwise the author wouldn’t get paid.)