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No. 125: Sep-Oct 1999

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The Ups And Downs Of Plate Tectonics

When we first began collecting anomalies in the 1950s, plate tectonics (nee "continental drift") was considered pseudoscience. In fact, it was possible to find authors in mainstream geological journals complaining the geology could not call itself a science if it permitted ideas like continental drift to run rampant. Of course, the situation has now been reversed as some scientists plead that data contradicting plate tectonics should no longer be accepted for publication!

Happily, at least one publication is still open to heretics. In a 1997 number of New Concepts in Global Tectonics, we find S. Keshav, at Bombay's Indian Institute of Technology, asserting that plate tectonics is a "myth that has paralyzed our thinking." And he gives some reasons for his view:

Finally, Keshav observes:

"On the continents this theory assumes mysterious character as many of the features go unexplained (as exemplified by inability to find a trace of the Asthenosphere/Moho) and truly depicts an act of escapism."

(Keshav, Shantanu; "A Myth Called Plate Tectonics," New Concepts in Global Tectonics, p. 23, no. 3, June 1997.)

Comment. Keshav's objections may be a bit technical, but they reveal cracks in the foundation of a major paradigm.

From Science Frontiers #125, SEP-OCT 1999. 1999-2000 William R. Corliss