OSU OC 103 - e-OC103_Lesson06 (9 pages)

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e-OC103_Lesson06



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e-OC103_Lesson06

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Pages:
9
School:
Oregon State University
Course:
Oc 103 - Exploring The Deep: Geography Of The World's Oceans

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OC103 Lesson 6 Plate Tectonics The Birth of a Scientific Revolution Every once and a while a scientific discovery comes along that helps scientists achieve an entirely new understanding of how things work Famous examples of this include Earth is not the center of the universe Copernicus and Galileo in the 1500s Biological evolution by natural selection Darwin in the 1850s Time and space are relative Einstein in the early 1900s The Earth System Earth is a single complex system and human activities are part of that system going on today In the 1960s a revolutionary scientific theory called Plate Tectonics swept the Earth Sciences and for the first time was able to provide a unifying explanation for many of our observations about Earth This lesson covers how that scientific revolution came about and how oceanography played a crucial role in developing the scientific theory of Plate Tectonics This scientific theory in turn provided a cohesive explanation for many of the features we observe on the ocean floor But first a few comments about the important distinction between how scientists use the word theory and the everyday use of the word What is a Scientific Theory Theories are a dime a dozen in everyday life You often hear someone say they have a theory about something what their cat dreams about whether or not Elvis is really dead whatever A scientific theory is a very different beast though For something to qualify as a scientific theory it must be tested refined retested bent prodded further refined and still be able hold up under the scrutiny of numerous skeptical scientists Long before something becomes a scientific theory it starts out as an idea that seems to logically explain something pretty well If that idea stands up to some initial testing and experimenting it matures into a hypothesis which is a well reasoned and rigorously tested explanation for the observations A hypothesis is still considered a tentative explanation though until numerous scientists



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