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USGS CMG InfoBank: New Ideas Must Be Supported By Data

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Comment: 08:04 - 09:04 (01:00)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 5. The Birth of a Theory
Keywords: "Tanya L. Atwater", "Alfred Wegener", "continental drift", continent, data

Our transcription: Because Wegener's explanation for why continents drift did not hold up, he couldn't convince most other scientists that the continents had, in fact, ever drifted at all.
Some people like to say that scientists are so fuddy-duddy, they refuse to let any new idea come in, and I think that's a bad way to think about this.
We really are careful, and we don't want to leap on some glamorous new idea unless our data really does support it in our understanding of how the world works really can incorporate that.
So, I think, we really did not have any data that was so cutting and so clear that we had to accept this theory.
So I think it was, they were actually being responsible not-- they were being conservative, but they were also being responsible scientists.

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