5 Famous Scientific Theories That Were Proven Wrong (Part-1)
- Jan 02, 2017
- Sudipto Das
One the best feature of science is that it’s always open to new ideas and is also ready to admit when it has got something wrong in the past. Scientific theories are constantly refigured with new research. New ideas are accepted to reconfigure old outdated concepts if they are found precise and right to the point.
Many old theories were proven wrong and were replaced with additional researched data that are considered more accurate. A point that you should also keep in mind here is the fact that most of these old theories aren’t necessarily “wrong.” These are rather replaced to make the concept more complete and more reliable. In this article, we are going to discuss about 5 such scientific theories that were replaced later with newer and reliable theories. Let’s begin.
1. Discovery of a planet called Vulcan
The 19th-century scientists had the belief that a planet named Vulcan existed between mercury and the sun. A mathematician named Urbain Le Verrier first proposed the existence of such a planet. This Vulcan theory came into existence because Mr. Verrier and a few other scientists failed to explain the peculiarities of Mercury’s orbit after years of research. The argument was that such peculiarities can only occur in the presence of another between Mercury and sun. That hypothetical object was named Vulcan, another planet.
The theory was proved wrong after Verrier’s death. The search for this planet has already failed in the meantime. Mercury’s strange orbital movement was proved by Einstein’s theory of relativity. Thus, the hypothesis was dropped and is confirmed that Vulcan doesn’t exist.
2. Spontaneous generation theory
This theory believed in the fact that living organisms supposedly originated from non-living matters. The spontaneous generation theory was mainly purveyed by Aristotle. He believed that living organisms had originated from inanimate objects such as mud, slime etc. The theory may sound quite ridiculous now to you but at that point of time it was considered relevant.
Adoption of scientific theories brought the classical spontaneous generation theory to an early end. A simple example for the same of this explanation can clear this thing up. Louis Pasteur showed the world the act that maggots won’t appear on meat if it‘s kept in a sealed container. The invention of microscope also proved the fact that such insect was formed by airborne microbes and not by spontaneous generation.
3. The theory of expanding earth
The modern concept of the behavior and the interiors of the earth is highly linked with that of plate tectonics and also with that of the concept of subduction. But in the late twentieth century, this idea wasn’t widely accepted. Instead, there was a more fantastical theory which stated something like that the Earth was increasing in volume.
This expanding theory of the earth is not proven exactly wrong. Instead, the theory is replaced by a much more advanced theory of plate tectonics.
4. The theory of phlogiston
The phlogiston theory was first used by Johan Joachim Becher in the year 1667. This theory provides the idea that almost all combustible objects contain a unique element known phlogiston that’s released during combustion.
The phlogiston theory is proved dubious in modern days. That’s because it has been found that certain combustible elements gain more weight with combustion. Thus, the phlogiston theory was replaced by more sophisticated theories such as oxidation.
5. The theory of blank state
This one is one of the oldest of all theories in philosophy and psychology. The blank state theory states the fact that all people are born with zero built-in personality traits.
The blank slate theory is proven to be faulty by modern day philosophy and psychology. Of course, experience helps to develop a lot of traits in an individual but certain family traits are definitely inherited by birth. Even natural instincts play a significant role in shaping the trait of an individual.
We hope you enjoyed all that. The list is definitely not complete. Part 2 is soon going to come up. We will sign off for the time being. Wish you a happy and healthy new year!
Sudipto writes technical and educational content periodically for wizert.com and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got a B.Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation.
Follow him on twitter @SudiptoDas1993
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