Plate tectonics: Scientific revolution or scientific program?



In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas S. Kuhn suggested that science progresses discontinuously: As a scientific theory becomes obsolete, a period of crisis results, at the end of which the old theory is overthrown and replaced by a new, sounder, more complete theory [Kuhn, 1962]. After the scientific community has accepted the new [paradigm,] it undertakes only routine research until a new crisis occurs, usually as a result of an anomalous experiment that accidentally happens to be critical.