Science Exists in a Cultural Context (1 of 3)

Science is not always a direct ascent toward the truth.
Despite the meticulous efforts of those who practice it, science sometimes proceeds in lurches and false starts. In some cases, scientific ideas that dominated a particular time were later recognized as inaccurate or incomplete.

Ptolemy's universe

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  • Before Galileo challenged the system, geocentrism was the rule. The geocentric model of the Universe, shown to the right, persisted for centuries. Eventually, people came to accept that the Earth is not the center of the Universe.
  • Speciation was first described as a gradual process, but in recent years it has become clear that under some conditions speciation can occur relatively rapidly.
  • Alfred Wegener’s ideas about continental drift were not taken seriously until viable mechanisms for moving continents began to be recognized.

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Spanish translation of Understanding Evolution For Teachers from the Spanish Society of Evolutionary Biology.