“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them” - Galileo Galilei
Finally, the end of the "How science evolves series". It's been a long-awaited 8 months. I would highly recommend reading the previous blogs in this series for all of this terminology to make sense. In the previous paradigm shift blog, we discovered what is the initial spark or stage for the paradigm shift. This is the stage of crisis. Without this stage, nothing will be changed, there will be no anomalies, and we will go back to normal science. After the stage of crisis, scientists start to become very critical of their texts to try and solve this anomaly. As I mentioned, scientists have a higher level of dedication and start to work round the clock. Once a light bulb switches on in the complex brain of a scientist, he/she can end the crisis. Yet, here is where the shift in paradigm really comes into play. The solution to the anomaly can diverge in 2 ways. The first option can be that the anomalies are solved, in the current paradigm. This is just how normal falsification would have worked, without the Crisis factor. Scientists will gain their confidence again, and the thirst for knowledge will be quenched. Now we can finally go back to normal science.
Woah, woah, woah, hold on a minute!! Where even is the paradigm shift. Well the next path is what really defines the paradigm shift. At this point, I thought you might be getting bored of Galileo’s heliocentric vs geocentric debate, so I thought of another example that is apt to explain the second path for a solution. Charles Darwin boarded the HMS Beagle in hopes to find and sell specimens that he collected on his journey. Yet in his 5 years at sea, he was enlightened by a new paradigm that ought to challenge any previous paradigms about the same subject. He discovered the new idea that species change over time to adapt to their surroundings. He knew this idea was rioting compared to the already well known, special creation theory, and would get much heat from the society. Despite these setbacks, he decided to release this idea with the help of Alfred Wallace. The “second road” is when the anomalies cannot be solved, shifting the original thought paradigm to a new concept. Slowly the first paradigm is abandoned and the new paradigm is adopted. This is exactly when the paradigm shift occurs, and normal science can once again reign in peace.
You may think that paradigm shifts happen very often, yet in reality they don’t.
For a paradigm shift to occur:
Scientists need to be critical
Anomalies need to be formed
Crisis needs to occur
The “second road” in the last stage needs to be taken place
On top of all these requirements, paradigm shifts don’t even happen linearly. Oftentimes they usually happen depending whether certain other conjectures are made. Darwin had actually based part of his evolution theory, on another theory that stated that continents had moved. Through this series we learned that paradigm shifts constitute why scientific revolutions take place, and the 4 stages of paradigm shifts. In future blogs, we will explore more about Thomas Khun and his biography about how he became one of the most well-known philosophists of all time.