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Apart from lacking an explanation for how the continents could move across the surface of the Earth, Wegener’s research was met by skepticism for other reasons. How can a scientist overcome skepticism? What features of the scientific method can help prevent a scientist from being labeled a crackpot?
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In general, the scientific method consists of five steps: question, hypothesis, prediction, experiment, analysis. The scientists formulates a question that he wants answered, develops a hypothesis to answer the question, makes a prediction about the hypothesis, runs experiments to test the hypothesis, and analyses the results. The true power of the scientific method is its iterative nature. Rarely is a question answered with one round of experimentation. Hypotheses are shaped and reworked based on the analysis of numerous rounds of experimentation. It is the repeating of the cycle that allows ideas to take shape and the truth to unfold.
Some of the greatest scientific discoveries in history were initially met with either skepticism, disbelief, or derision, and some were even considered nothing short of heresy at the time. Basic skepticism in science is healthy, but obviously can be taken too far. As a result, there actually isn't much a scientist can do when presenting a wild new theory to not be considered by some as a "crackpot". The best thing a scientist can do to help himself is to have as much data as possible to back up his ideas. History is always the ultimate judge.
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