Almost all scientific theories, even the best of all, only meant to have a certain range of validity. We can see that the Big Bang Theory does not elucidate what came earlier to the Big Bang; and similarly, Airy’s theory of Isostatic Compensation doesn’t explain well about the motion of the curst of earth over geological timescales, nor does the Evolution Theory explain the origin of life. We know that the General Relativity does not explain the existence of antimatter. There exist many theories of science that have left this world in nothing else but chaos.
We however have some other theories to explain, to some extent, about the confusion caused by former ones. This is how the science advances. There’s the theory of Cosmic Inflation to better explain about the happenings prior to the Big Bang, the theory of Plate Tectonics to better explain the motion of Earth’s crust. There’s the Quantum Field theory to elucidate the existence of antimatter, and the Theory of Abiogenesis to explain the origin of life. But again, none of these theories are necessarily final; and none are fully comprehensive as well.
This list includes the top 10 controversial theories of science that exist till the date.
10. Atomic Science Theory
Atomic Theory proposed by Dalton remained controversial throughout the nineteenth century. The theory has been criticized as ‘a thoroughly materialistic bit of joiner’s work’. His Law of Definite Proportion was accepted but its hypothesis that it was due to atoms was not been accepted by many. With the rise of Atomic Physics, many issues about Atomic Theories were resolved, though it has been one of the controversial theories of science for a long.
9. Animal Cognition Science Theory
Animal Cognition posits about the mental abilities of animals which is developed out of comparative psychology. The theory of Animal Cognition includes the study of animal conditioning and learning. But, many researches conducted for Animal Cognition have been controversial. Many researchers have agreed on the point that many animals are capable of understanding the meaning of individual words and some may even understand simple sentences. But there is hardly single evidence of any animal producing new symbol strings representing new sentences. The Mirror Test on consciousness of Animals has attracted controversy as it is entirely focused on vision. The theory of Animal Cognition has been highly controversial ever since it has been proposed.
8. Race and Intelligence Science Theory
Whether your ethnic background is a factor for determining your IQ has always been one of the most controversial questions regarding intelligence. However, the scientific community seems to be same in the heritability of intelligence, we can see much disagreement among scientists over whether racial differences could be responsible for our IQ scores. The inherent relationship between race and intelligence has always been the subject of debate not only within scientific communities but equally in the academic research as well. The part of controversy is centered on the definition of intelligence and whether IQ testing is a proper way to measure it. There are people who believe that intelligence may depend on the racial background while other do believe that it could be something else which influences the intelligence. And the debate goes on.
7. Biopsychiatric Science Theory
Lately, the Biopsychiatric research has resulted reproducible abnormalities of brain structure and its function, and a strong genetic component for several psychiatric disorders. The theory has also elucidated some of the effective mechanisms that used are used to treat psychiatric disorders. Biological Psychiatry aims to investigate the determinants of mental disorders and devise the remedial measures. Over centuries of progress in medical science, it has developed a ways of therapeutic practices resulting into the successful treatment and eradication for several illnesses. But the critics have blamed this theory being a stilted and unidimensional and they have even started the antipsychiatry movements as a protest to this theory. The Biopsychiatry Controversy actually is a dispute over which viewpoint should win to form the scientific basis for standard psychiatric theory.
6. Drake Equation Science Theory
Over the years, many hints have emerged indicating the possibility of life beyond Earth. But remember that The Theory of Extraterrestrial Life itself is among the most controversial theories of science. The Drake Equation is a controversial theory proposed by astrophysicist Dr. Frank Drake. He was also a founder of SETI. According to the formula, there are more than 10,000 intelligent beings, i.e. aliens in the Milky Way Galaxy (and millions more in the other galaxies) with advanced civilizations. Dr. Drake developed an equation to help approximate the number of planets with intelligent life. The intelligent beings are supposed to be capable of communicating with the humans. The Drake Equation has proved controversial as many of its factors are currently unknown. Critics have labeled this equation all meaningless and just a guesstimate.
5. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
However no longer within the scientific community, The Theory of Evolution still is regarded a controversial theory in the public domain. Theory of Evolution has been researched and tested for more than 150 years, and even the scientists have accepted the fact on which all of biology is predicted. Scientists however are still debating about the fine details of evolutionary history of earth. But, the reason of The Theory of Evolution being controversial in the public domain is that it contradicts the religious belief of some people regarding the creation. It is controversial because the Bible says that the Earth was created in 6 says. Another reason for controversy is the desire of people to believe that we have been created (for example, by GOD) to be what we are. The controversy still exists between the religious leaders and scientists about The Theory of Evolution. Some politicians and religious leaders denounce the Evolution Theory.
4. Theory of General Relativity
Albert Einstein is known to be one of the greatest geniuses the world has ever known. In the early twentieth century, he had published his groundbreaking work that fundamentally transformed the general outlook of every scientist about the universe. And to this day, the Theory of General Relativity is considered one of the greatest intellectual successes in the history of modern science. But claims have been put forward subsequently about the theory of General Relativity and Special Relativity asserting that they were formulated by other before Einstein, either wholly or in part. Those controversies moved around the priority considerations for the credits. The critics were even claiming the theories to be unclear about many things. The controversies were prevalent mainly in the early years after the publication by Einstein. The major reasons behind the criticisms were like alleged errors in the theory, rejection of abstract mathematical model, alternative theories. However the Theory of General Relativity is widely accepted theories and moreover serves as the basis for many successful theories onwards, it’s also one of the most debated topics in science. And, the reality is, anti-relativists exist even today.
3. String Theory
Have your heard of the ‘String Theory’ ever? May be you wondered WTF does it mean? Actually, The String Theory in Physics is a theoretical framework which seeks to unite quantum mechanics with general relativity. The String Theory proposes that all particles composed of extremely small vibrating strings. It further posits that the universe is composed of small and hidden extra dimensions. But with the postulation of this theory, critics have been pointing out that it has not yet made any experimental predictions and this controversy has been ongoing for many years. Ever since the String Theory was proposed in 1988, it has been shrouded in controversy.
2. Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory has an interesting history. Actually the theory came first in 1916, exactly thirteen years before the first confirmed experimental evidence which suggested that the universe was in some kind of motion. Another succeeding study claimed that the universe was static. Big Bang Theory actually states that the Big Bang had occurred approximately 13.789±0.037 billion years ago and it is thus considered the age of the universe. The universe is in extremely hot and dense state and is ever expanding. The development of Big Bang Theory however has been highly controversial. However not been able to conform to the scientific consensus, there are theories like Non-standard Cosmology proposed as an alternative model to the Big Bang Theory of Standard Cosmology.
1. Theory of Global Warming
The global warming, a well-known controversy, is an ongoing dispute about the effects of human behaviors on the global climate. The theory posits about what policies we need to implement in order to avoid the possible undesirable effects of the severe climate change. Actually, nothing spells controversy like climate change recently. The controversy alarms the public debate over the occurrence of global warming. There seems to be a strong consensus in the scientific community that global surface temperatures have raised in recent years, and the key reason behind it is the massive and continuous emission of greenhouse gases induced by humans. Actually, the scientific-consensus regarding environmental risks of Global Warming has been massively criticized by the scientists who oppose consensus view. Despite a scientific consensus on the subject, there are some people who don’t think global warming is happening at all. The Theory of Global Warming is one of the most controversial theories of science that exist.
Yes, it’s a great big universe out there, and there’s still so much to be understood about it. Science made us familiar with the deepest known theories about whatever it is we have studied. We then begin to explore where our understanding in some part of the material world begins to break down. Even till this date, there are great unsolved problems of our time that look like missing puzzle pieces. Sometimes, we see many equations, tools, and current theories that look like misshapen pieces, don’t quite fit where they are supposed to. And well, there is often disparity between what is controversial in the eyes of general public and what is controversial for the scientific communities. Let’s hope positively that these unsolved controversies in the scientific theories will get the logical end very soon.
Arun is an IT-gradate. But writing is something he has innate passion for. He loves to explore new things, places and ideas.