What is a Paradigm Shift? – Definition and Examples in Science

Definition of Paradigm Shift

Today the materialist paradigm is the default position of educated individuals globally. This means anything not conforming with the western scientific worldview described previously is not funded, taught, publicized, or researched…in other words, it is socially taboo.

Yet, in a paradigm shift, the assumptions of any given age are temporary and often wrong.

Paradigm Shift Examples in Science

“Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” –Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

“Heavier than air flying machines are impossible” –Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society 1895

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home” –Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

And, reality is not always common sense, as we know from the latest physics, which we will discuss, since there is no observer independent reality, absolute space and time, locality, separation, etc.

And science and spirituality sometimes clash:

“No one can deny that mind is the first and most direct thing in our experience, and all else is remote inference,” -Sir Arthur Eddington


“The external world is only a manifestation of the mind itself,…The mind grasps it as external simply because of its habit of discrimination and false-reasoning…You must get into the habit of looking at things truthfully” -Buddha.

Later in his life, Eddington came to the conclusion that “The universe is of the nature of a thought or sensation in a universal Mind…to put the conclusion crudely- the stuff of the world is mind-stuff.”

The Emergent Scientific Worldview

At the beginning of the last century, science was replete with objectivity. Scientists assumed there was no connection between the experiment and the experimenter, and there was an absolute measure of time.  In the first part of the century, the theory of relativity changed our beliefs about time and quantum theory changed our beliefs about objectivity.  These theories made the observer a participator and led us to recognize that time is a fluid concept which is closely related to the situation of the observer.

Time could no longer be considered absolute, but is rather relative to the position and movement of an observer.  Also, one can never make simultaneous measurements of factors such as position and momentum. If you choose to measure the position, you cannot measure the speed and vice-versa. In other words, the outcome of such experiments is affected by the consciousness of the observer. Foreboding the paradigm shift, Fritjov Kapra described it as follows, “Quantum theory has abolished the notion of fundamentally separate objects; it has introduced the concept of the participator (i.e. participant/observer) to replace that of the observer, and may even find it necessary to include the human consciousness in its description of the world.”

Scientists have also discovered that matter and energy are equivalent, or all matter is a manifestation of energy.  Energy can exist either as electrically charged particles or as waves of information.  The reality of the particle is three dimensional: it has specific physical properties.  The reality of the wave of information is four dimensional: it is an energy field that is unbounded by space and time.  Thus everything in our physical universe is composed of matter, and at the same time is contained within an energy field that is “invisible” to our physical senses.  In the wave form, one finds information that describes the full potentialities of the material particle.  In the physical form, one finds only one of those potentialities expressed.  All material objects, including our own bodies, have a three dimensional physical form and a four dimensional energy field.  One is in a state of doing- constantly attempting to maintain internal stability and external equilibrium in the physical world.  The other is in a state of being- prepared at any moment to express its potentiality.

These discoveries have not been fully assimilated by science, which is said to progress "one death at a time." But the seeds of a paradigm shift have been planted.

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