The paradigm shift method takes in consideration that eventually scientists will come across a question that cannot be answered with the “tools” that they currently have. Discoveries in the scientific world, under this method, are caused by trying to create new “tools” to solve the problem within the current paradigm, hence the paradigm shift. This method only takes into consideration scientists and not the outside world, which is a critical flaw. Consider this, were there not many scientific discoveries that came with new inventions of the industrial revolution? How about scientific discoveries that were fueled by war?
Johnson uses a great analogy to describe the progressive model. He describes it as, “the premise that society and science were riding a kind of permanent escalator, ascending the slope at ever-increasing speed” (Johnson, 45). The progressive model believes that there always will be great intellectual people who will drive scientific change. The book uses Priestley as an example, specifically showing how he contributed to many different fields in the scientific world. This method describes historical change as the “great men” of the past holding up the “great men” of the present, essentially saying that scientists are inspired by their predecessors. This view is very linear, like Aristotle inspiring Galileo inspiring Newton inspiring Priestley inspiring the future generation. The method does not take into consideration outside factors to scientific discovery.
The ecosystem theory says that scientific discovery and historical change come from the convergence of multiple factors. The multiple factors can be anything cultural or scientific. Different fields come together to create change. Priestley’s multifaceted intelligence is a perfect example of the ecosystem theory; Priestley used his many different vocations within his discoveries. This model takes into account every actor and force as a possibility on how historical change occurs. Joseph uses an amazing analogy to explain the ecosystem theory, “The mountain lifts you high enough enough that you can finally see the land masses that made the mountain in the first place.” (Johnson, 52).