W. M. Davis's monograph The Coral Reef Problem (1928) and his voluminous other publications on coral reefs present his unambiguous support for Darwin's evolutionary model of the development of reef types through slow subsidence of reef foundations. Davis claimed to find unequivocal support for his views in the features of now-elevated reefs. Since his deductions, expressed in sequential block diagrams, were based on his incorrect belief that elevated reefs eroded rapidly, he was compelled to reject paleontological evidence that many elevated reefs are old. Thus to support his theoretical position he systematically misrepresented the geomorphic history of, for example, the Lau Islands, Eua, the Loyalty Islands, Jaluit Atoll and Mangaia. Not surprisingly this work did not impress contemporaries who had experience of these reefs in the field.
Theory and Reality: The Success and Failure of the Deductive Method in Coral Reef Studies-Darwin to Davis
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D. Stoddart; Theory and Reality: The Success and Failure of the Deductive Method in Coral Reef Studies-Darwin to Davis. Earth Sciences History 1 January 1994; 13 (1): 21–34. doi: https://doi.org/10.17704/eshi.13.1.wp354u3281532021
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