After some investigation, here's a summation of Scientific thought current in approximately 1880, which will be developed further in Lowell Was Right!, which is set in the second decade of the 21st century:
Theory: We are assuming a Nebular theory for the solar system, with a
solar system that is only a few tens of thousands of years old.
Gravitational collapse is the source of the sun's heat; and the planets
are created sequentially, the outer planets being older than the inner
Atomic Theory: Basically, a unified Atom with no
sub-atomic particles, which is essentially a knot in the ether.
Basically Avogadro's view supplemented by evolved Etheric theory. There
is no atomic radiation. Atoms are indivisible, but may be transmuted by
Biologic Theory: I'm thinking a combination
of Lamarkian and Mendelian genetics, with a possible addition of Vital
Force. This means some acquired characteristics may be inherited - but
DNA does not exist. Typical inheritance follows Mendelian form. Vitalism
(along with Lamarkism) could be helpful in explaining the speed of
evolution required with a Nebular theory.
Caloric theory, with the addition of friction models, would work here.
Since we are assuming no subatomic particles, we also need to presume an
electrical fluid. The electrical fluid fluid could also act as the
caloric fluid, following the Wiedmann-Franz law where thermal
conductivity is proportional to temperature. The only problem is that
this leaves unexplained the rare high thermal conductivity of a few
insulators, notably diamond, which transfer heat by thermal vibrations,
but I do not know that this was known by 1880. Since we are assuming
an etheric atomic theory, we should also assume an atomic
caloric-electric fluid theory rather than a continuous fluid, though it
might be best to assume it comes in both forms, new positive and
negative pairs of caloric particles being produced by friction. Thermal
conductive insulators could then be explained by the motion of coupled
pairs of positive and negative caloric particles.
One of the
interesting features of this theory is that static electrical charges
produced by friction (say rubbing an amber rod with silk cloth) are
easily explained: the frictionally produced positive charges produced
preferentially collect on one substance and the negative ones on the
other. Our own theories of frictional static electricity are forced to
invoke some rather complex chemistry. There is another interesting
consequence: vacuum tubes don't work. They rely on the fact that the
moving charges are of one polarity, so that a charged screen can block
them. With a dual current, a charged screen would repel one polarity but
attract the other, giving no change in the net current. This would mean
that radio, radar, and electronic computers become impractical for most
Normally any electrical current would have a
positive current in one direction and an equal negative current in the
opposite direction. A thermal gradient would have positive and negative
currents in the same direction. In combination you could have a
current that was primarily positive or negative current.
Theory: Continental Drift, but not Plate Tectonics. A unification of
Plutonism and Neptunism on how rocks formed - neither contradicts the
other, except in claims of exclusivity. Catastrophism works much better
over the short geological time frames of Lowell Was Right!.
are all very fundamental differences in how things work. Now we need to
develop things that *do* work, and see how that changes our world.