Gravitational theory is firmly entrenched as dogma and is unchallengeable and punishable by excommunication and if the heresy great enough, by permanent expulsion from polite society. It is thus similar to religion in that as a basic premise it cannot be challenged.
So what about isostasy, a theory developed from the observation that surveying plumb-bobs were not attracted by an adjacent mountain? Or that they were not deflected as much as expected. This observation is similar to the laboratory Cavendish experiment to determine big G, the gravitational constant, where bodies have the attractive force measured in the horizontal plane. Herein lies the problem and the manner of thinking adopted when anomalous results are observed.
The reaction to the lack off deflection of the plumb-bob from vertical was to assume that the adjacent mountain had a mass shortfall, rather than question the theory that matter attracts matter. Clearly the lack of attraction observed would lead to one questioning the principle, and not the data, but no, it is the data which are erroneous, and not the principle of gravitation.
This manner of thinking is simply the religious mind at work, for religious minds cannot contradict received authority, here the belief that come what may, matter always attracts matter. Thuis attitude was driven home when I presented the anomalous downhole survey data to the consulting geophysicists, who opined that if the readings are true, then there had to be a gravitating mass above the drill hole and since this is not observed, which is correct, then the data have to be in error, and an instrument malfunction the cause of the anomalous data preented in Gravity Update previously. It never occurred to them that maybe the theory is the problem.
Most scientists hold one or other religious beliefs, and the manner in which they think thus determines how they interpret scientific observations, especially observations that cannot be easily tested in a laboratory. Minds dominated by a belief system inculcated by education, will tend to only see what the believe system asserts, here that matter attracts matter, and hence if the data do not confirm the theory, or belief, then the data have to be in error. This led to the idea of mountain ranges, or some of them, having deep low density roots into the upper mantle, and the development of Plate Tectonics theory. Except that plates with mountains on them with interpreted under-slab keels should not be able to move, but this inconsistency in the theory seems never a problem, and readily explained as a collision effect between two converging tectonic plates.
Because of this manner of thinking, which leads to the illogical scenario of low density rocks floating in a more dense substrate, ice caps are believed to depress the crust underneath them, and when the ice melts, the crust re-adjusts by expanding upwards. Proof of this is the crustal emergence around the Baltic sea due to the melting of the earlier Pleistocene ice age when an ice cap is postulated to have existed in this part of Europe, and also in Canada where crustal uplift is also observed. But just how a rock of density 1 Kg/M^3 can sink into crust of density 2.7Kg/M^3 is explained by the principle of isostasy. This assertion is simply crazy – logical but crazy and came about from misinterpeting the earlier surveying data where the plumbline did not deflect as expected from calculations compensating for the mass of the adjacent mountain.
In both cases, the non-deflecting plumb-line and the anomlous downhole survey data, the mainstream reaction to the discordant data was to reject the data and confirm the supremacy of the belief in gravitation. But if the theory of gravity is wrong, then a great lot of theory and assumptions become, if not moot, just plain wrong. Retrocalculation of planetary orbits becomes problematical, gravitational accretion becomes a nonsense leading to a rather drastic paradigm shift in the physical sciences. It is tantamount to questioning our cultural world-view, that of the Abrahamic Religions, and that could be a most dangerous entreprise.
One challenge to this world view is being mounted by Tim Cullen at the Malaga Bay Blog, and of course this one has been politically incorrect for a long time. It is an intellectual battle between the Oriental and Occidental world-views, that of a cyclical orientalism and a linear occidentalism.
Update: I now wonder if Gravity has replaced God as the prime mover of the Universe. Both are words starting with a capital G