The Study of Uniformitarianism

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  • Topic: Geology, James Hutton, Catastrophism
  • Pages : 4 (1261 words )
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  • Published : April 4, 2012
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The Study of Uniformitarianism
The origin of life on Earth is a fundamental scientific question, but we do not know as much as many biology textbooks would like you to believe. (Pigliucci) Uniformitarianism is vital to the world of science. It is a geological doctrine. It states that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe. It assumes that geological processes have essentially not changed today from those from the past which are unobservable. As present processes are thought to explain all past events, the Uniformitarian slogan is "the present is the key to the past". Uniformitarianism is a key principle of geology. My research will explain the theory of uniformitarianism and the work of many geologists such as Charles Lyell and James Hutton. To begin, one needs to understand that no serious scientific discussion of any topic should include supernatural explanations, since the basic assumption of science is that the world can be explained entirely in physical terms. Uniformitarianism was formulated by Scottish naturalists in the late 18th century, beginning with the work of the geologist James Hutton, which was refined by John Playfair and popularized by Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology in 1830. In 1785 James Hutton proposed an opposing, infinite cycle based on natural history and not on the Biblical record. The solid parts of the present land on earth appear to have been made up of the productions of the sea, and of other materials similar to those now found upon shores. Hence we find reason to conclude first, that the land we live on is not simple and original, but that it is a composition, and had been formed by the operation of second causes. Secondly, that before the present land was made, there had been a world composed of sea and land that had tides and currents, which still take place now at the bottom of the sea. And lastly, that...
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