Uniformitarianism vs. Catastrophism

Topics: Geology, Charles Darwin, James Hutton Pages: 3 (1007 words) Published: May 30, 2013
Uniformitarianism vs. Catastrophism|
Lara Anderson|
Dr. Travis Bradshaw|
PHSC 201-A19|

For much of history, humans have grappled with the question: Where do we come from? Today there are two main houses of argument which have many different names. They are called secular and religious, evolutionists and creationists, humanists and theists. However, each house subscribes to its own idea of how the world has come about and progressed through history. The secular/evolutionist/humanist view point is that the earth happened through chance and time over billions of years of processes repeating themselves in the same way they do today, a view known as uniformitarianism. While the religious/creationist/theists claim that the world was created in the not so distant past, by an intelligent being and that the world has progressed from there and that the alterations we see today have not come about by process over billions of years, but through catastrophic events in history. This view is called catastrophism. Science cannot clearly tell which belief is correct however through a study of each, a person can come away with a sense of what they believe and why. Uniformitarianism

In the 1790s a man named James Hutton published his work Theory of the Earth. In this work he described the idea of uniformity by saying that the same chemical, physical, and biological laws and processes that are happening today have also happened in the geological past. This was the first theory of merit for the old-Earth geologist of the day. He was directly influential to a man named Charles Lyell, who was inspired by Hutton’s book and went on explorations around Europe seeking evidence for the theory that over long periods of time, these weak geologic forces we see today could produce great effects, such as mountain ranges and vast valleys.

It was Lyell who gave us the idea that these processes have not changed over time and also he who proposed that the evidences for...
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