Monday, 4 October 2010

Charles Lyell, the pioneer of Uniformitarism: the purpose of my book is to ”free science from Moses”

Sir Charles Lyell (1797 – 1875), who popularised Uniformitarism and was a friend of Charles Darwin, wanted to free geology from Moses. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

When Charles Darwin sailed around the world on the Beagle, he had Charles Lyell’s book Principles of Geology with him.

In 1830 Lyell sent a letter to his friend Poulett Scrope who reviewed his book, stating that his aim was ”to free the science from Moses”. By science he meant geology. In other words, he wanted to replace Moses, Genesis, creation and the flood with millions of years over a century before the first dating method had even been invented.

Terry Mortenson, who has a PhD in the history of geology, says that almost all pioneers of the old earth view were either atheists or deists (who believed in a God who created the universe but otherwise remained aloof from the world).

According to Dr. Mortenson, these pioneers were not objective seekers of the truth but they wanted to bring their own ideology into science.


Lyell, Katharine. 1881. Life, Letters and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell, Bart. Part 1. London: Murray.

Mortenson, Terry. 2004. The Great Turning Point: The Church’s Catastrophic Mistake on Geology – Before Darwin. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.