Monday, 11 October 2010

Were geologists brainwashed to accept slow uniformitarian processes?

Some geologists have severely criticised Charles Lyell’s uniformitarian views. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Without the writings of Charles Lyell, the views of his friend Charles Darwin might never have become popular. However, geology has subsequently rejected strict uniformitarianism. The late British geologist Derek Ager, who was no friend of creation, wrote in 1993:

Just as politicians rewrite human history, so geologists rewrite earth history. For a century and a half the geological world has been dominated, one might even say brain-washed, by the gradualistic uniformitarianism of Charles Lyell. Any suggestion of 'catastrophic' events has been rejected as old-fashioned, unscientific and even laughable.”

Ager emphasised the significance of catastrophes in geology.

In 1980 the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens was an excellent illustration of rapid canyon formation. It only took a few hours to produce formations that look as though they are millions of years old.


Ager, Derek. 1993. The New Catastrophism: The importance of The Rare Event in Geological History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.