James Hutton and Charles Lyell – How did they influence modern geology?
Both James Hutton and Charles Lyell are considered the fathers of uniformitarianism geology. Uniformitarianism geology is all that has been taught since shortly after the word geology was coined in 1778. Although catastrophism geology is alive and well among many geologists, currently the word geology connotes uniformitarianism.
It is not that Hutton and Lyell are competing for the title of father. James Hutton is credited with lying the foundation of uniformitarianism geology by questioning the then current belief that the sedimentary rock strata was laid down by Noah’s worldwide flood. Hutton saw evidence of multiple deposition events and subsequent upheavals and igneous intrusions that revealed a long history of the earth. Although it would appear that much of that evidence would point to catastrophism, Hutton saw only uniformitarianism.
Although 45 years went by before Hutton’s ideas really had a significance influence, at that time, Charles Lyell added a chronology of the rock layers called the geologic column and added age dates and names to the layers. So Hutton laid the conceptual foundation for uniformitarianism geology and Lyell built the structure of geology upon that foundation.
The uniformitarianism concept, along with its mandatory accompanying old earth philosophy, provided the primary influence for Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. Together these ideas have caused a paradigm shift from a biblical creationist, young earth worldview to a humanistic, evolutionary old earth worldview.
Since Darwin, the evolutionary philosophy has influenced most of the liberal arts and social science thinking. The extended title of “Origin of the Species” even included a statement about the favored races. It has had great effects on political philosophies. It is believed to be the foundation for the philosophies of Hitler, Marx, Mao, and others. It is the foundation of Secular Humanism and that philosophy has completely changed our country from having traditional beliefs that were healthy for our nation to our current politically correct postmodern belief system that is having a devastating effect on all aspects of our lives today.
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