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Catastrophism Versus Uniformitarianism

QUESTION: Catastrophism versus Uniformitarianism – Where does the evidence lead?


Catastrophism versus uniformitarianism describes alternative process which could be primarily responsible for the formation the geological strata and embedded fossils. Catastrophism was accepted as the only possible explanation until the about the 18th century. Catastrophism taught that the geologic rock strata were primarily a result of catastrophes like the worldwide flood of Noah. At that time James Hutton and Sir Charles Lyell proposed an alternative explanation of uniformitarianism. The theory of uniformitarianism taught that the present was the key to the past and exactly the same slow process that we see today is the one responsible for the formation of all the geological rock strata.

Since deposition with the uniformitarianism theory was so slow, long eons of time were required. This meant that the current biblical beliefs at that time of a young earth, the recent history of life on earth and the worldwide flood of Noah were discredited. In addition, uniformitarianism laid the foundation for Darwin’s theory of evolution, which also needed an old earth to be credible.

So uniformitarianism dethroned catastrophism and evolution dethroned biblical creationism and both became the dominant theories in academia and science until the present time. Currently, academia and science are clinging to uniformitarianism and biological macroevolution with all the strength they can muster. However, large splits have been seen in the ranks. During the last 50 years an enormous amount of information has been collected that supports catastrophism and intelligent design.

The Mount St. Helens eruption and subsequent erosion has taught us that rapid deposition and rapid canyon erosion is a fact. It doesn’t take years to form. It doesn’t take rocket science to know that life forms cannot be fossilized unless buried rapidly.

Regarding biological macroevolution:
  • No transitional fossils have been found; museums should be full of them.
  • Hoaxes, forgeries, and misrepresentations have been rampant.
  • Evolutionists can’t explain the origin of life.
  • Evolutionists can’t explain complexity or irreducible complexity.
  • Evolutionists can’t explain consciousness.
Many in science and academia have a deeply held religious belief in uniformitarianism and evolution in spite of all the evidence pointing in the opposite direction. This is understandable from several standpoints:
  • Not wanting to be accountable to a God, they would have to accept if they would let the scientific data form their scientific beliefs.
  • Their conflict of interest is revealed by their complete refusal to consider special creation as a possible alternative explanation, especially when the fossil evidence stares them in the face.
  • The fact that their original theories were based upon religious political motivations. Dr. Henry Morris claimed that this was true for Sir Charles Lyell. Julian Huxley, grandson of Thomas Huxley “Darwin’s bulldog,” first director of UNESCO and prominent evolutionist was asked on a public radio station an interesting question. He was asked why evolution was accepted so rapidly. He didn’t say anything relating to scientific evidence. He said the reason it became so popular was because it didn’t interfere with our sexual mores.
Consequently, the evidence definitely leads to the fact that the new paradigm shift from a solid belief in the Bible, the biblical flood and a young earth to skepticism in the Bible, rejection of the biblical flood of Noah and an old earth occurred as a result of using the banner of science to promote a religious belief rather than being based upon scientific evidence. Uniformitarianism and evolution theories were tools to accomplish this.

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