That’s So Second Millennium

Episode 025 - Geology after Steno: Catastrophism, Uniformitarianism, and Fideism

September 17, 2018

- Competitor paradigms in early geology, their conceptual and thematic relationships to Noah's Flood.
    - Catastrophism and its inverse, uniformitarianism

Hutton, in some circles (especially Anglo-American ones) considered the father of geology, was a curious hybrid (from our point of view, anyway) of philosophical convictions. On the one hand, and what makes him famous and venerated among geologists today, is his methodology and core assumption that processes happening on the contemporary Earth are the same processes that have shaped it throughout its history. This idea was worked up and spread broadly by Lyell.
    On the other hand, he expressed a thoroughgoing sense of teleology...that the world was set up in such a way so as to maintain its surface condition fit for animal life.

Controversy between "catastrophists" and "uniformitarians / actualists"
    
Cowper, "The Task": "[God] was mistaken in the date he gave to Moses" (Cowper himself is castigating these scholars)
    The putative tension that people like Cowper, Steno, Pascal, even arguably Aquinas felt between science,
        mathematics, philosophy and their faith
    How has this played into the widespread notion that faith and reason are opposed?
    Cf. the tension between being Christian and being a soldier
        
"Deists" like Werner and Hutton discard the rigid post-Reformation sola scriptura straitjacket, yet they become just as dogmatic about their own theories.