Archbishop James Ussher and Archbishop Lightfoot (1600s, Irish).
Using genealogical lists in bible and calculated that the world was created one the evening before October 23. 4004 B.C at 9:30 A.M.
The eighteenth centuries were a time of massive construction (i.e. canals), revealing great exposures of the earths rocks-hence a period of development in Geology.
William "Strata" Smith (1769-1839)
first to recognize Earth made of layers.
Science of stratigraphy.
developed the Law of Superposition (layers on top are younger than lower layers).
Georges Cuvier (1769-1832)-French,
Father of Paleontology, worked out a geological history using fossils as type indicator of strata.
certain fossils associated with certain strata.
problem explaining change in fossils, but said bible accounts for this with floods or catastrophies.
James Hutton (1726-1797)
Believed appeal to catastrophies unnecessary.
processes acting today are same as in the past:Uniformitarianism
For example, erosion, weathering. earthquakes and volcanos all acting the
Charles Lyell (1797-1875)
published Principles of Geology (1830).
identified Hutton's theory of processes being the same as uniformitarianism.
Father of Geology. syntesized Law of Superposition and Uniformitarianism.
It was established that life forms had changed, but how?
In order to be credible a mechanism was needed to explain this.
Greatly influenced by geologists,
new forms explained by a "struggle for existence" in which those well adapted to a particular environment survive and the ill-adapted don't.
Accumulated favorable variations over a long period of time would result in new species, extinction of old species (Natural Selection).
On the Origin of Species (1859)
Charles Darwin ca. 1880