ch. 2 textbook notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Genevieve Dewar

CHAPTER 2- EDEN QUESTIONED: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES Europeans invoked the Bible as the ultimate source of knowledge, even concerning specific questions of earth history. Based on an interpretation of the Bible, it was commonly believed, in the past that the earth was less than 6000 years old. Best-known attempt to determine the precise age of the earth based on the Bible was by Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656). Determined that the world was created in the year 4004 B.C; more precisely upon rd the entrance of the night preceding the 23 day of October Ussher was wrong Some Europeans & Americans of the 17 , 18 , and 19 centuries began to seek enlightenment about the world around them from a source other than the Bible though still believing in Godthat is from nature itself. Called themselves natural scientists or natural philosophers and began exploration of various natural sources of info about the earth and the heavens. Uniformitarianism: The Contribution from Geology Many of the early natural scientists accepted Usshers claim of a recent creation, but when they looked directly at nature they saw evidence for extensive physical change in the earth. The new science of geology described natural features that clearly indicated the earth had undergone vast amounts of change in its appearance. Some thinkers viewed the earth appearance as the result of a series of natural catastrophes (Noahs flood being one of them). Believed that these catastrophes accounted for the diverse layers of rock and other evidence of substantial change that they observed. Those who adhered to this were called catastrophists. CATASTROPHISTS: an adherent of the idea that the world was changed over time by a series of catastrophic events. Geologists observed mostly sloe-acting, steady processes of change. Some interpreted this to mean that these slow-acting processes had produced the present appearance of the earth. Reverend Thomas Burnet (1635-1715) suggested that the condition of the earth could best be explained and its age determined by reference to ordinary, slow-acting, non- catastrophic natural processes of erosion by ice, wind and water. He still concluded that the earth was very young. th Robert Hooke (1635-1703), a 17 century English scientist, was fascinated by fossils. Correctly interpreted fossils as the remains of animals and plants that no longer existed.
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