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Chapter 2

ANTA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Earth Science, Robert Hooke, Simple Living


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTA01H3
Professor
Genevieve Dewar
Chapter
2

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ANTA01 – Chapter 2 Key Concepts
Historical Perspectives – believe bible was accurate history until the 17th century
attempts to determine the age of the world
- some used the bible and determined it was less than 6000 years old
Archbishop James Usser – determined the age of the earth by using the bible
- believed the world was created in the year 4004 B.C – and believed it was the 23rd day of Oct.
- figured by some math calculations and historical analysis
philosophers emerged, calling themselves natural scientists – trying to figure out the world by using nature
- the thinkers were all religious and known as God-fearing folks – didn't question the bible, tried to figure
out the world through observing their external world
Uniformitarianism – Geology
started to realize through nature, there was physical changes in the earth – science of geology
- viewed the earth's appearance as a result of a series of natural catastrophes
- bible: Noah's flood was viewed as a catastrophe and a very powerful one too
believed that floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions were global and as a result created the diverse
layers of work and physical changes to the world
catastrophists – an adherent of the idea that the world changed over time by a series of catastrophic events
geology started to become an empirical science - trying to explain the condition of the earth
- realized that changes to earth were slow-acting, steady processes of change but, not catastrophes
Reverend Thomas Burnett – believed the age of the earht could be determined by reference to the ordinary,
slow acting, non-catastrophic natural processes of erosion by ice, wind and water
- concluded the world was very young
-argued if it was old than erosions would have taken away the tallest mountains
( he was wrong about the earth being young, but correct about the natural phenomena , didn't realize the
mountain building was still taking place)
Robert Hooke – looked at fossils ( past believed: fossils were tricks of nature) – said the earth was young
- interpreted them as remains of animals and plants that not longer existed
- concluding that organisms became extinct because the earth was always changing
- said could be catastrophes and also everyday events in nature like erosions (long-term occurances)
* he was correct, the geological and biological records are the results of slow, long-term phenomena and
catastrophic events (ex. Extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago due to an asteroid- changed the
earth's climate) – in the past believed catastrophic events had a divine origin and creation feature
by the late 18th century, started to question the historical accuracy of the Genesis
- a scholar named Georges Buffon wrote a book called A Natural History
articulated the perspective of uniformitarianism: concept that biological and geological process that
affected the earth in the past still operate today
he tried to explain the appearance of the earth to determine the earth's age
- concluded that changes in the earth took place as result of natural processes
- later tried to incorporate the genesis – concluded the earth was ancient and was divided into 6 epochs
* the 6 epochs were 1000 years in length and reflected the six days of creation in the bible
James Hutton – The Theory of the Earth
- advanced the notion that by studying natural, slow-working, repetitive processes, which is uniform, like
natural processes like erosion + weathering – could explain the earth's geology and geography
- key element: time – believe God created earth as a self-regulating system – believed the earth was at least
hundreds and thousands of years old
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