Aren’t Millions of Years Required for Geological Processes? by Dr. John Whitmore
Geology became established as a science in the middle to late 1700s. While some early geologists viewed the fossil-bearing rock layers as products of the Genesis Flood, one of the common ways in which most early geologists interpreted the earth was to look at present rates and processes and assume these rates and processes had acted over millions of years to produce the rocks they saw. For example, they might observe a river carrying sand to the ocean. They could measure how fast the sand was accumulating in the ocean and then apply these rates to a sandstone, roughly calculating how long it took sandstone to form.
Similar ideas could be applied to rates of erosion to determine how long it might take a canyon to form or a mountain range to be leveled. This type of thinking became known as uniformitarianism (the present is the key to the past) and was promoted by early geologists like James Hutton and Charles Lyell.
These early geologists were very influential in shaping the thinking of later biologists. For example, Charles Darwin, a good friend of Lyell, applied slow and gradual uniformitarian processes to biology and developed the theory of naturalistic evolution, which he published in the Origin of Species in 1859. Together, these early geologists and biologists used uniformitarian theory as an atheistic explanation of the earth’s rocks and biology, adding millions of years to earth history. The earlier biblical ideas of creation, catastrophism, and short ages were put aside in favor of slow and gradual processes and evolution over millions of years.
This chapter will document that geological processes that are usually assumed to be slow and gradual can happen quickly. It will document that millions of years are not required to explain the earth’s rocks, as Hutton, Lyell, Darwin, and so many others have assumed.
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