Name of Unit
HistoricalBackground: Catastrophism versus Uniformitarianism
Early geologists were labeled as sympathetic towards supernaturalcauses due to their belief in the universal flood. Other scientistssuch as Charles Lyell argued the merits of an alternative theory.Nevertheless, several discoveries have revived the discussion oncatastrophism. For example, the continental drift theory has beenadvanced due to the similarity of rock structure and the almostjigsaw fit of separate continents. The fossil record evidence alsoshowed that dinosaurs died abruptly which was different from thegradual process advocated by the evolution theory. Also, catastrophicflooding was cited as the primary cause of the Channeled Scablands(Palmer 54). Nevertheless, uniformitarianism retains significantinfluence on the dating methods used in the scientific community.Tree-ring dating is used on both dead and live wood. On the otherhand, Carbon 14, Potassium-argon, and Uranium-lead dating methodsutilize radioactivity (Palmer 52). The information presented issignificant because it helps to explain the origin of the earth andits physical features.
The argument in the field of geology concerns whether the geologicalstructures were formed by momentary, cataclysmic events or gradual,imperceptible occurrences. However, both perspectives are not equallyportrayed in the education system due to the influence of scientificprinciples. Full admission of the impact of cataclysmic events seemsto ridicule the scholarly view of evolution (Palmer 56). Therefore,the education system favors the advancement of uniformitarianism overcatastrophism.
Catastrophism is a theory that attributes changes in the geologicalcrust to sudden, violent events. Such events are assumed to haveoccurred over a large section in a short period. Natural disastersare cited among the most common forms of cataclysmic activity. Inthis regard, the Noachian Flood provides conclusive evidence forcatastrophism. Legends depicting the worldwide deluge have been toldin many regions across the world. Besides, fossil remains of clamshave been discovered atop Mt. Everest (Palmer, 42). This discoveryindicates that the clams were buried alive during the flood. Also,petrified trees and whale fossils have been uncovered in multiplelayers of sedimentary rock separated over many years.
Uniformitarianism refers to the theory that current geologicalprocesses and laws have always had the same level of impact. Themanner and intensity of past erosion and deposition of elements areidentical to existing rates. The theory of uniformitarianism wassupported by various pieces of evidence. For example, mountains roseand erode at slow, imperceptible rates. Rivers also eroded valleybeds and built deltas at a gradual rate. Also, sedimentary rocks wereformed by the deposition of sediment derived from continuousweathering of rocks. Furthermore, stalactites and caves requirecountless years so as to form (McGrath 64).
Both catastrophism and uniformitarianism cannot be held as fact sincethey have different implications. Both theories attempt to explainthe occurrence of embedded fossils and geological strata. Thediscussion of catastrophism versus uniformitarianism matters since itleads to an evaluation of creation against evolution. Before theonset of the 19th century, the prominent belief was in thepower of catastrophes such as the global deluge. However, theuniformitarianism theory emphasized the passage of long periods inthe formation of geological strata. Consequently, the biblicalaccounts of creation, Noah, and the earth could not be supported.Creation was increasingly questioned while Darwin’s evolution tooka hold.
There has been suppression in the public-policy or scientificcommunity concerning the theory of catastrophism. Plenty of evidencehas been gathered in support of an intelligent designer, who modeledthe universe and placed the earth in a strategic location.Considerable gaps in fossil records have also been established forthe case of transitional fossils. Furthermore, consciousness,complexity, and life have proven difficult for evolutionists toexplain. Despite these facts, evolution has continued to feature inacademic curricula and scientific discussions. The suppression ofcatastrophism is motivated by repulsion towards being accountable toa Supreme Being (Palmer 77). Consequently, many scientists portraytheir hubris and desire for self-determination through theirmaligning of biblical creation.
McGrath, Gavin. Creation, not macroevolution: Mind the gap.Sydney: Gavin Basil McGrath, 2014. Print.
Palmer, Trevor. Perilous planet Earth: Catastrophes andcatastrophism through the ages. New York: Cambridge UniversityPress, 2010. Print.