The Establishment of Gradualism
History is far from an unchanging subject. As noted in the previous chapter, the generally accepted view of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century gradualists (also called uniformitarians) has been that they were true scientists, in marked contrast to their rivals, the catastrophists, whose ideas were dominated by religious dogma. However, the reputations of both groups were reassessed during the 1980s in books such as Anthony (Tony) Hallam’s Great Geological Controversies , Stephen J ay Gould’s Time’s Arrow. Time’s Cycle , Richard Huggett’s Cataclysms and Earth History , and Claude Albritton Jr.’s Catastrophic Episodes in Earth History . These works were all published during 1983–1989, sandwiched between the first and second editions of Great Geological Controversies. Because it may be thought necessary, in view of what has been said previously, to scrutinize the academic credentials of anyone showing a measure of sympathy to the catastrophists, it should be made clear that all these books were written by reputable scientists with University posts. Gould’s Harvard affiliation we noted in Section 1.3. Of the others, Hallam is Lapworth Professor of Geology at the University of Birmingham, in England; Albritton, also a geologist, was formerly Vice President of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at the Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas; and Huggett lectures in geography at the University of Manchester.
KeywordsDust Silurian Europe Radioactive Isotope Cretaceous
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