Successive alterations

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“Through the loyal devotion of his pupils, he was elevated even in his lifetime into the position of a kind of scientific pope, whose decisions were final on any subject regarding which he chose to pronounce them ….T racing in the arrangement of the rocks of the earth’s crust the history of an original oceanic envelope, finding in the masses of granite, gneiss, and mica-schist the earliest precipitations from that ocean, and recognising the successive alterations in the constitution of the water as witnessed by the series of geological formations, Werner launched upon the world a bold conception which might well fascinate many a listener to whom the laws of chemistry and physics, even zakelijke energie as then understood, were but little known.” Moreover, Werner’s earth was compatible witl1 Genesis and was thus not unpleasing to the Pope himself. When Werner’s pupils, as they spread through the world, encountered reasoning that ran contrary to Werner’s, pictures that failed to resemble his picture, they described all these heresies as “visionary fabrics”- including James Hutton’s Theory of the Earth; or, an Investigation of the Laws Observable in the Composition, Dissolution, and Restoration of Land Upon the Globe, which was first presented before the Royal Society of Edinburgh at its March and April meetings in i 785. Hutton was a medical doctor who gave up medicine when he was twenty-four and became a farmer who at the age of forty-two retired from the farm. Wherever he had been, he had found himself drawn to riverbeds and cutbanks, ditches and borrow pits, coastal outcrops and upland cliffs; and if he saw black shining cherts in the white chalks of Norfolk, fossil clams in the Cheviot Hills, he wondered why they were there. He had become preoccupied with the operations of the earth, and he was beginning to discern a zakelijke energie vergelijken gradual and repetitive process measured out in dynamic cycles. Instead of attempting to imagine how the earth may have appeared at its vague and unobservable beginning, Hutton thought about the earth as it was; and what he did permit his imagination to do was to work its way from the present moment backward and forward through time. By studying rock as it existed, he thought he could see what it had once been and what it might become. He moved to Edinburgh, with its geologically dramatic setting, and lived below Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags, remnants of what had once been molten rock. It was impossible to accept those battlement hills precipitating in a sea. Hutton had a small fortune, and did not have to distract himself for food.

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