History Of Science Essay

Submitted By elle-thacher
Words: 2211
Pages: 9

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History of Science
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Natural History’s Important E’s: Earth and Evolution

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Natural History’s Important E’s: Earth and Evolution Descartes’s ‘vortex theory’ was a starting point for geomorphology because it explained Earth’s components. As matter moved in circular motion, the particles making up matter were being compressed in this vortex so much that heat, and then light, from the friction began to give off, creating the Sun. This process was the same for forming other planets, more importantly Earth, because their matter was compressed as well, but because planets are not in the centre their matter was not as crowded, giving off less heat, which influenced the different surface of the planet compared to the Sun. To explain the different land surfaces of Earth, Descartes explained that the matter that made up Earth had different densities, and the denser densities fell to the centre of the Earth, which also helped him explain how Earth was a sphere of water that was then covered by a sphere of land (Henry, 2012:194). Descartes’s argument of Earth inspired Thomas Burnet and Burnet later wrote The Sacred Theory of the Earth in the attempt to bring cohesion between Descartes’ theory and Bible scripture. Burnet furthered his work by finding the calculation of exactly how old the Earth truly was, 6,660 years old, but was later clashed with Comte de Buffon’s views who believed Earth was much, much older (Henry, 2012: 197). James Hutton then entered into the geomorphology debate and had a huge impact on the knowledge of geology through his theories of ‘deep time,’ conformity and volcanism. His ideas inspired Charles Lyell’s idea of uniformitarianism, which Lyell used to refute George Cuvier’s catastrophism, which was almost universally accepted by the first half of the 19th century. And once fossil records were found during the exploration of Earth’s surface, it became apparent that geological findings directly influenced the theories of evolution and explained why these geological thinkers also made an impact in evolution discoveries. Buffon re-entered the research scene to disagree with Linnaeus’ concept of hybridization and was further supported by Lamarck. But soon Cuvier returned as well to dispute with Lamarck about his evolution theory. Ultimately, with the help and influence of these geologists and naturalists who brought much debate and opinion to both the study of geology and evolution, Charles Darwin was able to write his most famous and most impactful work on science, Origin of Species. To keep with the Bible’s teaching of the Earth being created in six days, Buffon explained that these six days were actually six periods, or epochs, of time. The first epoch was the period of molten Earth culminating to the cooling and hardening of rock occurring in the second epoch. The third epoch brought seas and oceans because the cooling of the rock allowed for the water vapours in the air to condense. The fourth epoch brought more landscape resulting from volcanic activity.