This article named “The Origin of Old-Earth Geology and its Ramifications for Life in the 21st Century” is written by Dr. Terry Mortenson, who is a historian of geology. The article revolves around a belief that the planet earth is not as old as is portrayed by most of the historians and geologists. The geologists who opposed the mainstream view of planet earth being a very old body were all practicing Christians, and their group was named as scriptural geologists. As this debate rose in the 19th century, one can clearly draw a relation to this debate with the tug of war between religion and science. (Mortenson)
Brief Overview and Main Points:
The article mentions how the belief about the age of earth changed with the shift from religious teaching to scientific findings and theories. The article draws a timeline including the event of the creation of the earth that was done 4000 BC and after 16000 years the great flood at the time of prophet Noah occurred as based on religious artifacts. This was negated in the 18th and 19th century when science was put ahead of religion and it was declared that the earth had come into being as a result of big bang that took place several billion years ago.
The article mentions the modern day theories about formation of planet earth and the contribution of scientists in it, including three French scientists Comte, Pierre and Lamarck and the German Mineralogist Abraham Werner and the Scottish scientist James Hutton who all negated the existence of God and the possibility of any contribution of God in the creation of earth. According to these scientists, the earth was formed as a result of chemical and mechanical events that slowly happened one after the other.
The article also details about the counterparty of the above-mentioned group of scientists. The scriptural geologists emerged after the belief of Godless creation of earth prevailed as a widely accepted one. The origin of scriptural geologists took place from Britain.
The great thing about the structure of this article is that it mentions the two paradigms in a parallel manner. The author has not overweighed one paradigm over the other (the belief that God created the earth and the one that negates it). The timeline has been made very well too. At first there was a time when God was considered as the creator of the earth before the 18th century, followed by a belief that the creation of the universe chemically resulted in the 18th and 19th century. Then the scriptural geologists emerged in the 19th century to negate the then modern scientific findings.
The article has gone too much into detail about what individual scientists in the modern era of the 18th and 19th century had achieved. Instead of this, the author could have named the scientists followed by the description of the net effect that their findings and propagation had on the stock of knowledge.
The article is based on the philosophical foundations of the existence of earth and that how it came into existence. Not only is this article based on the subject of geography but also on the broader subject of theology and religion. The author has not based the discussion either religion or science and has given a rather unbiased insight of how the beliefs have evolved about the geological foundation of planet earth.