Hello and welcome back to Fossils on Friday, as we continue to look at the history of geology, particularly in the light of horizontal deposition. You may now be seeing a certain progression of ideas, little steps from one to the other, greatly affecting geological thinking, but without much real evidence.
We started with Steno, and the initial idea that rock layers formed from bottom to top. It was Steno’s beliefs in the Bible that led him to believe that fossils were real, and he attributed the rock layers to Noah’s Flood. We learned about Hutton, who had the idea of very long ages and a secular way of thinking about rocks. Lyell then took this idea, and with his agenda of removing any mention of God from science, took the next logical step.
If rock layers form bottom to top, then the bottom layer got there first, and the top layer got there last (Steno). If this is true, and the rock layers can be measured in time, then the bottom layer is the oldest, the top is the youngest (Hutton). Lyell simply took it one step further and said that if they have to be explained by modern processes, then the bottom layer was millions of years older than the top layer.
Lyell’s work greatly affected Charles Darwin, and he had even taken a copy of Lyell’s geological book on board his famous trip in the HMS Beagle. He would often take walks with Lyell, and discuss ideas with him. In fact, Darwin admitted that the idea for evolution was “Half out of Lyell’s brain, and this was never given enough credit.” What was his logic in this?
If the rock layers at the bottom were millions of years older than the layers at the top, then the fossils in the bottom layers must also have lived millions of years before the ones found in the top layers. It was one more simple step to claim that the fossils in the bottom layers evolved into the ones in the layers above.
And there you have it – from vertical deposition to evolution in just a few simple steps. Of course, there were many other agendas towards the popularisation of evolution, particularly the desire to remove God from peoples thinking. but you can see the progression from one set of thinking to the other.
This concept has been firmly established in secular geology for a very long time now. However it is all based on a false idea of a geological column and vertical deposition. Next week we will begin to conclude by looking at some of the consequences of this way of thinking.