When a Twitter post pointed me to a homeschooler's curriculum for creationist geology, I was struck by how much it reminded me of the views of James Hutton, who launched modern geology in the late 1700s. That led to a delightful afternoon rereading Hutton's original paper of 1788 and considering where geology began and where it went. Hutton's Earth, like that of today's creationists, is a purpose-driven planet. The modern geologist's Earth is a mysterious self-driven planet, born in fire and headed for further adventures after a long set of profound changes. (I should add that the curriculum is very good as far as it goes. Where it does not go is instructive.)
UPDATE: I'm pleased to see that the economic Nobelist and speaker of common sense Paul Krugman lauded Hutton in his New York Times blog today in reaction to yesterday's news that Senator Marco Rubio wouldn't commit to acknowledging an ancient Earth. Creationism was once the scientific law of the land, and Hutton was right in the creationist mainstream when he propounded his ancient-Earth theory. When I look at today's creationists, all I can say is how the mighty have fallen.
First posted 15 Feb 2010