Principles of relative dating of geologic events

The great debate was won by the uniformitarians, so much so that the degree of gradualism was overstated and the importance of catastrophes was unduly minimized.The modern period has been marked by an enormous expansion of the detailed knowledge of the geological history of the Earth and the processes that have acted during that history.The account in Genesis is replete with miracles that do not stand up under rational analysis.

In short, Genesis was an allegory and not literal history.

It was not ruled out, per se, but it was not necessary. In the new science, however, rational explanation was desirable. In 1640 Ussher produced his famous calculation that the Earth was created in 4004 BC.

In 1637 Descartes produced a cosmogony that was highly influential for more than a century. It was not in their estimates of the age of the Earth - Descartes retained the biblical date.

There were various attempts to estimate the Earth's age, working back from sedimentation rates and other geophysical phenomena.

The attempts produced estimates from about 100 million years up to several billion years. The first is that the geological history was still being reconstructed.

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