uniformitarianism


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u·ni·for·mi·tar·i·an·ism

 (yo͞o′nə-fôr′mĭ-târ′ē-ə-nĭz′əm)
n.
The theory that all geologic phenomena may be explained as the result of existing forces having operated uniformly from the origin of the earth to the present time.

u′ni·for′mi·tar′i·an adj. & n.

uniformitarianism

(ˌjuːnɪˌfɔːmɪˈtɛərɪəˌnɪzəm)
n
(Geological Science) the concept that the earth's surface was shaped in the past by gradual processes, such as erosion, and by small sudden changes, such as earthquakes, of the type acting today rather than by the sudden divine acts, such as the flood survived by Noah (Genesis 6–8), demanded by the doctrine of catastrophism

uniformitarianism

1. Philosophy. a doctrine that the universe is governed only by rigid, unexceptionable law.
2. Geology. the concept that current geological processes explain all past geological occurrences. — uniformitarian, n., adj.
See also: Evolution
the thesis that early geological processes were not unlike those observed today, i.e., gradually occurring. Cf. catastrophism.uniformitarian, n.
See also: Geology

uniformitarianism

The principle that present geological processes are the key to past events in Earth's history.
References in periodicals archive ?
He is best known for writing the Principles of Geology, which presented the idea of uniformitarianism - the theory that changes in the earths crust during geological history resulted from the action of continuous and uniform processes.
In so doing, he briefly covers the infancy of paleontology, the debate between uniformitarianism and catastrophism, and the tensions that existed between science and faith during this time, pointing out that religion actually played an important role in the development of earth history and science in general.
The fact that Lyell prefaced his book with an image of enduring classical architecture rather than fiery natural destruction was significant: the book's impact lay in its popularisation of the 'doctrine of uniformitarianism', the idea that the Earth's past geological changes had occurred through processes that were visible in the present, over a greatly expanded timescale.
If Maud enacted Lyellian uniformitarianism socially, ontologically, and literarily, Geric further argued, Tennyson also represented the nightmarish qualities of a uniformitarian, nonteleological universe in which there is no ultimate fixed, certain meaning and transformation is ever ongoing.
"Catastrophism, Uniformitarianism, and a Scientific Realism Debate That Makes a Difference," Philosophy of Science 82(5): 867-878.
Phylogeography, fossils, and Northern hemisphere biogeography: The role of physiological uniformitarianism. Annls.
This notion of observing the complex, dynamic interrelations and processes of the natural world we exist in and using this to interpret the rock record of the past, what has since been called "uniformitarianism," is a revolutionary idea, and radically transforms the way we see the earth and our place in natural processes; they show us how we exist in cyclical processes not in a linear progression.
Since evolutionists stressed out the fact that evolution was slow, namely as it still is occurring at present (this constituted precisely the justification of the uniformitarians, which is why today it is admitted that Darwin's theory is based on Lyell's principle of uniformity, itself derived from Hutton's uniformitarianism), the age of the Earth had to be indeed very large.
Even bearing in mind the various meanings of the concept of uniformitarianism that argue for more than a purely conventional basis for interpreting the nature of the past in the terms of the present (see e.g.
Still, most geologists are sanguine about prospects for exoplanet tectonics, based on their optimism in what Stern terms "theoretical uniformitarianism," which in this case reflects the assertion of the universality of plate tectonics across the galaxy.
His widely read Principles of Geology presented an empirically formidable argument supporting Hutton's thesis "that all past changes on the globe had been brought about by the slow agency of existing causes" (I: 63), a theory of geological change known as uniformitarianism. By applying the rates of geological processes observable today (e.g., erosion and uplift) to the past, one could reconstruct the earth's geological history and explain everything from the formation of canyons and mountain ranges to the break-up of land masses.
Admittedly, as Rankin (2003: 186) points out, reconstruction in Historical Linguistics would not be possible without the assumption of uniformitarianism (see Lass 1997 or Janda and Joseph 2003).

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