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Revolution In 1650 Archbishop James Ussher calculated that God created the world on Sunday October 23 4004 BC. That fit well with established doctrine at the time and it was soon accepted as fact-even added to the King James Bible. By the late eighteenth century however a number of people began to question the simplicity of that explanation based on what they saw around them. One of them was James Hutton. In true Victorian fashion Hutton was many things chemist physician farmer and geologist. He made a number of field trips throughout Scotland in the 1780s examining geological formations at Glen Tilt Siccar Point and Jedburgh and concluded the only way to explain the formations was through long and continuous processes as opposed to catastrophes like the biblical flood and in turn that implied Earth was very old. The New Geology He first presented his ideas to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1785 and the society published his dissertationTheory of the Earth three years later. In 1795 he published a much expanded two-volume version that addressed earlier criticisms and provided more evidence. Unfortunately it was virtually unreadable. A typical excerpt The immense time necessarily required for this total destruction of the land must not be opposed to that view of future events which is indicated by the surest facts and most approved principles. Time which measures every thing in our idea and is often deficient to our schemes is to nature endless and as nothing it cannot limit that by which alone it had existence and as the natural course of time which to us seems infinite cannot be bounded by any operation that may have an end the progress of things upon this globe that is the course of nature cannot be limited by time which must proceed in a continual succession. Even in the late eighteenth century that was abstruse. Fortunately for Hutton and posterity his friend John Playfair published Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth in 1802 shortly after Huttons death in which Playfair explained Huttons new geology in a more comprehensible form. It is Playfairs book that is generally credited with spreading Huttons ideas Earth was very old the same continuous geological processes that shaped Earth in the past were still active today a theory that would become known as uniformitarianism and the idea that deeper James Hutton The Founder of Modern Geology 1