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Contents:


  1. Burial at the Abbey
  2. Charles Lyell
  3. Memorial bust
  4. Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin
  5. Sir Charles Lyell

Defends position he takes on species [in Antiquity of man ]. Will not dogmatise on descent of man; prepared to accept it, but it "takes away much of the charm from my speculations on the past". Search site. International students Continuing education Executive and professional education Courses in education. Research at Cambridge.

Burial at the Abbey

Home Charles Lyell. Home The letters The letters overview Darwin's life in letters Darwin's life in letters overview Childhood to the Beagle voyage The London years to 'natural selection' Building a scientific network Microscopes and barnacles Death of a daughter The 'Big Book' Origin Answering critics Gaining allies A multiplicity of experiments Quarrels at home, honours abroad Failing health Delays and disappointments Survival of the fittest A civilised dispute Studying sex Forward on all fronts Human evolution An emptying nest Job done?

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Convincing Lyell: Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, and the Great Transmutation Debate

Charles Lyell. Reeve ed.

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Charles Lyell

CUL Ii. Cambridge University Library. Key correspondents. Related letters:. Further information:.


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In this section:. Related letters. Invites CD to dinner. The origin of volcanic craters of elevation. There is a popular demand for a new edition of Principles. Praises palaeobotanical work of C. Related people.

Memorial bust

Lyell, Charles — Scottish geologist. Uniformitarian geologist whose Principles of geology —3 , Elements of geology , and Antiquity of man appeared in many editions. Travelled widely and published accounts of his trips to the United States. Knighted, ; created baronet, Scientists at the time saw no hard evidence to suggest that the earth was old enough to experience large-scale changes in any other way.

Uniformitarian theory became more popular as Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection became popular.

Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin

Like Darwin's theories, the work of Sir Charles Lyell provided logical, rational explanations that suited the beliefs of many scientists. Over time, those explanations were considered proofs, and nowadays the scientific community at large accepts Lyell's explanations for rock layers and other geological effects with little question. The relationship between Lyell's work and Darwin's work foreshadowed an aspect of human science still active today. Darwin accepted Lyell's work, in large part, because it helped him to validate his own beliefs.

There were other geological studies that undermined Darwin's ideas, but he chose not to accept them. Lyell himself, ironically, was reluctant to accept Darwin's model of evolution because he did not see evidence to support it. In much the same way, some scientific evidence is applauded by a community when it supports the beliefs they already have. Evidence, even when valid, that goes against this belief is either ignored or attacked as being "unscientific.


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  • Since catastrophism was associated, to some degree, with religious beliefs, it fell quickly out of favor with scientists who preferred not to believe in Creation. Uniformitarianism presented a view that was more compatible with a naturalistic, very old world.

    Sir Charles Lyell

    There was evidence for both, yet scientists considered catastrophism "less scientific. It is critical to remember that an explanation may be logical, comprehensive, and have supporting data, yet still be wrong. The back-and-forth swing between these theories, as with other major discoveries throughout history, emphasizes that human beings have a tendency to believe first and find facts to fit their beliefs later.