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Dr. Buckland's Hypothesis: A Controversial Theory in Geology

  • Dr. Buckland proposed a theory that was popular in a time when geologists believed in catastrophic events and sudden breaks in the formation of the earth's strata.
  • According to Buckland's theory, before the current races of animals and plants appeared, there was a period when the earth was completely depopulated. The creation of all existing life forms happened at the same time as the creation of man.
  • However, Buckland's theory lacks support from geological evidence and is now rejected by most geologists. Hugh Miller, a geologist in 1857, used to believe in this theory but later changed his view after studying late formations.


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以下のとおりお答えします。 バックランド博士によって採用された仮説が最初に発布されたのは、地球地層の漸進的・規則的な構成が見つからなかったか、今ほどは明白に認められていなかった頃のことでした。当時の地質学者たちには、大災害や突然の破壊があったと信じる心性がありました。バックランド理論は、地球史上において現在の動物種や野菜種の出現に先立って、大きな断絶があったと仮定しています。すなわち、地球に住む生物は水陸とも劇的に淘汰削減されて、現存するすべての動植物の生成は、人類のそれと同時期でした。 この理論は地質学的現象からは決して支援されることがなく、現在、権威的価値が認められるすべての地質学者たちによっても拒絶されている、と推測されます。かくして、1857年にヒュー・ミラーは書いています。「私は確かに、かつてシャルマースやバックランドとともに、例の6日間の各々が単なる24時間の自然日であって、そこに既存する被造物創造の全作業が含まれており、最も後の方の(現代に近い)時期も、大きな無秩序的な断絶によって私たちの時代から分けられたのだ、と信じていました。 実践的な地質学者としての、当時の私の仕事は、古生代とその亜紀の岩石に限定されていました。もっと細かく特化すれば、1つの区分の古い赤色石炭系および別区分の魚卵状岩石系に限定されていました。また、私がそれらの中で発見した、はるか昔に絶滅した有機体は、確かにシャルマースの見解と矛盾しませんでした。 当時、調整作業にとって必要だと分かったのは、超古代を地球(のできごと)に割り当てることと、それを多くの継起的生成のSSS場面*と見なすことを可能にするような仕組みでした。しかしながら、私はこの9年間年ごとの秋に数週間ずつを費やして後年の地層構成を調査し、そこに見る特別な有機体を収集してきました。 *辞書には、SSS=Selective Service System「義務兵役制度」とありますが、ここには当てはまらないように思います。地質学分野などの専門用語かも知れませんが、私の力量ではよく分かりませんので、このままとさせていただきました。 以上、ご回答まで。



SSSは、スペルミスで、as the が入るものでした。すみません。



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    A third opinion has been suggested both by learned theologians and by geologists, and on grounds independent of one another -- viz., that the days of the Mosaic creation need not be understood to imply the same length of time which is now occupied by a single revolution of the globe, but successive periods each of great extent; and it has been asserted that the order of succession of the organic remains of a former world accords with the order of creation recorded in Genesis. This assertion, though to a certain degree apparently correct, is not entirely supported by geological facts, since it appears that the most ancient marine animals occur in the same division of the lowest transition strata with the earliest remains of vegetables, so that the evidence of organic remains, as far as it goes, shows the origin of plants and animals to have been contemporaneous: if any creation of vegetables preceded that of animals, no evidence of such an event has yet been discovered by the researches of geology. Still there is, I believe, by no sound critical or theological objection to the interpretation of the word day' as meaning a long period.' Archdeacon Pratt also summarily rejects this view as untenable:

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    The question of the meaning of the word bara,'create,'has been previously touched upon;it has been acknowledged by good critics that it doesn't of itself necessarily imply 'to make out of nothing upon the simple ground that it is found [to be]uesd in cases where such a meaning would be inapplicable . But the difficultly of giving to it the interpretation contended for by Dr Buckland and of uniting with this the assumption of a six days' creation, such as that described in Genesis, at a comparatively recent period, lies in this,that the heaven itself is distinctly said to have been formed by the division of the waters on the second day. Consequently , until. The first Mosaic day of creation, there was no sky, no local habitation for the sun,moon and stars, even supposing those bodies to have been included in the original material. Dr Buckland doesn't touch this obvious difficulty, without which his argument that the sun and moon might have been contemplated as pre-existing , although they aren't stated to have been set in the heaven until the forth day, is of no value at all.

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    The task which sundry modern writers have imposed upon themselves is to prove, that the Mosaic narrative, however apparently at variance with our knowledge, is essentially, and in fact true, although never understood properly until modern science supplied the necessary commentary and explanation. Two modes of conciliation have been propounded which have enjoyed considerable popularity, and to these two we shall confine our attention. The first is that originally brought into vogue by Chalmers and adopted by the late Dr. Buckland in his Bridgewater Treatise, and which is probably still received by many as a sufficient solution of all difficulties. Dr. Buckland's treatment of the case may be taken as a fair specimen of the line of argument adopted, and it shall be given in his own words.

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    The word beginning,' he says, as applied by Moses in the first verse of the book of Genesis, expresses an undefined period of time which was antecedent to the last great change that affected the surface of the earth, and to the creation of its present animal and vegetable inhabitants, during which period a long series of operations may have been going on; which as they are wholly unconnected with the history of the human race, are passed over in silence by the sacred historian, whose only concern was barely to state, that the matter of the universe is not eternal and self-existent, but was originally created by the power of the Almighty.' The Mosaic narrative commences with a declaration that in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.' These few first words of Genesis may be fairly appealed to by the geologist as containing a brief statement of the creation of the material elements, at a time distinctly preceding the operations of the first day; it is nowhere affirmed that God created the heaven and the earth in the first day, but in the beginning; this beginning may have been an epoch at an unmeasured distance, followed by periods of undefined duration during which all the physical operations disclosed by geology were going on.' The first verse of Genesis, therefore, seems explicitly to assert the creation of the universe; the heaven, including the sidereal systems; and the earth, especially specifying our own planet, as the subsequent scene of the operations of the six days about to be described; no information is given as to events which may have occurred upon this earth, unconnected with the history of man, between the creation of its component matter recorded in the first verse, and the era at which its history is resumed in the second verse: nor is any limit fixed to the time during which these intermediate events may have been going on: millions of millions of years may have occupied the indefinite interval, between the beginning in which God created the heaven and the earth, and the evening or commencement of the first day of the Mosaic narrative.'

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    It is obvious, then, to start with, that by Mind we may mean two very different things, according as we contemplate it in our own individual selves, or as manifested by other beings. For if I contemplate my own mind, I have an imme diate cognizance of a certain flow of thoughts and feelings, which are the most ultimate things — and, indeed, the only things— of which I am cognizant. But if I contemplate Mind in other persons or organisms, I can have no such immediate cognizance of their thoughts and feelings ; I can only infer the existence of such thoughts and feelings from the activities of the persons or organisms which appear to manifest them. Thus it is that by Mind we may mean either that which is subjective or that which is objective. Now throughout the present work we shall have to consider Mind as an object ; and therefore it is well to remember that our only instrument of analysis is the observation of activities which we infer to be prompted by, or associated with, mental antecedents or accompaniments analogous to those of which we are directly conscious in our own subjective experience. That is to say, starting from what I know subjectively of the operations of my own individual mind, and of the activi ties which in my own organism these operations seem to prompt, I proceed by analogy to infer from the observable activities displayed by other organisms, the fact that certain mental operations underlie or accompany these activities.

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    The diffculties and disputes which attended the first revival of science have recurred in the present century in consequence of the growth of geology. It is in truth only the old question over again-precisely the same point of theology which is involved, although the difficulties which present themselves are fresh. The school books of the present day, while they teach the child that the earth moves, yet [they] assure him that it is a little less than six thousand years old and that it was made in six days. On the other hand, geologists of all religious creeds are agreed that the earth has existed for an immense series of years-to be [to be=it should be] counted by millions rather than by thousands:and that indubitably more than six days elapsed from its first creation to the appearance of man upon its surface. By this broad discrepancy between old and doctrine is the modern mind startled, as were the men of the sixteenth century [startled] when [they were] told that the earth moved.

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    Mental Evolution in Animals(1883). In the family of the sciences Comparative Psychology may claim nearest kinship with Comparative Anatomy; for just as the latter aims at a scientific comparison of the bodily structures of organisms, so the former aims at a similar com parison of their mental structures. Moreover, in the one science as in the other, the first object is to analyze all the complex structures with which each has respectively to deal. When this analysis, or dissection, has been completed for as great a number of cases as circumstances permit, the next object is to compare with one another all the structures which have been thus analyzed; and, lastly, the results of such comparison supply, in each case alike, the basis for the final object of these sciences, which is that of classifying, with reference to these results, all the structures which have been thus examined.

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    It should be borne in mind,' says Dr. Buckland, that the object of the account was, not to state in what manner, but by whom the world was made.' Every one must see that this is an unfounded assertion, inasmuch as the greater part of the narrative consists in a minute and orderly description of the manner in which things were made. We can know nothing as to the object of the account, except from the account itself. What the writer meant to state is just that which he has stated, for all that we can know to the contrary. Or can we seriously beleive that if appealed to by one of his Hebrew hearers or readers as to his intention, he would have replied, My only object in what I have written is to inform you that God made the world; as to the manner of His doing it, of which I have given so exact an account, I have no intention that my words should be taken in their literal meaning? We come then to this, that if we sift the Mosaic narrative of all definite meaning, and only allow it to be the expression of the most vague generalities, if we avow that it admits of no certain interpretation, of none that may not be shifted and altered as often as we see fit, and as the exigencies of geology may require, then may we reconcile it with what science teaches. This mode of dealing with the subject has been broadly advocated by a recent writer of mathematical eminence, who adopts the Bucklandian hypothesis, a passage from whose work we shall quote.

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    I have traced them upwards from the raised beaches and old coast lines of the human period, to the brick clays, Clyde beds, and drift and boulder deposits of the Pleistocene era; and again from them, with the help of museums and collections, up through the mammaliferous crag of England to its red and coral crags; and the conclusion at which I have been compelled to arrive is, that for many long ages ere man was ushered into being, not a few of his humbler contemporaries of the fields and woods enjoyed life in their present haunts, and that for thousands of years anterior to even their appearance, many of the existing molluscs lived in our seas. That day during which the present creation came into being, and in which God, when he had made the beast of the earth after his kind, and the cattle after their kind,' at length terminated the work by moulding a creature in His own image, to whom He gave dominion over them all, was not a brief period of a few hours' duration, but extended over, mayhap, millenniums of centuries. No blank chaotic gap of death and darkness separated the creation to which man belongs from that of the old extinct elephant, hippopotamus, and hyæna; for familiar animals, such as the red deer, the roe, the fox, the wild cat, and the badger, lived throughout the period which connected their time with our own; and so I have been compelled to hold that the days of creation were not natural but prophetic days, and stretched far back into the bygone eternity.'

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    We may fairly ask,' he argues, of those persons who consider physical science a fit subject for revelation, what point they can imagine short of a communication of Omniscience at which such a revelation might have stopped without imperfections of omission, less in degree, but similar in kind, to that which they impute to the existing narrative of Moses? A revelation of so much only of astronomy as was known to Copernicus would have seemed imperfect after the discoveries of Newton; and a revelation of the science of Newton would have appeared defective to La Place: a revelation of all the chemical knowledge of the eighteenth century would have been as deficient in comparison with the information of the present day, as what is now known in this science will probably appear before the termination of another age; in the whole circle of sciences there is not one to which this argument may not be extended, until we should require from revelation a full development of all the mysterious agencies that uphold the mechanism of the material world.' Buckland's question is quite inapplicable to the real difficulty, which is, not that circumstantial details are omitted -- that might reasonably be expected -- but that what is told, is told so as to convey to ordinary apprehensions an impression at variance with facts. We are indeed told that certain writers of antiquity had already anticipated the hypothesis of the geologist, and two of the Christian fathers, Augustine and Episcopius, are referred to as having actually held that a wide interval elapsed between the first act of creation, mentioned in the Mosaic account, and the commencement of the six days' work. If, however, they arrived at such a conclusion, it was simply because, like the modern geologist, they had theories of their own to support, which led them to make somewhat similar hypotheses.