What is uniformitarianism?



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    Uniformitarianism is a philosophy that:

    1)  assumes that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe. It is frequently summarized as “the present is the key to the past,” because it holds that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the world.  –Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniformitarianism_%28science%29

    2) states that physical forces working today to alter the earth were also in force and working in the same way in former times. —http://farahsouth.cgu.edu/dictionary/

    3) Belief that explanations for past events should be sought in ordinary forces that continue to work today. –http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0073405272/student_view0/chapter3/key_terms.html

    It basically means that the geologic processes that created mountains and rivers are still functioning today, and that since these things are still operating, we can use nature today as a clue to figure out the past.  It’s a contrast to the philosophy of “catastrophism,” which is the belief that geologic history was periods of tranquility without gradual change, punctuated by dramatic events that make our landscape the way it is today.

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