The Evolution Handbook pages 665 to 719
"This is the great underlying principle of modern geology and is known as the principle of uniformitarianism . . Without the principle of uniformitarianism there could hardly be a science of geology that was more than pure description."—*W.D. Thornbury, Principles of Geomorphology (1957), pp. 16-17.
"Uniformitarianists find it particularly difficult to apply their principle, namely: (1) the cause of mountain-building; (2) the origin of geosynclines; (3) the origin of petroleum; (4) the cause of continual glaciation; (5) the mechanics of overthrusting; (6) the cause of peneplains; (7) the cause of world-wide warm climates; (8) the nature of volcanism producing vast volcanic terrains; (9) the nature of continental uplift processes; (10) the origin of mineral deposits; (11) the nature of metamorphism; (12) the origin of saline deposits; (13) the nature of granitization; and (14) the origin of coal measures. Not one of the above phenomena has yet been adequately explained in terms of present processes."—H.R. Siegler, Evolution or Degeneration—Which? (1972).
"[*Bretz] has been unable to account for such a flood but maintained that field evidence indicated its reality. This theory represents a return to catastrophism which many geologists have been reluctant to accept."—*W.D. Thornbury, Principles of Geomorphology (1954), p. 401.
"In fact, the catastrophists were much more empirically minded than Lyell [who first widely championed uniformitarianism over a century ago]. The geologic record does seem to require catastrophism: rocks are fractured and contorted; whole faunas are wiped out. To circumvent this literal appearance, Lyell imposed his imagination upon the evidence. The geologic record, he argued, is extremely imperfect and we must interpolate into it what we can reasonably infer but cannot see. The catastrophists were [in contrast] the hard-nosed empiricists of their day."—*Stephan Jay Gould, "Catastrophes and Steady State Earth," in Natural History, February 1975, p. 17. [Gould is a professor at Harvard University, teaching geology, biology, and the history of science.]
"Conventional uniformitarianism, or ‘gradualism,’ i.e., the doctrine of unchanging change, is verily contradicted by all post-Cambrian sedimentary data and the geotectonic [earth movement] histories of which these sediments are the record."—*P.D. Krynine, "Uniformitarianism is a Dangerous Doctrine," in Paleontology, 1956, p. 1004.
"Often, I am afraid the subject [of geology] is taught superficially, with Geikie’s maxim ‘the present is the key to the past’ used as a catechism and the imposing term ‘uniformitarianism’ as a smokescreen to hide confusion both of student and teacher."—*Stephen Jay Gould, "Is Uniformitarianism Useful?" in Journal of Geological Education, October 1957, p. 150.
"About three-fourths, perhaps more, of the land area of the earth, 55 million square miles [142 million km2], has sedimentary rock as the bedrock at the surface or directly under the cover of the mantle-rock . . The thickness of the stratified rocks range from a few feet to 40,000 feet [121,920 dm] or more at any one place . . The vast bulk of the stratified rocks is composed of shallow-water deposits."—*O.D. von Engeln and *K.E. Caster, Geology (1952), p. 129.
"To become fossilized a plant or animal must usually have hard parts, such as bone, shell or wood. It must be buried quickly to prevent decay and must be undisturbed throughout the process."—*F.H.T. Rhodes, H.S. Zim, and *P.R. Shaffer, Fossils (1962), p. 10.