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3 Scoffers Whose Books Changed the World

1. James Hutton


Scottish geologist, chemist, and naturalist. He was initially attracted to chemistry; he entered the legal profession at the Univ. of Edinburgh; turned to medicine, as it closely resembled chemistry; and then became a farmer to allow him to study rocks and be able to pursue his interests in geology.

Hutton was the first to propose the theory of uniformitarianism (or the unity of causes) to oppose the theory of catastrophism (a great flood).  He concluded that the earth's history can be explained by observing the geological forces presently at work, because these forces are identical to the ones that operated in the past.  He was a God hater.

Hutton’s book Theory of the Earth, published in 1795, took away the 6000-year-old earth and gave us “millions of years”.

2. Sir Charles Lyell – Scottish Lawyer


Lyell graduated from law school, practiced law for two years, then read Hutton’s book, quit his law practice, then went out and started studying the rock layers and fossils.  Today he is called: “the father of Geology.”

Sir Charles Lyell’s three volume book, “Principles of Geology” published in 1830, has been called the most important book ever.  It was important because his ideas on how the earth had been formed were completely opposite to the prevailing beliefs.

Previously, it was believed that the sedimentary rock strata seen were a result of cataclysms like Noah’s flood.  However, Sir Charles Lyell believed that cataclysms were not responsible for forming the appearance of the earth’s crust, but very slow processes like we see happening today.

He coined the cliché that “the present is the key to the past,” which has been the motto of uniformitarianism science.  Lyell said his goal was to “free the science from Moses.”  Life Letters and Journals’, published by John Murray 1881.  Lyell was a God hater.

3. Charles Darwin


Charles Darwin graduated from Bible college.  The British government was sponsoring a 5-year voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle.  They wanted to go around African and South America, etc. in order to make better maps.  Darwin left on this voyage and took with him two books: his Bible, and the first volume of Lyell’s book, Principles of Geology.

“Disbelief crept over me on a very slow rate, but at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress.”  Letter to Russell Wallace in 1868 published in World’s Greatest Letters.  Darwin became a God hater, and of Christianity in particular.  He became a racist because of his evolutionary beliefs.


Darwin’s book Origin of Species published in 1859, took away the Creator and gave us: “all life comes from a common ancestor.”

Three books that took away:

1. The young earth

2. The great flood

3. The Creator God (no creator – no judgment)

Hutton, Lyell, and Darwin had basically two things in common:

1. They had little or no science training

2. They hated God and Christianity

They speculated: What if the earth isn’t young, and what if the rock layers and fossils weren’t formed by a great flood, and what if all of this formed slowly through natural processes with no divine intervention involved?  Their speculative hypotheses caught on, and today they have evolved into being taught as scientific fact.  Not bad for three men with almost no science training.  If you haven’t read their books, you should; I have.  I think it helped me to get a better understanding of how and why modern science got its origin.

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