RE: John Murray 1840 young earther

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 23:11:55 EST

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    Hi Michael

    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: Michael Roberts []
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2002 11:43 PM
    >To: Glenn Morton; Asa@Calvin. Edu
    >Subject: Re: John Murray 1840 young earther

    >Winchester is one of the worst and I enclose what I wrote in a
    >review of The
    >Map that changed the World.;
    > "Secondly, Winchester has a totally inaccurate understanding of
    >the British
    >churches in relation to the rise of geology and simply repeats, with
    >exaggerations, the old myths that there was a mighty war of Genesis and
    >geology in the early 19th Century. He refers to the "church"
    >negatively some
    >thirty times and it gets tedious.
    I know I am on shaky ground challenging you on historical issues, but the
    books I am reading, even those published in the UK were often typical YEC or
    old-earth/global flood. Granville Penn was British and a YEC whose last work
    known to me was in 1840 arguing for a young earth. He is probably the grand
    daddy of all YECs having published an 1825 work "A Comparative Estimate Of
    The Mineral and Mosaical Geologies" (which I finally found and hope to have
    delivered to me next week) Alexander Strachan published in 1852 and held to
    a young-earth position. John Murray, 1840 and you know his beliefs. George
    Young, Andrew Ure, and those mentioned by Hitchcock:

            “Hence English literature has been prolific of such works as ‘A Comparative
    Estimate of the Mineral and Mosaic Geologies,’ By Granville Penn; the
    ‘Geology of Scripture,’ by Fairholme; ‘Scriptural Geology,’ by Dr. Young;
    ‘Popular Geology subversive of Divine Revelation’ by Rev. Henry Cole;
    ‘Strictures on Geology and Astronomy,’ by Rev. R. Wilson; ‘Scripture
    Evidences of Creation, and Geology, and Scripture Cosmogony,’ by anonymous
    authors; and many other similar productions that might be named.” Edward
    Hitchcock, The Religion of Geology and its Connected Sciences, (Boston:
    Phillips, Sampson, and Co. 1857), p. 18

    Then there was the guy who is quoted in Hugh Miller's Footprints of the
    Creator (Hugh Miller was the writer of the Rambles):

    "SIR—I occasionally observe articles in your neighbour and
    contemporary the 'Witness,' characteristically headed
    'Rambles of a Geologist', wherein the writer with great zeal
    once more 'slays the slain' heresies of the 'vestiges of
    Creation.' This writer (of the 'Rambles,' I mean)
    nevertheless, and at the same time, announces his own tenets
    to be much of the same sort, as applied to mere dead matter,
    that those of the 'Vestiges' are with regard to living
    organisms. He maintains that the world during the last
    million of years, has been of itself rising or developing
    without the interposition of a miracle, from chaos into its
    present stat; and, of course, as it is still, as a world,
    confessedly far below the acme of physical perfection, that
    it must be just now on its passage, self-progressing,
    towards that point, which terminus it may reach in another
    million of years hence.[!!!] The author of the 'Vestiges,'
    as quoted by the author of the 'Rambles,' in the last number
    of the 'Witness,' complains that the latter and his allies
    ware not at all so liberal to him as from their present
    circumstances and position, he had a right to expect. He
    9the author of the 'Vestiges') reminds his opponents that
    they themselves only lately emerged from the antiquated
    scriptural notions that our world was the direct and almost
    immediate construction of the Creator, --as much so, in
    fact, as any of its organized tenants,--and that it was then
    created in a state of physical excellence the highest
    possible, to render it a suitable habitation for those
    tenants, and all this only about six or seven thousand years
    ago, --to the new light of their present physico-Lamarckian
    views. And he asks, and certainly not without reason, why
    should these men, so circumstanced be so anxious to stop him
    in his attempt to move one step farther forward in the very
    direction they themselves have made the last move?—that is,
    in his endeavour to extend their own principles of self-
    development from mere matter to living creatures. Now, Sir,
    I confess myself to be one of those (and possibly you may
    have ore readers similarly constituted) who not only cannot
    see any great difference between merely physical and organic
    development[!!], but who would be inclined to allow the
    latter, absurd as it is, the advantage in point of
    likelihood[!!!]. The author of the 'Rambles,' however, in
    the face of this, assures us that his views of physical
    self-development and long chronology belong to the inductive
    sciences. Now, I could at this stage of his rambles have
    wished very much that, instead of merely saying so, he had
    given his demonstration. Most that those men have written on
    the question at issue I have seen, not fully made up their
    mind on the point.[!!!] Perhaps the author of the 'Rambles'
    could favour us with the inductive process that converted
    himself; and, as the attainment of truth, and not victory,
    is my object, I promise either to acquiesce in or rationally
    refute it[?] Till then, I hold to my antiquated tenets, that
    our world, nay, the whole material universe, was created
    about six or seven thousand years ago, and that in a state
    of physical excellence of which we have in our present
    fallen world only the 'vestiges of creation.' I conclude by
    mentioning that this view I have held now for nearly thirty
    years, and, amidst all the vicissitudes of the philosophical
    world during that period, I have never seen cause to change
    it. Of course, with this view I was, during the interval
    referred to, a constant opponent of the once famous, though
    now exploded, nebular hypothesis of La Place; and I yet
    expect to see physical development and long chronology
    wither also on this earth, now that THEIR ROOT (the said
    hypothesis) has been eradicated from the sky.[!!!]—I am,
    Sir, your most obedient servant.

    *It now appears that, though this letter was inserted in the
    'Scottish Press,' the organ of the United Presbyterians, its
    writer is a Free Churchman. He has since published a good
    many other anti-geological letters, chiefly remarkable for
    their facts, to which, with a self-immolating zeal worthy of
    a better cause, he has attached his name."

    Hugh Miller, Footprints of the Creator, (Edinburgh: William
    P. Nimmo, 1869), p. 256-257
    originally published in 1850

    So, with trepidation, I will respectfully disagree that the Churches in
    England were entirely free of the stuff that Winchester repetitiously

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