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George Chandlee
Science & Religion Bookstore
Michael Farrelly
Adam Liebling

Jack Repcheck

The Man who found Time

The age of the earth is a question that has been pondered upon since the earliest times, The first ideas came from religious texts, but in the eighteenth century people started to get an idea of the vast timescales involved in geological processes. 'The Man who found Time' tells the story of James Hutton, whose saw that geological formations implied slow laying down and erosion of rocks. He put a great deal of effort into promoting his ideas including writing a book, but this was difficult for the public to understand. Repcheck shows how his ideas might have died with him were it not for the work of John Playfair, who summarised Hutton's work in a more understandable form, thus saving it for a later re-emergence.

The book looks at the environment which influenced Hutton - the Scottish Enlightenment following the Jacobite Uprising - and the effect which his work had on future scientists, including Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin. This means that in a short book there isn't actually that much about the life of Hutton himself. If you are looking for a comprehensive biography of Hutton then you should look elsewhere, but if you are looking for a broader picture of the beginnings of geology then I can recommend this book. info
Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 073820692X
Salesrank: 140464
Published: 2003 Perseus Books Group
Amazon price $19.98
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Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 0743450876
Salesrank: 1246744
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 2004 Pocket Books
Marketplace:New from £28.67:Used from £0.01
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Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 073820692X
Salesrank: 703680
Weight:0.8 lbs
Published: 2003 Basic Books
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 32.90:Used from CDN$ 3.92
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Product Description
There are three men whose contributions helped free science from the straitjacket of theology. Two of the three-Nicolaus Copernicus and Charles Darwin-are widely known and heralded for their breakthroughs. The third, James Hutton, never received the same recognition, yet he profoundly changed our understanding of the earth and its dynamic forces. Hutton proved that the earth was likely millions of years old rather than the biblically determined six thousand, and that it was continuously being shaped and re-shaped by myriad everyday forces rather than one cataclysmic event. In this expertly crafted narrative, Jack Repcheck tells the remarkable story of this Scottish gentleman farmer and how his simple observations on his small tract of land led him to a theory that was in direct confrontation with the Bible and that also provided the scientific proof that would spark Darwin's theory of evolution. It is also the story of Scotland and the Scottish Enlightenment, which brought together some of the greatest thinkers of the age, from David Hume and Adam Smith to James Watt and Erasmus Darwin. Finally, it is a story about the power of the written word. Repcheck argues that Hutton's work was lost to history because he could not describe his findings in graceful and readable prose. (Unlike Darwin's Origin of the Species, Hutton's one and only book was impenetrable.) A marvelous narrative about a little-known man and the science he founded, The Man Who Found Time is also a parable about the power of books to shape the history of ideas.