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The great debate was won by the uniformitarians, so much so that the degree of gradualism was overstated and the importance of catastrophes was unduly minimized.

The modern period has been marked by an enormous expansion of the detailed knowledge of the geological history of the Earth and the processes that have acted during that history.

Descartes, however, attempted to discern a physical history of the Earth.

His account was plausible by the immature standards of the Science of his times; however it quite definitely did not match the Biblical account of a completed creation in six days.

He would have answered that the Earth was ancient, that there had not been a Noachian flood, and that the species of life had not been fixed over the history of Earth.

The attempts produced estimates from about 100 million years up to several billion years. The first is that the geological history was still being reconstructed.If, in the year AD 1600, you had asked an educated European how old the planet Earth was and to recount its history he would have said that it was about 6000 years old and that its ancient history was given by the biblical account in Genesis.If you asked the same question of an educated European in AD 1900 you would have received a quite different answer.Ussher accepted the Biblical account at face value, relying on the Biblical genealogies and on extant historical records.He implicitly assumed that the world was created much as it is now.

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