Theory of the earth; or an investigation of the laws observable in the composition, dissolution and restoration of land upon the globe. (From. the Trans., Roy. soc. of Edinb.).

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Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1788 - Cosmogony - 304 pages

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Page 8 - If no such reproductive power, or reforming operation, after due inquiry, is to be found in the constitution of this world, we should have reason to conclude, that the system of this earth has either been intentionally made imperfect, or has not been the work of infinite power and wisdom.
Page 8 - The globe of this earth is evidently made for man. He alone, of all the beings which have life upon this body, enjoys the whole and every part; he alone is capable of knowing the nature of this world, which he thus possesses in virtue of his proper right; and he alone can make the knowledge of this system a source of pleasure, and the means of happiness.
Page 96 - But if the succession of worlds is established in the system of nature, it is in vain to look for any thing higher in the origin of the earth. The result, therefore, of our present enquiry is, that we find no vestige of a beginning, — no prospect of an end.107 "No vestige of a beginning — no prospect of an end," is one of the most often quoted phrases in geological writings.
Page 58 - ... vertical; from continuous, they are broken and separated in every possible direction; and, from a plane, they are bent and doubled. It is impossible that they could have originally been formed, by the known laws of nature, in their present state and position; and the power that has been necessarily required for their change, has not been inferior to that which might have been required for their elevation from the place in which they had been formed.
Page 9 - IN examining things present, we have data from which to reason with regard to what has been; and, from what has actually been, we have data for concluding with regard to that which is to happen hereafter. Therefore, upon the supposition that the operations of nature are equable and steady, we find, in natural appearances, means for concluding a certain portion of time to have necessarily elapsed, in the production of those events of which we see the effects.
Page 93 - ... the coasts of the present continents are wasted by the sea, and constantly wearing away upon the whole; but this operation is so extremely slow, that we cannot find a measure of the quantity in order to form an estimate. Therefore, the present continents of the earth, which we consider as in a state of perfection, would, in the natural operations of the globe, require a time indefinite for their destruction.
Page 7 - We have now considered the globe of this earth as a machine, constructed upon chemical as well as mechanical principles, by which its different parts are all adapted, in form, in quality, and in quantity, to a certain end ; an end attained with certainty or success ; and an end from which we may perceive wisdom, in contemplating the means employed.
Page 8 - This is the view in which we are now to examine the globe; to see if there be, in the constitution of this world, a reproductive operation, by which a ruined constitution may be again repaired, and a duration or stability thus procured to the machine, considered as a world sustaining plants and animals.
Page 7 - ... mountains; and those travelling materials are still pursued by the moving water, and propelled along the inclined surface of the earth. These moveable materials, delivered into the sea, cannot, for a long continuance, rest upon the shore; for, by the agitation of the winds, the tides and currents, every moveable thing is carried farther and farther along the shelving bottom of the sea, towards the unfathomable regions of the ocean.
Page 9 - The Mosaic history places this beginning of man at no great distance; and there has not been found, in natural history, any document by which a high antiquity might be attributed to the human race.

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