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Principles of geology Paperback – 1997


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Paperback, 1997
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Privately printed for the members of the Classics of Science Library by Quebecor Printing Kingsport; Special ed edition (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006QWCO0
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

In 1833, the Scottish geologist Charles Lyell published the final volume of his groundbreaking trilogy, which profoundly influenced Charles Darwin. With infectious enthusiasm, Lyell describes the composition of the Earth's crust, examines volcanic formations and marine fossils, and explains rock stratification, separating geological formations into three periods. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

SIR CHARLES LYELL (1797-1875), British geologist. Lyell is most famous for his great geological opus: The Principles of Geology: Being an Attempt to Explain the Former Changes of the Earth's Surface, by Reference to Causes now in Operation (3 vols 1830-33). Jim Secord is a lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge and is the author of Controversy in Victorian Geology (1986). --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

The first 130 pages are difficult to read .
Charles O'Ryan
And, at least as importantly as the extensive cataloging of evidence, Lyell did a wonderful job at articulating the reasoning behind a different kind of science.
Yothgoboufnir
The General Books LLC version is created by automated OCR scanning with abosolutely no editing in any form whatsover.
Kiwi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Bond on December 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
It was on reading Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle that I became aware of Charles Lyell. Darwin went to the trouble (in the 1830's) of having the volumes of Principles of Geology sent out to him in South America as they were published. Lyell's seminal importance was hammered home when Darwin in The Origin Of Species, could only advance his ideas thanks to Charles Lyell's insights.

In this volume we are treated to Lyell's razor-sharp intellect cutting through prevailing humbug to construct an amazingly accurate picture of the history of the earth's crust. Above all he challenged (with all due respect) religious orthodoxy of a Creation in recent times.

Lyell also takes up and successively demolishes many of the erroneous, flabby-thinking, and sometimes cranky theories put forward by various researchers in the field.

Lyell's argument for the immense antiquity of the earth is persuasive and provided the foundation for Darwin's argument for evolution, which required immense periods of time to work.

He points out how, as rocks get more ancient, so the proportion of extinct marine creatures increases. This was the second insight to inspire Darwin: that in the history of the earth, most species that have ever lived have become extinct. Lyell struggled with the notion that species could die off and others "be called into existence", yet he had the courage to follow his logic to the correct conclusion. He even said that: "In the universal struggle for existence, the right of the strongest eventually prevails...
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kiwi on July 22, 2010
A ridiculous price for a book created by automated OCR scanning. The General Books LLC version is created by automated OCR scanning with abosolutely no editing in any form whatsover. There may be numerous typos, there's no Table of Contents. What you're getting is a scanned in copy of the original. There are far far better versions (professionally edited I might add) available at a fraction of the cost. Don;t be fooled into buying the General Books LLC version, it's a ripoff (as are the 500,000 other "books" available from this publisher).

The version of the book yhou see when you "Look Inside" is from another publishers version.

The other reviews associated with this General Books LLC version are from other and better imprints of the book.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Yothgoboufnir on May 2, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lyell's contribution to science is most often reduced to a bullet point in a list titled "Influences on Darwin". In fact, Lyell stands as a bridge roughly halfway between Newton and Darwin. Call him, if you will, the missing link. But it seems a funny thing happens when you contribute to one of the greatest breakthroughs (evolution) in the history of thought: your work is only seen in relation to its intellectual cousin and, thus, much of the heart of your contribution is overlooked. This might even be expected, but what is a little more surprising is that even those Lyellian insights of major importance for Darwin never make it into the bullet point.

* Lyell 1830: deep time, gradualism, 'present key to past'

A variety of scientists, including Lyell's (and Darwin's) forerunner Hutton, were already discussing gradualist change over deep time spans, by the time Lyell came on the scene. Lyell presented more empirical evidence than his predecessors -- an unabridged copy of 'Principles' is a hefty package. You might never get through it unless you're stuck on a sailing ship for three years. And, at least as importantly as the extensive cataloging of evidence, Lyell did a wonderful job at articulating the reasoning behind a different kind of science. Much of the discourse on Earth history before Hutton and Lyell was basically either Biblical literalism or unrestrained fancy: both kinds of "cosmogony" worked with an understanding that prehistoric Earth operated on "principles" very different from those at work presently. In consequence, anything went in making up stories about the past. Lyell argued that, instead, scientists needed to restrict themselves to testable hypotheses.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ronald H. Clark VINE VOICE on August 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Penguin Classics has done it again with this excellent edition of Charles Lyell's (1797-1875) pathbreaking study on geology. Of course, this is a book far more significant than just being an early treatise on geology. Written in three volumes between 1830 and 1833, it is not only a prime example of the ferment of 19th century science, but had a major impact on Darwin while he was making the Beagle voyage. As Jamet Browne recounts in "Voyaging," the first volume of her magnificant biography of Darwin, after reading Vol. I, Darwin had his entire outlook on empirical observations modified by Lyell's approach. Fundamentally, Lyell argued that geologic observation should be based on the assumption that physical causes now visibly at work (such as rivers, tides, volcanoes and earthquakes) are the same as those that existed in the past, and in the past they had the same degree of intensity as in the present. Like most of the Classics series, this one has a very helpful introduction, here written by James A. Secord in 1997. Secord explains beautifully how Lyell's scientific approach presented problems to followers of a biblical interpretation of geology predicated upon the "Mosaic flood." Lyell wanted to avoid combustion resulting from his approach, and so emphasized the positive features and benevolent aspects of current life. Ironically, since Lyell is seen as so influential on Darwin, he secretly rejected evolutonary theories, because he was repulsed by the idea of a world where only the fittest survive through vile competition. In fact, much of the second volume is aimed at refuting Lamarck. As Secord explains, it was not until Darwin's "Origin" appeared in 1859, that he began to accept evolutonary theory.Read more ›
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