Deep Time

Charles_Darwin-from-wcA new understanding of time, what some now call ‘deep time‘, threatened religious ideas of the age of the earth and eventually lead to evolution and Darwin (pictured–‘if I really have as bad an expression, as my photograph gives me, how I can have one single friend is surprising’), though ‘concepts similar to geologic time were recognized in the 11th century by the Persian geologist and polymath Avicenna and the chinese naturalist and polymath Shen Kuo‘. The host, Michael Mosley, paraphrased John McPhee, who illustrated the concept of deep time in his 1981 book, Basin And Range, with this metaphor: ‘Consider the earth’s history as the old measure of the English yard, the distance from the King’s nose to the tip of his outstretched hand. One stroke of a nail file on his middle finger erases human history.’ Our understanding of time continues to evolve, even by the church: Thomas_Berry-by-caroline-webb‘The spiritual implications of the concept of deep time have been explored by Roman Catholic theologian Thomas Berry [pictured]. He proposed that a deep understanding of the history and functioning of the evolving universe is a necessary inspiration and guide for our own effective functioning as individuals and as a species.’

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