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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.There were various attempts to estimate the Earth's age, working back from sedimentation rates and other geophysical phenomena.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.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.

By the early 1800's it was generally accepted that the Earth had a long history. The uniformatarians (Hutton 1788, Lyell 1830) pictured the Earth as being indefinitely old.The catastrophists (Cuvier 1812, de Beaumont 1852, Buckland 1836) accepted that the Earth was old; they disagreed with the kind of change and the rate of change that had occurred over that long history.There was no single estimate of the Earth's age in the mid 1800's and no good way to arrive at one.The account in Genesis is replete with miracles that do not stand up under rational analysis.This did not matter; the theological perspective did not require physical rationalization.Ussher accepted the Biblical account at face value, relying on the Biblical genealogies and on extant historical records.

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