Controversy in Victorian Geology: The Cambrian-Silurian Dispute

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"This book aims at serious goals and achieves all of them. It provides a fundamentally new interpretation of the Cambrian-Silurian dispute based on exacting research and thoughtful interpretation. It also relates the dispute both to the general social background of British geology and to the distinctive personal experiences of Sedgwick and Murchison. Secord writes clear, vigorous prose and provides plenty of helpful illustrations. One cannot ask for more." --William Montgomery, Science"Secord gives a dazzlingly detailed account of this scientific ...
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Overview

"This book aims at serious goals and achieves all of them. It provides a fundamentally new interpretation of the Cambrian-Silurian dispute based on exacting research and thoughtful interpretation. It also relates the dispute both to the general social background of British geology and to the distinctive personal experiences of Sedgwick and Murchison. Secord writes clear, vigorous prose and provides plenty of helpful illustrations. One cannot ask for more." --William Montgomery, Science"Secord gives a dazzlingly detailed account of this scientific trench warfare and its social consequences. One ends up with a marvellous feeling for the major taxonomic enterprises in Darwin's younger day: mapping, ordering, conquering--`taming the "chaos" of the strata.' All of these of course had social and imperial ramifications; and Secord mentions geology's moral appeal (in supporting a divinely-stratified Creation) to a beleaguered lite intent on subduing the lower orders."--Adrian Desmond, London Review of Books
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Believing that the history of science is bound up with the ``general social history'' of the times, Secord has come up with a fascinating glimpse of a classic dispute between two schools of thought as well as between two men. Although geology students of today probably do not know about the Cambrian-Silurian argument, it stood out as major fracas in British scientific circles in the early years of the last century. Using a mass of letters and other original documents, Secord has neatly set up the backgrounds of the combatants, Roderick Murchison and Adam Sedgwick, and traced their ideas over time. An excellent selection for libraries serving science historians, geologists, and informed lay readers. R.G. Schipf, Univ. of Montana Lib., Missoula
From the Publisher
"This book aims at serious goals and achieves all of them. It provides a fundamentally new interpretation of the Cambrian-Silurian dispute based on exacting research and thoughtful interpretation. It also relates the dispute both to the general social background of British geology and to the distinctive personal experiences of Sedgwick and Murchison. Secord writes clear, vigorous prose and provides plenty of helpful illustrations. One cannot ask for more."—William Montgomery, Science

"Secord gives a dazzlingly detailed account of this scientific trench warfare and its social consequences. One ends up with a marvellous feeling for the major taxonomic enterprises in Darwin's younger day: mapping, ordering, conquering—'taming the "chaos" of the strata.' All of these of course had social and imperial ramifications; and Secord mentions geology's moral appeal (in supporting a divinely-stratified Creation) to a beleaguered lite intent on subduing the lower orders."—Adrian Desmond, London Review of Books

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691024417
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/25/1990
  • Pages: 301
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.88 (d)

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