Uniformitarianism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In the philosophy of naturalism, uniformitarianism assumes that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe. It is frequently summarized as "the present is the key to the past," because it holds that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the world.

Modern uniformitarianism was formulated by Scottish naturalists in the late 18th century, starting with the work of the geologist James Hutton, which was refined by John Playfair and popularised by Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology in 1830. The term uniformitarianism was coined by William Whewell, who also coined the term catastrophism for the idea that the Earth was shaped by a series of sudden, short-lived, violent events.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Uniformitarianism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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