Down to Earth: An Introduction to Geology

Down to Earth: An Introduction to Geology

Down to Earth: An Introduction to Geology

Down to Earth: An Introduction to Geology

Excerpt

Explain a thing till all men doubt it.

--POPE

Thanks, the exchequer of the poor.

--SHAKESPEARE

SAMUEL JOHNSON once said that "no man ever read a book of science from pure inclination." This unguarded statement was of course made long before the flare for popular science made "best sellers" possible in the fields of chemistry, physics, astronomy, biology, and geography. But what about geology? Since the turn of the century there have been many excellent textbooks issued on the subject, and a few outstanding popular accounts also have appeared. Yet none of these works had a very large circulation when contrasted with the many editions run through by Hugh Miller's general works on geological subjects and by Sir Charles Lyell Principles, published about a century ago. Moreover, even during the past generation physcal geology (usually called "physiography") has declined from one of the most popular of the high-school sciences to a position of little consequence in the curriculum of the secondary schools.

To us these are situations which seem paradoxical in the extreme. We find it just a little hard to understand man's intelligent and commendable interest in Arcturus, and the time it takes light to come from that distant star, when he seems so abysmally ignorant of many facts concerning the planet from whose vantage point he . . .

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