Deep time

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Deep time is the category of supposedly tremendous time spans that encompass the ages of the Earth and the Universe according to evolutionists and uniformitarians, especially in geology and astronomy but also in evolutionary biology.

History of the concept

The first use of the concept of deep time, if not the name, appears in 11th century Chinese science.[1] In Western science, James Hutton is credited with introducing the concept, and Sir Charles Lyell, the inventor of geological uniformitarianism, with popularizing it. However, some authorities credit the Greek historian Herodotus with the first Western understanding of deep time; if this is true, then it predates the Chinese understanding by at least thirteen or fourteen centuries.[2]

Implications of the concept

"Deep time" is analogous to the concept of "deep space" in astronomy, i.e. the concept of stars lying vast and incomprehensible distances from our solar system.[3] Its implications, for origins science and for education, are profound. Deep time directly defies the declaration in and by the Bible that the Earth is young.[4] Those uniformitarians most involved in science education realize this, and have developed specific techniques for science teachers to use to persuade young Earth creationists to abandon their beliefs. Most of these techniques repose absolute confidence in the correctness of uniformitarian models and dating systems based thereon. For example, an instructor suggests that a student "work out the age" of a nearby landmark for himself, "to see how science works."[5]

Deep time is a necessary concept of naturalism, and of the redefinition of science to embrace naturalism and reject anything except naturalism.


  1. Sivin, Nathan. Science in Ancient China: Researches and Reflections. Brookfield, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing Co., 1995.
  2. Palmer, A. R., and Zen, E-an. "The Context of Humanity: Understanding Deep Time." Boulder Area Sustainability Information Network. Accessed March 12, 2008.
  3. "Evolution: Change: Deep Time." Public Broadcasting System (United States). Accessed March 12, 2008.
  4. "Wenner, Jennifer M. Deep Time - the geologic time scale." Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota. Accessed March 12, 2008.
  5. Teed, Rebecca. "Addressing Creationism." Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota. Accessed March 12, 2008.