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The second is that the rates of the physical processes in question are variable and knowledge of them was incomplete.In the late 1800's physicists, armed with a more advanced physics than that available to Descartes, made new estimates of the age of the Earth and the Sun.
I have chosen instead to provide a chronology of significant works and their authors with a view to providing a sense of how perspectives on Geology changed over time.
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.
It was not ruled out, per se, but it was not necessary. In the new science, however, rational explanation was desirable. In 1640 Ussher produced his famous calculation that the Earth was created in 4004 BC.
In 1637 Descartes produced a cosmogony that was highly influential for more than a century. It was not in their estimates of the age of the Earth - Descartes retained the biblical date.The story of this great change in the conception of the history of Earth is not a simple one.The chronicle of this great change can be broken into five periods; ran from AD 1600-1700.In the 1700's belief in a 6000 year old Earth crumbled.Attempts to calculate the age of the Earth from physical considerations yielded estimates that ranged from 75,000 years (Buffon, 1774) to several billion years (de Maillet, Buffon).There were various attempts to estimate the Earth's age, working back from sedimentation rates and other geophysical phenomena.