James Hutton quotes

  • The past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now. No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted except those of which we know the principle.
    -- James Hutton

    #Past #Principles #Action

  • [It] is the little causes, long continued, which are considered as bringing about the greatest changes of the earth.
    -- James Hutton

    #Long #Earth #Littles

  • The result, therefore, of this physical enquiry is that we find no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.
    -- James Hutton

    #Enquiry #Ends #Results

  • If an organised body is not in the situation and circumstances best adapted to its sustenance and propagation, then, in conceiving an indefinite variety among the individuals of that species, we must be assured, that, on the one hand, those which depart most from the best adapted constitution, will be most liable to perish, while, on the other hand, those organised bodies, which most approach to the best constitution for the present circumstances, will be best adapted to continue, in preserving themselves and multiplying the individuals of their race.
    -- James Hutton

    #Race #Hands #Body

  • There is no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.
    -- James Hutton

    #Inspirational #Life #Inspirational Life

  • To a naturalist nothing is indifferent; the humble moss that creeps upon the stone is equally interesting as the lofty pine which so beautifully adorns the valley or the mountain: but to a naturalist who is reading in the face of the rocks the annals of a former world, the mossy covering which obstructs his view, and renders indistinguishable the different species of stone, is no less than a serious subject of regret.
    -- James Hutton

    #Regret #Reading #Humble

  • Man is made for science; he reasons from effects to causes, and from causes to effects; but he does not always reason without error. In reasoning, therefore, from appearances which are particular, care must be taken how we generalize; we should be cautious not to attribute to nature, laws which may perhaps be only of our own invention.
    -- James Hutton

    #Taken #Science #Men

  • In matters of science, curiosity gratified begets not indolence, but new desires.
    -- James Hutton

    #Science #Curiosity #Desire

  • When we trace the part of which this terrestrial system is composed, and when we view the general connection of those several parts, the whole presents a machine of a peculiar construction by which it is adapted to a certain end. We perceive a fabric, erected in wisdom, to obtain a purpose worthy of the power that is apparent in the production of it.
    -- James Hutton

    #Views #Machines #Fabric

  • We are not to suppose, that there is any violent exertion of power, such as is required in order to produce a great event in little time; in nature, we find no deficiency in respect of time, nor any limitation with regard to power. But time is not made to flow in vain; nor does there ever appear the exertion of superfluous power, or the manifestation of design, not calculated in wisdom to effect some general end.
    -- James Hutton

    #Order #Design #Littles

  • A rock or stone is not a subject that, of itself, may interest a philosopher to study; but, when he comes to see the necessity of those hard bodies, in the constitution of this earth, or for the permanency of the land on which we dwell, and when he finds that there are means wisely provided for the renovation of this necessary decaying part, as well as that of every other, he then, with pleasure, contemplates this manifestation of design, and thus connects the mineral system of this earth with that by which the heavenly bodies are made to move perpetually in their orbits.
    -- James Hutton

    #Moving #Mean #Land

  • Time, which measures everything in our idea, and is often deficient to our schemes, is to nature endless and as nothing; it cannot limit that by which alone it had existence; and as the natural course of time, which to us seems infinite, cannot be bounded by any operation that may have an end, the progress of things upon this globe, that is, the course of nature, cannot be limited by time, which must proceed in a continual succession.
    -- James Hutton

    #Ideas #Progress #Limits

  • Error, never can be consistent, nor can truth fail of having support from the accurate examination of every circumstance.
    -- James Hutton

    #Errors #Support #Examination

  • As there is not in human observation proper means for measuring the waste of land upon the globe, it is hence inferred, that we cannot estimate the duration of what we see at present, nor calculate the period at which it had begun; so that, with respect to human observation, this world has neither a beginning nor an end.
    -- James Hutton

    #Mean #Land #Waste