God's most tremendous agencies may have been employed in the beginning of his works. If, for instance, it should be conceded that the granitic or balsaltic strata were once in a state of fusion, there is no reason why we should not call in the aid of supposition to produce a rapid refrigeration. We may surround the globe with an atmosphere (not as yet warmed by the rays of the newly kindled sun) more intensely cold than that of Saturn. The degree of cold may have been such as to cool down the liquid granite and basalt in a few hours, and render it congenial to animal and vegetable life; while the gelid air around the globe may have been mollified by the abstracted caloric. [Mellor Brown, Reflections on Geology (1838)]Marvellous. 'The gelid air around the globe may have been mollified by the abstracted caloric' is currently my favourite sentence.
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
The Rev J Mellor Brown
The Rev. J. Mellor Brown was a devout Victorian reconciler of Genesis and geology. There were a great many of these (P H Gosse being, perhaps, the most famous), and most of their theories were spectacularly silly. Mellor Brown's theory was as silly as any, but I like it a great deal. Why? Because the magic glue he uses to link the incompatible geological account of the Bible and science is .... science fiction!