As a collection of
Geology offers “an evidence-based understanding of planet Earth’s
history”. As a discipline and artefact of
Evolution, it also “encases the history and cultures of those who
organized … our planet’s history. It is a human construct, created to
help us make sense of the world we find ourselves in.”Lewis and Maslin (2018), 64
As the former, its results need to be empirically validated; but because it is also the latter, it needs to be conceptually articulated and critically assessed, exposing ideology and bias.
An example for
shaping geological theory is the definition the largest units used to
divide up the Earth’s deep history, the Eons: Hadean (“hellish”),
Archean (“beginning”), Proterozoic (“early life”), and Phanerozoic
(”visible life”). Their naming and spacing betray a “mix of Christianity
and Enlightenment ideas of progress”.ibid., 61
The debate about the beginning of the Anthropocene has been dominated by similar ideological influences.
This ideological background can and must be articulated from a ibid., 62
- Lewis and Maslin (2018): The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene