Ideology in Geology

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As a collection of Models, Theories and Explanations, Geology offers “an evidence-based understanding of planet Earth’s history”. As a discipline and artefact of Cultural 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 Ideology 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

This ideological background can and must be articulated and criticised from a First-Person Perspective, but it can also be explained from a Third-Person Perspective, using the availability of certain types of evidence (fossils of marine animals) and our specific perspective as humans as the explanans.ibid., 62