Catastrophist



the doctrine that certain vast geological changes in the earth’s history were caused by catastrophes rather than gradual evolutionary processes.
Contemporary Examples

He appears to have a catastrophist vision of Zionism and of Jewish life.
What Will Change Daniel Levy May 8, 2012

Will the catastrophist diehards learn to stop worrying and accept the recovery?
Bad News for People Who Like Bad News Daniel Gross December 19, 2013

Historical Examples

Mr. King, however, is not a catastrophist of a very violent sort.
Scientific American, Vol. XXXVII.–No. 2. [New Series.], July 14, 1877 Various

I wish there was any chance of Prestwich being shaken; but I fear he is too much of a catastrophist.
The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume II (of II) Charles Darwin

noun
an old doctrine, now discarded, that the earth was created and has subsequently been shaped by sudden divine acts which have no logical connection with each other rather than by gradual evolutionary processes
Also called neo-catastrophism. a modern doctrine that the gradual evolutionary processes shaping the earth have been supplemented in the past by the effects of huge natural catastrophes Compare uniformitarianism, gradualism (sense 2)
n.

as a geological or biological theory, 1869, coined by Huxley from catastrophe + -ism.

By CATASTROPHISM I mean any form of geological speculation which, in order to account for the phenomena of geology, supposes the operation of forces different in their nature, or immeasurably different in power, from those which we at present see in action in the universe. [T.H. Huxley, “Address” to the Geological Society of London, Feb. 19, 1869]

Related: Catastrophist.

catastrophism [(kuh-tas-truh-fiz-uhm)]

A theory holding that changes in the Earth take place swiftly and irreversibly. (Contrast gradualism.)

Note: A belief in Noah’s flood is one version of catastrophism.

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