Search Results for: john ray

John Ray in 1695: The Flood, Fossils, and Extinction

John Ray, one of England’s greatest 17th century natural theologians, spent much time pondering the meaning of fossils or “formed stones” as they were called then.  I have shared some of his thoughts about fossils and Earth’s history before (See:  John Ray on Flood Geology: Words that Still Apply Today).   In a correspondence with […]

Testing Book-smarts with Observation: John Ray (1735) on the Value of Knowledge Creation

Should professors at Universities be active participants in generating and testing ideas or should they be content to be teachers of what is already known? Most higher educational institutions, such as the one that employs me, continually grapple with how to strike a balance between encouraging knowledge creation and dissemination past knowledge. Put another way, […]

John Ray on Flood Geology in 1695: Words that Still Apply Today

Modern young-earth creationism has deep roots.  The essential elements of flood geology were established in the 17th century though much of what passed as flood geology at that time might be difficult to recognize today.  One thing that hasn’t changed is the style of rhetoric frequently used to promote flood geology to the general public. […]

NH Notes: John Ray on the Purpose of Creation in “The Wisdom of God”

The Englishman and natural historian John Ray is best known for his book, The Wisdom of God.  Like many other books of the 18th century, he continually revised and reissued his book until the time of his death.  Even after his death notes that he had made on manuscripts were incorporated into later editions.   As a result of […]

John Ray on the Purpose of Creation in “The Wisdom of God”

The Englishman natural historian John Ray is best known for his book The Wisdom of God.  Like many books at the time, he continually revised and reissued until the time of his death and then even after his death edits he had made to manuscripts were incorporated into later editions.   As a result of these many […]

John Ray on Woodward in 1695: Words that still apply today

The following quote is by John Ray from a correspondence with Mr. Edward Lhwyd on April 8 1695.   The quote is from a publication of Ray’s letters called the Further Correspondence of John Ray Edited by Robert W. T. Gunther and printed for the Ray Society in 1928. I need to set the scene for […]

John Ray: Testing Knowledge with Observation

The following quote is from page 152 of the 1735 edition of Wisdom of God, Ray’s best known book.   He is bemoaning the fact that so few professors have any experience from observation but appear to be content with the knowledge of the past which they have gained from books. Let us not suffice us […]

John Ray – definition of a species

What a species is has been debated for centuries but John Ray was the first person to produce a biological definition of what a species is.   In his 1686 History of plants he states: “..no surer criterion for determining species has occurred to me than the distinguishing features that perpetuate themselves in propagation from seed. […]

Who is John (W)Ray

John Ray

John Ray (1627-1705) was the preeminent natural historian of 17th century England.   He published many important works on botany, zoology, fossils and natural theology.  He is often given credit for proposing the first modern definition of species, for setting the stage for modern taxonomy and establishing the basics of the scientific method.  More importantly, Ray […]

Ray to Llwyd: On Formed Stones and Mammalian Fossils

This is part of a continuing a series of posts on John Ray’s correspondences.  Quotes are from the publication of Ray’s letters  (Further Correspondence of John Ray)  edited by Robert W. T. Gunther and printed for the Ray Society in 1928.    The first is from a letter to Mr. Edward Llwyd at the Museum of […]

Ray to Lhwyd in 1695 continued: Fossils and the Flood

The same letter of Ray’s to Lhwyd in 1695 that I posted recently goes on to explain Ray’s feelings about the new flood theories that were being promoted in the late 1600s and some observations on fossils.    The letter reveals Ray’s reading of the prevailing interpretation of the flood narratives of Genesis in his day.  […]

Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter to Usher in a Modern Day Reformation?

Ken Ham would have us believe that the modern creationist movement, which apparently began only 53 years ago, is the real deal this time. Unlike all the other attempts to create a history of the Earth with a recent global flood as a centerpiece, this time it apparently is going to usher in a real reformation in both science and an appreciation for biblical authority.

William Buckland: Minister and Geologist Grappling with Fossil Feces, Deep Time and the Age of Reptiles

The Reverend William Buckland (1784-1856) was one of the last in a line of influential natural theologians following in the footsteps of John Ray (late 1600s) and William Paley (late 1700s).   I recently gave a seminar in which I explored a number of significant turning points (figure below) in the history of discovery of deep time and the awareness […]

Best of NH

Below are some of my most popular and hopefully best articles that I have written for this blog.  Articles are categorized into the following group with some articles cross listed: 1) NH Favorites 2) Popular Series 3) Geological context 4) Natural History 5) Creationism and the Church 6) Young Earth Creationism 7) Philosophy and History […]

Apparent Age: Craters on Mars

Tree Rings

This is the first in what will be a series of posts on the “apparent age” or “appearance of age” theory as an explanation for some of the features of the earth and cosmos. There is a long tradition of those that have espoused various forms of apparent age including probably the most famous proponent […]