PDF Capricorne - Tome 1 - LObjet (French Edition)

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The mass of earth was entirely dissolved, and the mixture penetrated by shellfish. According to a third 12 , God raised the mountains in order to make the waters which had produced the Flood flow out, and put the waters in places where there were the most rocks, because otherwise it would have been impossible to hold them in. A fourth 13 created the earth with the atmosphere of a comet and had it overwhelmed by the tail of another comet.

The heat which remained from its first origin excited all the living creatures to sin. Thus, they were all drowned, except the fish, who had apparently less excitable passions. We see that, while entrenching themselves entirely within the limits set by the Book of Genesis, naturalists still gave themselves a large enough goal. They found themselves soon at an impasse. When they succeeded in seeing the six days of the Creation as so many indefinite periods, discounting the centuries, their systems took flight in proportion to the lapses of time which they were able to deal with.

Even the great Leibnitz amused himself, like Descartes, by making the earth an extinguished star, a glazed globe, on which vapours, trapped at the time of its cooling, formed the seas which later deposited calcified earth Demaillet covered the entire globe with water for thousands of years. He had the waters gradually ebb. All the land animals at first lived in the sea. Even man started as a fish.

And the author asserts that it is not rare to meet in the ocean fish which are only half human, but from them the species will become completely human one fine day Buffon's system is merely a development of Leibnitz's, only with the addition of a comet which by a violent shock caused the sun to emit the liquid mass of the earth at the same time as all the planets. From this theory one result is firm dating. For, by the present temperature of the earth, we can know how long it has been cooling.

And since the other planets left the sun at the same time as the earth, we can calculate how many centuries the large ones still have to cool and at what point the small ones were already frozen More Recent Systems In our time, freer spirits than ever before have also wished to busy themselves with this important subject.

Certain writers have reproduced and enormously extended Demaillet's ideas. They claim that all was liquid at the beginning, that the liquid engendered at first very simple animals, like monads or other microscopic infusorian species, and that, with the passage of time and the development of different habits, the animal races became more complex and diversified to the point where we see them today.

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All these animal races have converted the water of the sea by degrees into calcified earth. The plants on the origin and changes of which no one tells us anything for their part turned this water into clay. But these two earths, by force of being stripped of the characters which life had imprinted on them, resolved themselves, in the last analysis, into silica. And lo and behold, for this reason the oldest mountains contain more silica than the others. All solid parts of the earth therefore owe their origin to living things, and without that life the earth would be still entirely liquid Some other writers have preferred Kepler's ideas.

Like this great astronomer, they give the earth itself vital faculties. According to them, a fluid circles in the earth, and an assimilation takes place just as in animated bodies.

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Each of its parts is alive. Every elementary molecule has instinct and will; they attract and repel each other according to antipathies and sympathies; each sort of mineral can change immense masses into its own nature, as we convert our food into flesh and blood. The mountains are the respiratory organs of the earth, and the schists are the secretary organs. Through them sea water is decomposed to create the volcanic eruptions. The seams finally are the decaying teeth, the abscesses of the mineral kingdom, and the metals a product of decay and illness.

That is why almost all of them feel unpleasant Even more recently, a philosophy which substitutes metaphors for rational argument, starting with the system of absolute identity or pantheism, ascribes the origin of all phenomena or, what in its eyes is the same thing, of all beings to polarization, like the two electricities, by calling all opposition and difference polarization. Whether we consider situation, nature, or function, this belief sees opposition in the following: God and the world, in the universe the sun and the planets, in each planet the solid and the liquid, and following this course, changing as necessary its tropes and its allegories, it reaches even the final details of organic species I must admit, however, that above we have chosen extreme examples and that not all geologists have carried the airing of their conceptions as far as those we have just cited.

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However, among those who have proceeded with more reserve and who have not looked for methods outside ordinary physics or chemistry, how much diversity and contradiction still rule! Divergences of All Systems According to one, everything was precipitated successively by crystallization and deposited almost in the same way as now.

But the sea, which covered everything, ebbed by degrees According to another, the materials of the mountains are constantly eroded, carried by rivers to the bottom of the sea, heated by an enormous pressure, and form layers. One day the heat which hardens these layers will lift them up again violently A third supposes the liquid divided into a multitude of lakes arranged in amphitheatres one above the other, which, after having deposited the strata with shells successively broke their dams to fill the ocean basin By contrast, according to a fourth, tides of seven to eight hundred toises [i.

A fifth has fall successively from the sky, like meteoric stones, the various fragments of which the earth is composed and which carry in the unknown beings whose remains they conceal the imprint of their strange origin A sixth makes the earth hollow and places there a magnetic core which moves itself, under the influence of comets, from one pole to the other, pulling with it the centre of gravity and the mass of the seas, thus alternately flooding the two hemispheres We could cite still twenty other systems every bit as different as the above.

And, just to make sure there is no mistake about it, our intention is not to criticize the authors of these systems. On the contrary, we recognize that these ideas have generally been conceived by men of wit and wisdom, who have not ignored the facts, several of whom have even traveled for a long time to examine them and have gathered a great deal of important scientific information.

Causes of These Divergences From where then could such disagreements come in the solutions to a common problem among people who set out with the same principles? Could it not be the case that the conditions of the problem have never all been taken into account, that the problem remains, right up to today, poorly defined and capable of several answers, all equally good when we generalize about this or that condition, all equally bad when a new condition becomes recognized or when our attention thinks back to some acknowledged but overlooked condition?

The Nature and Conditions of the Problem To abandon this mathematical language, we will say that virtually all the authors of these systems, having paid attention only to certain difficulties which struck them more than others, determined to resolve those difficulties by more or less plausible means and put aside numerous other equally important difficulties. One person, for example, has seen only the difficulty of the changing level of the seas.

Another has seen only the problem of dissolving all the terrestrial substances in the same single liquid. Finally, yet another has seen only the problem of having animals which he thought were from the torrid zone living in the glacial zone.

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Exhausting their intellectual energies on these questions, they thought they had done everything in imagining some means or other of responding to them. Furthermore, by neglecting all other phenomena, they did not even dream of ever determining with precision the measure and the limits of those phenomena which they were seeking to explain. This point is particularly true for the secondary formations, which, however, form the most important and the most difficult part of the problem. For a long time we have concerned ourselves only very slightly with determining the sequence of layers for the establishing the strata on top of each other and the relationships between these layers and the plant and animal species whose remnants they contain.