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Image 8 of The State College cadet, vol. 7, no. 2, November 1896
Part of The State College cadet
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fi U T . T -
%, 30 THE CADET.
' ice sheet from the northern continent. This method is also used in »
- conjunction with method of time ratios.——Geikie, McGee, Bright and
_ , In this paper we will consider mainly the evidence coming under
A (rz) and (6) of this second group of theories--the purely geological.
Time is such an abstract idea that mere numerical expression of 2
it, especially if they exceed much the three score and ten years meas·
l uring the span of individual existence here, are apt to be perfectly
meaningless. Take a thousand years, for instance; hardly anyone
is in a position to say offhand what may or may not take place in
that length of time. And when we come to a million, it might as `
well be infinity, for all our mental conceptions of time magnitudes `
aid us in tl1e appreciation of what event occurrences are possible »
l within that peroid.
There is a great deal of loose thinking with regard to this matter
of occurrences in time. The evidence of this is the reckless use of
the terms thousands and millions in speaking of events astronomi—
cal, geological and biological. We repeat glibly astronomical esti-
mates of the time it takes light to come from distant suns; refer ‘
lightly to the energy of coal as millions of years’ old suns’ heat, and
indulge in offhaud opinions as to the reasonableness or unreasona-
ness of the evoluti0nist’s demand for the millions of years necessary
i , for the development of life on this globe by the slow processes of dif'-
r ferentiation implied in his theory.
In view, then, of the vagueness that attaches to conceptions of
if magnitudes in general and time magnitudes in particular, it may not
` be inappropriate to institute a little critical examination into the isp"
1 matter, with a view to dissipating some of the ncbulous haze so apt
l to envelope ideas that are pure numerical abstractions. And here
i the method of comparison is best, for our ideas of time can only be
N The astronomer trys to make the vast conceptions of space with
which he deals more intelligible by bringing in the idea of time rela-
‘ tions. We are told that a train traveling a thousand miles a day
could make the journey from the earth to the sun in two hundred and il
, j thirty-four and one-third years.
The geologist can return the compliment by introducing the space