Stephen Jay Gould:

Gould: “Charles Lyell was a lawyer by profession … [and he] relied upon two bits of cunning to establish his uniformitarian views as the only true geology. First, he set up a straw man to demolish. … In fact, the catastrophists were much more empirically minded than Lyell. The geologic record does seem to require catastrophes: rocks are fractured and contorted; whole faunas are wiped out. To circumvent this literal appearance, Lyell imposed his imagination upon the evidence.”11

Gould’s summary: “Lyell was not the white knight of truth and fieldwork, but a purveyor of a fascinating and particular theory rooted in the steady state of time’s cycle. He tried by rhetoric to equate this substantive theory with rationality and rectitude … .”12 And: “ … the irony of history is that Lyell won. His version became a semi-official hagiography of geology, preached in textbooks to the present day. Professional historians know better, of course, but their message has rarely reached working geologists, who seem to crave these simple and heroic stories.”13