Kelvin “Thomsons view on the recent age of the world have been for some time one of my sorest troubles, (pg. 107)” This quote is used to collaborate the authors idea that Darwin was deeply opposed to Kelvins calculations about the ago of the earth. The author further backs up this idea by using another quote in which Darwin calls Kelvin an “odious spectre, (pg. 107).” It is then stated that Darwin did eventually compromise with Kelvins calculations. Gould uses a quote from the last edition of the Origin to make the statement more concrete.
Darwins reasons for compromising with Kelvins theory are then explained in the following paragraphs. Gould discusses Darwins distress as his leading supporters in England, Wallace and Huxley, didnt agree with him. He uses a quote by Wallace to show this: “if Kelvin limited the earth to 100 million years, then natural selection must operate at generally higher rates than we had previously imagined, (pg. 107).” Using several examples to back up the fact that Huxley wasnt standing behind Darwin further promotes this. Building upon the previous ideas, Gould goes on to display Darwins distress. Britains leading geologists tended to follow Wallace and Huxley; therefor they went along with Kelvins calculations and theories.
In the book Gould says, “They stated that Kelvin had performed a service for geology, (pg. 108).” The author concludes by showing how geologists finally rebelled against Kelvin, and his more rigid estimate of 20 million years. Topics are changed and a discussion of the challenge imposed on Kelvin develops. The author states the various parts of Uniformity, and how Kelvin managed to work his way around it. He shows how Charles Lyell, the creator of Uniformity, cleverly implied that, to be a scientist, one had to accept uniformity.
Kelvin worked around this by fully accepting uniformity and even basing his calculations upon it. He just attacked the false side of Lyells view of uniformity.