There are three men whose life's work helped free science from the strait-jacket of religion. Two of the three,Nicolaus Copernicus and Charles Darwin,are widely heralded for their breakthroughs. The third, James Hutton, is comparatively unknown, yet he profoundly changed our understanding of the earth, its age, and its dynamic forces. A Scottish gentleman farmer, Hutton's observations on his small tract of land led him to a theory that directly contradicted biblical claims that the Earth was only 6,000 years old. This expertly crafted narrative tells the story not only of Hutton, but also of Scotland and the Scottish Enlightenment, including many of the greatest thinkers of the age, such as David Hume and Adam Smith.
Jack Repcheck is an editor at W. W. Norton & Co., where he publishes the work of leading scientists and economists. He is also the author of Copernicus'secret. He lives with his family in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.