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L'unité de la création chez Blainville

Gabriel Gohau
Revue d'histoire des sciences
Vol. 32, No. 1, THALÈS (JANVIER 1979), pp. 43-58
Published by: Armand Colin
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23631945
Page Count: 16
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L'unité de la création chez Blainville
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Abstract

Contre les catastrophistes, qui admettent la destruction simultanée et périodique de faunes (et flores) entières, suivie de la création de nouvelles espèces, Blainville soutient dans son Ostéographie (œuvre tardive, inachevée) : — la création unique de toutes les espèces (unité de la création); — la mort successive des espèces (thèse actualiste). Pourtant, ses écrits antérieurs montrent que jusqu'après 1830 il pratique la paléontologie stratigraphique — laquelle suppose la succession de faunes différentes. On examine l'influence sur son changement de position de : — l'abbé Maupied, son disciple ultramontain, qui accusait les catastrophistes de « panthéisme »; — Constant Prévost, son vieil ami, fondateur de l'actualisme, mais qui regrettait que Blainville ne séparât pas assez science et religion. While the catastrophists admit the simultaneous and periodical destruction of entire faunas and floras, followed by the creation of new species, Blainville, opposed to them, asserts in his Ostéographie (a late, uncompleted work) : — the unique creation of all species (unity of creation); — the successive death of species (uniformitarian thesis). And yet, his previous writings show that, until after 1830, he was an adept of stratigraphic paleontology — which supposes the succession of different faunas. This change of position can be accounted by the influence : — first, of the « Abbé » Maupied, his ultramontane disciple, who accused the catastrophists with « pantheism »; — second, of Constant Prévost, his old friend, the founder of uniformitarianism, who yet regretted the fact that Blainville did not, clearly enough, separate science from religion.

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