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William Whiston

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A portrait of William Whiston with a diagram demonstrating his theories of cometary catastrophism, described in A New Theory of the Earth

William Whiston (Born::December 9, 1667Died::August 22, 1752) was an English theologian, historian, and mathematician, an important popularizer of the ideas of Isaac Newton. In 1696, William Whiston published A New Theory of the Earth, in which he proposed an account of the creation of the world. He grounded his argument in the following three Postulata:

  1. The obvious or literal sense of scripture is the true and real one, where no evidence can be given to the contrary.
  2. That which is clearly accountable in a natural way, is not, without reason to be ascribed to a miraculous power.
  3. What ancient tradition asserts of the constitution of nature, or of the origin and primitive states of the world, is to be allowed for true, where ‘tis fully agreeable to scripture, reason, and philosophy.

Whiston was the first to propose that the global flood was caused by the water in the tail of a comet.