Against Steady State

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 4 of this Preprint.


Download Preprint


Eduardo Garzanti, Pietro Sternai


Nature is never at steady state. Natural history is generated by ever-interacting forces that produce always surprising phenomena. Negating change is negating Nature’s essence, and the historical record, at both geological and human time scales, shows that steady state remains utopia. However, although unrealistic because constantly endangered, we need a state of equilibrium as a starting point for modelling Nature. The steady-state condition is thus widely used as a reference in models aimed at understanding natural processes. Models are tools useful to extract meaning from data but they do not produce data, and we are allowed to base our reasoning on fictions provided we resist the temptation to believe that our assumptions are real, thus falling into a narcissistic circular trap. We cannot avoid using fictions in our models, which however makes them limited and discourages the tendency to imagine planets sustained by elephants carried in turn by giant turtles held up by a snake.



Earth Sciences, Other Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Data Interpretation, Geology History and Economics, Physical Models, Understanding Nature, Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism


Published: 2020-03-23 09:22

Last Updated: 2020-09-02 01:03

Older Versions

GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.