"In the afternoon he sat in the compound breaking ore samples with a hammer, the feldspar rich in red oxide of copper and native nuggets in whose organic lobations he purported to read news of the earth’s origins, holding an extemporary lecture in geology to a small gathering who nodded and spat. A few would quote him scripture to confound his ordering up of eons out of the ancient chaos and other apostate supposings."

This incident is drawn directly from Samuel Chamberlain’s My Confession.  In Chamberlain’s account Holden presents a ‘scientific lecture on Geology,’ which ‘no doubt was very learned, but hardly true, for one statement he made was ‘that millions of years had witnessed the operation producing the result around us,’ which Glanton with recollections of the Bible teaching his young mind had undergone said “was a d----d lie”.

The Judge’s approximation of ‘millions of years’ with respect to the world’s age demonstrates a remarkably advanced education. Sir Charles Lyell’s revolutionary Principles of Geology was published in England in 1833, but Lyell’s ideas did not become current in the United States until his visits there in the 1840s.