The history of geology is shaped by the advancement of scientific understanding, but also by culture and beliefs. In geology textbooks, the early naturalists' leaps of understanding are often depicted simply as the "eureka!" moment when they had their breakthrough idea (right or wrong). However, these pioneers struggled to reconcile philosophy, religion and historically accepted writings with their own theories and observations.
It's important to view those early accomplishments in the context of their times, and to recognize how our modern circumstances influence our continuing understanding of geology.