At http://phys.org/print356248555.html … news of an interesting theory that evolution of life was driven by Plate Tectonics. One could substitute the latter for catastrophims and reach a similar conclusion.
I like some of the comments made as if they were facts when they are really hypotheses. For example, 'geologist have known since the 1960s that collision of tectonic plates led to the formation of huge mountain ranges …' – all very gradual of course, nothing rapid or dramatic. In reality this statement is purely off the head as geologists do not 'know' but some of them 'think they know' (because they swallowed the consensus line). Nutrients originate on the land, entombed in rocks that erode and the silt is then washed into rivers and ultimately into the oceans. The roots of plants and shrubs also access the same nutrients – and vegetation lives and dies and is returned to the soil – which again is washed into rivers and into the oceans. This is the basic idea as life (before the plants) is thought to have originated in the oceans – but nutrients must have been seeping into the sea in order to provide sustenance. Sounds a bit like chicken and egg.
Nutrients are essential for marine life to thrive. However, during mass extinction events (presumably catastrophic in origin) nutrient levels fell dramatically (it is claimed) and life left the oceans and colonised the land (where the nutrients were accessible). One problem is that the so called Cambrian Explosion (of life) may simply be the record, preserved in stone, of a major catastrophic episode, and the fossils found in the Cambrian may be those life forms existing prior to the so called explosion of life. Nutrients or no nutrients.