The principle of uniformity, or the "The Principle of Uniformity of Nature", postulates that the laws of nature discovered on Earth apply throughout the universe.
There are several variations and corollaries:
- A stronger uniformity principle is that the laws of event causation have remained constant throughout time (uniformitarianism) as well as applying everywhere in the 'modern' universe.
- A corollary in Physics is the postulate that there has been no change in the fine-structure constant since the Big Bang.
- Another corollary of the Principle of Uniformity states that nothing that is now impossible in principle was ever the case in the past.
- I. Of things in respect to their own qualities or constitution.
- a. Of one form, character, or kind; having, maintaining, occurring in or under, the same form always; that is or remains the same in different places, at different times, or under varying circumstances; exhibiting no difference, diversity, or variation.
1540 PALSGR. Acolastus Aij, One selfe and vniforme maner of teachynge of all those Grammaticalle ensygnementes. 1555 W. WATREMAN Fardle Facions I. v. 72 The ordre of Mariage emong the Egiptians is not vniforme. 1601 HOLLAND Pliny I. 161 This impression, that maketh either the foresaid uniforme likenesse, or confusion and varietie. 1662 Extr. St. Papers Friends Ser. II. (1911) 150 Wee would be glad that all our Subjects could be brought to agree in a uniforme Worship of God. 1710 PRIDEAUX Orig. Tithes ii. 127 From whence else should they have such a Uniform Usage but by a Uniform Tradition from them? 1780 BENTHAM Princ. Legisl. xiv. §1 It is lost time to seek for an uniform base of agreement upon so essential an object. 1818 SCOTT Br. Lamm. xi, According to a uniform custom in remote places in Scotland. 1869 F. W. NEWMAN Misc. 224 A uniform franchise through the whole federation would have followed. 1891 Law Times XCII. 124/1 In Ireland the practice in this respect..was not uniform. absol. 1606 SYLVESTER Du Bartas II. iv. II. Magnif. 1335 Cause of all Causes, Ocean of all Good,..The Uni-form, which gives all forms their Beeing.
- b. Of persons (or personifications), their disposition, etc. Hence, exhibiting or preserving uniformity or consistency in respect of conduct or opinion; consistent.
1551 CRANMER Answ. to Gardiner I. 14 The churche of Rome..sheweth her selfe alway vniforme and consonaunt, to confound all the doctrine of Christe. 1647 H. MORE Phil. Poems II. lxxii, If he will his own fortunes overturn It cannot well be holp, we must be uniform. 1692 DRYDEN St. Euremont's Ess. 339 There is a man so uniform as to having nothing of Inequality and contrariety in his Actions. 1748 RICHARDSON Clarissa i. I. 3 Every-body pities you. So steady so uniform in your conduct. 1799 WELLINGTON in Gurw. Desp. (1834) I. 16 Of this uniform disposition abundant proofs have been afforded by each of the allies. 1822 SCOTT Peveril xlviii, For Buckingham's sins,..he is the regular and uniform sponsor.
- c. Of consent: Unanimous. Obs.
1559 in Strype Ann. Ref. viii. (1709) 116 We..have with one uniform consent set forth this short declaration. 1620 BRENT tr. Sarpi's Counc. Trent VIII. 745 An vniforme consent of Doctors.
1746 in Jrnl. Archaeol. Soc. (1847) II. 77 That a uniform dress is useful and necessary for the commissioned officers. 1768 Ann. Reg., Chron. 63/1 The lappels and cuffs of the military uniform frocks, appointed to be worn by the lieutenants of his Majesty's fleet. 1783 Ibid. 193/2 The uniform clothing..worn by the flag officers. 1890 Harper's Mag. Feb. 333 The practice of clothing soldiers, by regiments, in one uniform dress.
- 2. Having or presenting the same appearance or aspect; exhibiting no, or little, diversity in respect of form, design, or dimensions; hence, having a plain, unbroken, or undiversified surface or exterior. In the 17th-18th centuries freq. of buildings, etc.
- a1550 LELAND Itin. (1768) I. 107 The Chirch of S. Mary is excellent, newe, and uniforme yn work. 1621 in Kempe Losely MSS. (1836) 456 The church of St. Treguse ys..a very good one, were it uniforme. 1632 MASSINGER & FIELD Fatal Dowry III. i, All else about you, cap-a-pie, So uniform in spite of handsomeness, Shews such a bold contempt of comeliness. 1696 WHISTON Theory of Earth II. 115 Every such state of external Nature was even, uniform, and regular. 1723 CHAMBERS tr. Le Clerc's Treat. Arch. I. 59 Columns..ought not to have any Flutings; for..plain uniform Columns carry..a better appearance. 1756 NUGENT Gr. Tour, Netherl. I. 299 The street called La Rue Royale, is one of the longest, straightest, and most uniform in Europe. 1784 COWPER Task VI. 178 All this uniform, uncolour'd scene, Shall be dismantled of its fleecy load. 1859 DARWIN Orig. Spec. iii. 73 The face of nature remains uniform for long periods of time. 1884 BOWER & SCOTT De Bary's Phaner. 110 The thickening mass is either uniform or pitted.
As adv. 1630 R. Johnson's Kingd. & Commw. 132 Paris..is the greater, the uniformer built, and stronglier situate.
- b. Bot. Of flowers: (see quots.). Obs.
1693 Phil. Trans. XVII. 929 Such as have a Uniform Flower, as Senna, or such as have a difform or Papilionaceous Flower. 1704 J. HARRIS Lex. Techn. I, Uniform Flowers of Plants, the Botanists call such as are all round of the same Figure; or whose fore and back part, and whose right and left parts are exactly alike.
- c. Of material things or colour. In this group the sense sometimes becomes narrowed down to ‘not mixed or blended’.
1756 BURKE On the Sublime & Beautiful III. xxvii, Nor..is the power of black as black, or of white as white, so strong as when each stands uniform and distinguished. 1764 HARMER Observ. iv. §27. 192 This mingled wine stands in opposition to new wine, which is, to the eye, an uniform liquor. 1823 SCOTT Quentin D. ii, His jerkin, hose, and cloak, were of a dark uniform colour. 1845 Florist's Jrnl. 261 Few gardens could boast an uniform luxuriant green among the plants. c1860 FARADAY Forces Nat. 67 This piece of glass..being perfectly uniform in its internal structure.
- 3. Of motion, dimensions, etc.: Free from fluctuation or variation in respect of quantity or amount.
1559 W. CUNINGHAM Cosmogr. Glasse 10 The sterres kepe one vniforme distance in mouing. 1597 HOOKER Eccl. Pol. V. lxix. §2 The heauens..keepe in their motions vniforme celeritie. 1656 tr. Hobbes' Elem. Philos. III. xv. 156 Uniform [motion] is that by which equal Lines are alwayes transmitted in equal times. 1764 Museum Rust. IV. 58 We should find it in an uniform progression of encrease. 1796 WITHERING Brit. Plants (ed. 3) III. 879 Branches of a uniform breadth. 1860 MAURY Phys. Geog. (Low) xxii. §883 The flow of heat from the sun is held to be uniform. 1879 THOMSON & TAIT Nat. Phil. I. I. §20 Velocity..may be uniform, i.e. the same at every instant; or it may be variable.
- II. Of things of the same class in respect of each other, or of one thing in relation to another or others of the same class.
- 4. Of the same form, character, or kind as another or others; agreeing or according with one another, conforming to one standard, rule, or pattern; alike, similar.
1548 W. THOMAS in Strype Eccl. Mem. (1721) II. App. v. 71 So because we have no neighbour of uniform religion, I determine we can find no friend, whose amity is to be trusted. 1594 HOOKER Eccl. Pol. IV. xiii. §2 The only doubt is about the manner of their unity; how far churches are bound to be uniform in their ceremonies. 1637 SALTONSTALL Eusebius' Constantine 77 Thus the Emperours Edict discovered the Dens and uniforme Cages of these Heretickes. 1660 R. COKE Power & Subj. 222 The ceremonies of Edward's Reformation were more uniform than before. 1702 Engl. Theophrast. 263 Things Past, Present, and to Come, are strangely Uniform and of a Colour. 1762 KAMES Elem. Crit. (1833) 481 When two figures are composed of similar parts, they are said to be uniform. 1794 MRS. RADCLIFFE Myst. Udolpho xvi, My answers on the subject have been uniform. 1867 SMILES Huguenots Eng. i. 6 The copies sold having been compared with each other, were found to be exactly uniform. 1878 J. S. BRISTOWE Th. & Pract. Med. (ed. 2) 534 The symptoms of rupture of the heart are far from uniform.
- b. Of buildings. Obs.
1549 W. THOMAS Hist. Italy 207 Buildynges on bothe sides so fayre and vniforme. 1617 MORYSON Itin. III. 66 The houses are most of bricke,..and so vniforme, as if they had all beene built at a time, and by the same workemen. 1684 BURNET tr. More's Utopia 73 Their Buildings are good, and are so uniform, that a whole side of a Street looks like one House. 1700 in Picton L'pool Munic. Rec. (1883) I. 291 Ye buildings be handsome & uniform.
- c. Of persons. Obs. In quot. referring to Matt. xxii. 11-13.
a1626 BP. ANDREWES Pattern Cath. Doctr. (1630) 210 He that was not uniforme was punished.
- d. In agreement with, accordant to, something.
a1586 SIDNEY Arcadia II. xii, So divers be the Elements disposed In this weake worke, that it can never be Made uniforme to any state reposed. 1669 in Willis & Clark Cambridge (1886) II. 557 Three outward dore cases shalbe arched..with freestone vniforme to the windowes. 1702 H. DODWELL Apol. §19, I have shewn it agreeable to the severest Reasoning..to make his Death uniform to the rest of his Life.