the time frame is so immense do we really grasp the concept?
You know my anthro prof peaked my curiosity on this point. She was incredibly intelligent, understood SO MUCH science beyond her chosen field, was able to teach the most complex lessons in a straight forward manner and was quite experienced in her field. But she would talk about deep time and admit that she has an extremely difficult time trying to grasp it. She admits that it is too much for her sometimes. It just doesn't come natural to us, and after hearing her say it repeatedly, it made me realize that many of those super scientists may very well be a bit uncomfortable themselves. When looking at space, we cannot do so without looking at immense time---I think it freaks a lot of us out.
James Hutton was the first scientist to really investigate deep time in the late 18th century (I think). This was another thing I found so very interesting. Until the possiblity of deep time was introduced, we could not even start to understand so many things---and maybe we would not have had the theory of evolution. He came up with the concept by studying geology, and realized that vast amounts of time were needed just to shape the earth. I just find it deeply interesting to see how concepts that are everyday knowledge to us had to first be thought of and explained---debated---religiously persecuted---and then built on. It's a fascinating story, and in my opinion, Hutton should get more mention.