Thomas Henry Huxley, aka T.H. Huxley and Darwin's Bulldog

Thomas Henry
Huxley, aka T.H. Huxley and Darwin's Bulldog
1825
1895

English Biologist, Anatomist, Teacher and Writer

Author Quotes

And those who will carefully study the so-called 'Mosaic code' contained in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, will see that, though Jahveh's prohibitions of certain forms of immorality are strict and sweeping, his wrath is quite as strongly kindled against infractions of ritual ordinances. Accidental homicide may go unpunished, and reparation may be made for wilful theft. On the other hand, Nadab and Abihu, who 'offered strange fire before Jahveh, which he had not commanded them,' were swiftly devoured by Jahveh's fire; he who sacrificed anywhere except at the allotted place was to be 'cut off from his people'; so was he who ate blood; and the details of the upholstery of the Tabernacle, of the millinery of the priests' vestments, and of the cabinet work of the ark, can plead direct authority from Jahveh, no less than moral commands.

Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before. Someday, I doubt not, we shall arrive at an understanding of the evolution of the aesthetic faculty; but all the understanding in the world will neither increase nor diminish the force of the intuition that this is beautiful and that is ugly.

For every man the world is as fresh as it was at the first day, and as full of untold novelties for him who has the eyes to see them.

I am too much of a sceptic to deny the possibility of anything ? especially as I am now so much occupied with theology ? but I don't see my way to your conclusion.

I now propose briefly to... set forth, in a form intelligible to those who possess no special acquaintance with anatomical science, the chief facts upon which all conclusions respecting the nature and the extent of the bonds which connect man with the brute world must be based: I shall then indicate the one immediate conclusion which, in my judgment, is justified by those facts, and I shall finally discuss the bearing of that conclusion upon the hypotheses which have been entertained respecting the Origin of Man.

If the hypothesis of evolution is true, living matter must have arisen from non-living matter; for by the hypothesis the condition of the globe was at one time such, that living matter could not have existed in it, life being entirely incompatible with the gaseous state.

'Infidel' is a term of reproach, which Christians and Mohammedans, in their modesty, agree to apply to those who differ from them

It is true that if philosophers have suffered their cause has been amply avenged. Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules; and history records that whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed if not annihilated; scotched, if not slain. But orthodoxy is the Bourbon of the world of thought. It learns not, neither can it forget; and though, at present, bewildered and afraid to move, it is as willing as ever to insist that the first chapter of Genesis contains the beginning and the end of sound science...

Lyell and Poulett Scrope, in this country, resumed the work of the Italians and of Hutton; and the former, aided by a marvelous power of clear exposition, placed upon an irrefragable basis the truth that natural causes are competent to account for all events, which can be proved to have occurred, in the course of the secular changes which have taken place during the deposition of the stratified rocks. The publication of 'The Principles of Geology,' in 1830, constituted an epoch in geological science. But it also constituted an epoch in the modern history of the doctrines of evolution, by raising in the mind of every intelligent reader this question: If natural causation is competent to account for the not-living part of our globe, why should it not account for the living part?

No slavery can be abolished without a double emancipation, and the master will benefit by freedom more than the freed-man.

Regarded anatomically, the resemblances between the foot of Man and the foot of the Gorilla are far more striking and important than the differences. ...be the differences between the hand and foot of Man and those of the Gorilla what they may?the differences between those of the Gorilla and those of the lower Apes are much greater.

So far from the posterior lobe, the posterior cornu, and the hippocampus minor, being structures peculiar to and characteristic of man, as they have been over and over again asserted to be, even after the publication of the clearest demonstration of the reverse, it is precisely these structures which are the most marked cerebral characters common to man with the apes. They are among the most distinctly Simian peculiarities which the human organism exhibits.

The Bible account of the creation of Eve is a preposterous fable

The great thing in the world is not so much to seek happiness as to earn peace and self-respect.

The occurrence of successive forms of life upon our globe is an historical fact, which cannot be disputed; and the relation of these successive forms, as stages of evolution of the same type, is established in various cases.

The scientific spirit is of more value than its products, and irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.

There is no sea more dangerous than the ocean of practical politics none in which there is more need of good pilotage and of a single, unfaltering purpose when the waves rise high.

What is this wide-spread component of the surface of the earth? And whence did it come? You may think this no very hopeful inquiry. You may not unnaturally suppose that the attempt to solve such problems as these can lead to no result, save that of entangling the inquirer in vague speculations, incapable of refutation and of verification. If such were really the case, I should have selected some other subject than a "piece of chalk" for my discourse. But, in truth, after much deliberation, I have been unable to think of any topic which would so well enable me to lead you to see how solid is the foundation upon which some of the most startling conclusions of physical science rest.

A great chapter of the history of the world is written in the chalk. Few passages in the history of man can be supported by such an overwhelming mass of direct and indirect evidence as that which testifies to the truth of the fragment of the history of the globe, which I hope to enable you to read, with your own eyes, tonight.

Anyone who has studied the history of science knows that almost every great step therein has been made by the "anticipation of Nature," that is, by the invention of hypotheses, which, though verifiable, often had very little foundation to start with; and, not unfrequently, in spite of a long career of usefulness, turned out to be wholly erroneous in the long run.

Deduction, which takes us from the general proposition to facts again ? teaches us, if I may so say, to anticipate from the ticket what is inside the bundle.

For myself I say deliberately, it is better to have a millstone tied round the neck and be thrown into the sea than to share the enterprises of those to whom the world has turned, and will turn, because they minister to its weaknesses and cover up the awful realities which it shudders to look at.

I believe that history might be, and ought to be, taught in a new fashion so as to make the meaning of it as a process of evolution intelligible to the young.

I protest that if some great Power would agree to make me always think what is true and do what is right, on condition of being turned into a sort of clock and would up every morning before I got out of bed, I should instantly close with the offer.

If the perpetual oscillation of nations between anarchy and despotism is to be replaced by the steady march of self-restraining freedom, it will be because men will gradually bring themselves to deal with political, as they now deal with scientific questions.

Author Picture
First Name
Thomas Henry
Last Name
Huxley, aka T.H. Huxley and Darwin's Bulldog
Birth Date
1825
Death Date
1895
Bio

English Biologist, Anatomist, Teacher and Writer