The Young Surgeon Son of a schoolmaster Self-taught after only two years of schooling Studied medicine at Charing Cross Hospital Published ﬁrst paper in 1845 and passed ﬁrst portion of M.B. degree Surgeons assistant on HMS Rattlesnake (1846 - ‘50)
The Young Huxley 1849: “On the anatomy and the afﬁnities of the family of Medusae” 1850: FRS at age 25 1851: Royal Society Medal Scientiﬁc journalism & lecturing 1854; Professor of Natural History at Royal School of Mines. Married Henrietta Heathorn
On Vestiges 1854 The “once attractive and still notorious work of ﬁction … shown to be a mass of pretentious nonsense” yet survived due to the “utter ignorance of the public mind as to the methods of science and the criterion of truth.”
As “Gentleman of Science” 1855: Fullerian Professor at Royal Institute 1863: Hunterian Professor at Royal College of Surgeons 1869: President, British Association for the Advancement of Science 1869: Founds Nature 1872: President, Geological Society 1883: President, Royal Society
As Mentor Michael Foster (Physiology, Cambridge) E. Ray Lankester (Zoology, UCL) William Flower (Director, Natural History Museum) St. George Jackson Mivart (Heretic)
Public Intellectual 1862: Royal Commissioner 1870: London School Board 1881: Inspector of Fisheries 1892: Privy Councillor Ongoing public debates with Disraeli, Gladstone, Balfour ...
HuxleyProfessionalization of sciencePrevalence of morphologicalstudies in British zoologyPopularization of scienceAdult education programsCoiner of ‘agnostic’Atheists were as reprehensible asreligious dogmatistsMitigated skepticismCritic of deriving morality fromnature
“Bones and Stones and Such- like Things” Mechanics Institute lectures Lecture “On A Piece of Chalk” Chalk, fossils and evolution versus special creation Science as trained and organized common sense Science will set you free!
“Pope Darwin” A secular state run by the scientiﬁcally trained Importance of naturalistic explanations (as exempliﬁed by Darwinism) Evolution as “a good stick with which to beat the clergy”
1855Lecture at Royal Institute“On certain zoological arguments commonly adducedin favour of the hypothesis of the progressivedevelopment of animal life in time”Against Chambers, Lamarck and transmutation itselfIntroduced to Darwin’s ideas by CD himself
Natural Selection“How extremely stupid not tohave thought of that”Utility of natural selection asan hypothesis versus it as“truth”“[U]ntil selection and breedingcan be seen to give rise tovarieties which are infertilewith each other, naturalselection cannot be proved.”
Darwin“The empirical evidence you call for is both impossiblein practical terms, and in any event unnecessary. Its thesame as asking to see every step in the transformation(or the splitting) of one species into another. My way somany issues are clariﬁed and problems solved; no othertheory does nearly so well.”
Evolution Evolution as hypothesis rather than theory (Feb 1860) Evolution as a theory well supported by empirical evidence (1880) Humans, birds, and horses
John Tyndall “Belfast Address” 1874 Despite Huxley’s warning, advocated materialism within evolutionism Darwinian theory “rejected the notion of creative power” Religion as "mischievous if permitted to intrude on the region of objective knowledge, over which it holds no command".
Assaulting the Pall Mall
The X ClubMonthly meetings between 1864 and 1892Tyndall, Hooker, Herbert Spencer, and others.Rise to power in BAAS, Royal Society, Royal College ofSurgeonsTreatment of Henry Charlton Bastain and St. GeorgeJackson Mivart
Dinosaurs & Birds Problems with Owen’s depictions of Iguanodon Archaeopteryx as bird (Owen 1863) Birds evolved from small carnivorous dinosaurs (Huxley 1868)
The Hippocampus Controversy
Owen 1857 Humans were a separate sub- class of Mammalia. Study of .... South American monkey Negro (Tiedemann) Chimpanzee (van der Kolk & Vrolik)
Owen 1857 “I cannot shut my eyes to the signiﬁcance of that all-pervading similitude of structure - every tooth, every bone, strictly homologous - which makes the determination of the difference [between man and ape] the anatomist’s difﬁculty” Removed from Rede Lecture, Cambridge, 1859
Owen 1857 Projection of the posterior lobe Presence of posterior horn Presence of hippocampus minor.
Darwin A “grand paper; but I cannot swallow Man making a division as distinct from a Chimpanzee, and an ornithorhynchus from a Horse: I wonder what a Chimpanzee w[oul]d say to this?”
Huxley “[B]efore I have done with that mendacious humbug I will nail him out, like a kite to a barn door, an example to all evil doers.” “On the Theory of the Vertebrate Skull” (June ’58)
BAAS 1860Huxley was asked (and declined) to comment on apaper discussing Darwin’s ideasOwen: “the brain of the gorilla was more differentfrom that of man than from that of the lowest primateparticularly because only man had a posterior lobe, aposterior horn, and a hippocampus minor.”Huxley: politely "denied altogether that the differencebetween the brain of the gorilla and man was so great"
Huxley Death of son, Noel, requires Charles Kingsley to calm THH. (1860) Paper in Natural History Review argued Owen was “guilty of falsehood” (January 1861) “The Relation of Man to the Rest of the Animal Kingdom” (School of Mines, May 1861)
Paul du Chaillu - 1856 to ’59
Owen 1861 “The Gorilla and the Negro” (March) Only humans have a hippocampus minor “as deﬁned in human anatomy.” The issue was one of interpretation, not facts. Resultant exchange lead THH to declare ...
Huxley “Life is too short to occupy oneself with the slaying of the slain more than once.”
Darwin to Hooker “Owen occupied an entirely untenable position ... The fact is he made a prodigious blunder in commencing the attack, and now his only chance is to be silent and let people forget the exposure. I do not believe that in the whole history of science there is a case of any man of reputation getting himself into such a contemptible position. He will be the laughing- stock of all the continental anatomists.”
Am I satyr or man? Pray tell me who can, And settle my place in the scale. A man in apes shape, An anthropoid ape, Or monkey deprived of his tail? The Vestiges taught, That all came from naught By "development," so called, "progressive;" That insects and worms Assume higher forms By modiﬁcation excessive.“Monkeyana” - Punch - May 1861
Then Darwin set forth In a book of much worth, The importance of "natures selection;" How the struggle for life Is a laudable strife, And results in "speciﬁc distinction." Let pigeons and doves Select their own loves, And grant them a million of ages, Then doubtless youll ﬁnd Theyve altered their kind, And changed into prophets and sages.“Monkeyana” - Punch - May 1861
Then Huxley and Owen, With rivalry glowing, With pen and ink rush to the scratch; Tis Brain versus Brain, Till one of thems slain, By JOVE! it will be a good match! Says Owen, you can see The brain of Chimpanzee Is always exceedingly small, With the hindermost "horn" Of extremity shorn, And no "Hippocampus" at all.“Monkeyana” - Punch - May 1861
Next Huxley replies, That Owen he lies, And garbles his Latin quotation; That his facts are not new, His mistakes not a few, Detrimental to his reputation. "To twice slay the slain, By dint of the Brain, (Thus Huxley concludes his review) Is but labour in vain, Unproductive of gain, And so I shall bid you Adieu!"“Monkeyana” - Punch - May 1861
“Monkeyana” - Punch - May 1861 Sir Phillip Egerton
1862William Henry Flower -refutes Owen’s three featuresbased on dissection of 16species.van der Kolk & Vrolik - theorang utan had the threefeaturesHuxley - Owen was “lying andshufﬂing”
1862“Is it not high time that the annualpassage of barbed words betweenProfessor Owen and ProfessorHuxley, on the cerebral distinctionbetween men and monkeys, shouldcease? ... Continued on its presentfooting, it becomes a hindranceand an injury to science, a joke forthe populace, and a scandal to thescientiﬁc world.” British Medical Journal
“The Great Hippopotamus Test”
Charles Kingsley - The Water Babies - 1862/3
Professor Ptthmllnsprts “held very strange theories about a good many things. Hehad even got up once at the British Association, and declared that apes hadhippopotamus majors in their brains just as men have. Which was a shocking thingto say; for, if it were so, what would become of the faith, hope, and charity ofimmortal millions? You may think that there are other more important differencesbetween you and an ape, such as being able to speak, and make machines, andknow right from wrong, and say your prayers, and other little matters of thatkind; but that is a child’s fancy, my dear. Nothing is to be depended on but thegreat hippopotamus test. If you have a hippopotamus major in your brain, you areno ape, though you had four hands, no feet, and were more apish than the apes ofall aperies. But if a hippopotamus major is ever discovered in one single ape’sbrain, nothing will save your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-greater-greatest-grandmother from having been an ape too. No, mydear little man; always remember that the one true, certain, ﬁnal, and all-importantdifference between you and an ape is, that you have a hippopotamus major in yourbrain, and it has none; and that, therefore, to discover one in its brain will be avery wrong and dangerous thing, at which every one will be very much shocked,as we may suppose they were at the professor.—Though really, after all, it don’tmuch matter; because—as Lord Dundreary and others would put it—nobody butmen have hippopotamuses in their brains; so, if a hippopotamus was discovered inan ape’s brain, why it would not be one, you know, but something else.”
Obaysch - 1851
And from the foot of the throne there swum away, out and into the sea, millions of new-born creatures, of more shapes and colours than man ever dreamed. And they were Mother Carey’s children, whom she makes out of the sea-water all day long. He expected, of course – like some grown people who ought to know better – to ﬁnd her snipping, piecing, ﬁtting, stitching, cobbling, basting, ﬁling, planing, hammering, turning, polishing, moulding, measuring, chiselling, clipping, and so forth as men do when they go to work to make anything. But instead of that, she sat quite still with her chin upon her hand, looking down into the sea with two great grand blue eyes, as blue as the sea itself.Mother Carey
Tom said: ‘‘I hear you are very busy.’’ ‘‘I am never more busy than I am now,’’ she said without stirring a ﬁnger. ‘‘I heard, ma’am, that you were always making new beasts out of old.’’ ‘‘So people fancy. But I am not going to trouble myself to make things, my little dear. I sit here and make them make themselves.’’Mother Carey
Evidence as to Mans Place in Nature (1863)
Owen 1866 On the Anatomy of Vertebrates The three structures were in apes only “under modiﬁed form and low grades of development.”
Evolution and Ethics “There are two very different questions which people fail to discriminate. One is whether evolution accounts for morality, the other whether the principle of evolution in general can be adopted as an ethical principle. The ﬁrst, of course, I advocate, and have constantly insisted upon. The second I deny, and reject all so-called evolutional ethics based upon it.”
ChangesRise in secularizationRise in power of scientiﬁc community to self-deﬁneknowledge and to control popularizationIncreased professionalizationDilution of inﬂuence of Oxford and Cambridge oneducationAcceptance of “evolution” (common descent) but not“Darwinism” (natural selection)