In this selection of his most important writings, rewned scientist and philosopher Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) discusses his views on the demonstrative evidence of evolution, the physical basis of life, naturalism and supernaturalism, agsticism and Christianity, and the Christian tradition in relation to Judaic Christianity.
THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY was born on May 4, 1825, in Ealing, England. Although the son of a schoolmaster, Huxley had no formal education as a child; he read voraciously, however, and at a young age began to study medicine. Later, he entered Charing Cross Hospital medical school, taking his degree in 1845. After passing the Royal College of Surgeons exam-ination in 1846, Huxley was appointed assistant surgeon aboard the H.M.S. Rattlesnake on its four-year scientific exploration of the southern seas around Australia. During that time, Huxley made extensive studies of the local marine life, which were later published to great acclaim. These marine studies, as well as Huxley's detailed investigations into comparative anatomy, paleontology, and evolution confirmed forever his reputation as one of England's fore-most scientists and controversialists. Huxley met Charles Darwin in 1851; after the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, Huxley became Darwin's principal defender against the anti-evolutionists, including the Duke of Argyll, William Gladstone, and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, whom Huxley engaged in a fierce debate over evolution in 1860. In 1863, Huxley pub-lished his Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature, which argued that human beings were closely related to anthropoid apes. Unorthodox both in science and religion, Huxley attacked what he called -that clericalism, which in England, as everywhere else, and to whatever denomination it may belong, is the deadly enemy of science.- In a series of spirited essays and lectures on philosophy, religion, and science delivered in England and abroad, Huxley denounced orthodoxy and biblical infallibility; in light of the fact that no irrefutable evidence of the unseen world of religion could be adduced, Huxley espoused a healthy agnosticism con-cerning the supernatural. For his work in science, Huxley held several academic positions concurrently and reaped many honors: from 1854 until 1885, he was Lecturer at the Royal School of Mines; Hunterian Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons (1863-1869); and Fullerian Professor at the Royal Insti-tution (1863-1867). In 1883, Huxley was elected president of the Royal Society, a post he held for two years. A tireless popularizer of science as well as a specialist, Huxley served from 1870 to 1872 on the first London school board, and did much to promote educational techniques and the study of biology. Thomas Henry Huxley died on June 29, 1895, in Eastbourne, England. Huxley's other major works include Introduction to the Classification of Animals (1869), Lay Sermons (1870), Manual of the Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrated Ani-mals (1871), and Evolution and Ethics (1893).