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Thomas Henry Huxley (1825 – 1895)


British biologist.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Within the last half century, the labours of such men as Von Baer, Rathke, Reichert, Bischof, and Remak, have almost completely unravelled... the successive stages of development which... are now as well known to the embryologist as are the steps of the metamorphosis of the silk-worm moth to the school boy.
Huxley quotes
The sceptics end in the infidelity which asserts the problem to be insoluble, or in the atheism which denies the existence of any orderly progress and governance of things: the men of genius propound solutions which grow into systems of Theology or of Philosophy, or veiled in musical language which suggests more than it asserts, take the shape of the Poetry of an epoch.
Huxley
In a well worn metaphor, a parallel is drawn between the life of man and the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into the butterfly; but the comparison may be more just as well as more novel, if for its former term we take the mental progress of the race. History shows that the human mind, fed by constant accessions of knowledge, periodically grows too large for its theoretical coverings, and bursts them asunder to appear in new habiliments, as the feeding and growing grub, at intervals, casts its too narrow skin and assumes another, itself but temporary. Truly the imago state of Man seems to be terribly distant, but every moult is a step gained, and of such there have been many.




Huxley Thomas Henry quotes
The saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing is, to my mind, a very dangerous adage. If knowledge is real and genuine, I do not believe that it is other than a very valuable possession, however infinitesimal its quantity may be. Indeed, if a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?
Huxley Thomas Henry
Huxley, I believe, was the greatest Englishman of the Nineteenth Century — perhaps the greatest Englishman of all time.
Thomas Henry Huxley quotes
M. Comte's philosophy, in practice, might be compendiously described as Catholicism minus Christianity.
Thomas Henry Huxley
If Man be separated by no greater structural barrier from the brutes than they are from one another—then it seems to follow that if any process of physical causation can be discovered by which the genera and families of ordinary animals have been produced, that process of causation is amply sufficient to account for the origin of Man.
Huxley Thomas Henry quotes
I cannot say that I am in the slightest degree impressed by your bigness, or your material resources, as such. Size is not grandeur, and territory does not make a nation. The great issue, about which hangs true sublimity, and the terror of overhanging fate, is what are you going to do with all these things?
Huxley
I believed that he was the greatest man I was ever likely to meet, and I believe that all the more firmly today.
Huxley Thomas Henry
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.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.




Thomas Henry Huxley quotes
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.
Thomas Henry Huxley
I do not advocate burning your ship to get rid of the cockroaches.
Huxley quotes
Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men.
Huxley Thomas Henry
The antagonism between science and religion, about which we hear so much, appears to me to be purely factitious — fabricated, on the one hand, by short-sighted religious people who confound a certain branch of science, theology, with religion; and, on the other, by equally short-sighted scientific people who forget that science takes for its province only that which is susceptible of clear intellectual comprehension; and that, outside the boundaries of that province, they must be content with imagination, with hope, and with ignorance.
Huxley Thomas Henry quotes
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.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Give me such evidence as would justify me in believing in anything else and I will believe that. Why should I not? It is not half so wonderful as the conservation of force, or the indestructibility of matter. Whoso clearly appreciates all that is implied in the falling of a stone can have no difficulty about any doctrine simply on account of its marvelousness But the longer I live, the more obvious it is to me that the most sacred act of a man's life is to say and to feel, 'I believe such and such to be true.' All the greatest rewards and all the heaviest penalties of existence cling about that act. The universe is one and the same throughout; and if the condition of my success in unraveling some little difficulty of anatomy or physiology is that I shall rigorously refuse to put faith in that which does not rest on sufficient evidence, I cannot believe that the great mysteries of existence will be laid open to me on other terms.... I know what I mean when I say I believe in the law of the inverse squares, and I will not rest my life and hopes upon weaker convictions. I dare not if I would.
Thomas Henry Huxley quotes
All of us owe a vast debt to Huxley, especially all of us of English speech, for it was he, more than any other man, who worked that great change in human thought which marked the Nineteenth Century.
Thomas Henry Huxley
A small beginning has led us to a great ending. If I were to put the bit of chalk with which we started into the hot but obscure flame of burning hydrogen, it would presently shine like the sun. It seems to me that this physical metamorphosis is no false image of what has been the result of our subjecting it to a jet of fervent, though nowise brilliant, thought to-night. It has become luminous, and its clear rays, penetrating the abyss of the remote past, have brought within our ken some stages of the evolution of the earth. And in the shifting "without haste, but without rest" of the land and sea, as in the endless variation of the forms assumed by living beings, we have observed nothing but the natural product of the forces originally possessed by the substance of the universe.
Huxley Thomas Henry
The doctrine that all men are, in any sense, or have been, at any time, free and equal, is an utterly baseless fiction.


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