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bully for brontosaurus essay

bully for brontosaurus essayBully for brontosaurus essay -Nor was the exchange part of a formal debate, instead arising more or less spontaneously during a discussion that included a number of other participants following another speaker’s paper.The only problem with this account of that June day in Oxford is that most of it is tendentious and some of it simply untrue.It was a construction, almost exclusively, of the Darwinians and their allies.This gentlemanly elite reserved to itself the right to speculate and theorize; those from the provinces or without connections to traditional institutional bulwarks like the ancient universities or the Royal College of Surgeons were expected to confine themselves to such empirical enterprises as field observations and data collection, preferably as part of a larger project endorsed by the elites.One of the few contemporary journalistic accounts of the exchange even cast the event as a sign of toleration, not hostility, between science and religion.Reconstructing the Huxley-Wilberforce encounter, the contexts in which it took place and what is and is not known about it, yields an understanding of the relationship between religion and science in the Victorian period that is fuller and more complex than the traditional “conflict” model. Darwin’s book remained the talk of the scientific community and was generating considerable controversy among the wider public.While those sources shouldn’t be rejected on those grounds, historians have come to recognize that the story they tell is heavily biased and sometimes contradicted by other contemporary evidence.Humans, he reassured the audience, had not descended from monkeys. Obtaining the floor, he asserted his total opposition to Owen’s position.A leading figure of the church should not cast even joking aspersions on another man’s forebears.This rebuke brought the audience around to Huxley’s side, their laughter and roars of approval greater than for Wilberforce’s jibe. Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce at the 1860 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Oxford is an iconic story in the history of evolution and, indeed, in the history of the conflict between science and religion, second only to Galileo’s troubles with the Vatican.A conflict between Owen and Huxley seemed inevitable.This confrontation set the stage for Huxley’s exchange with Wilberforce two days later. 8) was scheduled to speak to Section D on “The Intellectual Development of Europe, considered with reference to the views of Mr.1660), although gaining power and authority meant inclusion of sympathetic aristocrats, urban gentry, and wealthy manufacturers.Huxley had heard of it and again vowed to avoid a public dispute: Soapy Sam’s oratorical skills deployed in such a venue would not conduce to a fair hearing for evolution.Hooker clearly felt no obligation to attend expressly to defend Darwin’s book, and he jokingly complained at “being woke out of reveries to become referee on Natural Selection” (Hooker to Darwin, 2 July 1860; ).The London was the only newspaper to report a specific version, and it had the Bishop asking Huxley “whether he would prefer a monkey for his grandfather or his grandmother? This corresponds with Huxley’s characterization of the Bishop’s question two months after the event as concerning “my personal predilections in the matter of ancestry” (Huxley to Frederick Dyster, 9 Sept. A serious scientific discussion should not be lowered by what appeared to be a personal jibe.Draper’s ideas and eloquence, however, were not what drew the crowd, but the rumor that Wilberforce was going to use the occasion to attack Darwin’s theory.Draper’s address was followed by a number of comments and speeches from the floor.Huxley and Hooker were confident their side had prevailed, but Wilberforce declared to a correspondent that he had “thoroughly beat” Huxley (Wilberforce to Charles Anderson, 3 July 1860; qtd. For Darwin’s supporters—and through them, Darwin himself—the exchange momentous and did mark a turning point in the fortunes of Darwinism within the scientific community and in science’s struggle for independence from religious authority.bully for brontosaurus essayJuly 1860; ].) Human dignity was the basis, however, for Wilberforce’s closing quip.Opinions of participants and observers were divided as to who could claim victory, and on what grounds.Darwin and others, that the Progression of Organisms is determined by Law.” Draper had been born and educated in England but moved as a young man to America, building a distinguished career in science and medicine as Professor of Chemistry and Physiology at what was then known as the University of the City of New York.The exact wording of Wilberforce’s question is uncertain—observers recalled many different variations. Whatever its precise form, Wilberforce’s query drew laughter, though many observers felt it was in bad taste or even ungentlemanly.The meeting’s chairman, the venerable Cambridge botanist John Stevens Henslow, mentor to Darwin during the latter’s undergraduate years and the father-in-law of Hooker, sought to keep the discussion on civil and scientific grounds.By 1860, he had already declared his support for the transmutation of species in his successful 1856 textbook, iii), Draper previewed for the BAAS his forthcoming book, an analysis of European civilization on physiological principles.The human brain, Owen explained, was vastly different from the brain of apes.5), it synthesized evidence from across the natural sciences to present a grand cosmic narrative of change and development.Although generally omitted from the traditional account, Hooker’s speech was a major element of the day, and some of those present (including Hooker, but not just him) thought it the most important in substance.Such evolutionary ideas were dangerous in the eyes of the British scientific elite, particularly in the economic depression and social turmoil of the 1840s.The astronomer Lord Wrottesley, in his presidential address, made no mention of Darwin’s book in his survey of the previous year’s major achievements in science ( vii-xvi).Owen seized the opportunity, aiming his remarks at the very public that Huxley disdained.For his part, Owen had published a scathing anonymous review in the and was rumored to be conspiring with Wilberforce, with whom he stayed while in Oxford, to attack Darwin’s theory.Membership and participation were to be more meritocratic than Britain’s most prestigious and much older scientific body, the Royal Society of London (f.Wilberforce’s case against Darwinism was made primarily on scientific and philosophical, not religious, grounds, and some thought botanist Joseph Hooker, another friend and ally of Darwin’s, the more effective defender of the evolutionary faith.Most observers, however, would remember the exchange between Huxley and Wilberforce.The story told by Francis Darwin and Leonard Huxley was, not surprisingly, the story the Darwinians had long told amongst themselves, in which they were the clear victors and natural science stood up to religious ignorance and obscurantism.Nonetheless, Draper’s talk attracted such a large audience—probably 400 to 700—that the session had to be moved to a larger venue to accommodate the throng of Association members, Oxford dons, rowdy undergraduates, and a smattering of female guests.When Wilberforce’s turn came, he seized it, speaking for thirty minutes.In particular, it was the work of Darwin’s son, Francis (Fig. bully for brontosaurus essay Darwin’s Work ‘On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection,’” delivered on Thursday, 28 June, to Section D, Botany and Zoology, including Physiology.The line between humans and animals was distinct and permanent.When Irvine’s book was reprinted in 1963, it even came with a preface by Julian Huxley, the grandson of Thomas Henry and a great evolutionary biologist himself (Fig. The legendary account of the Huxley-Wilberforce exchange has lived on in literary studies as well.The Association seemed determined to avoid or at least limit formal controversy over evolution.Significantly, both at the time and many years later, Huxley took pains to deny the widely circulated claim that he had said he would rather be an ape than a bishop or had in any way insulted Wilberforce in his reply.[4] Huxley’s rejoinder drew cheers and laughter of its own, but his was hardly the last word, and it certainly didn’t win the day for Darwin’s advocates.When called upon to respond to Daubeny’s paper, however, Huxley demurred, asserting that a public venue was not the place for a dispassionate discussion of Darwin’s theory.Huxley had won an audience mostly hostile to evolution to his side.Once ensconced in the three , which opens with a dramatic rendering of the Huxley-Wilberforce debate.As the traditional account has it, on Saturday, 30 June, Samuel Wilberforce (Fig.In part that is due to Irvine, then a professor of English at Stanford.His arguments reflected those he had recently penned for his anonymous review of the .had appeared anonymously and become a cultural and scientific sensation; the work of Edinburgh publisher Robert Chambers (Fig.1), the powerful Bishop of Oxford, debated Thomas Henry Huxley (Fig. Wilberforce, known as “Soapy Sam” for his smoothness and rhetorical slipperiness in debate, offered a lengthy denunciation of Darwin’s theory, ridiculing it and declaring it to be at odds with Scripture.This simplistic schema, which ignores the fact that many leading scientists were also religious leaders and treats Wilberforce erroneously as a biblical literalist, furthers misconceptions about both science and religion in the period, in particular implying that Darwin’s scientific critics objected to his theory solely on scientific grounds, while religious leaders objected out of a reactionary commitment to biblical literalism.[2] Although the traditional account of the Huxley-Wilberforce encounter has long been discredited by historians, understanding the contexts in play that day, and how that traditional account acquired the aura of truth, has much to teach us about science, religion, and Victorian culture.The specifics of Draper’s argument were largely forgotten in favor of assessments of Darwin’s theory.The analogy between natural selection and human breeding of domesticated animals on which Darwin relied so heavily in fact told against him: domesticated breeds reverted to type when no longer under human control and crosses between species invariably resulted in sterile hybrids.The precise wording of his retort is also uncertain, but the version Huxley provided two months later is probably fairly accurate: “If then, said I, the question is put to me would I rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessing great means & influence & yet who employs those faculties & that influence for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussion—I unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape” (Huxley to Dyster, 9 Sept. He rhetorically chastised Wilberforce for deploying rhetoric, as if this were a political debate in the Oxford Union or the House of Lords (to both of which Wilberforce was prominently connected) rather than “a grave scientific discussion.” Huxley’s reference to the Bishop’s “introducing ridicule” into the discussion probably reflects more than just Wilberforce’s jibe at Huxley.It was author Robert Chambers, ironically, who induced Huxley to stay by accusing him of deserting the evolutionary cause. He only decided to attend at the last minute, he told Darwin, and merely out of boredom and curiosity at what the Bishop would say.Darwin’s opponents, however, seemed eager to take advantage of even meager opportunities to go on the attack.Many—including the young Huxley—also saw had received, but he knew well that his ideas would nonetheless unleash similar criticisms. bully for brontosaurus essay Human dignity and privilege would not be imperiled by such a connection, and humans would remain morally responsible for their actions.Even Hooker felt that, although Huxley had “answered admirably & turned the tables,” he had not attacked Wilberforce’s weak points “nor put the matter in a form or way that carried the audience” (Hooker to Darwin, 2 July 1860; ). 10) himself spoke last, and it was he who offered both the most extensive defense of Darwin’s theory and the most direct attack on Wilberforce.In the seven months following the publication of the , Huxley had already emerged as Darwin’s main defender, writing three major, favorable reviews of it and supporting it in a lecture at London’s Royal Institution.Daubeny, Professor of Botany at Oxford, argued that natural selection might be responsible for the development of sexual organs in plants and offered a cautious endorsement of Darwin’s theory, though he “wished not to be considered as advocating it to the extent to which the author seems disposed to carry it” (“Science—British Association” 26). 6), Britain’s leading comparative anatomist and the superintendant of the natural history collections at the British Museum.3), himself a botanist, and Huxley’s son, Leonard, in their respective (which contained no reference to Wilberforce’s jibe and Huxley’s rejoinder), and versions from among the flurry of reminiscences that followed his father’s death in 1882 and from others that he solicited.He said he had heard nothing new in the Bishop’s speech, except for the question about his ancestry, and though that was a topic he would not have introduced, he would reply. Huxley subtly drew attention to the Bishop’s behavior and his lack of scientific credentials.Leonard Huxley borrowed from Francis Darwin’s sources and solicited several new reminiscences from eyewitnesses.Since at least the 1980s, historians have widely regarded the traditional account of that day as a myth or legend.[1] The exchange between Huxley and Wilberforce, these revisionist accounts have shown, barely registered on public consciousness at the time, mainly because press coverage of the event was so limited.For these men, mindful of the connections between scientific materialism and radical politics and atheism, particularly in France and among the medical community in London (see Desmond, ), natural science should be pursued and defended as a buttress to Christianity, and thus to the moral and political order of society.These sources, however, were overwhelmingly from Darwinian partisans, and most were drawn from recollections made twenty to forty years after the fact.Even the clergy “had nothing to fear,” Huxley claimed, “should it be shown that apes were their ancestors” (“Literature and Art”).It had little or nothing to do with Darwin’s work—the attempt to discern laws of social change and progress was more the province of Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, and Henry Thomas Buckle, and Hooker disdainfully described Draper’s address to Darwin as “all a pie of Herb).Hooker told Darwin that Wilberforce had “ridiculed you badly and Huxley savagely” (Hooker to Darwin, 2 July 1860; suggest his humor in this case had a hard and even a personal edge.Since its very first edition a half century ago, that venerable anthology has contained a section under the Victorian Age devoted to Evolution in which Leonard’s account has always appeared. The centennial of the ’s sixth edition in 1993, however, or certainly by the seventh edition in 2000, the inclusion of Leonard Huxley’s version of the encounter had become deeply problematic given the proliferating number of revisionist studies of the event.Historians have shown that this traditional account is biased and distorted, a construction many years after the fact by the Darwinians and their allies, yet it continues to live on, even in literary studies.As he closed his remarks, Wilberforce turned to Huxley and sneeringly asked him if it was through his grandfather or grandmother that he claimed descent from apes. Huxley turned to the man seated next to him and whispered, “The Lord hath delivered him into mine hands.” Rising to his feet, Huxley responded that he would rather have an ape for an ancestor than a bishop who distorted the truth.By raising the possibility of a monkey in Huxley’s maternal line, Wilberforce also evoked the culturally disturbing notion of sexual congress between humans and apes, an image that, as Gowan Dawson has shown (55-74), was often deployed to discredit evolution. 9.) Whether or not he felt personally insulted, Huxley took advantage of the opening.Owen’s view of the history of life—that organisms had not evolved but rather unfolded through time according to the Creator’s plan, with species varying from archetypal forms present in the divine mind—was the dominant one in the 1840s and 50s. 7.) Huxley, a rising star but over twenty years Owen’s junior, had come increasingly to regard Owen’s archetypal anatomy as inadequate and Owen himself as someone obsessed with power and privilege.[3] The two men had been arguing in public for some time over the brains of apes versus those of humans, a charged issue with obvious implications for the question of human descent.The British Association for the Advancement of Science was a relatively young organization in 1860, having been founded just thirty years before.The greater cause, however, is undoubtedly the inclusion of Leonard Huxley’s account of the Huxley-Wilberforce exchange in the . bully for brontosaurus essay It was a construction, almost exclusively, of the Darwinians and their allies. bully for brontosaurus essay




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