Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | October 8, 2009

Weekly Read-Along—October 9, 2009: Science and Culture

Material for the Stout-Hearted Reader to Ruminate

♦ Essays, Lectures & Speeches ♦

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Thomas Henry Huxley (1825 – 1895), was an English biologist noted as a comparative anatomist and a strong advocate of Darwin’s theory of evolution.  He considered himself an agnostic and coined that term. He was the grandfather of Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World.

This week’s text is his address, “Science and Culture”, delivered in 1880 at the opening of Mason College, now the University of Birmingham.  Science, in the late nineteenth century, still was not widely acknowledged as having a great impact on culture.  In the speech, Huxley argued that physical science should join, if not replace, classical and modern literature as a course of study in university education—

“…In the last century, the combatants were the champions of ancient literature, on the one side, and those of modern literature on the other, but, some thirty years ago, the contest became complicated by the appearance of a third army, ranged round the banner of physical science. 

I am not aware that any one has authority to speak in the name of this new host. For it must be admitted to be somewhat of a guerilla force, composed largely of irregulars, each of whom fights pretty much for his own hand…”

Join others from around the world in this weekly reading event! You can find Huxley’s text at this website:

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