Wilberforce and Huxley: A Legendary Encounter

The legend of the encounter between Wilberforce and Huxley is well established. Almost every scientist knows, and every viewer of the BBC's recent programme on Darwin was shown,* how Samuel Wilberforce, bishop of Oxford, attempted to pour scorn on Darwin's Origin of Species at a meeting of the British Association in Oxford on 30 June 1860, and had the tables turned on him by T. H. Huxley. In this memorable encounter Huxley's simple scientific sincerity humbled the prelatical insolence and clerical obscurantism of Soapy Sam; the pretension of the Church to dictate to scientists the conclusions they were allowed to reach were, for good and all, decisively defeated; the autonomy of science was established in Britain and the Western world; the claim of plain unvarnished truth on men's allegiance was vindicated, however unwelcome its implications for human vanity might be; and the flood tide of Victorian faith in all its fulsomeness was turned to an ebb, which has continued to our present day and will only end when religion and superstition have been finally eliminated from the minds of all enlightened men. Even churchmen concede that it was a disastrous defeat.1 Only Owen Chadwick strikes a note of caution, observing that the account given of the incident in Wilberforce's biography seems hardly consistent with an overwhelming defeat, and maintaining that the received account must be a largely legendary creation of a later date.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 25,727
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Touchstone for Ethics, 1893-1943.Thomas Henry Huxley - 1971 - Freeport, N.Y., Books for Libraries Press.
Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection and its Moral Purpose.Robert Richards - 2009 - In Michael Ruse & Robert J. Richards (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the "Origin of Species". Cambridge University Press.
What Was Huxley's Epiphenomenalism?Neil Campbell - 2001 - Biology and Philosophy 16 (3):357-375.
Higher Pantheism.David Knight - 2000 - Zygon 35 (3):603-612.
Thomas Henry Huxley.Author unknown - 2001 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Building the British Empire.Robert Wilberforce - 1939 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 14 (1):138-140.
The Perennial Philosophy.Aldous Huxley - 1945 - Perennial Classics.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

23 ( #210,510 of 2,146,310 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #386,104 of 2,146,310 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums