Thomas Henry Huxley: The Evolution of a Scientist

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Overview

English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95) was the foremost advocate of Darwin's theory of evolution, which he was "prepared to go to the stake" to defend. The controversies surrounding Darwin in the Victorian age became a vehicle for Huxley to gain power in intellectual, institutional, and political arenas.

Yet in this investigation of Huxley's motivations in science, Sherrie L. Lyons uncovers Huxley's skepticism of two basic tenets of Darwin's theory - natural selection and gradualism. His criticism of Darwinian science as being too simplistic led to a strengthening of evolutionary theory, rather than a weakening of it. A self-appointed defender of truth, Huxley developed his own research program, examining philosophy prior to Darwin in an effort to fill the holes in evolutionary theory. Lyons also looks at Huxley's conversion from saltation to gradualism, and his views on progression and the fossil record.

As Huxley's interest in developmental morphology continues to be crucial in studying problems in comparative anatomy, embryology, paleontology, and evolution, this book is essential to students of Darwin, Huxley, and the scientific enterprise.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In the Victorian Age, controversies surrounding Darwin's theory of evolution became a vehicle for English biologist Huxley, one of evolution's chief advocates, to gain power in intellectual, institutional, and political arenas. Science historian Lyons uncovers Huxley's skepticism of two basic tenets of Darwin's theory, natural selection and gradualism, and reveals how Huxley developed his own research program in an effort to fill the holes in evolutionary theory. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573927062
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Pages: 339
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Sherrie L. Lyons (Amherst, NY) is an assistant professor of science history at Daemen College, a Huxley lecturer, and the author of Spirits, Skulls, Serpents, and Darwin: Approaches to 'Science' in the 19th Century.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7
Preface 11
Introduction: Not Just Darwin's Bulldog 13
1 Rebel with a Cause 25
2 Huxley and the Concept of Type in the Nineteenth Century 49
3 Lyell, Saltation, and the Species Question 91
4 Fossils, Persistence, and the Argument from Design 111
5 From Saltation to Gradualism 159
6 Convincing Men They Are Monkeys 189
7 Huxley and Natural Selection 231
8 Evolution and Huxley's Worldview 255
9 Huxley's Biology and Modern Evolutionary Theory 279
Bibliography 313
Index 333
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