Re: The role of debates and wedges

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Tue Jun 28 2005 - 14:30:04 EDT

Allan Harvey's very interesting comments have much to think about; he's
probably right in part. Scientists in Huxley's day did form networks to
promote naturalism, and they did intentionally try to "wedge out" those
colleagues who did not believe that a full naturalism was necessary in
science. For example, Huxley himself personally hounded George St Jackson
Mivart, who took a theistic view of evolution, essentially shoving Mivart
right out of the ranks of professional biologists. One could probably make
the case that the acceptance of a full naturalism in 19th century science
was hastened by sociological aspects of science--that is, the younger
generation moved on, while the older generation either died off or was
pushed to one side. Many of Darwin's leading contemporaries never accepted
his ideas, incl luminaries such as Richard Owen, Karl Ernst von Baer, Claude
Bernard (I think), and Louis Agassiz. It isn't an accident that Tom Kuhn
quotes Darwin's comment, from the Origin, that Darwin did not expect to
convince experienced naturalists, that instead he looked to the future, to
young and rising naturalists who could judge both sides of the issue with

Received on Tue Jun 28 14:32:16 2005

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