Re: The role of debates and wedges

From: Jack Haas <>
Date: Tue Jun 28 2005 - 15:55:36 EDT

Yet Huxley and Tyndall would use the scientific work of theistic
evolutionist Rev. W. H. Dallinger for their own purposes and
reward him with membership in the Royal Society and the chance to write
papers in the leading scientific Journals. A key factor that Ted
mentions is the 'professionalizing' and 'institutionalizing' of science
- Amateurs such as Dallinger were soon shut out of the action. Peter
Bowler, /Reconciling Science and Religion: the Debate in Early
Twentieth Century Britain, /2001, p. 11 notes :

" / /There was tension in the Victorian era, of course. Religious
thinkers at first found the new scientific theories difficult to
assimilate, and to some scientists - of whom Huxley is the best example
- went out of their way to present science as a source of knowledge that
would supplant religious superstition. But the latter policy was at
least as much a tactic employed by professional scientists seeking
recognition as it was the product of real antipathy, and many commented
on the religious tone of Huxley's own pronouncements on the moral
character of agnosticism."


Ted Davis wrote:

>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 15:58:02 2005

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