Thomas Henry Huxley: The Evolution of a Scientist

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9781573927062: Thomas Henry Huxley: The Evolution of a Scientist

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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About 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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