Evolution: The Whitworth Gun in Huxley’s War for the Liberation of Science from Theology

  • Ruth Barton
Part of the Australasian Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 2)


An apology is needed for yet another article on Thomas Huxley and the conflict between science and religion. Recent analyses justifiably argue that Huxley is atypical and ‘the conflict’ exaggerated. Studies of the accommodations between science and theology are now needed.2 One purpose of this essay is to draw attention to a seldom-noticed accommodation made by Huxley. Two important recent studies find. New emphases in Huxley’s writings. In James Moore’s Post-Darwinian Controversies Huxley appears in strange guise, advocating a reconciliation between science and Calvinism.3 Many studies have found inconsistencies and inadequacies in Huxley’s agnosticism. James Paradis’ analysis of Huxley’s world view extends these criticisms and concludes that the concept of the order of nature is more fundamental to Huxley’s thought than his proclaimed agnosticism.4 By re-examining Huxley’s theological attitudes and arguments I hope to clarify these theses. With respect to the theme of this volume, I argue that Huxley’s ‘wider domain’ was not evolutionary thought but naturalistic thought.


Natural Knowledge Powerful Weapon Paleontological Evidence Free Inquiry Religious Feeling 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company Dordrecht, Holland 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Barton
    • 1
  1. 1.Western Australian Institute of TechnologyAustralia

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