Who is Thomas Henry Huxley?June 26, 2021
Thomas Henry Huxley (born 4 May 1825 Ealing, Middlesex; died 29 June 1895 Eastbourne) was an English biologist. British biologist who first introduced the concept of agnosticism in philosophy, one of the most important proponents of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
He was the seventh child in his family. He started school in Earling in 1833, where his father taught mathematics, but continued his school life for only two years. After 1835 he taught himself German. At the age of twelve, he was reading advanced geology and logic books and doing simple scientific experiments on his own. At the age of fifteen, he began working as an apprentice to a general practitioner in the slums of London. Shortly after, he was awarded a scholarship from Charing Cross Hospital Medical School in central London. He won many awards, even though he followed his interests instead of compulsory subjects; His first research was published while he was a student.
When his scholarship was terminated at the age of twenty-one, he got a job as an assistant surgeon on the ship “HMS Rattlesnake”, which was on an expedition to the South Sea, although he was still doing his specialization training. During the four-year voyage, he studied sea creatures with his microscope, despite the primitive conditions of the ship. The results of the observations he sent from each port to England were published in the journals of the Royal Society and the Royal Institute. By the time he returned to England in 1850, he had become one of the most famous biologists of his time. With the special permission of the British Royal Navy, he studied the samples he had collected during the trip, without being on active duty for three years. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1852. He has received honorary doctorate degrees from universities in Breslau, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cambridge, Würzburg, Oxford, Bologna and Erlangen.
In the 1850s, he published many researches on subjects such as individual behavior in animals, cephalopods such as cuttlefish, methods of paleontology, methods and principles of science and science education, the structure and functions of nerves, and theories about the skull in vertebrates. He was dismissed in 1854 when he refused an invitation to return to his post in the Navy on the grounds that he had not published all of his research. He was trying to find a job so he could marry Henrietta Anne Heathorn, whom he had met in Sydney at the time. He continued to teach at the Mining School in London. He pioneered this school to become the Teachers’ College of Science and later the Royal College of Science.
Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species shook the scientific community in the mid-19th century. Along with Joseph Dalton Hooker and Charles Lyell, the young Huxley was one of the few scientists to support Darwin before the book was published. Huxley and Darwin’s friendship, which began in this period, lasted for years. While Darwin preferred to stay out of the debates on the theory of evolution, Huxley openly supported and enthusiastically defended these views.
One of the most important debates began in 1860 at the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Oxford University. When Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, who thinks the meeting is a good opportunity to refute this new and “dangerous” theory, asks if there were any monkeys among his ancestors in order to humiliate Huxley, Huxley said that his ancestor was an ape, intelligent and cultured, but using this intelligence to ridicule a serious scientific debate. He said he preferred it to be a man who used it for This discussion was important in that it not only made Darwin’s theory heard, but also symbolized the beginning of the treatment of science independent of theology.
Huxley conducted important research in paleontology, taxonomy (particularly the classification of birds), and ethnology in the 1860s. He served as director of the Geological Society of London and the Ethnological Society; He has taught at the Hunter Chair at the Royal School of Surgery. He was honorary director of the Working Men’s College for working men in south London. He worked actively in the Metaphysical Society. He also had a significant impact on the education reform initiated in the 1870s with his works and views. He laid the foundation for the primary education system to be implemented in England for 75 years. He also played a role in the reorganization of many higher education institutions. He contributed to the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. He wrote textbooks and opened hands-on courses for science teachers. He was a director of the Royal Society and the University of London. He went to the USA to speak at the opening of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. While director of Eton College in Buckinghamshire, he helped wealthy London professional associations donate to the development of technical education.
He started learning this language in 1878 as he wanted to read Aristotle’s philosophical views from Ancient Greek. His interest in philosophy gradually increased. His writings on David Hume, George Berkeley, and René Descartes remain illuminating even today. Huxley, who is also interested in theology, expressed his own intellectual position.