New from The Linnean (April 2019):
Why there was no ‘Darwin’s Bulldog’: Thomas Henry Huxley’s Famous Nickname
John van Wyhe
[No abstract, but here’s a very short description from the author: “TH Huxley was not known as Darwin’s bulldog during the 19th century as thousands of books, articles, websites etc. have been saying for almost a hundred years.”]
Here’s a PDF of the article! And as someone has already asked me, does this mean I must change my Twitter handle?
Thanks. Many points of interest.
It is interesting, but not surprising, to have documented yet another example of incompetence in AN Wilson’s 2017 book.
The article gives a secondary 1910 source for his account of the famous 1860 debate. There is in fact a contemporary and presumably first-hand record in the 1860 Oxford Gazette; I give a transcript, and link to a (paywalled) scholarly account, at https://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/tl-dr-wilberforce-huxley-encounter-oxford-chronicle-and-athenaeum-accounts/
TH Huxley’s own contributions, both to palaeontology and to our understanding of the geological background, were highly significant, and I hope the authors are wrong in thinking that they have been largely forgotten. I would point to Huxley’s closely argued argument for the case that birds are descended from dinosaurs (see e.g. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/thomas-henry-huxley-and-the-dinobirds-88519294/) and to the 1869 address, https://mathcs.clarku.edu/huxley/SM3/GeoAd69.html, in which he buried the old conflict between uniformitarianism and catastrophism (which of course does not stop Young Earth creationists from digging it up again).