May 4: Science, again!

Thomas Huxley, the guy who called himself "Darwin's bulldog" way, way back in the 1860s, is presented to us today, and he's arguing against the primacy of the famous British classical education -- of what use is it to privledge knowing Greek and Latin, when there's a great scientific world around us? And perhaps you might nod as you watch Huxley fight this battle, knowing, as you do, that the outcome is decided -- we compromised, nowadays people are ignorant of both science and Greek -- and then you come to this:

The notions of the beginning and the end of the world entertained by our forefathers are no longer credible. It is very certain that the earth is not the chief body in the material universe, and that the world is not subordinated to man’s use. It is even more certain that nature is the expression of a definite order with which nothing interferes, and that the chief business of mankind is to learn that order and govern themselves accordingly.
Italics mine; the italics are the express the shock that this assertion, made in its of-course-we-all-know-it's-true voice, dates from the era of horses, and yet could not be made by any elected official, or indeed university president, in this country now. The horses are gone but the dislike of man being very small remains. Progress!

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