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Saturday, July 06, 2013

Darwinist Hall of Shame - "Darwin's Bulldog" aka Thomas Huxley - and Russell Grigg edition...with a bonus assertion to support Biogenesis!

I would like to thank Jonathan Sarfati, Don Batten and Andrew Kulikovsky from for their suggestions for this series.   They recommended several articles and I used a couple of suggestions to induct Lyell the Liar in the last post.   Today, we look at one of the infamous Huxleys, Thomas.  Unlike Charles Darwin, who was raised by a father who modeled a pretense rather than a faith, being a church member in order to be a respectable gentleman, Huxley had a commoner's beginning with a father who neglected him and allowed his family to wallow in poverty.   When you think of Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley, you are reminded how much influence a father has on his sons, both positive and negative.  

To me, before I was a Christian it was me who was most important and my primary desires were to get high, get girls, have fun, play sports and become a rock and roll star and always have a very cool car.   Afterwards I soon found that I was far more concerned about caring for my family and being a good husband and father.   Once I had fast cars or sports cars or collectable cars, but then the main thing became to always have a van to take my family and maybe a few extra kids places.  Thank God I became a Christian and man, I worked hard at being a good father!   My very cool kids and grandkids are a legacy way better than having a hit record or a Mustang convertible.   

Anyway, we look at Thomas Huxley.  Back in 2010 I wrote a blogpost entitled:

Darwinism is a religion and an excuse for bad behavior.

An excerpt about the Huxley clan from that post::

"Aldous Huxley:

Admits motive for anti-Christian bias

Aldous Huxley was a British novelist who wrote Brave New World (1932), and was a grandson of ‘Darwin’s Bulldog’, T.H. Huxley. He was also the brother of the leading atheistic evolutionist Sir Julian Huxley (see quotes: Humanism as religion and Human soul and religion are just the product of religion), and died the same day as Christian apologist C.S. Lewis (see his quotes Materialistic Thoughts and Science began with belief in a Lawmaker), and the assassination of JFK (22 Nov. 1963). He is infamous for his advocacy of a drug-fueled utopia. In his mid-life he got involved in eastern mysticism. Aldous Huxley made this frank admission about his anti-Christian motivation:
"I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political."


Huxley, A., Ends and Means, 1937, pp. 270 ff."

So Thomas was the progenitor of some Atheopaths, although I do admire the book, Brave New World, by Aldous.  A Dystopian novel that Aldous Huxley intended as a critique of American society, modernization and the Utopian novel in general, he actually wrote a book that warned of the dangers of Elitist control over society, a danger presented to mankind in part through belief in Darwinism.  I highly recommend that all students read this novel as well as books by Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged and Anthem and The Fountainhead) and George Orwell (Animal Farm and 1984) and I suppose William Golding's Lord of the Flies also...Once such books would have been required reading in a complete education of a young person.  Once Shakespeare, other classic authors and the great philosophers of antiquity on up to the present time would be compared to the teachings of the Bible and an educated person would not receive a Bachelor's degree in many fields without such a background.  

These days I frequently encounter college graduates who have never read one book by Ayn Rand and sometimes they have never heard of her!  Chaucer and Blake and a host of other writers once deemed required reading for an English major at the very least now are becoming forgotten.  What, you say, I would recommend that my kids read books from non-Christian authors and read non-believing philosopher's works?   Of course!   I encouraged my children to learn and have a balanced view of the world by hearing from more than one side.   I am an unashamed propagandist in that I raised my kids on the Bible and Biblical themes.   But I also urged them to read classics of literature and explore the assertions of alternative philosophies.  Eh, anyway, back to our movie...

Thomas Huxley was the inventor of the "monkeys typing the 23rd Psalm" argument, which proved to be ridiculously idiotic...and of course he was the guy who thought a precipitate of calcium sulphate was a primitive life form - Bathybius haeckelii!

Anyway, here we go with the so-called bulldog...and I agree with the bull part, I would just put another word at the end...

     Darwin’s bulldog—Thomas H. Huxley

Published: 14 October 2008; Republished 4 November 2009(GMT+10)
This is the pre-publication version which was subsequently abbreviated to appear in Creation 31(3):39–41.
Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin had little time for the scientific, theological and moral controversies engendered by the publication of his Origin of Species in 1859. Not so Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895), who leapt to the fray, even dubbing himself ‘Darwin’s bulldog’.1

Darwin called him, ‘My good and kind agent for the propagation of the Gospel—i.e. the devil’s Gospel.’2
It was Huxley, not Darwin, who enraptured and outraged audiences in the 1860s with talk of our ape ancestors and cave men. London turned out—from cardinals to Karl Marx—to be tantalized and tormented by his scintillating lectures. ‘Bushy-bearded labourers with blistered hands flocked to his talks on our ancestry. He drew the sort of crowds that are reserved for evangelists or rock stars today.’3
‘Out of his provocations came … the West’s new faith—agnosticism (he coined the word).’3

Youth and self-education
Thomas H. Huxley
Thomas H. Huxley

Thomas was born in Ealing village, near London, in 1825, the seventh of eight Huxley children. Neglected by his father, he grew up in poverty, with only two years of formal schooling. Living in the industrial squalor of the 1840s, where the Church was a rich man’s luxury, he sought redemption through self-education.

At the age of 12 he read James Hutton’s Theory of the Earth and had his first encounter with anti-biblical geology. An avid reader of history, science and philosophy, he taught himself almost everything he knew until he entered Charing Cross Hospital medical school.4 He put himself through Part 1 of the Bachelor of Medicine exam at London University, winning the gold medal for anatomy and physiology, but did not present to sit Part 2.5

He then became Assistant Surgeon (‘surgeon’s mate’) on HMS Rattlesnake for a southern oceans surveying voyage (1846–1850). Although Huxley had no formal university degree,6 the publishing of his researches on the structure of various marine invertebrates from this trip secured his future acceptance by the British scientific community.7 In 1851, at age 25, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (F.R.S.), which also awarded him its Royal Medal in 1852, a year before Charles Darwin received the same honour.

Huxley and Darwin

In November 1859, Darwin published his Origin of Species. He had been putting it off for some twenty years, ‘fearing execration as an atheist’, but had been galvanised into action by a letter he had received the previous year from Alfred Russel Wallace in which Wallace had broached the same idea as Darwin’s of ‘survival of the fittest’.8

Though Darwin was careful not to say it, the Origin ultimately meant that man was not created, but was merely a developed ape. ‘But without the promise of Heaven or the fear of Hell, why should we live a good life?’9 Darwin had hoped to avoid all such controversy. Not so Huxley, who earlier had written to a colleague, ‘After all, it is as respectable to be modified monkey as modified dirt’.10 Thus, Darwin needed a champion as much as Huxley needed a cause, and soon Darwin was claiming Huxley as his ‘warmest & most important supporter’,11 and ‘my good and admirable agent for the promulgation of damnable heresies’.12

Concerning the attempts of theologians to say the Flood was only a local event, Huxley wrote, ‘A child may see the folly of it.’

Huxley exuberantly endorsed the naturalism of evolution although, surprisingly, not the mechanism for it. He disagreed with Darwin on the tempo of evolution. For example, Darwin excluded all saltation or ‘jumps’, causing Huxley to write to him: ‘[Y]ou have loaded yourself with an unnecessary difficulty in adopting Natura non facit saltum [Nature makes no leap] so unreservedly.’13 Huxley also disagreed ‘on the analogy between artificial selection and natural selection, on hybridism, and on Darwin’s hypothesis of Pangenesis, that development of features in a parent would be passed on to its offspring.’14

Nevertheless, all this ambivalence by Huxley did not deter his fanatical and aggressive promotion of Darwin’s theory. As law professor Phillip Johnson comments, ‘Faith in evolutionary naturalism is what unites the different factions of evolutionists, not agreement on any concrete scientific propositions.15

What motivated Huxley? Historian Prof. Gertrude Himmelfarb writes, ‘Huxley was the great avenger. Raging against the inferior status of scientists compared with clergymen, he looked forward to the time when he could get his heel “into their mouths and scr-r-unch it round”. The Origin gave him the opportunity.’16

Huxley and the gospel

Huxley, although an unbeliever, was thoroughly familiar with the Gospel, and had little time for Christians who compromised their position by supporting the anti-biblical belief of evolutionary naturalism. He wrote:
‘I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how any one, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures. The very conception of the Messiah, or Christ, is inextricably interwoven with Jewish history; the identification of Jesus of Nazareth with that Messiah rests upon the interpretation of passages of the Hebrew Scriptures which have no evidential value unless they possess the historical character assigned to them. If the covenant with Abraham was not made; if circumcision and sacrifices were not ordained by Jahveh; if the “ten words” were not written by God’s hand on the stone tables; if Abraham is more or less a mythical hero, such as Theseus; the story of the Deluge a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events have no more value as history than have the stories of the regal period of Rome—what is to be said about the Messianic doctrine, which is so much less clearly enunciated? And what about the authority of the writers of the books of the New Testament, who, on this theory, have not merely accepted flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?’17
Huxley added that ‘the Universality of the Deluge is recognised, not merely as a part of the story, but as a necessary consequence of some of its details.’18 And then, concerning the attempts of theologians to say the Flood was only a local event, he wrote, ‘A child may see the folly of it.’19

‘I venture to ask what sort of value, as an illustration of God’s methods of dealing with sin, has an account of an event that never happened?

He continued:
‘When Jesus spoke, as of a matter of fact, that "the Flood came and destroyed them all," did he believe that the Deluge really took place, or not? It seems to me that, as the narrative mentions Noah’s wife, and his sons’ wives, there is good scriptural warranty for the statement that the antediluvians married and were given in marriage; and I should have thought that their eating and drinking might be assumed by the firmest believer in the literal truth of the story. Moreover, I venture to ask what sort of value, as an illustration of God’s methods of dealing with sin, has an account of an event that never happened? If no Flood swept the careless people away, how is the warning of more worth than the cry of “Wolf” when there is no wolf? If Jonah’s three days’ residence in the whale is not an “admitted reality,” how could it “warrant belief” in the “coming resurrection?” … Suppose that a Conservative orator warns his hearers to beware of great political and social changes, lest they end, as in France, in the domination of a Robespierre; what becomes, not only of his argument, but of his veracity, if he, personally, does not believe that Robespierre existed and did the deeds attributed to him?’20
Concerning Matthew 19:5 [‘Have ye not read, that he which made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the twain shall become one flesh?’], Huxley wrote,
‘If divine authority is not here claimed for the twenty-fourth verse of the second chapter of Genesis, what is the value of language? And again, I ask, if one may play fast and loose with the story of the Fall as a “type” or “allegory,” what becomes of the foundation of Pauline theology?’21
And concerning 1 Corinthians 15:21–22 [‘For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.’], Huxley wrote,
‘If Adam may be held to be no more real a personage than Prometheus, and if the story of the Fall is merely an instructive “type,” comparable to the profound Promethean mythus, what value has Paul’s dialectic?’
Summing up the position of theologians who compromised the words of the Bible, Huxley observed that ‘the position they have taken up is hopelessly untenable’.

Darwin’s death and the Abbey

When Darwin died, it was due mainly to the efforts of Huxley that he was buried, not in his home town of Downe, but in Westminster Abbey. Huxley and his godless friends coerced Canon Farrar of Westminster Abbey, while others whipped up support in the House of Commons. Thus, the liberal clergy, so despised by Huxley for their readiness to compromise, gave the remains of the agnostic Darwin spiritual recognition in the Abbey.

Huxley died 13 years later. Some suggested a state funeral in the Abbey, but to his credit ‘Huxley had anticipated and scotched that idea’.22 Instead he had a simple funeral in his country town, attended by some of his scientific and atheist friends. One of these gave his wishful opinion that ‘“he that believeth not shall be damned”—is reserved for common people; it does not apply to Fellows of the Royal Society’.23

What is the relevance of Huxley’s life to us today?

In 1981, the National Academy of Sciences [USA] resolved that ‘Religion and science are separate and mutually exclusive realms of human thought whose presentation in the same context leads to misunderstanding of both scientific theory and religious belief.’15 Law professor Phillip Johnson comments: ‘The life of Thomas Huxley is the best answer to such nonsense. In reality scientists (like other people) are obsessed with the God question and the whole point of evolutionary naturalism is to keep the Divine Foot, and the people gathered behind it, from getting inside the door.’15

Huxley’s Debate with Wilberforce
Samuel Wilberforce
Samuel Wilberforce

Huxley is probably best known today for his debate with the Anglican Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce (son of the anti-slavery politician, William Wilberforce) at the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. It was held in the Oxford Museum library before an audience of over 700 on June 30, 1860, just seven months after the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species.

Both Huxley and Wilberforce had written reviews of the Origin beforehand. Huxley had produced 5,000 words of adulation for The Times of December 26, 1859. Wilberforce, who was vice-president of the British Association, had a first-class honours degree in mathematics, and was an enthusiastic ornithologist, had written a 18,700-word, carefully argued, scientific assessment for The Quarterly Review of July 1860,24 in which he devoted six pages (pp. 239–245) to the absence in the geological record of any case of one species developing into another. When Darwin read Wilberforce’s Origin review, he said, ‘It is uncommonly clever; it picks out with skill all the most conjectural parts, and brings forward well all the difficulties.’25

At the Oxford meeting, Wilberforce gave a condensed version of his Origin review. His speech ‘rather than reflecting ignorance, prejudice and religious sentiment, [as commonly portrayed] in fact encapsulated many of the scientific objections people of his day had to Darwin’s book’.26 ‘As he saw it, and as most of his audience saw it, he was showing that it was, as a matter of scientific fact false, and only having established this did he go on to say in effect “and a good thing too”.27 Huxley then spoke and was followed by Robert FitzRoy (former captain of the Beagle), and Darwin’s friend, Joseph Hooker.

Most modern-day accounts of the debate include a story that Wilberforce supposedly asked Huxley whether he was related to an ape on his grandfather’s or his grandmother’s side. To which Huxley replied that he would prefer an ape for a grandfather to a man who employed his faculties and influence for the purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific debate.

In fact, it is extremely unlikely that this alleged exchange occurred at the debate. J.R. Lucas sums up the evidence for and against this story in a long article in The Historical Journal28 summarized in Nature.29 He points out that the audience was larger than a full House of Commons, which means that, in the noisy and somewhat gladiatorial circumstances of the debate, not everyone would have heard everything that was said, or have correctly heard everything that was said.

Hooker did not mention it in his letter to Darwin, written two days later.30 Journalists’ reports in current periodicals did not mention it. Lucas writes, ‘[W]e have a journalist’s report … in three issues of The Athenaeum and a briefer one in Jackson’s Oxford Journal. These accounts give a different picture. Neither of the journalists present reported these tremendous words or noted their tremendous effect.’31 Similarly the Evening Star of the following day carried an account of the debate, but made no mention of the alleged incident.32

The various versions in letters by Darwin’s supporters, published several decades after the event, vary considerably. ‘[I]t received little attention until the affair was reported in Darwin’s Life and Letters, compiled in 1887 by his son Francis.’33,34 No verbatim account of the debate was kept.

According to Huxley himself, his own words were, ‘If then, said I the question is put to me would I rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessed of great means of influence & yet who employs these faculties & that influence for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussion, I unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape.’35 Notice that Huxley was asking himself a hypothetical question. Had Wilberforce asked it, Huxley would surely have said, ‘The Bishop asked me … ’ or, addressing Wilberforce, ‘You asked me … ’, but he didn’t say either of these things. Nor did he mention the word ‘grandmother’.

Adrian Desmond, Huxley’s biographer, writes: ‘Perceptions of the event differed so widely that talk of a “victor” is ridiculous. Huxley believed himself “the most popular man in Oxford for full four & twenty hours afterwards”. … Hooker thought that … it was he (Hooker) who subsequently “smashed” Wilberforce “amid rounds of applause”. … In the chaos the punchdrunk combatants failed to see the jaunty Wilberforce leaving. He bore “no malice”, convinced that he had floored Huxley.’36

Nevertheless, despite the biased and mutated accounts of this meeting, or perhaps because of them, history has come to regard this event as something of a turning point in the public acceptance of the theory of evolution.

For an updated version of this box, see Huxley’s Debate with Wilberforce—Setting the record straight.

Related Articles

Further Reading


  1. Not to be confused with ‘Darwin’s Rottweiler’, a term coined by Oxford theologian Alister McGrath about Richard Dawkins. Return to text.
  2. C. Darwin to T.H. Huxley, 8 August 1860. Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Edited by Francis Darwin, 2:123–124, D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1911. Return to text.
  3. Desmond, A., Huxley: From Devil’s Disciple to Evolution’s High Priest, Addison-Wesley, Massachusetts, USA, 1997, adapted from dust-cover and p. xvii. Return to text.
  4. ‘In his teens he taught himself German, eventually becoming fluent and used by Charles Darwin as a translator of scientific material in Germen.’ Thomas Henry Huxley, Wikipedia,, 6 February 2008. Return to text.
  5. Ref. 3, pp. 34–35. Return to text.
  6. ‘His only degree “qualifications” thus were honorary doctorates—from Breslau, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cambridge, W├╝rzburg, Oxford, Bologna, and Erlangen’ received in his later years.’ Encyclopaedia Britannica 6:179, 1995. Return to text.
  7. Two papers by Huxley were published by the Linnean Society and one by the Royal Society. Return to text.
  8. See Grigg, R., Alfred Russel Wallace: ‘co-inventor’ of Darwinism, Creation 27(4):33–35, 2005. Return to text.
  9. Ref. 3, p. 266. Return to text.
  10. T.H. Huxley to Frederick Dyster, 30 January 1859, as quoted in ref. 3, p. 253. Return to text.
  11. Ref. 3, pp. 267. Return to text.
  12. C. Darwin to T.H. Huxley, 16 December 1859, More Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin and A.C. Seward, John Murray, London, 1903, 1:131, Letter 85, as quoted in, 12 March 2008. Return to text.
  13. T. H. Huxley to C. Darwin, Nov. 23, 1859. Ref. 2, pp. 26–27. Return to text.
  14. Blinderman, C. and Joyce, D., The Huxley File, #4 Darwin’s Bulldog,, 12 March 2008. Return to text.
  15. Johnson, P.E., Thomas Huxley, A Pioneer in a Still-Raging Scientific Debate, Washington Times, 4 January 1998, p. B8. Return to text.
  16. Ernle, Quarterly Review, ccxxxix, (1923), 224, as quoted by Himmelfarb, G., Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, Chatto &Windus, London, p. 217, 1959. Return to text.
  17. Huxley, T., Science and Hebrew Tradition, Vol. 4 of Huxley’s Collected Essays, ‘The Lights of the Church and the Light of Science’, (1890), pp. 207–208,, 18 March 2008. Return to text.
  18. Ref. 17, p. 214. Return to text.
  19. Ref. 17, p. 225. Return to text.
  20. Ref. 17, pp. 232–233. Return to text.
  21. Ref. 17, pp. 235–236. Return to text.
  22. Ref. 3, p. 611. Return to text.
  23. Ref. 3, pp. 612–613. Return to text.
  24. Wilberforce’s Review of the Origin of Species is available at (last accessed 14 May 2010), 26 March 2008. Return to text.
  25. C. Darwin to J.D. Hooker, July 1860, ref. 2, pp. 117–118. Return to text.
  26. Gauld C., Update: The Huxley-Wilberforce Debate, [An analysis of 63 books on the subject.] Ships Resource Center,, 13 March 2008. Return to text.
  27. Lucas, J.R.,Wilberforce and Huxley: a Legendary Encounter, The Historical Journal 22(2):319, 1979. Return to text.
  28. Ref. 27, pp. 313–330. Return to text.
  29. Lucas, J., Wilberforce no ape, Nature 287:480, 9 October 1980. Return to text.
  30. Bowlby, J., Charles Darwin: A New Life, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, pp. 354–55, 1990. Return to text.
  31. The Athenaeum, nos. 1705, 1706, 1707, 30 June, 7 July, 14 July 1860; Jackson’s Oxford Journal 7 July, 1860. Quoted in ref. 27, p. 315. Return to text.
  32. Ref. 30, pp. 358–59. Return to text.
  33. See Blackmore, V. and Page, A., Evolution the Great Debate, A Lion Book, Oxford, UK, p. 103, 1989. Return to text.
  34. One source is Mrs Isabella Sidgwick, writing as ‘Grandmother’ in Macmillan’s Magazine 78(468):433–434, October 1898, i.e. 38 years later. Available in ref. 27, pp. 313–314. Return to text.
  35. T.H. Huxley to F. Dyster, 9 September 1860, quoted in ref. 3, p. 279. Return to text.
  36. Ref. 3, p. 280. Return to text.
How ironic that the 19th Century's greatest foe of Christianity would be buried in Westminster Abbey and have a statue memorializing him!   A monument to the death of actual Christianity in the orthodox English church and an insult to the Creator.  

Huxley was quite right about the implications of Darwinism for Christianity.   If you actually believe in evolution, then you are fooling yourself if you think Jesus Christ was the Messiah and was able to be the Atonement for the sins of all mankind.   You see, if Adam and Eve were not real, the Garden of Eden not real, the Fall of mankind not real then there would be no original sin for Jesus to take upon Himself.  If there was no Noahic Flood and if these other events were not historical fact, then Jesus Christ was mistaken about history and that means He was not the Son of God, not perfect, not the Messiah and therefore Christianity is just groundless religion like all other Darwinism, for instance.   Yes, plenty of Christians have taken an Old Earth position or a Theistic evolution position.   Such a philosophy will not send them to Hell if they are already saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  But it certainly is gratingly illogical and makes no sense if viewed in the light of the statements of Christ Himself that bulwarked the Genesis account as absolutely accurate and literal.   So if you believe Jesus knew whether Genesis was literal or not, you cannot accept OEC or Theistic evolution and have a consistent worldview.  Just sayin'...

Darwinism is a religion.   It is a key cornerstone to Naturalism/Materialism/Atheism/Humanism (there are many facets to the repudiation of God and the supernatural).   Isn't it odd that all sorts of science fiction/aliens/ghosts/demons are key plot devices in modern movies and television shows?   The supernatural is quite popular, but just in the form of ridiculous and utterly absurd demonic spirits and ghosts and vampires and werewolves and of course aliens.   Oh, and I almost forgot Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman...completely unsubstantiated speculative BS presented as science when it is pseudoscience at best. The Big Bang is a myth.  Stephen Hawking is a brilliant-but-misled evangelist for Atheopathy.  Richard Dawkins is another Atheopath.   We may see one or both of them wind up in the Hall one of these days...Hmmm...

Huxley versus Wilberforce?  Consider the debate and the combatants and you see clearly the link between Darwinism and racism, and you also see the link between Christianity and the end of slavery/racism.   Wilberforce and Christians in general fought to end segregation and Jim Crow laws that had been supported by liberal Darwinists.  After all, according to Darwin and Huxley, people of color were "less evolved" and were considered subhuman.  Consider the evidence: 

Darwin’s bodysnatchers: new horrors


"Men have forgotten God;
that's why all this has happened." - 
Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn

Yep, Darwinists killed people of color, skinned them for exhibition at museums and other horrors.  Adolf Hitler was not the first nor the deadliest of Eugenicists.   Adherents of Darwinism have been responsible for uncounted millions of deaths, certainly over 100 million in the 20th Century alone!  Darwin may have been the guy who put pieces together from other men and reintroduced a rebranded Pantheism to the world, but it was a more virulent version that Thomas Huxley popularized and, like a plague, it spread around the globe.  


What if Darwin had written his tome and there had been no Thomas Huxley to push the idea all over the Western world?   After all, Pasteur had proven with finality that no life came from non-life at around the time Darwin was writing his book.   Mendel was just introducing the world to genetics.  With no Darwin, the world may well have made huge advances in medicine that Darwinism has hindered greatly(advancing myths like junk DNA and vestigial organs, for instance)...and with no Huxley, Darwin's book might have just been noted and discussed and left behind by the advance of real science.  So Thomas Huxley has a well-deserved spot in the Darwinist Hall of Shame!

Oh, you wondered if monkeys could type the 23rd Psalm?   The article below has a bit of a repeat of the one that is key to this blogpost, but it adds much detail to the debate...

Could monkeys type the 23rd Psalm?

Thomas Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, the protagonists at the famous debate on the subject of evolution at the Oxford meeting of the British Association, June 30, 1860
Thomas Huxley (left) and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, the protagonists at the famous debate on the subject of evolution at the Oxford meeting of the British Association, June 30, 1860
On 30 June 1860, there occurred an event which, in the minds of many people, was the turning point for the public acceptance of the theory of evolution in its confrontation with Christianity. This event was the debate between the agnostic Thomas Huxley, who came to be known as ‘Darwin’s bulldog’, and the Anglican Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, son of the famous anti-slavery politician, William Wilberforce. The debate was held at a meeting of the British Association, Oxford, of which Bishop Wilberforce was a vice-president, and was sparked by the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species seven months earlier, in November 1859.
Wilberforce was an experienced and skilful debater. As well as being a theologian, he was an able naturalist. He had also acquired a first in mathematics in his graduate days at Oxford. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society, and had the unusual combination of being both Professor of Theology and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He was well versed in Darwin’s theory as, shortly before the debate took place, he had written a 19,000-word review of the Origin, which was published in the Quarterly Review, July 1860. When Darwin read this review his comment was:
‘It is uncommonly clever; it picks out with skill all the most conjectural parts, and brings forward well all the difficulties.’1
Wilberforce began the debate and, after making several scientific points, concluded with Paley’s argument that a watch implies the existence of a watchmaker, and similarly design in nature implies the existence of a Designer.
Huxley then arose and is said to have put forward his now well-known argument that six eternal monkeys or apes2 typing on six eternal typewriters with unlimited amounts of paper and ink could, given enough time, produce a Psalm, a Shakespearean sonnet, or even a whole book, purely by chance that is, by random striking of the keys.
In the course of his presentation Huxley pretended to find the 23rd Psalm among the reams of written gibberish produced by his six imaginary apes at their typewriters. He went on to make his point that, in the same way, molecular movement, given enough time and matter, could produce Bishop Wilberforce himself, purely by chance and without the work of any Designer or Creator.
It seems, from the various accounts of what happened (mostly letters written by Darwin’s followers, as no report on the debate was published by the British Association), that the worthy Bishop did not have an answer to this line of reasoning. This is rather surprising in view of his erudition in the realm of Mathematics. So let us consider some answers to Huxley’s argument—an argument that is still advanced from time to time by modern-day evolutionists—that chance is a better explanation for origins than design.

Chance vs. Design

Let us imagine a special typewriter, ‘user-friendly’ to apes, with 50 keys, comprised of 26 capital letters, 10 numbers, one space bar, and 13 symbols for punctuation, etc. For the sake of simplicity we shall disregard lower-case letters and settle for typing all to be in capitals, and we shall disregard leap years.
How long would it take an operator, on the average, to correctly type the 23rd Psalm, by randomly striking keys? To obtain the answer, let us first consider the first verse of the Psalm, which reads: ‘THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD, I SHALL NOT WANT.’
According to the Multiplication Rule of Probability (in simplified form)3 the chance of correctly typing the three designated letters ‘THE’ from possibilities is 1 in 50 x 50 x 50, which equals 125,000. At a rate of one strike per second, the average time taken to make 125,000 strikes is 34.72 hours.
The chance of randomly typing the eight keys (seven letters and one space) in the right sequence for the two words THE LORD is 1 in 50 x 50 … eight times (i.e. 508). This is 1 chance in 39,062 billion. There are 31,536,000 seconds in a year, so the average time taken in years to make 39,062 billion strikes at the rate of one strike per second would be 1,238,663.7 years.
The time taken on the average to correctly type the whole of verse 1 of the 23rd Psalm, which contains 42 letters, punctuation, and spaces, would be 5042 divided by 31,536,000 (seconds in a year), which is 7.2 x 1063 years.
And the time taken on the average to correctly type the whole of the 23rd Psalm, made up of 603 letters, verse numbers, punctuation, and spaces, would be 50603 divided by 31,536,000 which is 9.552 x 101016 years.4 If the letter ‘b’ stands for billion (109), this could be written as about one bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb years.
By comparison, the evolutionists’ age of the Earth is (only) 4.6 billion years, and the evolutionists’ age of the universe is (only) almost 15 billion years.

Probability of a DNA molecule forming by chance

When we apply probability theory to the correct arrangement of a DNA molecule, a similar situation is seen, as per the following quotation:
‘When we come to examine the simplest known organism capable of independent existence, the situation becomes even more fantastic. In the DNA chain of the chromosome of the bacterium E. coli, a favourite organism used by molecular biologists, the [DNA] helix consists of 3-4 million base pairs. These are all arranged in a sequence that is ’meaningful’ in the sense that it gives rise to enzyme molecules which fit the various metabolites and products used by the cell. This unique sequence represents a choice of one out of 102,000,000alternative ways of arranging the bases! We are compelled to conclude that the origin of the first life was a unique event, which cannot be discussed in terms of probability.’5
Notice that this refers only to the correct arrangement of already formed bases. Harold J. Morowitz, Professor of Biophysics at Yale University, has taken into account the covalent bond energies required to actually form such a DNA molecule. He arrives at a probability figure for the spontaneous formation of one complete bacterium of Escherichia coli in the history of the universe, of less than one chance in 10 to the power 100 billion (which can be written 10-100,000,000,000).6
Such numbers are far too large for most people to comprehend. However, the late Sir Fred Hoyle , who was Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University and was not a Christian, illustrated the point this way: ’Now imagine 1050 blind persons [that’s 100,000 billion billion billion billion billion people—standing shoulder to shoulder, they would more than fill our entire planetary system] each with a scrambled Rubik cube and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling [random variation] of just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only the biopolymers but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial soup here on Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.7(Emphasis added.)
Another of Professor Hoyle’s very expressive analogies is that the chance that even the simplest self-reproducing life forms might have emerged in this way (i.e. by evolutionary processes) is comparable with the chance that ‘a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.’8 (See also Q&A: Probability).

Some objections countered

What about natural selection?

Lest it be thought that the Darwinian concept of natural selection could increase the chance of forming life (i.e. that with time, mutations may contribute superior survival value to some members of a species), it should be realised that natural selection could only work on a living organism that could produce offspring. By its very definition it could not work on non-living chemicals, as pointed out by leading evolutionist Dobzhansky.8
To try to get around these insurmountable difficulties, some evolutionists are now postulating that the universe is eternal, because if time is eternal, they argue, then theoretically any event is certain to occur.

Eternal universe?

The idea of an eternal universe cannot be substantiated, however, because the universe is slowly approaching ‘heat death’ in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics. Heat death will occur when all the energy of the cosmos has been degraded to random heat energy, with random motions of molecules and uniform low-level temperatures. If the universe were eternal, this state would have been reached ‘a long time ago’. The fact that the universe is not dead is clear evidence that it is not infinitely old. For more information, see Who created God?

‘Somewhere, sometime’

To overcome this problem, Huxley’s modern-day supporters are ready to talk about previous universes before the present one, and other spaces ‘beyond’ our space. They then argue that, no matter how small the probability of an event, it will occur with the probability one (certainty) ‘somewhere, sometime’, as long as the probability is not actually zero (impossibility). Moreover, they claim that the reason we observe the realisation of the totally unlikely event is that it can only be observed by the sentient beings it produced. However, as Professor A.M. Hasofer (Statistician, University of New South Wales) has pointed out in a private communication,9 there is a fatal scientific weakness in such reasoning, because such a model fails Karl Popper’s fundamental criterion of scientific acceptability, that it be falsifiable.
Professor Hasofer writes:
‘The problem [of falsifiability of a probabilistic statement] has been dealt with in a recent book by G. Matheron, entitled Estimating and Choosing: An Essay on Probability in Practice (Springer-Verlag, 1989). He proposes that a probabilistic model be considered falsifiable if some of its consequences have zero (or in practice very low) probability. If one of these consequences is observed, the model is then rejected.
‘The fatal weakness of the monkey argument, which calculates probabilities of events “somewhere, sometime”, is that all events, no matter how unlikely they are, have probability one as long as they are logically possible, so that the suggested model can never be falsified. Accepting the validity of Huxley’s reasoning puts the whole probability theory outside the realm of verifiable science. In particular, it vitiates the whole of quantum theory and statistical mechanics, including thermodynamics, and therefore destroys the foundations of all modern science. For example, as Bertrand Russell once pointed out, if we put a kettle on a fire and the water in the kettle froze, we should argue, following Huxley, that a very unlikely event of statistical mechanics occurred, as it should “somewhere, sometime”, rather than trying to find out what went wrong with the experiment!’

Reversibility—the Achilles’ Heel of biogenesis by chance

There is one other aspect that needs to be considered—yet another fatal flaw in Huxley’s reasoning and that of his modern-day followers—when applied to the idea of biogenesis by chance or the formation of living cells from chance combinations of molecules. Let us consider the situation where time is infinite, and probability equals one. We have just seen that evolutionists do not have infinite time, but just suppose they did, could Huxley’s argument be sustained? In particular, could chance combinations of molecules produce life (or even Bishop Samuel Wilberforce), if there was no restriction on time?
The idea that life can form spontaneously from non-life involves the formation of proteins10 from peptides which have formed from amino acids, (which have formed from the gases in a reducing atmosphere).11 However, the biochemical reactions involved in the formation of proteins from peptides and peptides from amino acids are reversible—they go the other way as well.12 This is represented below in the simplest reaction of two amino acids forming a dipeptide while releasing a molecule of water (the R in the table stands for any one of 20 different functional groups. The different R groups are responsible for the wide variety of proteins, and the precise sequences are very specialised and improbable):
Condensation Reaction
amino acid 1
amino acid 2
combine to give
(reversible — dipeptide breaks down in water)
Under the right conditions, the condensation continues, with a dipeptide reacting with a third amino acid to form a tripeptide and releasing another water molecule, and so on. Sometimes hundreds or thousands of amino acids link up, with a corresponding number of water molecules released. For n amino acids in a chain, n-1 water molecules are released.
This means that condensation reactions, like the synthesis of peptides from amino acids, are inhibited by excess water, and the reverse reaction is favoured. Professor A.E. Wilder-Smith, commenting on this fact, writes:
‘The consequence of this well-known fact of organic chemistry is important: concentrations of amino acids will combine only in minute amounts, if they combine at all in a primeval ocean providing excess water, to form polypeptides. Any amounts of polypeptide which might be formed will be broken down into their initial components (amino acids) by the excess water. The ocean is thus practically the last place on this or any other planet where the proteins of life could be formed spontaneously from amino acids. Yet nearly all textbooks of biology teach this nonsense to support evolutionary theory and spontaneous biogenics. It requires a very great unfamiliarity with organic chemistry not to take into consideration the above-mentioned facts when proposing postulates for biogenesis…’13 (Emphasis in the original.) [See also Origin of life: the polymerization problem.]
In the case of biogenesis, these reversible reactions are all in equilibrium with one another, since there is no cell machinery to remove products selectively. In the body, organic reactions such as the synthesis of proteins and the oxidation of fats occur because of the intervention of specific enzymes (acting as a type of ‘chemical machinery’)14 acting specifically at each step along the reaction chain. However, enzymes are proteins, and one cannot claim synthesis for a product if one begins with the product one is trying to end up with.
The purpose of Huxley’s typewriter argument was to show that, given enough time, any event is certain to occur. However, for this argument to be analogous to the idea of the formation of proteins by chance combination of amino acid molecules, Huxley’s typewriters needed to be reversible!
With an ordinary typewriter, any words typed by an ape would stay on the paper and would not get modified into more meaningful combinations, nor would they decompose into their constituent letters. This means that each word is out of equilibrium with its precursors and has no ‘postcursors’.
However, with a reversible typewriter, when the key ‘A’ (for example) was depressed, the letter ‘A’ would be printed on the paper; but when the same key was released, the printed letter ‘A’ would arise from the paper without leaving a trace, so that the typewriter would type out just as quickly and effectively as it typed in. All of which means that Huxley’s eternal apes would have typed as much or as little after one second as after a billion years.
Furthermore, it would not matter how many billion apes were typing (or molecules of matter were combining), or how many (billion) times per second this might have been happening. The result at any time would always be zero, whether it be apes typing reversible typewriters or amino acids combining in reversible reactions.
Another way of saying this is that ‘increased time spans in biological systems will merely increase the probability of equilibrium being set up, and not the probability of improbable reaction products being formed’.15,16


The concept of ‘somewhere, sometime’ does not apply, because the probability of forming a stipulated end-product from reversible reactions in equilibrium is zero.
The theory that chance random combinations of living matter could produce the Bishop of Oxford, a living cell, or even a single functional protein molecule, whether in time or in eternity, therefore fails on all counts.
Life is bristling with machinery, codes and programs, which are not an inherent property of the material substrate (the information for their construction having been passed on during reproduction). No observation has ever shown such information-bearing structures arising spontaneously. The obvious inference from science, as well as the obvious implications of Scripture, is that the original creation of living things involved the very opposite of chance, namely, the imposition of external intelligence on to matter by an original Designer or Creator.

Addendum: Did Wilberforce really say it?

Writers dealing with the famous debate between Huxley and Wilberforce often repeat the story that the Bishop, towards the end of his speech, turned to Huxley and asked whether it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed descent from an ape? Huxley, in reply, is supposed to have said that he was not ashamed of having an ape as an ancestor, but he would be ashamed of having as an ancestor a man who used his abilities in a sphere of science with which he had no real acquaintance and who used aimless rhetoric in an appeal to religious prejudice.
J.R. Lucas sums up the evidence for and against this story in a long article in the Historical Journal,17 summarised in Nature.18 He points out that the audience was ‘larger than a full House of Commons’, which means that, in the noisy and somewhat gladiatorial circumstances of this debate, not everyone would have correctly heard everything that was said.
Of Wilberforce’s science, as presented in the debate, Lucas says: ‘These were serious scientific arguments, worthy of a vice-president of the British Association. Darwin acknowledged their cogency’. He goes on to say,
Reader feedback to this article, together with our response, can be seen at Monkeying with probability.
‘It is doubtful that Wilberforce asked Huxley whether he was descended from an ape. It makes a good story, but Wilberforce had used the first person plural in his review, and the use of the first person is borne out by Wilberforce’s biography and one—admittedly late—account. What Wilberforce may have asked Huxley in the second person is where he drew the line between human descendants and ape-like ancestors, if, as was generally admitted, the offspring was of the same species as the parents.19 Huxley, however, was ready to answer the question he had not been asked. Three months earlier, in the April issue of the Westminster Review, he had accused critics of Darwin of making him out to be no better than an ape himself, and since Wilberforce was now criticising him for being a Darwinian, he must be calling him an ape too.’
It would seem therefore that Wilberforce did not try to ridicule Huxley, but rather the reverse was actually what happened. If so, it gives a very different picture of what really occurred at this famous debate.

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References and Endnotes

  1. Charles Darwin, Life and Letters, Vol. 2 ed. Francis Darwin (New York: Appleton and co., 1911), pp 117–8. Return to text.
  2. Huxley used the term ‘apes’ but modern-day writers on this theme tend to prefer ‘monkeys’, e.g. David Osselton, ‘Making a Monkey of Shakespeare’, New Scientist, November 1, 1984, p. 39. Return to text.
  3. The formula used here, 1/pr, is not strictly accurate, but is used for the sake of simplicity in the comparison of time. According to W. Feller, An Introduction to Probability Theory and Its Application (3rd Edition, 1957), Vol. 1, pp. 332–324. ‘Application to the theory of success runs’, the formula for the mean time umeasured in number of symbols is given by u = 1-pr/qpr or u - 1-pr/qpr where q = 1-p. In our case p = 1/50, and the whole Psalm r = 603. But for practical purposes it hardly differs. Return to text.
  4. If we take the solar year of 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 46 seconds, or 31,556,926 seconds (from which the concept of leap year is derived), the answer would be 9.546 x 101016 years, (using 1/pr for ease of comparison). Return to text.
  5. Ambrose, E. The Nature and Origin of the Biological World, 1982, p. 135, (italics added) as quoted in Bird, W.R. The Origin of Species Revisited, Philosophical Library, New York, 1989, Vol. 1, pp. 302–3. Return to text.
  6. Morowitz, Harold J., Energy Flow in Biology, Academic Press, New York, 1968, P.67. Return to text.
  7. Hoyle, Fred, ‘The Big Bang in Astronomy’, New Scientist 92(1280):527, 19 Nov 1981. Return to text.
  8. See Theodosius Dobzhansky, comments on ‘Synthesis of Nucleosides and Polynucleotides with Metaphosphate Esters’, in The Origins of Prebiological Systems299:310 (S. Fox ed. 1965), cited in Bird, The Origin of Species Revisited, Vol. 1, p. 359. Bird summarises the case against natural selection working on non-living chemicals on pages 359–362. For a recent article advancing the evolutionist’s case see ‘Survival of the fittest molecules’, New Scientist, 3 October, 1992, pp. 37–40. And not only can natural selection not explain the origin of life, there are other limitations, as shown in Weasel, a flexible program for investigating deterministic computer ‘demonstrations’ of evolutionReturn to text.
  9. I wish to thank Professor A.M. Hasofer, of the school of Mathematics, University of New South Wales, for his valued advice on this part of the article. Return to text.
  10. There is, of course, a vast difference between a test-tube of protein and a test-tube of living cells. Some of the characteristics of life are: the ability to get energy and materials from the environment, the ability to self-repair, and the ability to reproduce. Return to text.
  11. Experiments like the Miller–Urey synthesis are irrelevant to the point of this article—they represent the formation of some jumbled ‘alphabet letters’ if you like, not the arrangement of these into codes and sequences. There is nothing inherently improbable about their formation under such conditions, as the ‘coding’ to produce them is already there. However, they lead to a dead end in origin-of-life experiments because the mixture formed is a tarry goo of all sorts of other molecules as well, which acts against further synthesis. In addition, a racemic mixture of left-handed and right-handed forms results, whereas living things use one ‘hand’ exclusively. Return to text.
  12. For a full treatment of this aspect see A.E. Wilder-Smith, The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution (San Diego, CA: Master Books, 1981), Chapter 2, Biogenesis by Chance? pp. 11–16. Return to text.
  13. Ibid., p. 16. Return to text.
  14. Cell machinery ensures that products are removed from the reaction before they can revert to reactants, which results in irreversibility. The ‘primordial soup’, from which life is alleged to have evolved, would have no such elaborate machinery, so the reaction would tend towards equilibrium which is away from life.Return to text.
  15. Harold F. Blum, Time’s Arrow and Evolution, 2nd ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1955), quoted in A.E. Wilder-Smith, Man’s Origin, Man’s Destiny(Bethany Fellowship Inc., 1975), p. 65. Return to text.
  16. It is acknowledged that not all the amino acids positions in a particular functional protein are crucial—i.e. to continue the analogy, there is more than one way of correctly writing the 23rd Psalm. However, this merely reduces the ‘odds against’ from something approaching infinity to a little less than infinity. For a full discussion of the calculations involved see the section ‘Criticisms of Probability Calculations’, in Bird, The Origin of Species Revisited, Vol. 1, pp. 306–308.Return to text.
  17. J.R. Lucas, ‘Wilberforce and Huxley: A Legendary Encounter’, The Historical Journal 22:313–330, 1979. Return to text.
  18. J.R. Lucas, ‘Wilberforce no ape’, Nature 287:480, 9 October 1980. Return to text.
  19. I. Huxley, Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley, Vol. i, p. 185, quoting Vernon Harcourt. Return to text.

Have a safe holiday weekend and I do hope that Darwinism, if you believe any part of it, is now "blown away" from your mind as surely as the smoke from the fireworks of the weekend is eventually dispersed!