- Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men.
- The world makes up for all its follies and injustices by being damnably sentimental.
- The great tragedy of science is the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
- There is the greatest practical benefit in making a few failures early in life.
- Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.
- Fact I know; and Law I know; but what is this Necessity, save an empty shadow of my own mind's throwing?
- Mathematics may be compared to a mill of exquisite workmanship, which grinds your stuff to any degree of fineness; but, nevertheless, what you get out depends on what you put in; and as the grandest mill in the world will not extract wheat flour from peas cods, so pages of formulae will not get a definite result out of loose data.
- The great end of life is not knowledge but action.
- It is the fate of new truths to begin as heresies and end and superstitions.
- A world of facts lies outside and beyond the world of words.
- There is no alleviation for the sufferings of mankind except veracity of thought and of action, and the resolute facing of the world as it is when the garment of make-believe by which pious hands have hidden its uglier features is stripped off.
- Science is nothing, but trained and organized common sense.
- In scientific work, those who refuse to go beyond fact rarely get as far as fact.
- There is no sea more dangerous than the ocean of practical politics -- none in which there is more need of good pilots and of a single, unfaltering purpose when the waves rise high.
- The foundation of morality is to have done, once and for all, with lying
- We live in a world which is full of misery and ignorance, and the plain duty of each and all of us is to try to make the little corner he can influence somewhat less miserable and somewhat less ignorant than it was before he entered it.
- All truth, in the long run, is only common sense clarified.
- No delusion is greater than the notion that method and industry can make up for lack of mother-wit, either in science or in practical life.
- Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.
- Time, whose tooth gnaws away at everything else, is powerless against truth.
- Sit down before fact like a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion. Follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.
- Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority.
- Science is simply common sense at its best--that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.
- I know of no department of natural science more likely to reward a man who goes into it thoroughly than anthropology. There is an immense deal to be done in the science pure and simple, and it is one of those branches of inquiry which brings one into contact with the great problems of humanity in every direction.
- Books are the money of Literature, but only the counters of Science.
- The medieval university looked backwards; it professed to be a storehouse of old knowledge. The modern university looks forward, and is a factory of new knowledge.
- If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?
- Patience and tenacity of purpose are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness.
- Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the things you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. It is the first lesson that ought to be learned and however early a person's training begins, it is probably the last lesson a person learns thoroughly.
- There is no greater mistake than the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued.
- It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance.
- It is because the body is a machine that education is possible. Education is the formation of habits, a superinducing of an artificial organization upon the natural organization of the body.
- My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonise with my aspirations.
Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS FLS was an English biologist, known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
Huxley's famous debate in 1860 with Samuel Wilberforce was a key moment in the wider acceptance of evolution, and in his own career. Huxley had been planning to leave Oxford on the previous day, but, after an encounter with Robert Chambers, the author of Vestiges, he changed his mind and decided to join the debate. Wilberforce was coached by Richard Owen, against whom Huxley also debated about whether humans were closely related to apes.
Huxley was slow to accept some of Darwin's ideas, such as gradualism, and was undecided about natural selection, but despite this he was wholehearted in his public support of Darwin. Instrumental in developing scientific education in Britain, he fought against the more extreme versions of religious tradition.
In 1869 Huxley coined the term 'agnostic' describing his own views on theology, a term whose use has continued to the present day.
Huxley had little formal schooling and was virtually self-taught. He became perhaps the finest comparative anatomist of the latter 19th century. He worked on invertebrates, clarifying relationships between groups previously little understood. Later, he worked on vertebrates, especially on the relationship between apes and humans. After comparing Archaeopteryx with Compsognathus, he concluded that birds evolved from small carnivorous dinosaurs, a theory widely accepted today.