The passage of 150 years has not dimmed Huxley’s achievements. He was a great figure of scientific inquiry, and a famed defender and populariser of Charles Darwin’s discoveries. Yet not everyone approves. A report by an independent history group at Imperial College London recommends that the university remove Huxley’s bust and rename a building that bears his name.Oliver Kamm, “Charles Darwin will be next if his great defender is toppled” at The Times (October 28, 2021)
Removing Huxley’s name in censure pre-empts the question of what weight to accord his contribution to knowledge. It should be immense. And as the evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne has pointed out, if Huxley is treated this way then the “cancellation” of Darwin (who was likewise an abolitionist who made racist comments) may not be far behind.
Coyne suggests that before we do any such thing with a historical figure, we ask whether their commemoration is due to the good they did, and whether this outweighed the bad. In Huxley’s case the answers have to be yes or the practice of science itself no longer matters.
viaJerry Coyne, “Morning column opposing Huxley’s cancellation” at Why Evolution Is True (October 29, 2021)
Huh? What? If Huxley (or Darwin) is cancelled, “the practice of science itself no longer matters.” Well, that’s true but for Cancel Culture, that’s a feature, not a bug. It shows their immense power, generally in the robes of victimhood. Has none of these people been paying attention to the war on math and the war on science?
One outcome of having been beneficiaries of Cancel Culture for so long is that, when it is turned on their icons, they don’t understand and don’t see it coming. And, so far at least, they don’t appear to have a good opposition strategy.
Some of us think that universities, as such, are toast and that science will soon need to be conducted apart from them. See: Is online learning poised to replace universities?
You may also wish to read: You may also wish to read: It begins at last… T. H. Huxley, Darwin’s bulldog, about to be Cancelled – other early Darwinists to get the chop soon, we hear. W. D. Hamilton, Ronald Fisher, and J. B. S. Haldane are also threatened. We never thought it would happen but it is happening… so fast.
Bad timing or just plain tone deaf? Reuters puffs “modern-day Darwin” E. O. Wilson. Look, Reuters, if you really think the guy has a message worth hearing, quit calling him “the Darwin of the 21st century.” Unless, of course… naw, that’d be a conspiracy theory…