Friday, February 16, 2007

Another Wilberforce

It seems I can't escape the legacy of the Wilberforce family. Bishop Samuel Wilberforce (pictured at the left) figures prominently in Chapter 3 ( Science and Faith) of Letter to an Atheist, just as his father, William Wilberforce, figured prominently in Chapter 2 (On the Bible, Christianity and slavery). Samuel faced biologist Thomas Huxley (pictured at the right) in a famous 1860 debate over Darwin's theories.
Huxley, an agnostic, championed Darwin's theories outlined in the publication of The Origin of Species in the previous year, while Wilberforce defended Biblical orthodoxy and "creationist" view of man's development. Many accounts of the debate that survive claim Huxley bested Wilberforce that evening, though I so far can only discover a clever retort made by Huxley to Wilberforce, as opposed to the scientific topics discussed.
I am searching for more information on this particular interchange, because it seems to me to be a turning point in the overall "faith orientation" of the scientific community. If anyone has any sources they can point me to on this topic, I would be very interested in hearing from you !

1 comment:

Keith Raffel said...

A review of the movie Amazing Grace is in this AM's NY Times at