Thomas Henry Huxley

huxley
It is an error to imagine that evolution signifies a constant tendency to increased perfection. That process undoubtedly involves a constant remodeling of the organism in adaptation to new conditions; but it depends on the nature of those conditions whether the direction of the modifications effected shall be upward or downward.
‘The Struggle for Existence in Human Society’ (1888). In Collected Essays (1894), Vol. 9, 199.

Thomas Henry Huxley

huxley
The publication of the Darwin and Wallace papers in 1858, and still more that of the ‘Origin’ in 1859, had the effect upon them of the flash of light, which to a man who has lost himself in a dark night, suddenly reveals a road which, whether it takes him straight home or not, certainly goes his way. That which we werelooking for, and could not find, was a hypothesis respecting the origin of known organic forms, which assumed the operation of no causes but such as could be proved to be actually at work. We wanted, not to pin our faith to that or any other speculation, but to get hold of clear and definite conceptions which could be brought face to face with facts and have their validity tested. The ‘Origin’ provided us with the working hypothesis we sought.
‘On the Reception of the Origin of Species‘. In F. Darwin (ed.), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Including an Autobiographical Chapter (1888), Vol 2, 197.
I’m in way too much danger of quoting Huxley way too often. He’s just so damn quotable. Did he ever say anything stupid, ever?

Thomas Henry Huxley

huxley
The saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing is, to my mind, a very dangerous adage. If knowledge is real and genuine, I do not believe that it is other than a very valuable posession, however infinitesimal its quantity may be. Indeed, if a little knowledge is dangerous, where is a man who has so much as to be out of danger?
Thomas Henry Huxley
‘Instruction in Physiology’, in Science and Culture and Other Essays (1882), 91.
Another stonker from the Hux.

Thomas Henry Huxley

huxley
Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed.
Speech at the Museum, South Kensington, on unveiling of a statue of Charles Darwin. Quoted in Herbert Spencer, ‘The Factors of Organic Evolution’ (April/May 1886), The Nineteenth Century, Vol. 19, 770.
Hear hear. Though I don’t think it’s in any danger of doing that.

Thomas Henry Huxley

huxley
Every philosophical thinker hails it [The Origin of Species] as a veritable Whitworth gun in the armoury of liberalism.
‘The Origin of Species’ (1860). In Collected Essays (1893), Vol. 2, 23.
Though I sometimes wonder whether these days, evolution is too often associated with liberalism, hence why vast swathes of america still subscribe to creationism, as a reaction purely against liberalism.