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How the Naturalists “Won”

How the Naturalists “Won”

Chapter:
(p.242) Chapter Seven How the Naturalists “Won”
Source:
Huxley's Church and Maxwell's Demon
Author(s):
Matthew Stanley
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226164908.003.0008

This chapter shows how Huxley and the other scientific naturalists used the similarity between theistic and naturalistic science to take control of scientific institutions. In particular, the scientific naturalists placed themselves into positions of power in British science education that would allow them to propagate their ideas to future generations. Another important strategy was the reframing of past theistic science into a naturalistic narrative. The changing descriptions of Michael Faraday through this period will help demonstrate how this posthumous conversion to naturalism was done. These deliberate strategies combined with broader social developments in which religious faith became more private and less public to create a social space in which it was no longer common for scientists to discuss religion. The eventual triumph of scientific naturalism, then, is seen to be the result of particular tactics and social change, rather than methodological superiority.

Keywords:   James Clerk Maxwell, Thomas Henry Huxley, scientific naturalism, science education, British education, Michael Faraday, John Tyndall, Secularization, John Dewey

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