The 'Great Debate' monument

Just in front of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in Oxford (Parks Road), a monument has been erected in 2010 remembering the 'Great Debate' on evolution which took place on 30 June 1860, in the then recently opened Museum. The English inscription states that: "ON / 30 JUNE / 1860 THOMAS / HENRY / HUXLEY, / SAMUEL / WILBERFORCE / AND OTHERS / DEBATED / CHARLES / DARWIN'S / ORIGIN / OF SPECIES IN THE MUSEUM / 1860-2010".

"In 1860 the British Association for the Advancement of Science held its 30th annual meeting in Oxford. Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species had been published the previous November, and a lecture and discussion on his ideas took place on 30 June in the still-bookless Radcliffe Library on the first floor of the University Museum. No one accurately recorded exactly what was said in front of the noisy crowd of 400-500. However, a myth has grown up around the sharp exchange of views that took place between Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, and Thomas Huxley, a biologist from London known as 'Darwin's bulldog'"1.

  • Photo by Luca Borghi ti.supmacinu|ihgrob.l#| (August 2011)

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