110+ Thomas Huxley Quotes On Education, Religion And World

quote by
Thomas Huxley inspirational quote

Top 10 Thomas Huxley Quotes (BEST)

  1. The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence.
  2. The great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
  3. Only one absolute certainty is possible to man, namely that at any given moment the feeling which he has exists.
  4. Thoughtfulness for others, generosity, modesty, and self-respect are the qualities which make a real gentleman or lady.
  5. God give me strength to face a fact though it slay me.
  6. Life is too short to occupy oneself with the slaying of the slain more than once.
  7. The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of childhood into maturity.
  8. The rules of the game are what we call the laws of nature.
  9. Science is simply common sense at its best.
  10. Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.

Thomas Huxley Short Quotes

Go to table of contents

  • Genius, as an explosive power, beats gunpowder hollow.
  • A drop of water is as powerful as a thunder-bolt.
  • The ultimate court of appeal is observation and experiment... not authority.
  • The results of political changes are hardly ever those which their friends hope or their foes fear.
  • Patience and tenacity are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness.
  • The scientific imagination always restrains itself within the limits of probability.
  • Size is not grandeur, and territory does not make a nation.
  • The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon.
  • I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of 'agnostic'.
  • Veracity is the heart of morality.

Thomas Huxley Quotes On Education

Go to table of contents

To persons uninstructed in natural history, their country or seaside stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall. — Thomas Huxley

Education is the instruction of the intellect in the laws of Nature, under which name I include not merely things and their forces, but people and their ways; and the fashioning of the affections and of the will into an earnest and loving desire to move in harmony with those laws. — Thomas Huxley

There is far too much of the feeding-bottle in education and young people ought to be supplied with good intellectual food and then left to help themselves. — Thomas Huxley

It is better to read a little and thoroughly than cram a crude undigested mass into my head, though it be great in quantity. — Thomas Huxley

Though under-instruction is a bad thing, it is not impossible that over-instruction may be worse. — Thomas Huxley

I care not what subject is taught, if only it be taught well. — Thomas Huxley

That man, I think, has had a liberal education, who has been so trained in youth that his body is the ready servant of his will. — Thomas Huxley

Education is the instruction of the intellect in the laws of Nature. — Thomas Huxley

Thomas Huxley Quotes On Religion

Go to table of contents

True science and true religion are twin sisters, and the separation of either from the other is sure to prove the death of both. Science prospers exactly in proportion as it is religious; and religion flourishes in exact proportion to the scientific depth and firmness of its basis. — Thomas Huxley

Skepticism is the highest duty and blind faith the one unpardonable sin. — Thomas Huxley

. . . I fail to find a trace [in Protestantism] of any desire to set reason free. The most that can be discovered is a proposal to change masters. From being a slave of the papacy, the intellect was to become the serf of the Bible. — Thomas Huxley

Agnosticism simply means that a man shall not say that he knows or believes that for which he has no grounds for professing to believe. — Thomas Huxley

It ought not to be unpleasant to say that which one honestly believes or disbelieves. That it so constantly is painful to do so, is quite enough obstacle to the progress of mankind in that most valuable of all qualities, honesty of word or of deed. — Thomas Huxley

The quarrels of theologians and philosophers have not been about religion, but about philosophy; and philosophers not unfrequently seem to entertain the same feeling toward theologians that sportsmen cherish toward poachers. — Thomas Huxley

I would rather be the offspring of two apes than be a man and afraid to face the truth. — Thomas Huxley

Thomas Huxley Quotes On Life

Go to table of contents

There is the greatest practical benefit in making a few failures early in life. — Thomas Huxley

Freedom and order are not incompatible... truth is strength... free discussion is the very life of truth. — Thomas Huxley

In the world of letters, learning and knowledge are one, and books are the source of both; whereas in science, as in life, learning and knowledge are distinct, and the study of things, and not of books, is the source of the latter. — Thomas Huxley

It is one of the most saddening things in life that, try as we may, we can never be certain of making people happy, whereas we can almost always be certain of making them unhappy. — Thomas Huxley

Rome is the one great spiritual organisation which is able to resist and must, as a matter of life and death, the progress of science and modern civilization — Thomas Huxley

A good man: body serves his will and enjoys hard work, clear intellect that understands the truths of nature, full of passion for life but controlled by his will, well-developed conscience, loves beauty in art and nature, despises inferior morality, respects himself and others. — Thomas Huxley

The foundation of morality is to have done, once and for all, with lying. — Thomas Huxley

Life is like walking along a crowded street--there always seem to be fewer obstacles to getting along on the opposite pavement--and yet, if one crosses over, matters are rarely mended. — Thomas Huxley

The occurrence of successive forms of life upon our globe is an historical fact, which cannot be disputed; and the relation of these successive forms, as stages of evolution of the same type, is established in various cases. — Thomas Huxley

Living things have no inertia, and tend to no equilibrium. — Thomas Huxley

Thomas Huxley Quotes On World

Go to table of contents

The chess-board is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. — Thomas Huxley

If there is anything in the world which I do firmly believe in, it is the universal validity of the law of causation. — Thomas Huxley

A world of facts lies outside and beyond the world of words. — Thomas Huxley

We live in a world which is full of misery and ignorance, and the plain duty of each and all of us is to try to make the little corner he can influence somewhat less miserable and somewhat less ignorant than it was before he entered. — Thomas Huxley

I do not say think as I think, but think in my way. Fear no shadows, least of all in that great spectre of personal unhappiness which binds half the world to orthodoxy. — Thomas Huxley

The world is neither wise nor just, but it makes up for all its folly and injustice by being damnably sentimental. — Thomas Huxley

For every man the world is as fresh as it was at the first day, and as full of untold novelties for him who has the eyes to see them. — Thomas Huxley

Tolerably early in life I discovered that one of the unpardonable sins, in the eyes of most people, is for a man to go about unlabeled. The world regards such a person as the police do an unmuzzled dog. — Thomas Huxley

There is no sadder sight in the world than to see a beautiful theory killed by a brutal fact. — Thomas Huxley

No one who has lived in the world as long as you & I have, can entertain the pious delusion that it is engineered upon principles of benevolence... the cosmos remains always beautiful and profoundly interesting in every corner-and if I had as many lives as a cat I would leave no corner unexplored. — Thomas Huxley

Thomas Huxley Quotes On Love

Go to table of contents

No one can help another very much in these crises of life; but love and sympathy count for something. — Thomas Huxley

Trust a witness in all matters in which neither his self-interest, his passions, his prejudices, nor the love of the marvellous is strongly concerned. When they are involved, require corroborative evidence in exact proportion to the contravention of probability by the thing testified. — Thomas Huxley

My belief is that no human being or society composed of human beings ever did or ever will come to much unless their conduct was governed and guided by the love of some ethical ideal. — Thomas Huxley

Friendship involves many things but, above all the power of going outside oneself and appreciating what is noble and loving in another. — Thomas Huxley

Thomas Huxley Quotes On Evolution

Go to table of contents

A man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor whom I should feel shame in recalling it would rather be a man who plunges into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric. — Thomas Huxley

I believe that history might be, and ought to be, taught in a new fashion so as to make the meaning of it as a process of evolution intelligible to the young. — Thomas Huxley

Unity of plan everywhere lies hidden under the mask: of diversity of structure-the complex is everywhere evolved out of the simple. — Thomas Huxley

If the hypothesis of evolution is true, living matter must have arisen from non-living matter; for by the hypothesis the condition of the globe was at one time such, that living matter could not have existed in it, life being entirely incompatible with the gaseous state. — Thomas Huxley

If individuality has no play, society does not advance; if individuality breaks out of all bounds, society perishes. — Thomas Huxley

Not only does every animal live at the expense of some other animal or plant, but the very plants are at war.... The individuals of a species are like the crew of a foundered ship, and none but good swimmers have a chance of reaching the land. — Thomas Huxley

As a natural process, of the same character as the development of a tree from its seed, or of a fowl from its egg, evolution excludes creation and all other kinds of supernatural intervention. — Thomas Huxley

Thomas Huxley Quotes On Nature

Go to table of contents

The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, skepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin. — Thomas Huxley

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing. — Thomas Huxley

The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. — Thomas Huxley

The question of all questions for humanity, the problem which lies behind all others and is more interesting than any of them, is that of the determination of man's place in nature and his relation to the cosmos. — Thomas Huxley

Follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. — Thomas Huxley

Of moral purpose I see no trace in Nature. That is an article of exclusively human manufacture and very much to our credit. — Thomas Huxley

Of all the senseless babble I have ever had occasion to read, the demonstrations of these philosophers who undertake to tell us all about the nature of God would be the worst, if they were not surpassed by the still greater absurdities of the philosophers who try to prove that there is no God. — Thomas Huxley

Man's Place in Nature. — Thomas Huxley

The student of Nature wonders the more and is astonished the less, the more conversant he becomes with her operations; but of all the perennial miracles she offers to his inspection, perhaps the most worthy of admiration is the development of a plant or of an animal from its embryo. — Thomas Huxley

Mix salt and sand, and it shall puzzle the wisest of men, with his mere natural appliances, to separate all the grains of sand from all the grains of salt; but a shower of rain will effect the same object in ten minutes. — Thomas Huxley

Thomas Huxley Quotes On Science

Go to table of contents

Science is nothing but trained and organized common sense differing from the latter only as a veteran may differ from a raw recruit: and its methods differ from those of common sense only as far as the guardsman's cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a savage wields his club. — Thomas Huxley

Science is organized common sense where many a beautiful theory was killed by an ugly fact. — Thomas Huxley

In fact a favourite problem of Tyndall is-Given the molecular forces in a mutton chop, deduce Hamlet or Faust therefrom. He is confident that the Physics of the Future will solve this easily. — Thomas Huxley

Give unqualified assent to no propositions but those the truth of which is so clear and distinct that they cannot be doubted. The enunciation of this first great commandment of science consecrated doubt. — Thomas Huxley

In science, as in art, and, as I believe, in every other sphere of human activity, there may be wisdom in a multitude of counsellors, but it is only in one or two of them. — Thomas Huxley

I am too much of a sceptic to deny the possibility of anything... — Thomas Huxley

[Scientists] have learned to respect nothing but evidence, and to believe that their highest duty lies in submitting to it however it may jar against their inclinations. — Thomas Huxley

All knowledge is good. It is impossible to say any fragment of knowledge, however insignificant or remote from one's ordinary pursuits, may not some day be turned to account. — Thomas Huxley

Cherish [Science], venerate her, follow her methods faithfully ... and the future of this people will be greater than the past. — Thomas Huxley

Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science, as strangled snakes beside that of Hercules — Thomas Huxley

Thomas Huxley Quotes On Fact

Go to table of contents

My business is to teach my aspirations to confirm themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations. — Thomas Huxley

The facts of variability, of the struggle for existence, of adaptation to conditions, were notorious enough; but none of us had suspected that the road to the heart of the species problem lay through them, until Darwin and Wallace dispelled the darkness. — Thomas Huxley

To say that an idea is necessary is simply to affirm that we cannot conceive the contrary; and the fact that we cannot conceive the contrary of any belief may be a presumption, but is certainly no proof, of its truth. — Thomas Huxley

I doubt the fact, to begin with, but if it be so even, what is this but in grand words asking me to believe a thing because I like it. — Thomas Huxley

Not only do I disbelieve in the need for compensation, but I believe that the seeking for rewards and punishments out of this lifeleads men to a ruinous ignorance of the fact that their inevitable rewards and punishments are here. — Thomas Huxley

Deduction, which takes us from the general proposition to facts again-teaches us, if I may so say, to anticipate from the ticket what is inside the bundle. — Thomas Huxley

It is a popular delusion that the scientific enquirer is under an obligation not to go beyond generalisation of observed facts...but anyone who is practically acquainted with scientific work is aware that those who refuse to go beyond the facts, rarely get as far. — Thomas Huxley

To a clear eye the smallest fact is a window through which the infinite may be seen. — Thomas Huxley

Fact I know; and Law I know; but what is this Necessity, save an empty shadow of my own mind's throwing? — Thomas Huxley

The very existence of society depends on the fact that every member of it tacitly admits he is not the exclusive possessor of himself, and that he admits the claim of the polity of which he forms a part, to act, to some extent, as his master. — Thomas Huxley

Thomas Huxley Famous Quotes And Sayings

Go to table of contents

Let us have "sweet girl graduates" by all means. They will be none the less sweet for a little wisdom; and the "golden hair" will not curl less gracefully outside the head by reason of there being brains within. — Thomas Huxley

I am content with nothing, restless and ambitious... and I despise myself for the vanity, which formed half the stimulus to my exertions. Oh would that I were one of those plodding wise fools who having once set their hand to the plough go on nothing doubting. — Thomas Huxley

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. It is the first lesson that ought to be learned and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly. — Thomas Huxley

There is assuredly no more effectual method of clearing up one's own mind on any subject than by talking it over, so to speak, with men of real power and grasp, who have considered it from a totally different point of view. — Thomas Huxley

'Infidel' is a term of reproach, which Christians and Mohammedans, in their modesty, agree to apply to those who differ from them. — Thomas Huxley

It is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty. — Thomas Huxley

Mathematics may be compared to a mill of exquisite workmanship, which grinds your stuff to any degree of fineness. — Thomas Huxley

Mathematics may be compared to a mill of exquisite workmanship, which grinds you stuff of any degree of fineness; but, nevertheless, what you get out depends upon what you put in; and as the grandest mill in the world will not extract wheat-flour from peascods, so pages of formulae will not get a definite result out of loose data. — Thomas Huxley

The science, the art, the jurisprudence, the chief political and social theories, of the modern world have grown out of Greece and Rome-not by favour of, but in the teeth of, the fundamental teachings of early Christianity, to which science, art, and any serious occupation with the things of this world were alike despicable. — Thomas Huxley

Unfortunately, it is much easier to shut one's eyes to good than to evil. Pain and sorrow knock at our doors more loudly than pleasure and happiness; and the prints of their heavy footsteps are less easily effaced. — Thomas Huxley

It is not what we believe, but why we believe it. Moral responsibility lies in diligently weighing the evidence. We must actively doubt; we have to scrutinize our views, not take them on trust. No virtue attached to blindly accepting orthodoxy, however 'venerable'. — Thomas Huxley

It sounds paradoxical to say the attainment of scientific truth has been effected, to a great extent, by the help of scientific errors. — Thomas Huxley

No slavery can be abolished without a double emancipation, and the master will benefit by freedom more than the freed-man. — Thomas 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 Huxley

History warns us that it is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions. — Thomas Huxley

If the perpetual oscillation of nations between anarchy and despotism is to be replaced by the steady march of self-restraining freedom, it will be because men will gradually bring themselves to deal with political, as they now deal with scientific questions. — Thomas Huxley

The only medicine for suffering, crime, and all other woes of mankind, is wisdom. Teach a man to read and write, and you have put into his hands the great keys of the wisdom box. But it is quite another thing to open the box. — Thomas Huxley

Action is the catalyst that creates accomplishments. It is the path that takes us from uncrafted hopes to realized dreams. — Thomas Huxley

The child who has been taught to make an accurate elevation, plan, and section of a pint pot has had an admirable training in accuracy of eye and hand. — Thomas Huxley

Social progress means a checking of the cosmic process at every step and the substitution for it of another, which may be called the ethical process; the end of which is not the survival of those who may happen to be the fittest, in respect of the whole of the conditions which obtain, but of those who are ethically the best. — Thomas Huxley

The only question which any wise man can ask himself, and which any honest man will ask himself, is whether a doctrine is true or false. — Thomas Huxley

The most considerable difference I note among men is not in their readiness to fall into error, but in their readiness to acknowledge these inevitable lapses. — Thomas Huxley

A man who speaks out honestly and fearlessly that which he knows, and that which he believes, will always enlist the good will and the respect, however much he may fail in winning the assent, of his fellow men. — Thomas Huxley

Nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a third. — Thomas Huxley

There is no greater mistake than the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued. — Thomas Huxley

Agnosticism is not properly described as a "negative" creed, nor indeed as a creed of any kind, except in so far as it expresses absolute faith in the validity of a principle which is as much ethical as intellectual. — Thomas Huxley

The known is finite, the unknown infinite; spiritually we find ourselves on a tiny island in the middle of a boundless ocean of the inexplicable. It is our task, from generation to generation, to drain a small amount of additional land. — Thomas Huxley

My fundamental axiom of speculative philosophy is that materialism and spiritualism are opposite poles of the same absurdity-the absurdity of imagining that we know anything about either spirit or matter. — Thomas Huxley

It is not to be forgotten that what we call rational grounds for our beliefs are often extremely irrational attempts to justify our instincts. — Thomas 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. — Thomas Huxley

If then, said I, the question is put to me would I rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessing great means and influence and yet who employs those faculties for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussion-I unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape. — Thomas Huxley

The population question is the real riddle of the sphinx, to which no political Oedipus has as yet found the answer. In view of the ravages of the terrible monster over-multiplication, all other riddle sink into insignificance. — Thomas Huxley

We live in the hope and faith that, by the advance of molecular physics, we shall by-and-by be able to see our way as clearly from the constituents of water to the properties of water, as we are now able to deduce the operations of a watch from the form of its parts and the manner in which they are put together. — Thomas Huxley

... our "Physick" and "Anatomy" have embraced such infinite varieties of being, have laid open such new worlds in time and space, have grappled, not unsuccessfully, with such complex problems, that the eyes of Vesalius and of Harvey might be dazzled by the sight of the tree that has grown out of their grain of mustard seed. — Thomas Huxley

The only people, scientific or other, who never make mistakes are those who do nothing. — Thomas Huxley

The doctrine of transmigration… was a means of constructing a plausible vindication of the ways of the cosmos to man; … none but very hasty thinkers will reject it on the grounds of inherent absurdity. — Thomas Huxley

The only good that I can see in the demonstration of the truth of "Spiritualism" is to furnish an additional argument against suicide. Better live a crossing-sweeper than die and be made to talk twaddle by a "medium" hired at a guinea a séance. — Thomas Huxley

It does not matter how many tumbles you have in this life, so long as you do not get dirty when you tumble; it is only the people who have to stop to be washed and made clean, who must necessarily lose the race. And I can assure you that there is the greatest practical benefit in making a few failures early in life. You learn that which is of inestimable importance — Thomas Huxley

And when you cannot prove that people are wrong, but only that they are absurd, the best course is to let them alone. — Thomas Huxley

Elohim was, in logical terminology, the genus of which ghosts, Chemosh, Dagon, Baal, and Jahveh were species. The Israelite believed Jahveh to be immeasurably superior to all other kinds of Elohim. The inscription on the Moabite stone shows that King Mesa held Chemosh to be, as unquestionably, the superior of Jahveh. — Thomas Huxley

Matter and force are the two names of the one artist who fashions the living as well as the lifeless. — Thomas Huxley

There is nothing of permanent value (putting aside a few human affections) nothing that satisfies quiet reflection--except the sense of having worked according to one's capacity and light to make things clear and get rid of cant and shams of all sorts. — Thomas Huxley

The only freedom I care about is the freedom to do right; the freedom to do wrong I am ready to part with on the cheapest terms to anyone who will take it of me. — Thomas Huxley

It may be well to remember that the highest level of moral aspiration recorded in history was reached by a few ancient Jews--Micah, Isaiah, and the rest--who took no count whatever of what might not happen to them after death. It is not obvious to me why the same point should not by and by be reached by the Gentiles. — Thomas Huxley

Teach a man to read and write, and you have put into his hands the great keys of the wisdom-box. — Thomas Huxley

Can any one deny that the old Israelites conceived Jahveh not only in the image of a man, but in that of a changeable, irritable, and, occasionally, violent man? — Thomas Huxley

Missionaries, whether of philosophy or religion, rarely make rapid way, unless their preachings fall in with the prepossessions ofthe multitude of shallow thinkers, or can be made to serve as a stalking-horse for the promotion of the practical aims of the still larger multitude, who do not profess to think much, but are quite certain they want a great deal. — Thomas Huxley

If every man possessed everything he wanted, and no one had the power to interfere with such possession; or if no man desired thatwhich could damage his fellow-man, justice would have no part to play in the universe. — Thomas Huxley

Life Lessons by Thomas Huxley

Go to table of contents

  1. Thomas Huxley taught us to be brave and open-minded in the face of opposition, as he stood up for his beliefs despite criticism from his peers.
  2. He also showed us the importance of hard work and dedication, as he worked tirelessly to become one of the most influential scientists of the 19th century.
  3. Lastly, he demonstrated the power of knowledge, as he used his expertise to advance science and make the world a better place.

In Conclusion

Which quote resonated with you best? Did you enjoy our collection of Thomas Huxley quotes? Or may be you have a quotation about Thomas Huxley to suggest. Let us know using our contact form.

About the author

This collection is managed by , with an extensive background in quote curation. They have meticulously gathered, researched, and compiled the quotes featured on this page. Every quote has been diligently cross-verified for its origin, its authenticity, and its potential influence on our readership.


Feel free to cite and use any of the quotes by Thomas Huxley. For popular citation styles (APA, Chicago, MLA), go to citation page.

Embed HTML Link

Copy and paste this HTML code in your webpage