Julian Huxley

On this date in 1887, Julian Huxley, the brother of novelist Aldous Huxley and the grandson of agnostic biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, was born in Great Britain. Educated as a biologist at Oxford, he taught at Rice Institute, Houston (1912-16), Oxford (1919-25) and Kings College (1925-35). An ant specialist (he wrote a book called Ants in 1930), Huxley was secretary of the Zoological Society of London (1935-42) and UNESCO’s first general director (1946-48). A strong secular humanist, Huxley called himself “not merely agnostic. … I disbelieve in a personal God in any sense in which that phrase is ordinarily used.” (Religion Without Revelation, 1927, revised 1956)

Huxley was an early evolutionary theorist with versatile academic interests. Some of his many other books include Essays of a Biologist (1923), Animal Biology (with J.B.S. Haldane, 1927), The Science of Life (with H.G. Wells, 1931), Thomas Huxley’s Diary of the Voyage of the HMS Rattlesnake (editor, 1935), The Living Thoughts of Darwin (1939), Heredity, East & West (1949), Biological Aspects of Cancer (1957), Towards a New Humanism (1957) and Memories, a two-volume autobiography in the early 1970s. Huxley was knighted in 1958 and was also a founder of the World Wildlife Fund. (D. 1975)

PHOTO: Huxley in 1964. Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Creative Commons.

Freedom From Religion Foundation