Very soon will be the 150th anniversary of the first public debate on natural selection between Bishop Wilberforce, Thomas Huxley and Joseph Hooker.
On 30 June 1860 at the University Museum in Oxford, at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the case was made for the new theory of the evolution of species by natural selection as had been announced in 1859 by Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913).
Supporting the proposal were Thomas Huxley (1825-1895) and Joseph Hooker (1817-1911).
Against it was Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, representing the traditions of the church.
Hundreds of web sites discuss the importance of this debate, as for instance
The 1860 debate on evolution is often portrayed as a confrontation between religion and science.
Darwin, Huxley and Hooker were professional scientists who focussed on the advance of scientific knowledge, and were resolved not to be obstructed by religious arrogance. Their approach to science was to spread and prosper, and to become largely independent of religious dogma.
How can it be that today, 150 years later, there are so many ostrich-headed obstructionists with heads buried in the sand?
How does the arrogance and disdain of the creationists manage to persist?
—above all, how does this happen in the otherwise wonderfully-advanced, scientific and technological country that is America?
What more can scientists, atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers do to ensure that only truths are taught in schools?