Evolution and Ethics

  • Patrick Bateson
Part of the Studies in Biology, Economy and Society book series (SBES)


In 1893, Thomas Henry Huxley delivered the Romanes lecture in Oxford, giving it the title ‘Evolution and Ethics’. It was a polished performance, highly literate, confident and progressive. He estab-lished a clear distinction between savage, selfish behaviour generated by biological evolution (or the ‘cosmic process’ as he called it) and civilised, altruistic values resulting from the ‘ethical process’. The lecture ended on an optimistic note:

I see no limit to the extent to which intelligence and will, guided by sound principles of investigation, and organized in common effort, may modify the conditions of existence. … And much may be done to change the nature of man himself.


Migration Explosive Expense Milo Egypt 


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© The Eugenics Society 1989

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  • Patrick Bateson

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