St. George Jackson Mivart
St. George Jackson Mivart PhD MD FRS (November 30, 1827 – April 1, 1900) was an English biologist. He is famous for starting as an ardent believer in natural selection who later became one of its fiercest critics. 
Life and appointments
Mivart was born in London. His parents were Evangelicals, and his father was the wealthy owner of Mivart's Hotel (now Claridge's). His education started at the Clapham Grammar School, and continued at Harrow School and King's College London. Later he was instructed at St Mary's, Oscott (1844–1846); he was confirmed there on 11 May 1845. His conversion to Roman Catholicism automatically excluded him from the University of Oxford.
In 1851 he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn, but he devoted himself to medical and biological studies. In 1862 he was appointed to the Chair in Zoology at St Mary's Hospital medical school. In 1869 he became a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, and from 1874 to 1877 he was Professor of Biology at the short-lived (Catholic) University College, Kensington.
He was Vice-President of the Zoological Society twice (1869 and 1882); Fellow of the Linnean Society from 1862, Secretary from 1874-80, and Vice-President in 1892. In 1867 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for his work "On the Appendicular skeleton of the Primates". This work was communicated to the Society by T.H. Huxley. Mivart was a member of the Metaphysical Society from 1874. He received the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy from Pope Pius IX in 1876, and of Doctor of Medicine from the University of Louvain in 1884.
Mivart died of diabetes in London on April 1st, 1900. After his death, a long final struggle took place between his friends and the church authorities, which ended in his internment in Kensal Green Catholic cemetery on January 18th 1904.
Career in controversy
Mivart met Huxley in 1859, and was initially a close follower and a believer in natural selection. "Even as a professor he continued to attending Huxley's lectures... they became close friends, dining together and arranging family visits."  However, Huxley was always strongly anti-Catholic, and no doubt his secular attitude worked its effect, and Mivart became disenchanted. Once disenchanted, he lost little time in reversing on the subject of natural selection. In short, he now believed that a higher teleology was compatible with evolution.
Even before Mivart's publication of On the Genesis of Species he had floated his new ideas in various periodicals,  and Huxley, Lankester and Flower had come out against him. The publication of the Genesis aroused fury from his former intimates: even the mild Darwin described it as "grossly unfair" and "the product of bigotry". After Mivart's hostile review of the Descent of Man in the Quarterly Review, relationships between the two men were near breaking point.
The quarrel reached a climax when Mivart lost his usual composure over what should have been a minor incident. In 1873, George Darwin (Charles' son) published a short article in Contemporary Review suggesting that divorce should be made easier in cases of cruelty, abuse or mental disorder. Mivart reacted with horror, using phrases like "hideous sexual criminality" and "unrestrained licentiousness". His response was close to libel: Huxley wrote a counter-attack, and both Huxley and Darwin broke off connexions with Mivart. Huxley blackballed Mivart's attempt to join the Athenaeum Club.
As a critic of evolution, Mivart was someone Darwin took seriously. One of his criticisms, to which Darwin effectively responded in later editions of the Origin of Species, was a perceived failure of natural selection to explain the incipient stages of useful structures. Taking the eye as an example, Darwin was able to show many stages of light sensitivity and eye development in the animal kingdom as proof of the utility of less than perfect sight (argument by intermediate stages). Another was the supposed inability of natural selection to explain cases of parallel evolution. This was a weak objection, as Huxley showed, for the effect of natural selection in places with the same environment will obviously tend to be similar.
Though admitting evolution generally, Mivart denied its applicability to the human intellect (a view also taken by Wallace). His views as to the relationship between human nature and intellect and animal nature in general were given in Nature and thought (1882), and in the Origin of Human Reason (1889).
Five articles were published in the Nineteenth Century from in 1885-1892, in which Mivart advocated the claims of science even where they seemed to conflict with religion, were placed on the Index Expurgatorius. Later articles in January 1900 led to his excommunication by Cardinal Vaughan, with whom he had a curious correspondence vindicating his claim to hold liberal opinions while remaining in the Roman Catholic Church. He died excommunicated by the Church,  as he had been years before by his Darwinian friends.
PublicationsWikisource has original works written by or about: George Mivart
Mivart's chief works are the following:
- One Point of Controversy with the Agnostics in Manning: Essays on Religion and Literature (1868)
- On the Genesis of Species (London, 1871)
- An examination of Mr. Herbert Spencer's Psychology
- Lessons in Elementary Anatomy (London, 1873)
- The Common Frog in Nature Series (1873)
- Man and Apes: an exposition of structural resemblances and differences bearing upon questions of affinity and origin. (Robert Hardwicke, London, 1873)
- Lessons from Nature (London, 1876)
- Contemporary Evolution (London, 1876)
- Address to the Biological Section of the British Association (1879)
- The cat: an introduction to the study of backboned animals, especially mammals. (Murray, London 1881)
- Nature and Thought (London, 1882)
- A Philosophical Catechism (London, 1884)
- On Truth (London, 1889)
- The Origin of Human Reason (London, 1889)
- Dogs, Jackals, Wolves and Foxes, Monograph of the Canidæ 2 vols in one (Taylor & Francis for R. H. Porter and Dulau & Co. London, 1890)
- Introduction Générale à l'Etude de la Nature: Cours professé à l'Université de Louvain (Louvain and Paris, 1891)
- Birds (Taylor & Francis, London, 1892)
- Essays and Criticisms 2 vols (London, 1892)
- Types of Animal Life (London, 1893)
- Introduction to the Elements of Science (London, 1894)
- Castle and Manor (London, 1900)
- A monograph of the Lories, or brush-tongued parrots (London, 1896)
- The Groundwork of Science: a study of Epistemology (London, 1898)
- The Helpful Science (London, 1898)
- Ape in Encyclopædia Britannica
Also, many publications in serials, popular, scientific and religious in content.
- ^ Desmond, Adrian 1982. Archetypes and Ancestors: palaeontology in Victorian London. Blond & Briggs, London. p137-142
- ^ Catholic Encyclopedia 1913.
- ^ Gruber J.W. 1960. A consciousness in conflict: the life of St. George Jackson Mivart. Columbia University Press, N.Y.
- ^ Desmond op cit p137
- ^ Mivart St G. 1869. The Month 11, pp35-53; 134-153; 274-289.
- ^ Huxley TH 1871. Mr Darwin's critics. Contemporary Review.
- ^ Browne J. 2002. Charles Darwin: the power of place. Volume II of a biography. Cape, London. p355-6
- ^ Mivart St G. 1885. Modern Catholics and scientific freedom. Nineteenth Century, July.
- ^ Mivart St G. 1887. The Catholic Church and biblical criticism. Nineteenth Century, July.
- ^ Mivart St G. 1900. The continuity of Catholicism. Nineteenth Century, January.
- ^ Mivart St G. 1900 Some recent apologists. Fortnightly Review, January.
- ^ Catholic Encyclopedia 1913.
Gruber J.W. 1960. A consciousness in conflict: the life of St. George Jackson Mivart. Columbia University Press
- The Oscottian, St Mary's College Oscott, 1888
- "St. George Jackson Mivart, Ph.D., M.D., F.R.S., V.P.Z.S., F.Z.S.". Catholic Encyclopedia. (1913). New York: Robert Appleton Company.
External linksCategories: 1827 births | 1900 deaths | People from Clapham | Old Harrovians | English biologists | Fellows of the Zoological Society of London | Alumni of King's College London | Alumni of St. Mary's College, Oscott | Converts to Roman Catholicism | People excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church | Fellows of the Royal Society | Members of the Linnean Society of London | Members of Lincoln's Inn
Link former page on this page
Related word on this page