[Replying to Bishop Samuel Wilberforce in their debate on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, Oxford, England, 30 June 1860:] “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—a man of restless and versatile intellect—who, not content with an equivocal success in his own sphere of activity, plunges into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them with an aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent digressions and skilled appeals to religious prejudice.”
Quoted in Leonard Huxley, Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley (1900)
Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.