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Thursday, July 28, 2016

What is "THE" theory of evolution?

I wish people would stop referring to "THE" Theory of Evolution. What they really mean, of course, is "The Theory of Natural Selection"—part of modern evolutionary theory. There's no question about the importance of natural selection and the major contribution of Charles Darwin in discovering it and promoting it to the general public. However, in 2016 there's a lot more to evolutionary theory than just natural selection and the public needs to know this. Many scientists need to know this.

There's also no debate about Darwin's contribution to promoting the evidence of evolution and descent with modification. He made a brilliant case for evolution in his books. Subsequent discoveries have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that modern life is the product of billions of years of evolution. Descent with modification is a scientific fact. The fact that evolution has occurred is not a theory. It is not a "theory" that humans and the other apes have descended form a common ancestor ... it is a fact [Evolution Is a Fact and a Theory].

We perpetuate confusion in the minds of the general public if we don't make it abundantly clear that modern evolution theory is not about whether evolution occurred and it's not just about natural selection.

I was prompted to write this blog post by a recent article in New Scientist: Darwin’s discovery: The remarkable history of evolution.1 The author is John van Wyhe of the National University of Singapore. He is a historian of science with a special interest in Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

The article contains a box that says ...
Evolution in a nutshell

Darwin’s and Wallace’s theory of evolution maintains that new species are descended from earlier ones. This long-term process happens because all organisms vary. The tiny variations are naturally “selected” by virtue of whether or not they help an organism to survive the brutal struggle for existence in nature. Many are born, but few survive; fortuitous variations are preferentially passed on. This process of endless filtering works to adapt organisms to their environment.
This is misleading in two ways. First, it states that common descent is part of the the theory of evolution. Second, it only talks about natural selection as a mechanism of evolution.

We wish to question a deeply engrained habit of thinking among students of evolution. We call it the adaptationist programme, or the Panglossian paradigm.

S.J. Gould & R.C. Lewontin (1979) p. 584
Fortunately, the main body of the article is quite a bit better. Here's what John van Wyhe actually says about evolution.
Despite its baptism of fire, On the Origin of Species almost single-handedly convinced the international scientific community that evolution was a fact. In his 1889 book Darwinism, Wallace wrote of the revolution Darwin effected: "this totally unprecedented change in public opinion has been the result of the work of one man, and was brought about in the short space of twenty years!"

The theory of evolution has come a long way since. Today we think of it in terms of genes and DNA, but Darwin and Wallace had no idea of their existence. It was only in the 1930s and 1940s that genetics was incorporated into evolutionary theory. Even now, new discoveries are shaking up our understanding, but at the core of the modern theory remains Darwin’s idea of descent with modification.

Today evolution has many critics outside the scientific community, especially in the US, where a significant percentage of the population are creationists. What is forgotten is that the scientific debate over evolution was over by the 1870s and has never again been a matter of serious dispute.
Darwin showed that evolution is a fact and it's good that van Wyhe made this point in a article aimed at the general public. It's not good when he says "the core of the modern theory remains Darwin’s idea of descent with modification."

It's not good that he still refers to "THE" theory of evolution instead of "evolutionary theory," which encompasses all kinds of things other than natural selection.

1. The title in the print edition is: "The Evolution Revolution."


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Jmac said...

There is so many contradictions in this post that I don't even know where to start.

Maybe here:

"Subsequent discoveries have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that modern life is the product of billions of years of evolution. Descent with modification is a scientific fact. The fact that evolution has occurred is not a theory. It is not a "theory" that humans and the other apes have descended form a common ancestor ... it is a fact.

1. It there are so many facts, as you claim, about evolution, why are those facts kept a secret? Why aren't they in textbooks?
2. If you refer to evolution with so many supposed facts, why isn't there ever a reference to the experiment (s) that prove your point? 3. Why is there always an assumption on your part that everyone, including many scientists, should know what you think is a common knowledge?
4. If the mechanism of evolution reaches beyond natural selection (I'm going to add random mutations even though mathematically it as mechanism, is a total fiasco beyond any probability) why is it kept secret? Why isn't in the text books?

I'm pretty sure some of your speculations have crept into text books you have co-authored. Unfortunately, even your own university doesn't use your textbooks.Have you ever wonder why?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to read that you had such a lousy science education, Cruglers. The biology books I used had lots of facts about evolution. It's too bad yours didn't.

If you want to catch up now, you might try the book Why Evolution is True, which explains both evidence and the reasoning that leads to the conclusion that evolution happens.

John Harshman said...

This is misleading in two ways. First, it states that common descent is part of the the theory of evolution. Second, it only talks about natural selection as a mechanism of evolution.

I don't see the misleading. First, it's a description of Darwin & Wallace's theories of evolution, which indeed have two components: natural selection and common descent.

Second, why would you ever make the claim that common descent isn't a theory? Is it that you maintain that there can be no overlap between theories and facts? If so, I think that's a very naive view. You have previously said, if I recall, that a theory is an explanation of diverse facts. Common descent clearly explains a host of facts. So why isn't it a theory?

Robert Byers said...

A lot said.
On the point it was settled that Darwin was right in the 1870's should be the first hint something was wrong. did the great concept of biology origins really get settled in a single book and by a small number of people, who study these things, who agreed with it. If thats true all one has to do is attack the ideas of those dats.
The scientific community by definition does not exist relative to any particular subject. its only those studied in these things who are the scientists that matter. Not rocket scientists. a little point here.
Hmmm. Settled. by the reassoning and minor data in a few small books! Hmmm.
I don't think it settled anything. Thats why its a famous rejection of a idea in "science" today.
Its a big subject and must be on the merits of the facts as studied today.
We are smarter today and things moved too quick in small circles and too quick , 20 years, public opinion changed. The public don't really study these things then or now and if the public matters then the disbelief of so much of the public matters too.

Mikkel Rumraket Rasmussen said...

"1. It there are so many facts, as you claim, about evolution, why are those facts kept a secret?"
They aren't.

"Why aren't they in textbooks?"
They are.

Why do you spew laughably inane falsehoods?

SRM said...

Sounds like someone might be the product of christian homeschooling where parents ensure their children will be as ignorant of science as they are - an apparant requirement, in many religious circles, to maintain a love for jesus.

judmarc said...

I'm going to add random mutations even though mathematically it as mechanism, is a total fiasco beyond any probability

I'm truly sorry for the apparently terrible quality of your education in both biology and mathematics. In fact evolution works beautifully with probability math. Anyone who has told you different either doesn't know the math or is intentionally telling you something that's not true.

Evolution works on the same math as the PowerBall lottery. If you used ID math, no one should win the PowerBall for well over a million years. But of course someone wins every few weeks if not more often. So every time you see the news that someone has won the PowerBall, understand that means the math behind evolution is correct, and the version given by people in favor of ID is just plain wrong.

Megaloblatta said...

Well, what do you expect - van Wyhe is 'just' an historian, not a biologist (he has 'accused' me of the reverse in the past!). P.S. I am an evolutionary biologist and the director of the Wallace Correspondence Project.

Dysology said...

Also, one needs to distinguish between, mathematical, geological and biological evolution. Not forgetting macro evolution by natural selection, which was first published in the name of Patrick Matthew in 1831 and subsequently cited by the friends and influencers of Darwin and Wallace before they put so much as pen to private notepad on the topic.

If Darwinists continue to fact deny the history of discovery of macroevolution by natural slection - just like creationists fact deny uncomfortable facts - they should not be surprised when creationists pick up their pseudo-scholarship and use it as ammunition against them.

Build a glass house in history - it is perhaps then best you don't throw stones at similar intellectual vandals like creationists.

See the rational facts that Darwinites are fact denying:

Ed said...

Hey Mike, what exactly is your problem? According to history Matthew only mentioned a rough outline of natural selection in '31, but not the specific mechanism like Darwin and Wallace came up with after 2 decades of hard work. In the first edition of Origins Darwin didn't cite Matthew as a source, but in later editions of Origins he did.

So what *exactly* is your problem, Mike? I think this is it though: natural theology . If in some obscure way you can make people believe Matthew is *the* original author for natural selection, the next step is of course Matthew being the founding father of ID. Hurray! Take that evilutionists.

Dysology said...

Ed you write "according to history?". Have you never heard of the ancient scientific motto "Nullius in Verba"? I suggest you look it up and live by it.

According to "history" written by whom exactly? More importantly, on what verifiable hard evidence is this "history" written ED? Have you actually bothered to read for yourself all of what Matthew (1831) wrote in his entire book - as opposed to parroting like an unthinking pet mynah bird what others tell you is true?

If you cannot be bothered to read Matthew (1831) for yourself Ed then you might perhaps be bothered to at least read what is written by the world's leading evolutionary biologists (the likes of Alfred Wallace and Sir Gavin de Beer, Ernst Mayr and Richard Dawkins - amongst others) that Matthew got the whole theory of macroevolution by natural selection in great detail before Darwin or Wallace made a single note on it. Here is are the fully cited sources that reveal your so called "according to history" is no more than pseudo-scholarly ignorant mynah birding propaganda:

Now if having read the fully cited and independently verifiable facts Ed and yet still prefer not to engage with those facts, why not take a trip over to visit Professor Mark Griffiths for a friendly chat about it all. He is waiting to help:

As for your conspiracy theory beliefs (making silly stuff up on the basis of zero evidence) I expect he can help you with that as well. Good luck old chap.

Dysology said...

As a historian, employed by a top university, it is most peculiar is it not - well it is in my opinion - that Dr van Whyhe informed the Scottish press that independently verifiable, newly discovered, disconfirming facts - found in the 19th century publication record - that demolish published Darwinists mere beliefs that no naturalist read Matthew's prior-pubmed organisation of macroevolution by natural selection pre -1858, are silly, not new and a conspiracy theory:

How weird!

Megaloblatta said...

I have just had a look at van Wyhe's article. He sees 'myths' everywhere he looks, yet, ironically, is not averse to making up myths of his own - see

Dysology said...


With respect, I did advise you earlier that fact denial behaviour creates an enabling environment for pseudo-scholarship (Google "Dysology Hypothesis"). This has been my argument from the outset. How we interpret the facts - and argue about them is one thing, but if you engage in outright "fact denial" behaviour - and/or allow it to go unchecked in history and in science then - as a Hate crimes scholar I can assure you - the lessons of history show us pretty much where we may well be headed. We are perhaps headed to the nightmare world of of poor August Landmesser.

Surely it is fair to argue, academically, that it is an act of creating a pseudo-scholarly propagandising conspiracy theory by proxy to claim that independently verifiable (peer reviewed) new data, which do disconfirm the prior knowledge claims of the likes of Sir Gavin de Beer and Ernst Mayor - and of Charles Darwin - that no naturalist read Matthew's (1831) prior published conception of macroevolution by natural selection is not new, very silly and a conspiracy theory. Yet this is exactly what dr van Wyhe told the Scottish press:

As curator of a museum, beware the lessons of history. Leave propagandising to the nazis. And refuse to tolerate it in our society - no matter what the personal cost may be.

Ted said...

My, you do write badly! Not a good idea, seeing as bad writing is strong indication of a troll, especially a creationist one. Oh, right...

Confused said...

"Descent with modification is a scientific fact. The fact that evolution has occurred is not a theory. It is not a "theory" that humans and the other apes have descended form a common ancestor ... it is a fact"

judmarc said...

Looked up the RationalWiki link, which has the following heading:

"This personal essay is not endorsed by RationalWiki in any manner, despite claims by the author to the contrary."

So much for strict adherence to proven facts.

I suppose there's no particular need to sound the Crank Alert; that must be pretty obvious.

John Harshman said...

Confused: Your nym is apt. An assertion, even if it's quoted from some unnamed but presumably prestigious source, is not an argument. Would you care to discuss this issue?

Dysology said...

Do I really need to explain the obvious to you Judmarc? Seriously. How old are you? 7? The facts are in the cited sources. Those cited sources exist in the publication record. The proven facts of what exists in the publication record is independently verifiable as proven to exist in print when you look them up and read them. Ho hum. Another armchair Einstein needs to be taught the most basic form of primary school logic. Oily fish helps. Red cabbage, exercise (particularly running) and all dark fruit will possibly all help improve cognition.

At least try to think sensibly before committing finger to keyboard.

Arlin said...

Ed, to someone who has read parts of what Sutton has written, your reply looks very foolish. Contrary to what you state, Darwin does not "cite Matthew as a source" of his thinking. Instead, Darwin admits that Matthew preceded him, but then claims that no naturalists paid attention, and he indirectly blames Matthew for this (by putting his theory in the appendix of an obscure mis-titled book on naval arboriculture). That is, Darwin continues to take credit for what he calls "my theory", and simply writes himself a set of excuses for *not attributing Matthew as the source*, e.g., by referring to it as "Matthew's principle of selection."

Sutton gathers the evidence that Matthew's book was not just read by naturalists, but (1) received multiple published reviews and (2) was cited by (3) naturalists in Darwin's circle of acquaintances and influences. Loudon's review actually mentions that Matthew's book contained interesting ideas on the origin of species. To find out why naval arboriculture was so interesting to Brits, you'll have to read Sutton, or just consider the basis of the British Empire in 1831.

*Clearly*, Matthew has priority by ordinary scholarly standards, and clearly Darwin misrepresented the situation by spinning a yarn about Matthew's obscurity. Sutton points out that Darwin's followers have uncritically repeated that yarn for 150 years.

The only remaining question is whether Darwin was actually influenced in some way, which might range from vague diffusion of ideas through a personal network, to stealing the ideas and trying to hide it.

Sutton offers textual evidence that Darwin was influenced by Matthew, and points out personal connections that may have been a conduit for this influence. I have not spent much time reviewing this evidence, but it is based on similarities of phrasing. There is no smoking gun.

However, now that Sutton has pulled back the curtain on this, it is no longer responsible in scholarly writing to assert that Darwin wasn't influenced by Matthew, or even to assert that there is no evidence-- there is circumstantial evidence, however weak. If you doubt the evidence then the appropriate way of saying it is "I'm not convinced by the evidence that Darwin was influenced by Matthew."

But again, this only addresses the issue of borrowing. The issue of priority is already settled, in favor of Matthew.

colnago80 said...

Hey Sutton, when are you going to investigate whether Sir Edward De Vere actually wrote the plays attributed to William Shakespeare?

Robert Byers said...

Mike Sutton
I am a yec creationist. We don't deny facts. We analysis better raw data.
I am sure darwin etc was honest about his ignorance of this Patrick. those were more primitive days and obscure books, As Darwin quipped, were not likely to be read.
Nope. Darwin was innocent.

Robert Byers said...

I never heard about this Patrick Matthews. I read just now on wiki.
He and darwin agreed he got natural selection on positive traits as a origin for biology rIGHT. darwin gave him credit for beating him which is hard to admit .
Matthews didn't follow it through in the great way Darwin did and made no great conclusions.
However he did think he deserved credit for discovery, as they see it, or biological origins.
Its odd to see darwin practically agree.
Matthews, like darwin, however drew a conclusion that the line of reasoning of selection on positive traits means all biology came from this.
Thats just a line of reasoning. its not proof. Its important here.
Selection on traits easily can just be a special case on already fixed biological entities.
Matthews also was misled by using the fossil record.
its weird however. They ALWAYS include wAllace but why not Matthews?
I think there must be a paradigm shift in crediting biiological evolution discovery.
i suspect someone needs to write a book.
Maybe a creationist Hmmm.
However Darwin the still the top man in all this. More inclusive, explanatory, more conclusions, introducing it to the world, independent, and the origin of the present, but fleeting, evolution acceptance.

Dysology said...

Robert You are sure of something without knowing the facts. How reassuring for you. Darwin is in fact a proven liar. Read the facts of his proven lies in a series of simple yet fully referenced flashcards for those who are too lazy to read original sources:

Dysology said...

Hey Colonic - I don't know. You tell me when you've tidied away your comics. ;-)

Dysology said...

The point is do you understand the rules of priority in science? Check out the Arago Effect.

Because the point is all the leading evolutionary biologists admit Matthew (its not spelt "Matthews") got the entire theory first. Darwin and Wallace claimed that neither they nor any other naturalist/no one at all read Matthew's prior published theory. Darwin is proven to have lied when he wrote that because he had already been informed of two naturalists who did read it before 1859. Moreover, it is newly discovered that Darwin and Wallace - and their influencers and their influencers influencers - in fact did know naturalists who cited Matthew's book before they even privately penned a word on the topic. Its all in a book - all fully referenced to the independently verifiable newly discovered uncomfortable paradigm changing facts of more likely than not Matthewian "knowledge contamination" here:

Dysology said...


Than you. Because it is currently rare to find someone who will actually admit that these newly discovered facts exist.

John van Wyhe and others - such as Darwin's biographer. Prof. James Moore, claim they do not -or probably do not exist. Such pseudo scholarly fact denial is a disgrace. They are denying objective - 100 % proven (proven because its in print in the 19th century publication record) evidence even exists. Van Wyhe resigned from the advisory board of the journal that published my article as soon as it was published. Is that weak evidence my article prompted his resignation - or is it strong evidence?

Whether this new evidence of who we newly know DID in fact read Matthew's original ideas pre-1858 is strong or weak circumstantial evidence that Darwin and wallace were in some way "knowledge contaminated" is a similarly subjective assessment.

We should quite rightly debate the significance of the newly discovered data, But denying it exists is a disgrace. As I can see, you appear to agree with that argument.

Hopefully more serious scholars will be able to see past the lies they are taught to parrot like tame mynah birds and deal with the uncomfortable reality of the new data.

Thomas Mueller said...

Perhaps this would a good time to dust off this old article from Stephen Jay Gould

Thomas Mueller said...

... for further detail & elaboration:

Thomas Mueller said...

... apologies to Professor Moran - I failed to notice he had already embedded an excerpt to the 1981 Stephen Jay Gould article. I leave my post standing as a quick link to the entire essay with a tip of the hat to Larry Moran.

colnago80 said...


John Harshman said...


Arlin said...

Again, some of you people (e.g., judmarc) are really looking stupid right now for spending your time crafting dismissive replies while not taking a few minutes to verify some things that are rather easily verified. The received view of history is merely based on uncritically repeated the set of excuses that Darwin wrote out for himself, and you are serving a role as gatekeeper of orthodoxy by spewing vague accusations of trolling while refusing to lift a finger to review any evidence.

Matthew's letter to the Gardener's Chronicle can be read here:

Matthew wrote to Darwin, and also explains here, that his book was reviewed multiple times including by Loudon, directly contradicting Darwin's claim that no naturalist read the book.

Yet, Darwin continued to make this claim, and Darwin's loyal followers just keep repeating it.

Unlike Matthew and many other scientists who struggle for recognition, Darwin was from very early in his career surrounded by a kind of fan club that not only promoted his ideas, but promoted him as a kind of scientific superstar. Alas this is still true today-- it is what Bowler refers to as "the Darwin industry".

Ed said...

So, Arlin and Mike, you've both written some nice proza, but still haven't answered: what's the point? Does this information invalidate natural selection and it's offspring modern evolutionary theory??? Should all IDiots refer to scientists working on evolution as Matthewists from now on?

Jmac said...

How did you learn american English?

Robert Byers said...

Mike Sutton.
I am a hosyile creationist. Yet I have read Darwin and he went out of his way to be fair about who got the credit for what he thought was a great idea to change mankinds thinking on origins.
He stressed recognizing Wallace in a very gentlemanly way.
Je likewise recognized this Patrick who possibly could not og even got his claims noticed.
In fact dArwin didn't deny him..
One would have to go a long way, and bit further, to suggest darwin was lying about his independent discovery.
further also is the argument made in his books. its fully based on observations and then reasonings from it.
There is no hint or need for Patrick's stuff..
Darwin correctly calcuated he would get the credit despite some priority claim on some points by patrick.
I guess fair and square.

Robert Byers said...

fine about priority. Matthew seems to get that on SOME of the conclusions about natural selection. he did not fill in very much as darwin did in conclusions.
I do not see why you can claim deception on Darwin/Wallace based on OTHER naturalists reading matthew as far as they did or understood it or tweeked their thoughts.
They make a good claim of innocence and its the accuser who must prove otherwise.
bringing up OTHER naturalists readings is vague, unspecific, unproven, and finally Matthew's bokk is oviously obscure in those days especialy on any reader who is new to the subject.
It hink its a funny twist on priority in these matters yet Matthew only dealt with a portion of Darwins idea.
However the evidence is clear Darwin/Wallace were unaware of Matthew .Just as they gave witness.

Matthew's few paragraphs seem unrelated to the bigger conclusion of Darwin etc.
In fact in all cases it really is taking a observation, reasoning, and then extrapolation.
That is revealed by this contention .

Dysology said...

Extremely common troll spoor.

Dysology said...

The point is the same as in the case of any discovery and those who built upon the work of the originator. It's the same as in the case of the Higgs Bosun particle and same as in the case of the discovery of penicillin and its later discovered use as a systemic medicine. In both those cases the originator's influence was acknowledged and both originator's won the Nobel prize even though others took their ideas/discoveries forward. The difference here is that Darwin denied he was influenced by Matthew.

But Darwin's friends and influencers did read Matthew. As did their influencers influencers. Worse, Darwin lied when he claimed no other naturalist had read Matthew's ideas pre 1858. Because he had been informed that the opposite was true. Darwinites have been credulously mynah birding what their master has taught them to say ever since.

So this is a question of honesty and influence. Did the originator influence the replicating improver? Is the replicating improver trustworthy. Should we take what they say at face value?

Read the facts:

Here are Darwin's lies plainly revealed:

Darwin is a proven serial liar. Why should we believe anything he claimed in his defence?

Arlin said...

Ed, obviously questions #2 and #3 are rhetorical questions that attempt to change the topic.

With regard to #1, yes, I would be happy to explain to you what is the point of exploring the evidence regarding who deserves credit for an idea such as natural selection. The point is the same as for any other idea: as a scholar, one wants to get this right, because correct attribution is an important part of the social fabric of scholarship, including science. The correct source for natural selection, under the normal rules of attribution, is Patrick Matthew. If, instead, everyone decides to give credit to some revered figure who came in second-place, then this diminishes scholarship and science, and makes it into more of an elite popularity contest. Here's a rhetorical question for you: would you like credit to go to scientific royalty, or would you like science to be more of a meritocracy?

Everyone agrees that Darwin had more influence. There is no difficulty in adjusting our language to respond to this fact, e.g., consider the case of the Modern Synthesis. Mayr, Simpson and Dobzhansky clearly were the most influential in promoting modern neo-Darwinism, but we attribute the actual combination of Darwinism and genetics to Fisher, Haldane and Wright. We could simply refer to Darwin in the same way-- we could say that natural selection was proposed by Matthew, and perhaps Wells, then popularized by Darwin and his influential social circle.

However, what has happened in this case is that, when the evidence that contradicts misinformation peddled by Darwin and his followers is brought forth, Darwinian zombies lurch forward with the same ignorant dismissals, non sequiturs, and so on, which are then cut down, which just makes room for the next wave of zombies.

So, the point is really about the zombie horde. If there were no zombie horde, then the point would be about attribution, but given that the horde is activated whenever Darwin is criticized, the zombie horde becomes the central issue.

Anonymous said...

I read a book on Leonard Da Vinci as scientist. I was impressed by what he learned, but overall I felt it was a tragic waste. He made amazing discoveries in human anatomy, but they weren't communicated. Biology went on as if he'd never lived.

Patrick Matthew, Darwin, and Wallace lived in a time when the question of how species arise was "in the air" among biologists. They all thought about it. Matthew figured out a major part of the process (natural selection) -- and buried his insight in the appendix of "On Naval Timber and Arboriculture," a book most naturalists would reasonably view as a snore-inducing tome that they would pass over. He didn't follow up on the idea. There's no good evidence he directly influenced Darwin or Wallace, though he may have contributed to the community of ideas on origins that was floating around Britain at that time.

Matthew certainly deserves credit for what he accomplished, and I think he has that credit. If you're interested in the history of this idea, you don't have to dig hard to learn that he was one of the people coming up with relevant ideas before Darwin.

I think Charles Darwin also deserved credit for what he accomplished. He figured out natural selection, realized its implications for speciation, built a strong case for it with many examples, produced a well-written book, and shared his ideas effectively with the scientific community of his time. His work (not Matthew's) revolutionized biologists' world-view.

Robert Byers said...

Mike Sutton. its only a issue of honesty if doubt has earned its place. In this case its just accusations.

Darwins friends and influencers never influenced him in these matters.
It was very independent. What other people read is in no way Relevant to a charge that YOU have read it.
Its guilt by association.
to me its very clear darwin and wallace did not read the other guy.
one can tell by how they present thier ideas and how they reacted to this guy. You can tell about honesty in what people say.
its up to accusers to go a long way to made doubt credible.

Robert Byers said...

i agree Leon's ideas were lost and it was a waste. A reflection on nations too backward in dealing with investigation into nature.

I am a yEC however I don't see this Matthew is even close to the conclusions dArwin made. Matthew figured out only selection on traits for dominance in survival. A liitle musing about the whole history of biology.
if this guy is close to darwin then indeed Darwins idea is just simple observation of selection with traits and the WHOLE rest is lines of reasoning from it.
Yes creationists say this. Thats true.
yet still darwin packed in or attempted to prove great conclusions about evolution using lots of data.
One aLWAYS hears about Wallace competing with Darwin for the esteemed idea. I think Patrick Matthew needs a book on him done.
I think a YEC/ID person(who is opposed to evolution) should do it.
make the case evolution is just selection on traits supersized by mere reasoning.

judmarc said...

Again, some of you people (e.g., judmarc) are really looking stupid right now for spending your time crafting dismissive replies

It's OK, I didn't spend much time. :-)

Here's something you may have missed, Arlin, while you and Mike hastened to the endpoint (Darwin versus Matthew, about which, if you noticed, I said exactly nothing):

"This personal essay is not endorsed by RationalWiki in any manner, despite claims by the author to the contrary."

Mike is supposedly being scrupulous about strict adherence to facts, but oh, it appears he was not so scrupulous when he claimed RationalWiki endorsed his views. Get what I was saying now?

That's why I used the term "crank." Upsetting orthodoxy is fine, but as Dylan says, "To live outside the law you must be honest." In other words, Mike has let this thing get to him to the point he's obviously obsessive about it and tries to claim more than is true (i.e., that RationalWiki endorses his views). He'd do far better at convincing me, at least, if he was less obsessive and more careful.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Robert Byers, it is good to agree with you about some things, from time to time.

John Harshman said...

Let's contrast Matthews with Mendel. Matthews: a paragraph tossed off casually, along with many other brief references to this and that, in an appendix to a book about something else. Mendel: years of careful experiments, detailed exhaustively in several publications, unfortunately in a journal not extensively read. Do they both deserve equally to receive credit for founding major branches of biology? "Mendelism" and "Mendelian genetics" make sense, and Morgan and others duly recognized it. "Matthewsism"? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

I think one could make a reasonable case that Morgan et al. rather than Mendel should get the credit for founding genetics. Although I don't really mind Mendel being recognized.

John Harshman said...

My point, if there was one, was that Mendel is more deserving of credit than Matthews. Which one more resembles Darwin?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. Completely. However, I was thinking recently about how genetics would never have noticed Mendel except that Morgan and others brought his work back from obscurity. Of course, that is because Mendel did publish it somewhere people might look.

Joe Felsenstein said...

Mike Sutton: Your arguments are interesting but do not convince me that Darwin received word of Matthew's invention of natural selection from any of the naturalists you cite. For example, Robert Chambers does not mention Matthew in his 1844 book Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, even though Matthew published 13 years earlier. If a correspondent of Darwin's did say that Matthew had written on evolution, Darwin might not pay attention because there were many Lamarckian evolutionists around too, Chambers being of that inclination. That would not make Matthew stand out, when Lamarck, Geoffroy Sainte-Hilaire, Robert Grant, and others were making Lamarckian evolutionary arguments.

Chambers, who I would not call a "naturalist", rather a publisher, denied for the rest of his life that he was the author of Vestiges, to prevent harm to his reputation and publishing business. Darwin visited him and guessed the truth. But I don't see any evidence that Darwin discussed natural selection with Chambers, or that Chambers published anything describing Matthew's use of natural selection. Chambers did not himself seem to see the importance of natural selection. Did he see that, even after 1859?

Darwin may have stated, wrongly, that no naturalist had read Matthew. But that still does not establish that natural selection was assimilated by Darwin from Matthew, through any of the several "naturalists" that you cite. I agree with your call for a study of these folks' papers and publications, but see no smoking gun yet.

Joe Felsenstein said...

Mendel and Matthew should both get credit. By the way, anyone wanting to read Matthew's passages can do so online here, thanks to Google's scanning. The relevant part is Note D, pages 381-388.

Athel Cornish-Bowden said...

I don't think it's Note D, but the pages are right. Anyway, thanks. Reading this one can see some similarity to Darwin's theory, but it's nowhere near being thoroughly worked out, with nothing like the massive body of evidence that Darwin gave.

judmarc said...

Niles Eldredge's "Eternal Ephemera" has some information on Eldredge's impressions of Darwin's interactions with evolution-related ideas and writing in the decades between his college education and the publication of "The Origin." In researching these impressions Eldredge had access, if I recall correctly, to Darwin's personal papers.

Joe Felsenstein said...

You're right: I should have said "the stuff right after Note D". It starts right after a horizontal mark that ends Note D.

Arlin said...

The question of scholarly attribution is not primarily about influence but originality, and the rule is "first to publish". For instance, for decades the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium was known as the "Hardy law". Then in 1943, Curt Stern pointed out that Weinberg solved the same problem independently the same year, 1908 (

If Weinberg had solved the same problem independently 20 years later, then we would still call it the Hardy law.

It's like a race. If you cross the finish line first, you are attributed with the idea, even if no one is cheering you or even paying attention. Later on, someone else crosses the finish line and there are loud cheers because the problem is now recognized as important. But it doesn't matter. Second place + adoring crowd is still second place.

The case of Mendel is a dubious one. Mendel himself proposed algebraic ratios but he was not a Mendelian in the sense of proposing a general theory of discrete inheritance. Historians today tend to argue that attributing the new system to Mendel was a way of resolving a 3-way priority dispute among de Vries, Tschermak and Correns. Morgan was not one of these "re-discoverers". Bateson was near enough to discovering it that, when the news came out, he immediately started publishing long articles about the implications of Mendelism.

Arlin said...

BTW, de Vries also was not a "Mendelian" in the sense that this term quickly came to indicate a belief that inheritance is wholly or overwhelmingly a matter of stable factors combining in discrete ratios, or perhaps to indicate a research program of trying to explain all the phenomena of variation, breeding and evolution via discrete stable factors. De Vries invoked what we now call "soft inheritance" and he put more stock in non-Mendelian processes like the effects of hybridism seen in his primroses. What we know as "Mendelism" emerged post-1900 through the influence of Bateson and others.

Actual history is complicated.

Robert Byers said...

Arlin. Is Matthew's only making a special case relative to darwins main point? Is dArwins point the big picture of just the observation of selection on traits leading to success?
if matthew did beat dArwin and did it completly in the main point then it would be news about priority.
Right now its always DARWIN and then they add Wallace.
if matthew was first then it would ne important news.
if its known then why is Matthew not known?
I don't intend to be suspicious but is it possible a evolution establishment in science does not welcome matthew??
Or just a oversight.
Something funny.
I still need to read Matthews stuff.

Megaloblatta said...

A number of earlier authors can lay claim (with varying degrees of justification) to part or maybe all of the theory of natural selection (e.g. Al-Jahiz in the 8th/9th century and Patrick Matthew in 1831), but what sets Darwin and Wallace's 1858 paper apart from these previous writings is that it was the first explicit, well-argued and detailed proposal of the idea. Previous suggestions were not detailed enough to be unambiguous in what they were saying and perhaps due to this, they were ignored by subsequent thinkers. In contrast, Darwin and Wallace's paper was not ignored and their theory persuaded scientists and others to accept evolution as a reality. The modern discipline of evolutionary biology stems from their proposal.

Patrick Matthew published his idea of what might be natural selection in an appendix to his 1831 book On Naval Timber and Arboriculture, but the idea was not very well explained and none of his contemporaries picked up on it (despite what Sutton might say!). He himself did not make any further mention of it in his writing, until 1860, when he wrote to the Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette to point out his priority of the idea (something which Darwin accepted). Note that Matthew’s statements were not presented by him as being a new theory and, like most/all pre-1858 supposed proposals of natural selection, were only said to be 'Darwinian' natural selection in retrospect. As they say - hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Arlin said...

How Matthew and others regarded the idea, and whether it was influential, are *irrelevant* to the issue of priority, notwithstanding the usual Darwinian talking points parroted above.

Let me explain it again s l o w l y, using the example of Weinberg. Weinberg actually did *more* work than Hardy, who never followed up on his brief 1908 note. Weinberg's original explication was in German, in an obscure journal, but he later published other work that referred back to it in more mainstream places. Yet, Weinberg's contribution remained unknown and unrecognized in the world of genetics, until Curt Stern pointed it out literally 35 years later.

By contrast, Hardy (like Darwin) was linked in to an intellectual elite. Punnett was probably the person who suggested the problem to Hardy, because they both played cricket and struggled together to keep Greek as a required part of the Cambridge curriculum. Punnett then immediately used Hardy's solution in some of his work on mimicry. He was (I think?) the first to assess whether a natural population was in HW equilibrium for a segregating variant.

Thus, Hardy's work was picked up and used. It was influential.

When Weinberg's contribution was recognized later by Stern, this recognition added *nothing* to the corpus of theoretical genetics. The solution was already known. Stern's point was not that Weinberg had been influential, but that he tied Weinberg for first place in proposing a general solution. By the ordinary rules of priority, thenceforth the "Hardy law" must be known as the "Hardy-Weinberg" law.

If there were a "Hardyist" religion, devotees might object to this and bring forth all sorts of non-priority arguments in order to justify giving full credit to Hardy and marginalizing Weinberg, just as Darwinists dredge up all sorts of non-priority arguments.

Again, the solution to this is very simple-- just don't assign priority to Darwin. He may have come up with the idea independently (we'll never know), and he certainly was more influential, but he just doesn't have priority.

Megaloblatta said...

Let me reiterate S L O W L Y "what sets Darwin and Wallace's 1858 paper apart from...previous writings is that it was the first explicit, well-argued and detailed proposal of the idea. Previous suggestions were not detailed enough to be unambiguous in what they were saying and perhaps due to this, they were ignored by subsequent most/all pre-1858 supposed proposals of natural selection...[Matthew's ideas were only said] be 'Darwinian' natural selection in retrospect. As they say - hindsight is a wonderful thing!"

In any case, assigning credit according to priority of publication is merely a subjective convention - certainly not an inalienable law of the universe. Personally I think an approach based on evolution itself might be preferable. So Matthew's ideas, his memes, are a withered twig on the great Tree of Knowledge. They did not give rise to the vigorous intellectual lineage which is modern evolutionary theory - in marked contrast to Darwin and Wallace's memes - which were the intellectual ancestor of a vast radiating lineage of ideas...

Arlin said...

No, Matthew did not come up with his ideas by hindsight. This is a factual error. The aspect of looking backwards comes up because sometimes an idea is proposed multiple times before it achieves recognition, and then we look back and notice earlier expressions in order to establish priority. This is the issue that Sutton addresses-- priority. Darwin's followers keep changing the topic to from priority to "credit" or to "who deserves credit", because then there is no clear standard, and it becomes a subjective popularity contest where they can win the case simply by being numerous and persistent.

No, Darwin's ideas were not "explicit and well argued". His ideas about mechanisms are so vague and confusing that people continue to argue about them 150 years later. Darwin's book certainly contains a lot of detail, but most of this is extraneous. The same is true for most subsequent evolution books-- they contain abundant details about ecology, systematics, biogeography and so on, but only a tiny fraction is specifically about mechanisms of evolution. Darwin's work provides very little clarity on these issues. Because it is so vague, Darwin's followers tend to "read in" to Darwin's works whatever they think.

Arlin said...

For instance, as an example of the "reading in" phenomenon, see Bowler on the "non-Darwinian revolution". Bowler invents this turn-of-phrase to emphasize that the kind of "Darwinism" that triumphed in the 19th century was not what we would call "Darwinian" today.

Megaloblatta said...

You misunderstood what I said about hindsight - never mind. I wonder if "Arlin" = Mike Sutton? Certainly Dr Sutton has many websites and possibly aliases...

Joe Felsenstein said...

Arlin is not a pseudonym -- he is Arlin Stolzfus, who can be found here. I've met him myself and can testify that he is real, not virtual.

Unknown said...

Whoa, there's a somewhat silly assertion in this thread, which is that Matthew conceived of selection in a way comparable to Darwin and Wallace. I do not think so at all. While Matthew also has the Malthusian insight (and while we're on priorities, I think that one can be pretty clearly traced to Malthus), a key difference between Matthew and Darwin/Wallace concerns the fundamental nature of the process itself. Matthew treats it as a deterministic process, in which "only" the "best suited" propagate. Darwin and Wallace on the other hand treat it as a stochastic process. Darwin notes:
"In the struggle it would have a better chance of surviving; and those of its offspring which inherited the variation, be it ever so slight, would also have a better chance." (Emphasis by Darwin!)
And Wallace make explicit reference to the law of large numbers:
Variations in unimportant parts might also occur, having no perceptible effect on the life-preserving powers; and the varieties so furnished might run a course parallel with the parent species, either giving rise to further variations or returning to the former type. All we argue for is, that certain varieties have a tendency to maintain their existence longer than the original species, and this tendency must make itself felt; for though the doctrine of chances or averages can never be trusted to on a limited scale, yet, if applied to high numbers, the results come nearer to what theory demands, and, as we approach to an infinity of examples, become strictly accurate.
Note that Wallace introduces the notion of neutral variation and he argues that selective advantages lead to proliferation of the more fit types only if the population is large (explicitly large enough to be approximated as infinite).
This idea is central to Darwin and Wallace and it is wholly absent from Matthews. Arguably their case for a stochastic process in nature was the most revolutionary idea they presented. It certainly was the idea that had the largest impact outside of biology - Boltzmann noted that a stochastic process in biology, would require a stochastic physics and statistical mechanics can be (and was) derived from two notions:
a) Physics must be stochastic
b) At macroscopic scales physical laws appear deterministic.
From these two notions Boltzmann recovered some known physics (Clausius 2nd law of thermodynamics), but the real clincher was Einsteins work on Brownian motion in 1905, which provided an explanation to an observed phenomenon that had not yet been explained in any other way based on statistical mechanics. Meanwhile Wien used it to derive a formula for the intensity of light emitted at various wavelengths by hot bodies. It didn't fit experimental data and Plank noticed that you could correct this by not having a variable only introduced by Wien to take a limit not go to 0, but to a small constant. That's the birth of Quantum mechanics. Making natural selection stochastic is an original idea by Darwin and Wallace. It revolutionizes every scientific field within decades. Yet it is an idea that is not generally emphasized by biologists - Weismann certainly would have felt more at home with Matthews version than he did with Darwins. Ironically it seems like it is a bit of embarrassment, because it does not align with 19th century physics (which of course is the best of all science, right?). That it blew up 19th century physics and clearly led to 20th century (ff.) physics isn't something widely known. And so a generation of biologists tried their best to get rid of the idea. So if we are rectifying historical misconceptions, we should start by acknowledging that in their presentation to the Royal society Darwin and Wallace first made a case for non-Darwinian evolution (it's worth re-reading, if only for the part in which Wallace makes a claim that with hindsight reads as "pig genomes are close to 100% junk").

Robert Byers said...

It seems , i say seems, Darwin himself said Matthew had priority in some point or points that were important to Darwins evolution idea.
Details about selection might not be relevant in rejecting priority.
unless they were.

Dysology said...

I wonder if the Megaloblatta on Wednesday, August 03, 2016 7:02:00 PM has the manners to ask directly and the evidence is "it" does not. For the record I am not "Arlin" and I do not hide behind any aliases. When I post or Tweet it is obvious who I am from my account details.

Obviously, this apparently delusional individual is upset by what has been newly discovered and is seemingly desperate, therefore, to create fallacies to impugn me. How wondefully exciting.

Dysology said...

Matthew's 1831 ideas and examples on natural selection run throughout his entire book. It is a myth that they are contained merely in the Appendix to his book. He wove them in with his Chartist politics. That is one more reason why his book was deemed both seditious and heretical - and was condemned for such by various reviewers pre 1858. It is important to read the entire book. Most Darinities are seemingly petrified of doing so and so parrot the Matthew Appendix Myth because it is less of a threat to their embedded comfy belief system. In his letter in the Gardener's Chronicle (1860), for example, he included a swathe of text from the main body of his book - but only a small example of it. Get the uncomfortable detail here. But then go and actually bother to read Matthew's entire book for yourself to learn the uncomfortable reality:

Dysology said...

See the images from the opening pages (Note not the Appendix) where Matthew directs the reader how to interpret his Chartist politics in light of his original 1831 conception of the full hypothesis of macro evolution by natural selection in his Appendix.

But elsewhere in his 1831 book (not in its appendix) he writes on natural slection. Indeed, it is in the main body of his book where he apparently coins the term "natural process of selection" for his original conception. Darwin later shuffled these very same four words to apparently coin his term for the very same idea" "process of natural selection". The question to which science currently has no answer in this story is: How many such related multiple coincidences represent a mass of mere coincidence? When is it probably a coincidence too many and too important to be mere coincidence?

Arlin said...

For the record, Joe Felsenstein *is* real;"megaloblatta" is obviously the nome de plume of someone named Gregor Samsa; and "Arlin Stoltzfus" is obviously some kind of joke given that there are dozens or hundreds of black-clad Amish people in horse-drawn buggies in rural PA with exactly this same name.

Simon, with all due respect, your post is an example of special pleading. The standard for priority in science is very simple: first to publish. Matthew published a description of a "natural process of selection" decades before Darwin described a process of natural selection in a very long and confusing book that turned out to be much more influential. Darwin himself admitted that Matthew said it first. If someone else came along decades after Darwin and wrote an even longer and more confusing book with a large impact (e.g., de Vries's Die Mutationstheorie), this would not change the issue of priority. The issue of priority is already settled, at least to the extent that Matthew has a prior claim (someone else might have an even earlier claim). Lamarck, likewise, has a prior claim to evolution as a process of descent with modification via naturalistic processes.

Thus, the claim of priority is not a "silly assertion" but a simple application of the definition of "priority" to the facts at hand.

But this simple conclusion apparently is deeply offensive to Darwin's worshippers. Oh no, they cry, Matthew doesn't "deserve" the credit that Darwin is due. Matthew's work is "not comparable" bla bla bla. And then bla bla bla bla bla bla. They seem to live in a simple world dominated by Great Men who have Great Ideas and Deserve All the Credit.

However, priority is priority. It is not about influence. It is not about ranking people by who is deserving and who isn't. You can worship whomever you please-- just because Darwin came in second place doesn't mean you can't build a religion around him.

Dysology said...

I agree and currently have an article in draft that draws on as many similar examples as I have been able to find to support and distinguish this science priority norm. My conclusion is that under all the norms, rules and protocols of priority Matthew hat full credit and full priority over both Darwin and Wallace. Moreover, he has full priority over both (given who cited and mentioned his prior published ideas pre 1858) as an immortal great thinker and influencer in science. If anyone doubts this then they should consider the case of another Scot - Alexander Fleming and his improver Howard Florey (I have many more exampes sin my forthcoming paper).

Unknown said...

To reiterate my point: Darwin and Wallace proposed a process they call "natural selection", which in modern usage would be equivalent to selection and drift. Matthews proposes a process that in modern usage would be equivalent to just selection. Hence Darwin and Wallace clearly have priority for the drift portion of their proposed process. I cited two relevant passages from the 1858 paper in which Darwin and Wallace make the inclusion of sampling effects in finite populations quite clear. I can find no such statements in Matthews.

Megaloblatta said...

Mike Sutton: In your forthcoming paper will you reiterate your accusations that both Darwin and Wallace stole the idea of natural selection from poor old Patrick? I think these unfounded claims have damaged your cause...

Robert Byers said...

no sir. There is no evidence darwin shuffled words. its just unsupoorted accusation. in ideas like this like conclusions will be drawn if a basic equation is concluded.
By a thousand points Darwin/Wallace indendently created their idea.
there is no evidence to justify a doubt or a intert that there is doubt.
its a boring suspicion without legs. Evolved or unevolved.

Arlin said...

Ugh. The "natural process of selection" of Matthew, Darwin and Wallace is very metaphorical. Once we start comparing these to modern conceptions of selection and drift in the context of population genetics, we are veering off into crazy-land with no solid grounding.

In Darwin's world, there are no discrete factors to which one could attach a selection coefficient for instance. Think about that. What can selection as a force or pressure possibly mean if hereditary factors act like fluids that respond to conditions and then blend during reproduction (which is what Darwin believed)?

The concept of selection that we know today was operationalized by the early geneticists. In a world of discrete factors, we can say that a factor B' confers a 2 % advantage, and this 2 % advantage is passed on to offspring. Darwin rejected discrete inheritance as the basis of his theory. He thought it would trivialize selection if it merely referred to the differential survival of novel forms that happened to appear.

One of the themes of Jean Gayon's "Darwinism's struggle for survival" is that the concept of selection was re-worked to fit a Mendelian world, and this was the work of the early geneticists, e.g., he refers to "the most important event in the history of Darwinism: the Mendelian reconstruction of the principle of selection" (p. 289).

Megaloblatta said...

This might be of interest to those reading this discussion (the rest of the website is well worth looking at too):

Arlin said...

Darwin, by repeating the idea that no naturalist read or noticed Matthew's book, repeated a self-serving statement that he knew to be factually incorrect, because Matthew himself had pointed this out. These facts are not in dispute. Sutton describes these facts by saying it is "100% proved" that Darwin "lied".

In the cited web site, the case made by author Mike Weale is entirely based on quibbling about "lied" and "100 % proved", while bending over backward to give His Holiness Charles Darwin the benefit of the doubt. According to Weale, when His Infallible Holiness Charles Darwin says that "nobody read it", we must interpret this as the kind of harmless exaggeration that occurs every day-- of course His Holiness must have known that the book would have been read by *someone*, so obviously he wasn't intending to be taken literally (*). To accuse his holiness of "lying" would be to impute deception, which cannot be proved "100 %" because it requires an inference of motives (according to Weale).

Thus, Weale's case against Sutton rests on the same kind of scholarly double standard that we are now accustomed to seeing: (1) insisting on a literal interpretation of a rhetorically loaded version of Sutton's argument, while Darwin gets off easy precisely because Weale *refuses to hold Darwin to a literal interpretation*, and (2) insisting that Sutton can't rely on inferences or touch on the issue of intentions by invoking "lied", while Weale is free to defend Darwin precisely by appeal to inferences about Darwin's knowledge and motives (sentence above with *).

Megaloblatta said...

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" and Sutton has produced none - just a ranting mass of aggressive accusatory gibberish which Donald Trump and the Spanish Inquisition would be proud of!

Dysology said...

If you stick to the facts you might feel tempted abandon your Darwin deification cult:

The evidence is this: Out of over 35 million publications Matthew was first to use (coin) the term "Natural process of selection" and out of the name number of publications Darwin was first to coin the term "Process of natural selection" - same four word Matthew used to name the same complex process Matthew originated.

Now here is another thing - out of the same 35 million publications Robert Chambers (who cited Matthew's book in 1832 and then went on to write the best selling book on evolution "The Vestiges of Creation" was Wallace's greatest influencer and he met an corresponded with Darwin in pre-1858 - and ot was he who told Huxley to go back and argue with Bishop Wilberfoce on behalf of Darwin on that famous debate - and chambers was (out of 35 million books) the first to be second to go into print with Matthew's original term in his book review of Darwin's 'Origin of Species'. How many such piled up coincidences add up to more than mere coincidence?

Get the facts:

Chanting unevidenced beliefs cannot make these facts diasapear. Tell us some of your thousand "evidences" instead.

Megaloblatta said...

And the fact is that although Robert Chambers read Matthew's book before going on to write his best selling book "Vestiges" he never mentioned natural selection in it! Why would he not have cited or even plagiarized the idea, if he had understood the theory and realised that it was the long sought-after explanation of life on Earth!!! Why! How could Wallace have got the idea from Chamber's book if it wasn't in Chamber's book. You really talk a load on nonsense!

Dysology said...

That is a most hilarious attempt at making an argument, because Darwin and Wallace claimed to have independently (immaculately) conceived Matthew's prior published idea whilst surrounded by those whose brains were to some degree fertile with his ideas because they cited his book and mentioned the orignal ideas in it before influencing and facilitating the work of Darwin and Wallace and their influencers (Selby, Chambers and Loudon - amongst others).

By explanatory analogy, St Mary (The Blessed Virgin Mary) is deemed to have had just a single miracle immaculate conception because she is believed by the faithful to have been impregnated by a supernatural deity whilst surrounded by men whose testicles were fertile - albeit to an unknown degree.

Given these facts and this analogy, where then is the Darwinist much required "extraordinary evidence" that Darwin and Wallace were gifted with miraculous cognitive contraceptives to prvent knowledge contamination from their friends and influencers who managed to read the one book in the world that Darwin and Wallace most needed to read - because they replicated so much that was in it and claimed those replications were their own original ideas?

The Nottingham portrait artist Gabriel Woods painted the oil on canvas "Immaculate Deception" AKA "Blessed Virgin Darwin" to help brainwashed Darwin Deification Cultists begin the painful process of understanding the very simple but beautiful logic of this explanatory analogy:

Megaloblatta said...

More gibberish.... Have you found ANYONE who mentioned Matthew's theory of natural selection in print? No you haven't! So there is no evidence that it influenced any of them, and there is certainly no evidence that they passed the idea on to either Darwin or Wallace. I would hate to be an innocent 'suspect' and be subjected to a criminological investigation by you...

Dysology said...

Attempts to try to make an argument without understanding the facts of historical context are laughably transparent propagandising pseudo scholarship.

The evidence is Matthew's book was read by naturalists. And that is brand new evidence. And the factual evidence is that Loudon (cited Matthew in 1832) then edited Blyth's most influential work on evolution (Blyth being Darwin's most valuable informant in Darwin's own words). Selby edited Wallace's hugely important Sarawak paper and Chambers then wrote the hugely influential Vestiges of Creation.

That three out of only seven naturalists known (newly known) to have read Matthew's book played such major roles at the very epicentre of the work of Darwin and Wallace is most incredible if it is mere coincidence. In my opinion.

The fact of the matter is that it was criminally heretical and seditious to mention anything that trespassed on the territory of natural theology regarding the creation of species in the first half of the 19th century. This fact is well known and was relayed by Matthew to Darwin in 1860.

Matthew (1860) wrote to address Darwin's fallacy spreading:

'He is however wrong in thinking that no naturalist was aware of the previous discovery.

I had occasion some 15 years ago to be conversing with a naturalist, a professor of a celebrated university, and he told me he had been reading my work “Naval Timber,” but that he could not bring such views before his class or uphold them publicly from fear of the cutty-stool, a sort of pillory punishment, not in the market-place and not devised for this offence, but generally practised a little more than half a century ago. It was at least in part this spirit of resistance to scientific doctrine that caused my work to be voted unfit for the public library of the fair city itself. The age was not ripe for such ideas, nor do I believe is the present one, though Mr. Darwin’s formidable work is making way.'

And it is the same reason given by top Darwinists historians (e.g Prof. Moore) for why Darwin delayed his replicating publication for so long.

It took Chamber's Vestiges (Chambers who cited Matthew in 1832) to get society ready to accept Darwin's book. Darwin wrote that same fact from the third edition of the Origin of Species Onward.

Naturalists could only imply the heresy they knew was in Matthew's book and they did so. Loudon did so in no uncertain terms:

'One of the subjects discussed in this appendix is the puzzling one, of the origin of species and varieties; and if the author has hereon originated no original views (and of this we are far from certain), he has certainly exhibited his own in an original manner.'

The United Service Journal and Naval and Military Magazine published an extended review in the 1831 Part II and 1831 Part III numbers of the magazine on page 457 :

'"But we disclaim participation in his ruminations on the law of Nature, or on the outrages committed upon reason and justice by our burthens of hereditary nobility, entailed property, and insane enactments."

Interestingly Wikipedia professional editors are curenlty deleting the text for the united service Journal and pretending it does not exist:

Facts all facts. The facts - set in historical context according to the laws and norms of the time - are that Matthewian knowledge contamination of the pre 1858 brains of Darwin and Wallace is highly likely. And the facts are that the old Darwinite paradigm of their namesake's miraculous independent conception is based on nothing more than the burst myth that no naturalist read Matthew's ideas pre 1859. Get the facts. Learn the historical context and stop demanding written evidence when to have written what you ask for was illegal at the time. Stop being such a silly Billy.

Megaloblatta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Megaloblatta said...

I replied: So Matthew was "criminally heretical" but all those who read his book were too terrified to mention his heretical ideas - until that is, the brave duo of Darwin and Wallace decided to do so in 1858. So even though Chambers read Mathew's book and anonymously published a book about evolution ("Vestiges") which was considered heretical, he was too cowardly to go "the whole hog" and mention Matthew's theory of natural selection in his book... Somehow, in undiscovered letters, or perhaps verbally, you believe that these cowards whispered the idea of natural selection to Darwin and Wallace, and these two chaps then decided to plagiarise it - each independently claiming that they had discovered it.... I think the more parsimonious explanation is that Chambers etc. didn't understand or appreciate what Matthew's wrote about natural selection (if they saw it at all), did not pass on any ideas to Darwin or Wallace, and that Darwin and Wallace independently discovered natural selection...

Robert Byers said...

Mike Sutton.
I'm a yec creationist.
We debunk evolution and this accusation in like ability .
The likeness of words in very specific subjects , indendently conceived, is very natural. Both men are studying nature, studying origins of nature, noticing details of what is true in nature and concluding the same thing. So the words should, could, follow in like way to describe the process to be suggested.
In no way is the likeness of words even a hint of heist.

This Chambers book is not in any way Darwins/wallace ideas. That this book may of cited matthew means nothing about Darwin/wallace reading matthew. Why would it?
Its just imagining this guy talked with darwin etc about these ideas or matthew's book. Very unlikely this would come up. Anyways no reason to say it did. its just accusation with no evidence.

There is no pile of any evidence here.
A thousand points are in evidence in the reading of Darwins stuff that it is entirely based on hie research.
In fact his ideas of small steps leading to great results comes from his geology observations. Later on he brought this equation into human/animal mannerisns etc
There is no reason to attack or be suspicious of him.
Its unreasonable and unevidenced when its the accuser you needs piles of evidence.
This one is a wrong road of enquiry.

Dysology said...

Thank you for repeating what I wrote. Although I have no idea why you felt the need to replicate it. Perhaps because Darwin and Wallace were such great replicators?

Anyway, we may never know how much exactly Darwin's friends and influencers and their influencer's influencers - who all read Matthew's (1831) book and the original ideas in it (because they cited it pre 1858) knew or did not know. But what we do know is that people who read books discuss them. Moreover, what we also do know is that those who read Matthew's book pre-1858 - and those known to them who were very close to Darwin and Wallace (e.g the Hookers of Kew) knew both Darwin and Wallace to be working on the problem of the origin of species.

Logically, and rationally, knowledge contamination can happen in three main ways to inform Darwin or Wallace simply that they should perhaps look at Matthew's book does not mean the informant needs to understand the complexity of the arguments in it.

This is how we know complex knowledge spreads. We all know this because we are involved in the process in our daily lives. What goes on on this blogsite is a prime example of how it happens today with the development of technology.

A three-fold typology of knowledge contamination:

1. Innocent Knowledge Contamination: The spread of original ideas in a prior-publication via (a) subsequent published sources on the topic, which failed to cite the Originator as their source, or (b) word of mouth and/or correspondence to the replicator by those who read the Originator’s work or communicated with others who did — understood its importance
in whole or simply in part — but failed to tell the replicator
about its existence.

2. Reckless or Negligent Knowledge Contamination: (a) The replicator reads the original publication, absorbs information such as original ideas and examples and terms, but forgets having read it — and never does remember. (b) The replicator reads the original publication and takes notes, but forgets the source of the notes. (c) The replicator is told about original ideas in a publication by someone — who understands their importance in whole or simply in part — who explains they come from a publication, but the replicator fails to ask the name of the author and title of the publication.

3. Deliberate Knowledge Contamination (science fraud): The replicator reads the original publication, or is told about its contents, takes notes, or is given notes, remembers this, but pretends otherwise.

So whatever your parsimonious thoughts. If word of Matthew's book and the ideas in it did not spread to Darwin and Wallace by their friends and associates, and their associate's associates, who read it and cited it then reason suggests the only "most parsimonious" explanation left is a miraculous dual immaculate conception of a prior published hypothesis or else a conspiracy in which those around Darwin and Wallace conspired not to mention Matthew's book to them and to hide all the literature citing it and advertising and reviewing it.

I'll go with knowledge contamination. And as proof of concept nearly 6000 people have now read my article on that very topic:

Dysology said...

Comments are appearing and then disappearing on this blog. It seems that some form of censorship is perhaps going on.

I'll try again:

For knowledge contamination to take place the conveyor of information does not have to understand the whole to indicate its source to a replicator.

1. Innocent Knowledge Contamination: The spread of original ideas in a prior-publication via (a) subsequent published sources on the topic, which failed to cite the Originator as their source, or (b) word of mouth and/or correspondence to the replicator by those who read the Originator’s work or communicated with others who did — understood its importance
in whole or simply in part — but failed to tell the replicator
about its existence.

2. Reckless or Negligent Knowledge Contamination: (a) The replicator reads the original publication, absorbs information such as original ideas and examples and terms, but forgets having read it — and never does remember. (b) The replicator reads the original publication and takes notes, but forgets the source of the notes. (c) The replicator is told about original ideas in a publication by someone — who understands their importance in whole or simply in part — who explains they come
from a publication, but the replicator fails to ask the name of the author and title of the publication.

3. Deliberate Knowledge Contamination (science fraud): The replicator reads the original publication, or is told about its contents, takes notes, or is given notes, remembers this, but pretends otherwise.

Knowledge contamination is - I think - a more parsimonious explanation for Darwin's and Wallace's replication of Matthew's complex ideas, emphasis on his unique explanatory analogy of differences between natural and artificial selection, same four words to name it etc. I prefer knowledge contamination over a duel immaculate conception or a hide all the and adverts and citations and mentions of Matthew's hypoesis and dont mention Matthew to Darwin or Wallace silly conspiracy theory.

Dysology said...

Joe Felsenstein

The new discovery - as you know is that the old "no naturalist read Matthew's original ideas pre 1858" is now a punctured myth because those known to Darwin and Wallace did read them - because they cited them in the literature. In some way, Matthew did therefore influence those who influenced Darwin and Wallace and their influencers (influenced enough to read and cite Matthew) - and Darwin is a proven serial liar (see we cannot - rationally - any longer take what he wrote at face value). Therefore "Knowledge contamination" of one type of my three-fold typology is rationally most likely. See - which, as proof of concept, has now been viewed nearly 6000 times.

Matthew should - in all reason - be hailed as not only the originator but also as an immortal great thinker and influencer in science at a time when what he did was so difficult (indeed heretical). Darwin and his cronies perpetrated a great fraud that corrupted the history of the discovery of natural selection. It is time to set the record straight.

Dysology said...

Joe -

Chambers was a member of the Geological Society of Edinburgh - along with Darwin's geological mentor Lyell. Chambers gave a paper on his research on geology at Cambridge university (attended by Lyell). At a time of gentlemen naturalists it is reasonable to argue Chambers was a naturalist, therefore. As much a naturalist on geology as Darwin was - who got the parallel roads of Glen Roy totally wrong in his paper but Chambers got it right in his.

Megaloblatta said...

Well then, let's apply your arguments to Matthew himself: In 1813 a paper by Wells on natural selection was read before the Royal Society which was finally published in 1818 (see The paper concerned the evolution of human races (microevolution) not the formation of species (macroevolution), but it was but a small step for someone like Patrick Matthew to apply Wells' theory to species. Clearly Matthew had every opportunity to read Well's work, since it was published so much earlier than Matthew's book. So, is it not likely that Matthew stole Wells' theory of natural selection, publishing it as his own in his book on naval timber?

I think the problem with your thinking is that it is like Lamarck's linear ladder of evolution (one idea gives rise to the next, which gives rise to the next etc), whereas the real world is a lot messier than that and the evolution of knowledge is much more similar to a many branched tree - with lots of dead twigs, than a nice linear ladder. I contend that Matthew's idea (meme) of natural selection is but a small withered twig on this great Tree of Knowledge.

Dysology said...


You need to read the facts about Darwin's lies and unfairness to Matthew. Also Wallace published misleading falsehoods in his autobiography by editing the contents of his own letters. Here is a very short and fully referenced peer reviewed paper on the topic:

Dysology said...

Perhaps Matthew read it. But who do we know of who Matthew knew who read Well's paper?

Who cited Wells' paper and mentioned his original ideas in published print or private letter?

The point is that none can be found - to date. But they can be found (have been newly found) in the case of Matthew.

We now newly know who in fact did read and cite Matthew's book (which contains the complete hypothesis of macro evolution by natural selection - Wells's excellent paper does not) who then influenced Darwin and Wallace and their influencers.

That is the point you are apparently continually failing to see.

The point is that we now have evidence of probable knowledge contamination supported by hard new and independently verifiable evidence in the historic publication record of who really did read Matthew's book and the ideas in it before Darwin and Wallace replicated that work and justified their replications by claiming (lying in Darwin's case) that none had read those ideas before they replicated them.

Before my original discoveries in this area the world's leading darwinists and all their mynah birding acolytes had credulously parroted the "no naturalist read Matthew's original ideas" excuse for this replication as the gospel truth according to Darwin that explained the dual immaculate conception of Matthew's original bombshell work.

The great trunk of "New Facts" cannot be rationalised away by wishful Darwin worship beliefs about twigs. Such laughable attempts at trivialization are a well known tactic used for centuries by desperate and transparent ideological propagandists.

Megaloblatta said...

I think we should hail Wells rather than Matthew "as not only the originator [of natural selection] but also as an immortal great thinker and influencer in science". Matthew is probably a plagiarist - surely if he didn't read Wells' essay (and he may well have done so) he would have heard about it from others who had read it?

Your logic regarding Chambers' reading of "Naval Timber" and then passing on the idea to Darwin and Wallace is seriously flawed. If Chambers had understood Matthew's theory of macroevolution by natural selection he would surely have included it in his anonymously published heretical book "Vestiges". He didn't, which strongly indicates he did not understand what Matthew was going on about. This is likely the case for all those who read Matthew's book prior to the publication by Darwin and Wallace of their independently conceived theories of natural selection.

Megaloblatta said...

Oh, and it should be pointed out that microevolution and macroevolution are just opposite ends of a continuum, so Wells' discovery of natural selection stands as the original discovery of the mechanism of organic evolution. Matthew simply applied Wells' idea to explain what is in fact the same phenomenon. ALL HAIL WILLIAM CHARLES WELLS!

Larry Moran said...

Mike Sutton says,

Comments are appearing and then disappearing on this blog. It seems that some form of censorship is perhaps going on.

Some of your comments end up in my spam box. I don't know why. The spam detector is efficient but it's never been that efficient before! :-)

I overrule the spam detector—sometimes reluctantly—whenever I check the spam box. That's why there's a delay in posting some of your comments. There's no conspiracy unless it's Darwin's ghost ...

Dysology said...

Oh I see. Fair enough. Many thanks for the information Laurance.

Emilio Cervantes said...

Dear Dr Sutton
I recommend you not to waste your time discussing with anonymous.

Dysology said...

Reply to Megaloblatta of Saturday, August 06, 2016 6:43:00 AM

As I wrote - you keep missing the point. We know that Darwin's and Wallace's friend and influencers and and their influencer's influencers read Matthew's full prior published hypothesis. We have no idea who read or heard the delivery of Well's (1818) published paper.

You also need to pay attention to the fact that Matthew - not Wells was first with the complex bombshell of macroevolution by natural selection. Read the work of the world's leading evolutionary biologists to get the facts on the is issue and avoid just making stuff up for your desperate propagandising "New Facts" dismissal transparent Darwinite toadying agenda:

Richard Dawkins (2010, p. 211) - in Bill Bryson's book "Seeing Further wrote reveals an equal measure of bias. Because, in a book chapter essay on who should have priority for the discovery of natural selection, Dawkins fully admits that Matthew discovered and published it first yet Dawkins writes:

"Wells therefore seems to have arrived at a form of 'group selection' rather than true, Darwinian natural selection as Matthew did, which selects individual organisms for their reproductive success."

[Of course, Dawkins is being ludicrous to call Matthewism Darwinism].

See also the published work of William Hamilton, Sir Gavin de Beer, Loren Eiseley and Ernst Mayr and Mike Weale - amongst many others - all arguing the very same thing. Namely, only Matthew deserves credit for priority for being first with the full complex hypothesis: e,g (among so many examples) see Mayr 1982 The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution and Inheritance p.499:

'The person who has the soundest claim for priority in establishing a theory or evolution by natural selection is Patrick Matthew (1790-1874). He was a wealthy landowner in Scotland, very well read and well traveled (Wells 1974). His views on evolution and natural selection were published in a number of notes in an appendix to his work On Naval Timber and Arboriculture (1831). These notes have virtually no relation to the subject matter of the book, and it is therefore not surprising that neither Darwin nor any other biologist had ever encountered them until Matthew brought forward his claims in an article in 1860 in the Gardener's Chronicle.''

Mayr was completely wrong, - as the New Data proves about Matthew's prior readership - and easily discoverable to be so, when he wrote those words. Because naturalists are by definition biologists. And as we have seen above, Matthew told Darwin - indeed told us all - of John Loudon's review of his ideas. And Loudon was a noted botanist - a naturalist - so by default a biologist. Moreover, Matthew told Darwin of another naturalist professor - so, again, by default, a biologist - who had read his ideas on natural selection.

As our discussions are proving right here. Facts trump wishful thinking Darwin deification toadying claptrap every time.

So what other attempts at making an argument - based on mere wishful thinking, as opposed to independently verifiable facts, do you wish now to put forward?

Megaloblatta said...

Sadly YOU are not a biologist and therefore seem not to understand evolutionary theory. Most of the "claptrap" written about issues such as who deserves credit for natural selection emanates from people who have no biological training e.g. yourself and various so-called historians of science (who should in fact be called historians of scientists, as they do not usually understand the theories that the scientists worked on).

Megaloblatta said...

I think I'm going to go away and do some "big data analysis" as you call it (i.e. searching through Google Books etc), with the view of showing that someone Matthew knew probably read Wells' Royal Society essay - thus showing by likely "knowledge contamination" that Matthew plagiarized Wells' theory of evolution bu natural selection. Since microevolution is the same basic process as macroevolution and both are driven by the same mechanism (natural selection), it should be Wells who gets the lion's share of the credit for this. Interestingly, neither, Wells, nor Matthew, nor Darwin & Wallace in their 1858 paper, or Darwin in his book "Origin of Species" actually proposed a plausible mechanism for how reproductive isolation leading to speciation actually occurs. The person who first proposed this surely deserves the deserves the credit for explaining the 'origin of species'. I wonder who that might be...hmmm...Wallace, perhaps?

Dysology said...

Megaloblatta - So was Ernst Mayr not a biologist. Did he not win the Royal Society Darwin Medal? Is Dawkins not a biologist? Was Bill Hamilton not a biologist? Was Wallace not a naturalist biologist? is Mike Weale not a biologist. Of course they all were/are. So stop writing dishonest and deliberately misleading nonsense just because you are always proven to be not only wrong but completely dishonest as well by a sociologist in your own supposed field of expertise no less. The shame of it for you.

Do you not realise you are data in this story. We know exactly who you are. And it will be going into print.

Your de facto fact denying claptrap is drowning you in a stew of your own daft as a brush desperate pseudo-scholarly claptrap.

Since you have been proven wrong every time - with independently verifiable facts why don't you now stop cowering like a rude childish troll behind a pseudonym and reveal your identity and your public salaried profession so we can all know you for what you are when we visit your august institution? What are you afraid of?

Reveal yourself now - here and now - and then I will provide the links to more of your vile rudeness, dishonesty and silliness that you have published in the public domain to bring your most silly self into professional disrepute. I double Darwin dare you!

Dysology said...

I hope you succeed. I tried it myself many times and turned up a blank. If you succeed (which I very much hope you do) will you then deny the facts that you discovered? Or will you promote them just because you and not a sociologist discovered them?

If you do find such evidence will you reveal your identity and stop hissingly hiding behind a pseudonym?

Megaloblatta said...

You're the criminologist Mike, I'll give you and your ground-breaking 'big data' skills the pleasure of unmasking me. It shouldn't be difficult, and I am not deliberately hiding behind a pseudonym - it just happens to be my user name. I too will be writing an account of this for my website - which happens to get as many reads per month as your paper (mentioned above) has ever since you posted it a long while ago..

Dysology said...

So you lack the maturity, backbone and professional integrity to do it yourself. Shame on you. Your failure to do so when asked is on the published record here in the public domain.

Megaloblatta said...

Ah diddums

Dysology said...

I rest my case regarding your professional shame.

Dysology said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dysology said...

Megaloblatta Friday, July 29, 2016 6:44:00 AM wrote on this blogsite :

"I am an evolutionary biologist and the director of the Wallace Correspondence Project." (WCP)

According to the Wallace Correspondence Project website (WCP) George Beccaloni - who is a curator at the Natural History Museum London (a public salaried position) is Director of the WCP.

So "Megaloblatta" do you still lack the honesty, integrity and backbone to admit who your are? What exactly is it that you are afraid and ashamed of?

Megaloblatta said...

Mike Sutton wrote (and then removed the comment for some reason):

"Megaloblatta Friday, July 29, 2016 6:44:00 AM wrote on this blogsite :

"I am an evolutionary biologist and the director of the Wallace Correspondence Project." (WCP)

According to the Wallace Correspondence project website George Beccaloni - a curator at the Natural History Museum London (a public salaried position) He is officially: Curator, Orthopteroidea and Wallace Collection - is: George Beccaloni, Director of the WCP, and Ruth Benny, the WCP Archivist.

So "Megaloblatta" do you still lack the honesty, integrity and backbone to admit who your are? What are you afraid of?"

My reply:

Yes, well done Mike, but it took you quite some time to find that rather easy to find information.. "What am I afraid of"? Well, who else but the 'Big Bad Mike Sutton', who has publicly 'humiliated' me on his website and elsewhere in the past.... Sob!

I am 'hot' on the trail of Matthew's plagiarism of Hutton's theory of natural selection.. Turns out that Hutton came up with the idea before Wells, as you probably know. More news anon..

Dysology said...

OK so now we have seen how the paradigm changing new discoveries about who really did (as opposed to the now newly punctured Darwinite myth of no naturalists/ no biologists/ one at all) read Matthew's original conception of the full complex hypotheses of natural selection - who then influenced Darwin and Wallace and their influencers and their influencer's influencers caused you to troll-melt down in public - yet again - George Beccaloni and revealed exactly how little you know about this topic on which you claim to be an expert.

There is hard evidence Matthew plagiarised others. I've written about it and evidenced it. Of course, those others never got the full theory of macroevolution by natural selection. And the illustrious and brilliant Hutton certainly never.

I hope you find something interesting and significant George. Of course, it was my prior published work that "knowledge contaminated" you to undertake this task and how, exactly, to go about it. Is there a familiar ring to that about how these things proof of concept?

Unknown said...


For one thing...there is a major misconception right from the start of this redundantly incorrect conversation... or rather a major deception in attributing Darwin and Wallace as having developed any of the original analogous work of variation attributed to Natural Selection. When confronted by Patrick Matthew in 1860 Darwin, after having been forced to capitulate and concede that Matthew had preempted him by 28 years with a highly accurate version of the natural process of selection then proceeded to literally trip all over himself in creating the biggest fallacy of all time. His trivializing of the subject of Naval Timber and the overplayed perpetuation and intentional attempt to place Patrick Matthew and is book "On Naval Timber and Arboriculture" (1831) into obscurity by far are the biggest and most reprehensible acts seen in the history of science ever.

For starters Matthew's Natural Process of Selection version is much more accurate because he understood the impact of catastrophism in the role of extinction and it's affects on the repopulating and generation of new species...( See NYU's Dr. Michael Rampino 2014 ) Darwin couldn't see or understand Matthew's well written understanding of this phenomena and blundered greatly in totally dismissing it... thereby ironically verifying that Matthew was exceedingly far ahead in the thought process. Darwin would leave behind other such blunders in attempting to discredit Matthew's work.

Unknown said...


The Twenty eight year preemption gap was only for the simple act of publication...Patrick Matthew's intensive work as a forester and horticulturalist actually began 24 years earlier in 1807 when at the age of 17 he inherited the estate of Gourdiehill from his Mother's relative Admiral Adam Duncan the First Viscount of Camperdown and who like Patrick Matthew was descended from the Lairds of Lundie.

Patrick Matthew was 15 when his highly decorated and noted Naval hero relative passed away. But there was also another Admiral in the family who so happened to live right next door and who was only nine years older than Matthew. Both shared an equally vast array of talent, knowledge as well as a refined interest in both Forestry and Orcharding pursuits. That bonding friendship would last for 59 years until Admiral Adam Drummond himself would pass away in 1849.

Unknown said...


In 1853 Patrick Matthew introduced the first ever Giant Sequoia's and California Coastal Redwoods to Europe beating William Lobb of Veitch Nurseries by more than four months in the great race to introduce them to Europe. The first plantings were at Inchture.(Sutton 2014 and 2016)... See ref. The Matthew Redwoods...See also the website Monumental Trees.

There are about 50 trees there that are over 163 years old and around 150 to 170 feet in height. These trees are still in their toddler youth...and have the ability to reach 360 feet in height and over 2000 years in age. Patrick Matthew successfully propagated a fair number of these trees and gave many to friends and family. Two of them were planted in tribute to Admiral Drummond and Admiral Duncan in 1853 in the trees lining a shaded lane between the Estate of Gourdiehill and the Grounds of Megginch Castle the lifetime home of not only Admiral Adam Drummond but also his son Captain John Drummond of the East India Company's Marine Service and the boyhood home of Admiral Drummonds younger brother Brigadier General Gordon Drummond. One of those trees is still there today.

This relationship between Admiral Drummond and Patrick Matthew and his family would for years span the gap left at the deaths of Admiral Duncan and his equally famous older brother Colonel Alexander Duncan the 4th of the British Army. Colonel Duncan like his brother Admiral Duncan are both immortalized in literature by famous classical writers. Colonel Duncan who had no increase and from whom Admiral Duncan himself became heir of Gourdirhill from...was immortalized by James Fenimore Cooper who's fictional Character of Major Dundee in "The Pathfinder" is based on the exploits of Colonel Duncan during the French and Indian wars in Canada. Admiral Duncan is immortalized by Patrick O'Brian and he and Sir Thomas Cochrane are the basis for the fictional Captain Aubrey in the "Master and Commander" Classical series. Russell Crowe portrayed Captain Aubrey in the first screenplay of the series..."Master and Commander ~~ Far Side of the World."

Matthew spent the next 24 years after Admiral Duncan's death converting the farmlands of Gourdiehill into one of the finest and largest orchard properties in all of the British Empire with over 10,000 apple and Pear trees. It was here during those preceding years long before anybody had heard of Charles Darwin that Matthew did his work and formulated his analogies of artificial verses natural selection that led to his original understanding

Unknown said...


...of his coined "Process of Natural Selection" which is the basis for his theory of Evolution...and not Charles Darwin's mythological reworded immaculate conception of the same theory.

Patrick Matthew's own double analogies for both Artificial Selection as well as analogies for Natural Selection are right there in the text of the book. He's the first known person of science to have used this methodology which still today is rarely used in research of not only comparing the similarities of the two variations of selection but also their dissimilarities as well...again tripping up our Mr. Darwin. Somehow Darwin who isn't well known for having done work with apples or pears forgot to make adaptation in his carefully reworded "so called" own analogies of Artificial verses Natural Selection on his chosen subject to open "Origin of the Species with... thus another documentation of his blundering nature for he likewise duplicated the double analogies despite rewording the text.

Darwin by using his newly acquired notoriety and fame intentionally misdirected many away from actually bothering reading "On Naval Timber and Arboriculture" by falsely stating that the theory's brief outlining concept could only be found in the appendages... in the back of the book. There is irony in this as well for Patrick Matthew had intentionally placed that note in the earlier pages of his book to intentionally guide readers to the appendages. The text still is inclusive of all but few researchers her looking for it. They have been Darwinnistically programmed like robots to go directly to the briefs in the appendages.

Unknown said...



The text still is inclusive of all... but few researchers bother looking for it.

Unknown said...


Patrick Matthew wrote both "On Naval And Arboriculture"(1831) and "Immigration Fields"(1839) having an excellent understanding of the roles that the Royal Navy and the British Army had previously played and would continue to play in the continuing role of building the British Empire. I find it rather dubious therefore that Charles Darwin would have so easily swayed himself to have misled others without some context of motive to do so in such a flagrant attempt to trivialize the very subject of Naval Timber. Naval Timber was an exceedingly serious subject of concern at the time of "Origins of the Species." It had been a serious concern since the early to mid 1500's. So serious had the concern been that even Darwin could not then nor can his redundant following today simply dismiss it's importance as trivial. HMS Beagle sailed under one of the highest priority mandates ever set by the Admiralty... an Admiralty that included the likes of Cochrane, Nelson, Drummond and especially Admiral Adam Duncan and which even subordinated the mission at hand...the topographical mapping of the Coastlines of South America, the Falklands, and the Galapagos Islands. If there was a book that should have been on board the Beagle it most definitely should have been " On Naval Timber and Arboriculture" It had already been in print since the first of January 1831. Captain Fitzroy most certainly understood the mandate and that he personally would be spending time seeing that it was carried out. I'm pretty sure that someone who was a last minute replacement to be the intellectual repose companion for Captain Fitzroy's benefit should have been made aware of the mandate as well...after all it was a significant part of why Charles Darwin was afforded the time to be included in the forays into the timbered forests of South America.

Emilio Cervantes said...

Dear Dr Minnick

Thanks for your comments. They are very welcome considering that most biologists are ignorant in History.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dysology said...

Emilio the anonymous person hiding behind the name Megaloblatta claims to be none other than Dr George Beccaloni who is curator of the Wallace Collection at the Natural History Museum of London.

I suppose desperate times lead to desperate measures by those at the heart of the so called scientific establishment. To their immortal great shame.

Unknown said...

Even if by chance that Fitzroy did not have his own copy of "On Naval and Arboriculture"...the mandate itself was easily something that was an ongoing every day part of the mission over the course of the five year voyage. The entire Naval assets of ships and their crews were to constantly search out...locate and by any means necessary acquire and secure any major Stands of Native timber that would be deemed suitable for the purposes of building and maintaining superior naval ships. How that subject could be so easily dismissed could only be explained that it was a knee jerk off handed comment by someone who had been captivatedly galled by the likes of Patrick Matthew who was well within his right to drag the duplicator of his life's work on the carpet through the pages of a publication well known to both.

That publication ...the Gardeners Chronicle was the source for the very 1831 review of "On Naval Timber and Arboriculture by the famous landscaping artist, architect and Botanist John C. Louden. 27 other naturalists would over the course of time pre "Origin's of the Species"cite Matthew's book... five of whom would be close inner circle friends of Charles Darwin. To continue to perpetuate the Darwin myth that no naturalist had ever read or heard of Patrick Matthew's book is redundantly preposterous and indicative of pathological denial.


Ironically it was the editorial staff of the Gardeners Chronicle who in 1866 (13 years after the fact) and one year after the passing of former Gardener's Chronicle Editor... John Lindley...would set the record straight in a retraction article that proved that Dr. Lindley... who was another close friend and associate of Charles Darwin had falsely and intentionally credited himself as the originator of the idea to name the Giant Sequoias after the Duke of Wellington thereby glory robbing Patrick Matthew's son John D. Matthew... a Mining Engineer and surveyor working the Goldfields of California in the 1850's. It was he and not John Lindley that suggested the Wellingtonia Gigantua naming of the trees. That name today in Britain and other parts of Europe is still erroneously used despite that the American Botanists won out in the naming of the trees...known today as Sequoia Gigantua. Lindley also falsely and intentionally perpetuated the myth that William Lobb of Veitch Nurseries was the first to introduce the trees to Europe...again exposed by the editorial staff of the Gardeners Chronicle one year after the passing of John Lindley. John D. Matthew is credited with sending a packet of seeds to his father in Scotland in 1853 four months ahead of a packet sent by William Lobb to Veitch Nursery who then gave them to Dr. Lindley. Patrick Matthew planted his first propagated seedlings at Inchtures in the Carse of Gowrie and it is they that were the first to be introduced to Europe.

Howard L. Minnick

Major, Corps of Engineers

United States Army (Ret.)

Botanist, Range Conservationist

Megaloblatta said...

I actually agree with your statement - what one needs is someone with a good knowledge of both biology and history. One of the few such people (and she is very good) is of course Janet Browne.

Megaloblatta said...

PS. The name is now Sequoiadendron giganteum.

Unknown said...

No PHD...just a lot of common sense and a Composite B.S. Degree in Botany, Range Science, Wildlife Management and Recreational Planning. I actually lived science in the outdoors of this "Great" Country.

Unknown said...

Comment was removed to condense the material which somehow miss spaced throughout the page.

Unknown said...

Yes George you are right mistake.
You and Dr. Sutton behave yourselves this go around.

Emilio Cervantes said...

If megaloblatta is indeed Beccaloni as he says the only advantage to be anonymous is that he is not sure of his position. Reading his comments this is more than a possibility.

Unknown said...

Correction the American Botanists won the naming contest and named the trees Sequoiadedron giganteum

Emilio Cervantes said...

By the way Sequoias were imported in Europe by the Malaspina Expedition in XVIII century.

Unknown said...

reference please ???

Emilio Cervantes said...

Unknown said...

Robert Byers...I'm sorry but I have to laugh at your conjecture of Darwin going out of his way in acknowledging Patrick Matthew's preemption. Please note the date of Patrick's letter to the GC calling Darwin on the carpet for not citing him...then note the date of Darwin's letter of capitulation which includes the rather overtly pious apologizing and promising if there should be a second printing of "Origins" that he would indeed credit Patrick Matthew's contribution...and then follow up all of this with the actual date of the 3rd printing in which he rather obviously after having delayed long last conceded to keep his promise. And while you are at it please note Darwin's knee jerking and lame excuse that no one could be expected to find a theory of such significance in the appendages of a book on Naval Timber. That one happens to be my favorite one...especially since Patrick Matthew himself personally directs those that actually read his book early on in the text to go there to get a briefer explanation...before returning to delve into the meat of it. It's so Darwin...take the obvious and mystify it...and then hide it right out in the open. All you have to do then... is tell people it wasn't there before and even if it was it wasn't important. That's exactly what he's done to the subject of Naval Timber. All of Great Britain... an Island Nation... building the greatest empire on earth nearly stripped of timber suitable for building superior naval ships and likewise much of Western Europe with the French the Dutch, the Portuguese and especially the Spanish all doing the same. Darwin couldn't be more obvious in his deceit. Darwin's intentional attempt to trivialize Naval Timber and to place both Patrick Matthew and his 1831 publication of "On Naval and Arboriculture" in obscurity has to be not only indicative of Darwin's true nature but it has to be one of the all time intentional deceptions in the history of science. I address this in a six part posting of my own. I suggest that you take the time to read it.

Unknown said...

For God's sake man haven't you learned that all of the Wiki's are the least accurate and least reliable sources on the internet. the ad hock editorial staffs pretty much control what gets printed based on their own bias's. There is so much preferential treatment that the sites are jokes. Anybody can pretty much get on there and write anything they want and edit out factual information to fit their own agendas.

Unknown said...

Thank You Emilio

Unknown said...


Thanks for playing arbitrator ... appreciate a sane intelligent and reasoning mind here. Especially with people who haven't a clue but who can only regurgitate someones elses ideas.

Unknown said...'s an original thought. Ever thought of actually reading both of Patrick Matthew's books. John F. Kennedy did... "Emigration Fields" inspired and gave him the premise to start the Peace Corps Volunteer Program and establish Our Green Beret Special Forces...Chapters X for the former and II & XII for the latter....Meanwhile I posted a six part piece on Darwin's feeble attempt to place Matthew and his "On Naval Timber and Arboriculture" in obscurity.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Robert Byers

The deception lies with the treatment of Patrick Matthew by Darwin who went way out of his way to trivialize and marginalize both Patrick Matthew and Matthew's 1831 book "On Naval Timber and Arboriculture." The subject of Naval Timber was in fact one of the most serious subjects tied to the very survival and existence of not only an Island nation but the entire British Empire that so happened to be spread across the oceans of the world. The scarcity of Naval Timber had it's roots firmly entrenched as an existing high priority problem needing to be addressed not only politically but scientifically as well. If you study the issue it was first recognized as a problem as early as the mid 1500's. For someone to misuse his newly acquired notoriety to so easily and casually dismiss and misdirect interested parties away from such a serious subject is catamount to negligence...if not Treason had Britain been seriously at war.

I put together a six part posting of some of the history to explain why Patrick Matthew should not have been so easily dismissed by Darwin who in actuality... no matter how you look at it... was First to be Second and having a much less accurate so called "Immaculate Conception" theory overall.

Dysology said...

Howard - Just for the record - And many supposedly expert university websites have got this wrong - in fact The Gardener's Magazine contained Loudon's 1832 of Matthew's 1831 book. The Gardener's Chronicle - which published Matthew's (1860) two effectively open letters to Darwin - was a completely separate publication that came into being as a rival to the Gardener's Magazine after Loudon ceased to tbe editor of the Magazine.

Dysology said...

Anyone wishing to see the fully evidenced and independently verifiable evidence for John Lindley's fraudulent glory theft of Matthew's priority for being first into Britain with those much beloved giant redwoods can find the long forgotten original sources reproduced here:

And to reiterate Howard Minnick's point - his "knowledge contamination" and my own (and now yours dear reader) from these facts and our sharing of the with you here is how knowledge of new and old discoveries spread. That is proof of the "knowledge contamination" concept regarding how it is morle likely than not that Matthew's prior-published original ideas (read and cited by Darwin's and Wallace's influencers and their influencers influencers) in some way knowledge contaminated and so influenced its replicators Darwin and Wallace.

To repeat the point already made:

Prior published unique ideas may contaminate the minds and work of others in three main ways:

1. Innocent Knowledge Contamination: The spread of original ideas in
a prior-publication via (a) subsequent published sources on the topic,
which failed to cite the Originator as their source, or (b) word of mouth and/or correspondence to the replicator by those who read the Originator’s work or communicated with others who did — understood its importance in whole or simply in part — but failed to tell the replicator about its existence.

2. Reckless or Negligent Knowledge Contamination: (a) The replicator
reads the original publication, absorbs information such as original
ideas and examples and terms, but forgets having read it — and never
does remember. (b) The replicator reads the original publication and takes notes, but forgets the source of the notes. (c) The replicator is told about original ideas in a publication by someone — who understands their importance in whole or simply in part — who explains they come from a publication, but the replicator fails to ask the name of the author and title of the publication.

3. Deliberate Knowledge Contamination (science fraud): The replicator
reads the original publication, or is told about its contents, takes notes, or is given notes, remembers this, but pretends otherwise.

The time has come to realise that Darwin and his cronies perpetrated a great and deliberate series of injustices against Patrick Matthew. I have my own ideas (mere conjecture) as to why they might have done that and how they would have justified their behaviour (guilt neutralization). The fact Matthew was a Chartist leader and that Lindley, Selby, Chambers and Darwin are all on record as fearing and despising Chartists - and that Matthew wove his seditious politics into his heretical original ideas would have meant guilt by low-association for Darwin and co and their work would have been thrown into the gutter and stamped upon by the powerful Oxbridge parson naturalists and the church and state.

Arlin said...

OMG, this is not an "extraordinary claim"! First of all, it is not a claim about evolution, but a claim about scholarship regarding evolution. This is just one of a gazillion cases in which a particular claim with scarcely any foundation is repeated until it becomes part of orthodoxy, e.g., read Ghiselin about how evolutionary biologists endlessly repeat the false trope of a conflict between Lamarck and Darwin.

Literally, if we stack up the evidence in the two pans of a balance, on one side *all we have* is Darwin's assertion that naturalists can all be excused for not noticing Matthew's ideas because they appeared only in the appendix of a book on naval arboriculture.

In the other pan of the balance, we have the evidence that naturalists read Matthew's work, that the ideas about evolution were not just in the appendix, that the work was reviewed publicly, and that the ideas on evolution were noticed. This evidence shows that Darwin's statement was literally incorrect.

Then, there is evidence on a further point: we know that Matthew informed Darwin that, in fact, naturalists had read the book, and we know that Matthew provided verifiable evidence, i.e., he pointed to a citation. If Darwin had cared to ascertain the truth that Loudin reviewed the book, he could have verified Matthew's claims. Matthew made a second, more obscure, claim about an anonymous colleague who was afraid to repeat his radical views, but there was no way for Darwin to verify this.

In science, a statement backed by citing a source trumps a mere assertion.
[I'm not sure if this is still true, but there was a time when ACS journals instructed reviewers that they could not contradict an author's referenced statement without providing a citation. ] When Matthew wrote his open letter to Darwin citing a source that contradicted Darwin's claim, Darwin was officially trumped. The proper response would have been to rebut Matthew's evidence, or else to retract or withdraw the claim.

The incredible amount of heat being generated here is not an indication that this is some kind of extraordinary unicorn-in-the-garden claim. It is simply a sign that Sutton has committed lese majeste, and the defenders of scientific royalty are coming out to defend His Majesty King Darwin.

This behavior has become a major curse on evolutionary biology. We're all going to pay a price for the generations of short-sighted hero-worshipping evolutionary biologists who built a brand identity on the reputation and status of a dead person whose views would by no means survive today.

Unknown said...

So Laurence... I can't say George Baccaloni deservingly got his nose bloodied over Patrick Matthew the last time these two got in the ring with each other.

Donald Forsdyke said...


Learning how discoveries were made in the past should facilitate the optimal allocation of resources to those who attempt to make discoveries in the future. A transplant surgeon at St. Mary's Hospital, London, in his retirement years wrote at least three books on Patrick Matthew (e.g. 1).

I learned of Matthew when researching a biography of geneticist William Bateson (2). I posted a series of YouTube videos on Natural Selection that, although primarily designed for high school students, mention Matthew and may be of interest to Sandwalk visitors (3).

(1) Dempster WJ (2005)The Illustrious Hunter and the Darwins. Book Guild Publishing, Lewes.

(2) Cock AG, Forsdyke DR (2008) Treasure Your Exceptions. The Science and Life of William Bateson. Springer, New York.

(3) Forsdyke DR (2011) Natural Selection Videos .

Unknown said...

Once again....researchers fail to read Matthew's book but instead "Robotically" go right to the appendages. How very Darwinist and how very exemplary of the entire problem of why ignorance abounds. Especially since Matthew's previous referral to the appendages is/was intended only to direct his readers i.e. those who actually take the time to read his book to a brief synopsis of the material...You still have to read the text throughout to get the full context. Despite his blunders Darwin certainly wasn't stupid...but I'm not certain that I could ascertain that many current of today's researchers aren't a bit slow on the uptake.

Unknown said...

George it's more than obvious you can't piss into the wind in your own field of expertise without soiling your own trousers...let alone delve into the realm of American politics or the history of Spanish Catholicism. You painted and shellacked yourself into a corner on Rick Coste's website on the case of Patrick Matthew and got pretty bloodied last go around. Like Emilio Cervantes I don't think Mike should waste his time with you. I don't speak for him so what happens happens...but you are certainly losing again. You intentionally seem to enjoy getting pasted. I fail to see how sympathy would do your cause any good.

Dysology said...

Thank you Professor Donald Forsdyke.

As one esteemed biologist who kindly read my draft manuscript and offered many words of advice on it (some but not all of which I took) you are well aware that I dedicated my 2014 book "Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret" to William Dempster.

You are also aware of how much further my original research has "drawn back the curtain" - as Dr Arlin Stoltzfus kindly commented on this blog site post - on who really did read Matthew's original findings before Darwin and Wallace so much as put pen to private notepad on the topic. Stoltzfus is a brave scholar to write in support of the truth on this dynamite topic - I am sure you will agree. But the truth requires others. The truth requires senior scholars who favour truth over the own selfish career worries and attempts to toady for favour by pandering to the palpable dysology of their dishonest mentors and masters.

Dempster was treated dreadfully by the scientific community who trashed his work because he dared to tell the truth about exactly how much of the theory of macro evolution by natural selection (i.e the whole thing and a better version than Darwin's uniformitarian parroting version) he wrote, and how badly Matthew was treated by Darwin and ignorant Darwinists after his death.

I am in touch with Dempster's family. My lengthy blogpost on his life and work was written to help us understand the significance of his work as a surgeon, research scientist and Darwin and Matthew scholar.

On the Patrick Matthew blog, in the "Wavertree letters" (exclusively published there) Dempster reveals how bitter he felt about how manipulative the Darwin industry was in controlling journals to deny him or others the opportunity to write the truth in their esteemed pages. Because some of those Dempster wrote about are still alive his family asked that we edit some of the contents of some of his letter to protect their sensibilities. Richard Dawkins is not so completely protected.

Today, we are witnessing exactly the same knee jerk dismissal and failure of others, who fully know better, to stand up for the truth.

Many of those who have sought to dismiss and trivialise the original findings in my book are seemingly of an authoritarian personality type, completely lacking in objective gumption, and so will not listen to anyone other than a biologist or historian of science who they have been told to "believe in". Whose word they have been effectively ordered to parrot like mynah birds. That was Dempster's fate.

With respect, what will you write (of anything at all) in the public about my original findings Donald?

Why the two years of silence about my work?

Is it to be a typical keep your head down Darwinite personal safety case of more of the same?

Would you care to know that a leading biologist - from a top London university - wrote a letter to VC of university to complain that my original work on Matthew and in particular my vociferous support of its importance had brought my University in disrepute. He was effectively seeking to have me fired! Seeking to end my career! He demanded an immediate inquiry into my conduct and work.

A four week investigation by a leading criminal justice professor led to those claims being completely thrown out. I have that original letter from the complainer and I will be publishing it in the future - along with the findings of the enquiry to reveal exactly how such members of the the Darwin deification industry seek to suppress the uncomfortable truth about Patrick Matthew and the truth about how they are currently lying and fact denying to the national press! As you well know, and as fact deniers have discovered to their public peril - I am no William Dempster. Unlike he, I do not wish to join the esteemed ranks of natural scientists.

My published work on the life of the extremely brave William Dempster can be found here:

Unknown said...

O...M...G Brave Duo...decided to do it in 1858. Simple math Georgie...simple math. The polar Magnetic Fields could have reversed themselves numerous times over in the near 28 year gap...You just attempted to nail Donald Trump for attempted Gibberish...and look how he has set the entire world on fire over night I'm not defending him...I'm pointing out your fallacy about the so called bravery of Wallace and Darwin... 28 years after the fact of Patrick Matthew's open publication of an even more accurate theory. One that included catastrophism and the impacts that we know for certain today most certainly have on extinction and it's counter part... the regeneration of life through repopulation... and the introduction of new species. Darwin couldn't for the life of him...see the connection so the first of his greatest blunders with dealing with Patrick Matthew was his dismissal of Catastrophism. 1831 and 1858 were entirely two different worlds Georgie. Neither of which could be more contrasting in comparison. Robert Chambers wrote his Vestiges anonymously exactly and intentionally because he knew and feared what might possibly happen to he and his family if it were known that he authored what was considered Heretical literature that went against the decades and centurial teachings of an Anglican church with it's own militarized policing force and with the long backing of a monarchy That was how different 28 years was. You yourself despite being outed by Dr. Sutton dare to come on this site anonymously in your own disguised fashion as you did on Rick Coste's site and make comments of how brave Wallace and Darwin were in publicizing something that had already been published almost 3 decades earlier. I'll let others deal with your own cowardliness.

Unknown said...

When a capital crime has been committed Georgie... a forensic scientist with a vast knowledge of biology is usually a normal methodology inserted into an investigation, When a case of fraud is the entire scope a full blown biologist forensic scientist is well as not addressing the methodology and expertise that is needed...thus rendering your comparison of biologists verses criminologists sort of a waste of time if you get my meaning. It is you George who are out of sync...and not Dr. Sutton.

Unknown said...

P.S. I am a Botanist...a Biologist and a Range Scientist. So Georgie are you going to say that I'm not qualified ??? I'm also a Retired Commissioned Engineer Officer of the United States Army Corp of Engineers. Will that in your eyes negatively affect my standing?

Unknown said...

oops... put an s on the end of Corp and make it correct otherwise I will have to endure o0ne of your spelling lessons.

Unknown said...

Dr. Forsdyke

Thank you for bringing in Jim Dempster. He personally gave me my copy of his "Evolutionary Concepts in the Nineteenth Century ~ Natural Selection and Patrick Matthew. I will let his daughter Soula know that you mentioned and cited him into this discussion.

Megaloblatta said...

Oh, you're such a MAN Howie - obviously SO brave and macho. Exactly the sort of testosterone-fueled individual that makes me despair of the human species...

Megaloblatta said...

Howie - you don't know your "appendages" from your "appendices" - enough said I think.

Unknown said...

I'm glad you are thinking about it Georgie. But I have to ask...are you sure you want to go there...? My intended use was to emphasize that Patrick's intention was to reference to something he intentionally appended in a somewhat covert manner...therefore accordingly my definition fits one of several of Meriam Webster's i.e...something appended to a principle or greater part. I've used it many times Georgie. I actually prefer it over appendices in this case... which I already know is correct in reference to supplements to the end of books...but since I believe these additions were more Trojan horse in nature intended for those who could appreciate their scientific aspects without fully implicating heresy fit the situation much more appropriately. After all Georgie I could come back and say that appendices is a plural of appendix which references a narrow blind tube approximately 3 to 4 inches long that extends from the Cecum of the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. Right !!!

Unknown said...

Actually George I was just as scared going into Kuwait as I was in Viet Nam...especially since I was part of the lead element....I think you mean adrenalin fueled individual...I really hope you are not making a pass at me...Georgie...that would really be a friendship killer.

Unknown said...

You're going away? Georgie you always say things you don't really mean. I really think that you are going fishing. Good luck trying to hook and land your Red Herring.

Unknown said...

Might be a good idea there Georgie...You might get lost though... in all that book learning...but it does help to know what you are talking about rather than just regurgitating someone else's thoughts.

Unknown said...

Thanks Mike for the clarification

Robert Byers said...

Dr Forsdyke
I am a YEC creationist but was very informed and found very interesting your series, last 12, on matters around Matthew etc.
It is incredible to see Matthew NAIL entirely what Darwin said and what was received by those accepting evolutionism.
Its truly a history not told and weird thats this is missed. They do always care about priority matters.
Perhaps its a disapoointment Darwin got beat.
I suspect also Matthew only dealing with selection on traits is too suggestive thats all evolution is and evidence is.
They smell a problem here. I do too fort creationisms gain.

I like Butlers idea about heredity/genes being just another expression of memory. i think genes are memory bits too.

The problem with all is that they can't create new things. they need mutations etc. Then also matthew used geology to make a further case which negates it being a biology investigation and is plain wrong anyways.

There was no Darwin/Wallace robbery as is made clear.

I agree with your last lesson that social forces etc get in the way of new insights. iD/YEC bump into these by a establishment that embraces evolutionary biology.
The videos were very careful in explaining, though possibly slow , and its curious to include the audience questions where there is no audience.

It seems your saying Matthew, Butler deserve more fame credit for evolutions foundations and a great deal.
It does seem as long as they don't the intellectual journey of this hypothesis is just plain incompetently not known.
in fact a creationist might say iT FIGURES. they can't even get that right.
A very strange experience for one who has watched heaps of histories, on youtube, on evolutions introduction to ideas.

Unknown said...

Robert Byers

You do realize that there are extreme limitations to a 6000 old world out there. Extremely compressive limitations.

Unknown said...

See what I mean... it didn't even give me time enough to properly ask my question.

Dysology said...

Robert Buyers has obviously either not read or not understood Matthew (1831). Mind you anyone who believes this is a young Earth (thinks is not the word) will be highly selective to their mere beliefs in what they read and what they see when they do read. As for the fossil and geological record - perhaps he "believes" the Devil did it as much as he has faith in the honesty of proven liars and merely believes Darwin and wallace never plagiarised Matthew.

By way of just one small example of the complexity of Matthew's work, the originator of macroevolution by natural selection, Patrick Matthew (1831) wrote about what he coined the "natural process of selection" and explained it in part by what he called a "power of occupancy". Matthew used this bombshell idea to explain that a tree might in fact grow better outside its "natural" environment (the soil and climate in which it is found in nature) but is prevented from doing so by other tree species that would overwhelm it through having a "greater power of occupancy". This point was picked up by Jameson

William Jameson was a botanist, deputy surgeon-general and superintendent of the East India Company. He cited NTA in 1853 noting Matthew's original findings that trees could grow better outside their "natural environments". Jameson was the garden superintendent at Saharanpur from 1844 to 1875. In 1854, the year after Jameson cited Matthew's original discovery, William Hooker (friend of Darwin, mentor of Wallace, and father of Darwin's best friend Joseph Hooker), who was empowered to make such decisions for the East India Company from Kew, blocked his application for promotion. See my book Nullius in Verba for the fully referenced details.

Darwin and Wallace would later replicate Matthew's original prior-published ideas - including replicating his original explanatory analogies on trees- and claim them as their own. To date their deceptions have a greater power of occupancy in the literature than veracity, because Darwin's and Wallace's newly discovered lies about the non-existence of any prior-readership of Mathew's book are being strangled by a hostile environment known as The Darwin Deification Industry.

Dysology said...

As Michael Shermer the famous Darwinite and founder of the Skeptics Society wrote: 'Free speech is fundamental. Unless it might offend someone, cause trouble, upset a group or disrupt campus peace.'

Arguably, it would be better had he written: "Veracity is essential in the history of science unless it proves Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace were plagiarizing glory thieves, proven liars, fallacy spreaders and shameless myth mongers."

Because the Darwinite Darwin deifying rogues, those who fear them, and their toadying-for-favour acolytes who call themselves scientists and historians all go along with that dysological philosophy of the pseudo scholarship.

Megaloblatta said...

That's a reference to the Coastal Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), but we were talking about the introduction of the Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) into Europe! What did I say about historians not understanding biology...

Megaloblatta said...

Howie: Doing a few minutes of "big data analysis" using Google, reveals you to be "the 3rd Great Grandson of a Scottish Forester by the name of Patrick Matthew" ( So, your objectivity is called into question and your nastiness is explained. You are no doubt trying to glorify your ancestor in order to bask in the reflected glory..

Joachim Dagg said...

The page numbers are correct, but it is a colophon appended after the end of Note F of the appendix. The appendix is a list of end-notes that were too long to be included as footnotes in the main text. The colophon is separated from this appendix by a horizontal line. It's an afterthought. While it is correct that some passages in the main text were obviously inspired by the idea of natural selection, the colophon is the only place, where Matthew combines the idea of natural selection with that of species transformation. Hence it is not a myth that the relevant passage is in the colophon to the appendix.

The idea of natural selection (though not by that name) was old, but it was usually seen as a force that keeps the species fixed rather than transforming it (Maupertuis already had it in 1751). That is, the new thing for which Matthew has priority is not the discovery of natural selection but combining two old ideas (natural selection + species transformation) that have previously been thought to be mutually exclusive.

One prerequisite for a sensible discussion would be a clear definition of what “the idea” actually was. The discovery of natural selection is not it, because priority for that would go to someone much earlier. Priority for combining natural selection with species transformation goes to Matthew. But many scholars seem to (implicitly) include much more than that, when they speak of the “discovery of natural selection.” For example, if gradualism (also known as uniformitarianism) was included, so that priority was awarded for combining natural selection with species transformation plus gradualism, then Matthew would not have priority for that combination of ideas, because he was a Couvierian catastrophist and did not have the advantage of Lyell’s concept of deep time.
Some blog posts on the topic:

Megaloblatta said...

Mike Sutton:

Your lack of understanding of biology is revealed by the following erroneous blurb on your website ( You said:

"Botanical naming of the giant Californian redwood tree

The name 'Wellingtonia gigantea" was disliked in the USA - from where the trees originated. Debates to name the tree went on for a number of years, Eventually the tree was officially named 'Sequoiadendron giganteum' to reflect its botanical link to the coastal or California redwood, 'Sequoia sempervirens'."

You obviously have no knowledge of the rules botanists use to name plants. One can't simply change the name of a genus because the name is "disliked" - you have to have an objective rather than subjective reason for doing so. The objective reason is that "Wellingtonia" of Lindley 1853 is an invalid name under the Code of Botanical Nomenclature because the name had been published and used in 1840 by Carl Daniel Friedrich Meisner for an unrelated plant. Meisner's name therefore has priority and Lindley's name is a homonym and needed replacement.

Dysology said...

Judmarc confirms the old truism that the most biased people see what is not there - if it can be imagined into existence to suit their prejudices:

He writes above:

"That's why I used the term "crank." Upsetting orthodoxy is fine, but as Dylan says, "To live outside the law you must be honest." In other words, Mike has let this thing get to him to the point he's obviously obsessive about it and tries to claim more than is true (i.e., that RationalWiki endorses his views). He'd do far better at convincing me, at least, if he was less obsessive and more careful." where do I make such a claim? I don't. I just provided the direct link to the site publishing my Rational Wiki essay.

So will this character hiding like a troll behind a pseudonym now apologise for making false claims. Don't hold your breath. Just note the wonderful effect of bias on the brain. We see with our brain not our eyes.

This character cannot see what is in front of his eyes. Instead he sees what is not there. Perhaps that explains why he is writing in tongues. Because it's easier to give in to a cultish belief system than to stand alone and face harsh reality. You just proved that YOU are an irrational crank Judmarc.

Now go heal thyself. Read something other than your Darwinite bible and associated scriptures.

Megaloblatta said...

Patrick Matthew: Plagiarist or Knowledge Contaminated Miscreant?

Big Data research using Google has revealed that Scottish fruit grower and self-proclaimed discoverer of the principle of natural selection, Patrick Matthew, 'lifted' his supposed breakthrough from fellow Scott James Hutton (1726 - 1797). Hutton, a fellow agriculturalist and noted naturalist, is the first person known to have published the theory of natural selection. He proposed the idea in his 1794 book "An Investigation of the Principles of Knowledge and of the Progress of Reason, from sense to science and philosophy", some 37 years before Matthew published the same concept in his work "On Naval Timber and Arboriculture" (see

It is probable that the "very well read" Matthew studied Hutton's book, after all Hutton was not only a fellow Scott, but a famous naturalist and an agriculturalist to boot. Evidence that Matthew probably plagiarised Hutton was provided by mysterious blogger "Joachim D." on his site "Natural Histories" ( Joachim D. demonstrated how Matthew used suspiciously similar phrases to Hutton when discussiong evolutionary change, such as:

"adapted to the locality" (Matthew) vs "adapted to the particular situation and circumstances" (Hutton

"organized matter/ being/ existence" (Matthew) vs "organised bodies" (Hutton)

"infinite variety" (Matthew) vs "indefinite variety" (Hutton)

Even if Matthew did not read Hutton's work and the similarities between the above phrases are merely three coincidences, the likelihood is that many of Matthew's friends and colleagues would have studied Hutton's book and therefore Matthew was "knowledge contaminated" via them. Either way, Matthew can no longer be regarded as an independent discoverer of natural selection...

Emilio Cervantes said...

The fact that Matthew copied from Hutton is not an argument against the main point in discussion: Darwin copied from Matthew.

Megaloblatta said...

As far as I am concerned the main point is WHO should be credited for the discovery of natural selection. It would be interesting though if Matthew got the idea from Hutton and then Darwin got Hutton's idea from Matthew. Surely historians would want to know the history of the idea?

Dysology said...

Yes yes yes. Is that all you have, good grief. I know that. But that detail is irrelevant. EVERYONE knows the name was disliked for the reasons you just replicated from all over the Internet. Have you EVER discovered a single thing George. I mean really? That's WHY it was disliked.

Megaloblatta said...

Your lack of understanding shows Mike...

Dysology said...

You cannot be serious? The phrases are nothing alike. And the fact you cite such silliness by Dr Dagg (aka Joachim D.) of all people sums you up George. Fools of a feather flock together.

You had to replicate the silliness of another abusive and trollish bitter and unoriginal person. That's the best you have?

Moreover, it is you who repeatedly reveal your own incredible ignorance in your own field of self-proclaimed expertise (again and again and again), because Hutton never even originated macroevolution by natural selection - only Matthew did that. Ask a proper scholar. Go read a proper journal article etc. Not a troll's silly bitter and unoriginal blog.

Next after Matthew came Darwin and Walace - whose friends and influencers and their influencer's influencers DID read Matthew - and I originally discovered that.

Was Matthew in some way knowledge contaminated by Hutton. I suspect he was. It seems reasonable. But where is the evidence George. You and Dagg have zero evidence. The terms are completely dissimilar. And even if you got identical terms you would need to show that out of 35 million publications Hutton apparently originated the term and Matthew was apparently second with it. Now he fact neither you nor Dagg can do that shows something doesn't it George. It shows how hard it is to discover such a finding.

So you went away to find someone who Matthew knew who cited Wells (Wells came closest but missed a lot that Matthew later got). Did you find anyone? No. Why not?

Dysology said...

WOW George Beccaloni (AKA Megaloblatta) You actually wrote something ALMOST rational on this topic. Are you feeling OK? Just one caveat : ONLY MATTHEW (NOT HUTTON) GOT THE FULL HYPOTHESIS OF NATURAL SELECTION.

And that is the point you keep missing.

And to correct Emilio - it is not a fact that Matthew copied Hutton. There is zero evidence that Matthew rd Hutton.

Although I think it reasonable to think Matthew was in some way knowledge contaminated by Hutton. I wish we could find the evidence.

Of course, George Beccaloni and Dr Dagg are completely beneath the task. They have proven that for us. Such research takes a lot of work.

Significant discovery making in the history of scientific discovery is not for the lazy, ignorant, unoriginal and incompetent. Nailing bugs to wood - that were originally discovered by real naturalist in the field - and labelling them - is something anyone can do.

Not even a good effort George. You must try harder!

Emilio Cervantes said...

Ok let's talk correctly:
1. The unfounded supposition that Matthew copied from Hutton is not argument against the fact that Darwin copied from Matthew.

2. Natural selection is oxymoron. It has never and cannot be defined. It is newspeak and contrary to scientific premises because it is contradictory an confuse.

Megaloblatta said...

The concept of natural selection as a mechanism of evolutionary change was discovered by Hutton. Since microevolution and macroevolution are but two ends of a continuum, the application of the mechanism to macroevolution is nothing very novel. In any case Matthew did not explain how speciation could occur i.e. he fell well short of explaining the origin of species. Next, I'll need to set up a website called "James Hutton: Originator, Immortal Great Thinker and Proven Influencer on Natural Selection" - sound familiar? Be assured I will be shouting the fact that Matthew was likely to have been 'knowledge contaminated' from Hutton "from the rooftops"!

Megaloblatta said...

Mike Sutton: Thanks for confirming my suspicions with your statement (above) that "Was Matthew in some way knowledge contaminated by Hutton. I suspect he was. It seems reasonable."

Dysology said...

George Beccaloni, Curator of the Wallace Collection of the Natural History Museum, London (hiding behind the pseudonym Megaloblatta on Tuesday, August 09, 2016 10:21:00 AM writes:

"Matthew did not explain how speciation could occur i.e. he fell well short of explaining the origin of species"

In writing such independently verifiable nonsense dressed up as fact Beccaloni reveals just how little he understands of even the most basic facts in the field in which he self-proclaims to be an expert.

That it should fall to a social science criminologist to explain the facts to a biologist is rather odd. But so be it.

For Dr Beccaloni's remedial education even the arch Darinite Richard Dawkins admits (in Bill Bryson's edited collection "Seeing Further: the Story of science & the Royal Society - page 208):

'Unlike Blyth. Matthew didn't see natural selection purely as a stabilising force, preserving the original forms of species. He even went further to speculate:

"...the progeny of the same parents under great differences of circumstance, might in several generations even become distinct species, incapable of co-reproduction.'

If you were ever to bother to read Matthew's 1831 book - and not just its appendix you would see how Matthew does this through his concept of "divergent ramifications of life". Yes George "ramify" which means to branch George - as from a common ancestor - with which you can no longer breed! Now we see where Darwin's famous "tree" comes from.

George - you are a gift to psychology. You just keep on writing such palpably daft rubbish. Why on Earth do you keep doing it? Is it because you are so desperate because I even discovered something about your hero Wallace that you and your favourite historians failed to find.

Namely, I originally discovered that Wallace is proven to be as dishonest as Darwin because he too is proven to have lied.

Wallace lied in his autobiography by publishing a significant falsehood by way of deleting key words in his transcription of one of his penned letters in order to delete the text that shows he thought he was owed money and other favours from Darwin and his cronies Lyell and Huxley for presenting his paper at the Linnean Society without his consent? The fully cited facts and transcription comparisons can be read in my book - 'Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret'. You know the book George - my publisher caught you out for writing a review of it when you had not even read it. The shame of it! But your desperation is as palpable on this blog site as it is everywhere else.

Shows exactly how little you understand about how to behave as a human never mind as scholar, does it not George Beccaloni?

Dysology said...

This is a position I have always held. It is evident throughout this blogpost. Pay attention in class George Becalloini. You might learn something.

Megaloblatta said...

Oh, I see; your aim is to tarnish Darwin's reputation by casting doubt on his personal integrity. Your goal is to brand him as a plagiarist and a liar. Well, mine is more scholarly - to establish who originated the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Emilio Cervantes said...

Dear Dr Sutton,
Let me recommend you give atelephone call to the real Beccaloni just to make sure...
I had similar cases in my blog.

Unknown said...

Georgie I'm not hiding anything. "I am" the 3rd Great Grandson of Patrick Matthew. I don't hide behind pseudonyms like certain individual people I'm corresponding with here on this site. And exactly how am I any different from the objectiveness of Darwin's own family members... or people like yourself who flaunt their authoritarian accolades hoping others will take notice...all the time strutting around in their own embellishments and who seem constantly fraught with some sort of unseen ghost chasing them and who mumble to themselves when they get themselves called into question? Tell me Georgie exactly what amenities would I reap from all this glory basking. I might find it of interest. I really don't know what it entails. Please enlighten me. I'm actually highly flattered and honored that you actually took the time to look me up. I am however interested in the truth...What glory is there in this for me...I'd actually rather be out fishing...and what nasty's have I embellished upon you Georgie (???)...again please enlighten me. However, to be totally honest and truthful...for it is truth that we are seeking... I could more than likely easily come up with a couple of appropriate and fitting ones. Sorry Georgie but I don't have the time to bloody your nose nor to wipe it every time you go out of your way to get it bloodied or get your feelings hurt.

Megaloblatta said...

Mike Sutton: You may be an obscure and poorly cited criminologist, but if you want to argue about biological theories I suggest you take a degree in biology first. It may help you understand the many points which you clearly do not understand. Matthew did not explain how reproductive isolation leading to speciation occurs, he just stated that natural selection somehow results in it. Got it? No, I'm sure you haven't as you lack the basic knowledge. I suggest you stick to your own field.

Dysology said...

You can see also how someone hiding behind the pseudonym Megaloblatta yet claiming to be Dr George Beccaloni (Curator of the Wallace Collection of the Natural History Museum of London) - who once wrote a review of my book Nullius in Verba and was forced by my publisher Bob Butler of Thinker Media Inc. to admit he had not even read it here:

This explains how little he understands about professional behaviour in academia. The professional - and institutional - shame of it!

Faizal Ali said...

Natural selection is oxymoron.

Really? Not by my understanding of the term "oxymoron". Explain.

It has never and cannot be defined.

This is an objectively false statement, as even a quick Google search will demonstrate.

Dysology said...

You continue to write nonsense George. Reveals how little you understand about anything. You're all at sea. You poor chap. You don't even understand what honesty is do you. That's going into print George. Happy explaining.

Megaloblatta said...

I don't know if you can get this little fact into your thick skull Mike, but as I said many posts ago (see above) "Megaloblatta" is simply my user name and not a sinister pseudonym I am 'hiding behind'. Even you managed to discover my identity with little effort - in fact i posted on this website who I was. It is amazing how you latch on to trivialities to try to discredit people - trivialities which have no substance to them. It is no wonder few people have been swayed by your rants about Matthew and Wallace. I suggest you try a more professional approach!

Megaloblatta said...

Threatening me again are you? I am sooooo scared of the Big Bad Sutton - the aggressive, illogical Patrick Matthew Troll.

Dysology said...

I don't know, maybe Emilio has a point. Maybe you are not Dr George Beccaloni. Surely even he would not behave like an abusive troll and be so unprofessional to not make such a fool of himself by being completely proven wrong in his own field so many times by a social scientist? Would he? Oh wait. yes he would I have all the links to where he has done it before.

Nullius in Verba "George". The disguise is a good idea. We can all see for ourselves why you chose to hide your identity here.

Dysology said...

No threat. Reality. Shame on you.

Unknown said...

Georgie...I think that you stumbled on to that by actually reading above my 6 part brief on Patrick Matthew...for it's almost word for word from the websites historical section in my reference to the website Monumental Trees. Nice job...and again you flatter me for actually having read what I had to say...all the while fishing for Red Herrings.

Megaloblatta said...

Howie & Mike: I don't think you'ld know what a homonym is if it bit you on the proverbial.

Unknown said...

Score one late in the game for Georgie...however late in coming.

Dysology said...

George Beccaloni caught reviewing a book he never even read and proclaiming what he "knows for a fact" about the evidence he has not even looked at in it.

Note, therefore, the explanatory diagram on associated delusional thinking about beliefs evidence and knowledge:

Unknown said...

Emilio...I'm going to have to somewhat agree with lutesuite... a definition of Natural selection really isn't the fundamental's getting every one on the same page...with a proper sequential alignment of the fundamentals facts without bias for what to include and what not to include. Natural Selection in and of itself has a wide range of possible avenues of exploration so therefore it has plenty of room for expansion.

Unknown said...

"Out out damn spot...out I say"

Well guys I have a plane to catch...I'll check in again on the rehash of this rematch when I get Back from New York in about a week

Megaloblatta said...

So to summarise the important points of the above 'discussion':

1) James Hutton is the first person known to have published the concept of evolution by natural selection in print (1794). He applied it to explain microevolutionary change (evolution within a species).
2) Patrick Matthew published the idea of natural selection in 1831 and suggested it could explain speciation (macroevolutionary change). However, he did not propose how this might work - how reproductive isolation leading to speciation actually happens. He therefore failed to explain the 'origin of species'.
3) Natural selection is one mechanism driving evolutionary change - microevolution and macroevolution are simply different ends of the continuum that is evolutionary change. Thus Hutton deserves the credit for discovering the mechanism, and Matthew is due some credit for suggesting that natural selection could lead to speciation.
4) However, Matthew's knowledge of natural selection may have been derived from Hutton's book through direct plagiarism or 'knowledge contamination', and his claim to be the discoverer of natural selection is simply wrong as we know for a fact that Hutton discovered it 37 years beforehand!

Mike Sutton stated "Was Matthew in some way knowledge contaminated by Hutton. I suspect he was. It seems reasonable." and furthermore "This is a position I have always held." So Sutton's many,many statements that Matthew was the originator of the concept of natural selection is not only disproved by the evidence (Hutton was the discoverer), but Sutton admits that Matthew may have 'lifted' the concept without attribution to Hutton anyway!

Dysology said...

Of course Matthew may have been knowledge contaminated by Hutton. The possibility is obvious to everyone. The only problem is that we have zero evidence that Matthew knew anyone who cited Hutton's work on this topic.

However we DO now newly know for certain - thanks to my original discoveries in this field (in which George Beccaloni - aka Megaloblatta has made none whatsoever despite it being his lifelong profession) that between them Darwin and Wallace knew four of only seven naturalists who did cite Matthew's book containing the full prior published hypothesis of macro evolution by natural selection before either Darwin or Wallace wrote so much as a private personal note on the topic.

And neither Matthew, Darwin or Wallace ever cited Hutton.

Unlike Matthew, but like Wells and Blyth after him (who also published on the topic before Darwin) Hutton mocked the idea that organic evolution (unlike Matthew he never used the term "natural process of selection" - or the term "natural selection") could produce new species. He stopped short at varietal change. Hence unlike Matthew he did not see natural slection as being responsible as a process for the origin of species. And as everyone knows - so George reveals in a public forum once again that he repeatedly fails to understand his own field.

George is an unfortunate repeat victim of his own palpable dishonesty or stupidity - of which it is impossible to determine. Because everyone knows (apart from he it seems) that when we use the term "natural slection" it is generally accepted to mean macroevolution by natural selection, unless we state otherwise.

I expect George is desperately jealous.

Dr George Beccaloni, curator of the Wallace Collection at the Natural History Museum, London, is very active on the internet in trying to downplay the significance of the New Data in the story of the discovery of natural selection.

I suspect the reason for his jealous behaviour is because of the discovery that Selby - who was Wallace's Sarawak paper editor - had earlier cited Matthew's (1831) book, containing the full and original conception of macro evolution by natural selection. And yet - like Darwin, whose friends and influencers also read and cited Matthew's book before he wrote a word on natural selection - Wallace claimed to be an independent discoverer of Matthew's prior published conception. Now, in addition to the circumstantial evidence that Wallace was 'knowledge contaminated' via Selby by Matthew's work before he published on it, Wallace is also proven to be dishonest.

Because he is proven dishonest, nothing Wallace wrote about his supposedly immaculate conception of Matthew's prior-published work, should now be taken at face value. Wallace is proven to have been dishonest by way of my original discovery that he doctored the transcription of one of his personal letters in his autobiography to conceal the fact he thought he was owed money and favours by Darwin, Lyell and Hooker for the role they played in deceiving the Linnean Society into believing he had consented to their reading of his paper with, and after, Darwin's on natural selection. The frequently broke Wallace did indeed receive plenty of money and favours with their assistance thereafter.

Are many biologists so dishonest as George, Wallace and Darwin? Because I sure am unearthing a lot who are.

Dysology said...

Deviant - dishonest - scientists are ripe for research by sociologists, psychologists and criminologists. The posts by "George" on this blog site and elsewhere are excellent data.

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