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  1. Howard L. Minnick says:

    Then what was your problem with my pointing out the fact that you are overemphasizing Dempsters amiability. ..which is a perfectly logical approach to your obvious over assumption based on my own knowledge of Dempster… and the baffling part is why did you feel I was the one who deviated from an obvious question of duplicity posed by Dr. Sutton in his having directly quoted Dempsters feelings on the subject. The reality Mike is…that you led… and I just followed.


  2. Howard L. Minnick says:

    Obviously Mike… you and I do not see eye to eye on clarity…because I can definitely see it in Dempster’s very eloquent quotation provided by Dr. Sutton. I don’t know how much clearer Jim Dempster needs to be to be honest…surely it’s clear and honest enough not to get nilly picked and second guessed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mikeweale says:

      Howard, yes, I think that’s the best way to leave things on this issue. You clearly think that Dempster publicly argued in favour of Darwin plagiarising Matthew, and I clearly think he didn’t.


      • Dysology says:

        Aside form Howard’d inside knowledge on what Jim Dempster really felt (in evidence of spoken word) there is the danger of the rest of us trying to know the mind of Dempster. This ‘miraculous mind reading” nonsense is something that crops up again and again in Darwinist attempts to neutralise guilt at Darwin’s and his Darwinist’s theft of Matthew’s clear (under the Arago Rule) right to total priority over Darwin and Wallace for his prior published theory.

        We see Dawkins using it and we see other desperate deifying Darwin worshipers doing the same when they write that Matthew never understood the significance of his own prior published hypothesis. As if they could know the mind of Matthew in that regard with no evidence from him as to what was in it. Other than that in 1860 he claimed the hypothesis as his own when Darwin failed to cite him as its originator.

        At least in the case of Dempster we have the quotation I cited above. And we have Howard’s account, which I would like to invite him to formalize and publish on Patrick.Mattthew.com. As said, in reply to Mike W’ s valid point – that quotation from Dempster needs to be set in the context in which it was written. I’ll do that this weekend. Then we can revisit in a brighter light of its possible meaning.

        One of the reasons I have been so actively involved in challenging Darwinists with the importance and significance of the New Data is that I have studied their appalling treatment of both Matthew and Dempster. I have my own strategy for dealing with them. Unlike both of those fine gentleman – Matthew and Dempster – I come from a far more necessarily pugilistic background. I will not have pseudo-scholarly deifying Darwin and Dawkin worshiping groupies one day write that I never understood significant (rational and logical) importance of the New Data on who really did read Matthew pre-1858. In that regard have already amassed a fine collection of aggressive and pseudo-scholarly nonsense written by Darwinists on twitter and elsewhere on the Internet – and they to badly to forget I am far more adept at knowing what is what and who is who online than they think. I will use this data as I think fit to ensure we all move closer to a purer version of the truth in the history of the discovery of natural selection. Watch this space.


  3. Dysology says:

    Mike_W and Howard. What follows is cut verbatim from my (expanded today) blog post on Jim Dempster:

    Dempster wrote that there is no need to accuse Darwin of plagiarising the work of Patrick Matthew because it is already well established that he acted badly in not citing his influencers in the first edition and other editions of the Origin of Species (Dempster, 1983 p. 64):

    ‘Patrick Matthew and Robert Chambers carried out their great tasks single-handed. Without the help on the one hand of his great wealth and on the other of Hooker, Lyell, Lubbock, Blyth, Wallace and many others, it is doubtful whether Darwin, single-handed, could have avoided making a botch of his theory or even whether he could have, had the Origin published. Even so, in spite of all the outside help, he retreated more and more towards Lamarckism.

    There is no need to charge Darwin with plagiarism. His scholarship and integrity were at fault in not providing all his references in the Origin: he had after 1859 another twenty years in which to do so. What one can say is that denigration of Patrick Matthew was unwarrantable and inexcusable.’

    But if those three sentences do not, in fact, say that Darwin had seen Matthew’s work, replicated it, and then perpetrated a long-running science fraud by never admitting he had prior-knowledge of Matthew’s discovery, what do they say?


  4. Dysology says:

    My Blog post on Dempster is here:https://www.bestthinking.com/thinkers/science/social_sciences/sociology/mike-sutton?tab=blog&blogpostid=21890

    And so what is to be made of my question in it? :

    “…if those last three sentences do not, in fact, say that Darwin had seen Matthew’s work, replicated it, and then perpetrated a long-running science fraud by never admitting he had prior-knowledge of Matthew’s discovery, what do they say?”

    I think it is fair to try to understand Dempster’s probable mind on this issue, because we have his own detailed words to examine on the exact topic.

    Here, we should attempt to reject mystical Darwinist and Wallace – apparently spiritualist – methodologies to seek to “know” the mind of Matthew regarding whether or not he understood the great significance of his own unique prior-published complex and detailed hypothesis, which he arrived at after 20 years of study, practical, commercial, award winning hybridization of fruit trees, silvo-arable farming and forestry.

    Any rational thoughts on what Dempster was thinking, beyond my conclusion that he meant plagiarism but decided to merely imply it as close as he felt appropriate?


  5. mikeweale says:

    Mike, thank you for your comments, and for providing the full context of Dempster’s quote from his 1983 book. Apart from a few punctation differences, the context appears identical to what he wrote in his 1996 book (see my previous comment where I quote the full context from his 1996 book – https://patrickmatthewproject.wordpress.com/leave-a-reply/comment-page-2/#comment-293). I would just like to make four points in reply.

    1) I am absolutely not trying to “know the mind of Dempster”. The question being debated, as far as I’m concerned, is whether or not Dempster ever publicly accused Darwin of plagiarising Matthew. That’s an entirely different question, and one that is based purely on what he wrote, not on what he thought.

    2) I have already given my reasons for why I don’t think the passage you quote above necessarily means that he was accusing Darwin of plagiarising Matthew, so there is no need for me to repeat them again. Please refer to my previous comment: https://patrickmatthewproject.wordpress.com/leave-a-reply/comment-page-2/#comment-293.

    3) In addition to the passage originally under discussion, I have presented other passages from his 1996 and 2005 books (see my previous comment and the one after it: https://patrickmatthewproject.wordpress.com/leave-a-reply/comment-page-2/#comment-294). I think that when these passages are taken together these either argue for Dempster writing in an ambivalent way about the issue of plagiarism, or argue in favour of Dempster rejecting the plagiarism hypothesis (due to lack of evidence) and by implication attributing the similarities between Darwin’s and Matthew’s writings to non-plagiarism reasons (e.g., cryptomnesia or “knowledge contamination”).

    4) I agree that Dempster’s writings on the issue are open to different interpretation – hence the debate we are having right now. I think that in itself is a curious thing. How could Dempster write 3 books on the subject of Matthew and Darwin and fail to give a clear indication of what he thought about the plagiarism hypothesis? This question cannot be answered without “entering into the mind of Dempster”, and thus although I have posed the question I have not attempted to answer it. In contrast, both you and Howard have presented possible reasons. Howard proposed that this was due to Dempster’s “amiable” character, while you have proposed that Dempster felt constrained for some reason to not declare himself openly, but rather to “imply it as close as he felt appropriate”. I have no problem with either of these two explanations, and in the case of Howard I’m perfectly prepared to defer to his personal knowledge of Dempster and his private views. None of this alters the fact that, as far as I’m concerned, Dempster never publicly accused Darwin of plagiarising Matthew.


  6. Dysology says:

    Mike- thanks. I probably gave the wrong impression. I did not mean you when I wrote of Darwinists and Wallacists seeking to know the mind of Matthew with no evidence on the topic in question. I am referring to those who write that Matthew failed to see the great significance of his own hypothesis. I can only assume they have an unstated Ouija board methodology.


    • mikeweale says:

      Thanks Mike. I wasn’t responding to your comments about people wanting to know the mind of Matthew, but to your earlier comment that “there is the danger of the rest of us trying to know the mind of Dempster”. I just wanted to assure you that this is not my goal.


  7. Dysology says:

    Mike – you are right it is open to interpretation. Those who knew Dempster are the best source we now have as to whether or not he thought Darwin was a plagiarist.

    Admittedly speculating – one reason for such – right to the edge – implying prose might be that he thought he would be marginalized completely by the scientific community. When one eminent professor of biology read my manuscript before publication I received advice from him not to accuse Darwin of plagiarism without a smoking gun letter to or from Darwin. The advice went on regarding the reaction of the scientific community. I chose to politely ignore it myself. The Virgin Mary Analogy dispenses nicely with the hypocritical demand for a smoking gun letter from Darwin but not from a man claiming paternity of Jesus. https://www.bestthinking.com/thinkers/science/social_sciences/sociology/mike-sutton?tab=blog&blogpostid=22726


    • mikeweale says:

      Thanks Mike, that helps to clarify your point of view.

      Let’s assume for a moment that Dempster *was* a “pro-plagiarist”. After all, we have Howard’s assertion that he was and Howard knew him. The question, then, is whether his books can be advertised as “pro-plagiarism” books. My view is not. However, in light of this debate we are having right now I have changed the sentence where I refer to Dempster in my opinion piece on Mathew’s Influence (https://patrickmatthewproject.wordpress.com/opinions/matthews-influence/) to “…although Dempster directly never accuses Darwin of plagiarism…”. I’ve inserted the word “directly” to allow that he may have indirectly implied this, although even then I think it’s a matter of opinion.

      I’ve collected some new quotes from Dempster’s 1996 book. My aim is to try and collate all the passages where Dempster comments pro- and anti- the plagiarism hypotheses. I’ve placed these after my original comment (https://patrickmatthewproject.wordpress.com/leave-a-reply/comment-page-2/#comment-293).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Howard Minnick says:

        Ok Mike…this calls for an answer…where did you miss the point that I brought up about Dempster realizing that any possible proof to prove his own questions of duplicity…even if they did manage to  remain in the back of his mind… probably went up in smoke when the three daughters took it upon themselves to burn everything… including I’m sure… additional letters to and from Darwin over the very argumental issue we are discussing.  Hell… Darwin himself wouldn’t even have the friggin priority right now if it wasn’t for his children and grandchildren.  That’s the disparity of this whole damn mess….the disparity of the difference in the religious and political tolerability and it’s transition from it’s 1831 state verses the completely different world and more benign tolerable state in 1858.  Yet because of redundancy… that enormously evident fact is selectively being chosen to be ignored…which as I have stated before is an insult to intelligence no matter the context.  Matthew’s daughters who one moment were allowed the luxury of association in a well established social networking system were suddenly shunned by their equals and victimized by the very proverbial pen that we today recognize as brilliantly having scribed an even more accurate theory than that posed 27 years later… Howard L Minnick 

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Dysology says:

    To be even handed, I think Mike W has taken the only possible objective line based on the information we currently have that is published in Dempster’s three books on Darwin and Matthew.

    To try to be necessary pedantically objective Howard (apologies), taking on board the “oral history” data, I know that Errol Jones tells of the papers burning having been done by the daughters because they were un- marriageable following their father’s heresy. But we need more to go on than just that story. there are errors that I have detected in Jones’ account of the reason Matthew’s paper was not read at the British Association conference – so there is a question-mark about validity hanging over her accounts. Where exactly did this story come from? For all we know they burned his papers simply because they were seen as unnecessarily clutter – the daughters (like the entire world at the time) seeing zero value in them. Moreover, we have no idea what – exactly – was burned (its content) that we would learn much from.

    That said, Howard, I expect a treasure trove of information was most likely destroyed by the Matthew daughters (assuming he kept all his letters that would have interested us). And – as you correctly assert – it was (1) the intolerant Christian climate of the time that was responsible – combined with (2) the appallingly shameful treatment Matthew received from Darwin and his Darwinists who – via the notorious X-Club and other cronies of Darwin dominated the top leadership administrative positions of the British association for advancement of Science, Linnean Society and Royal Society.


    • mikeweale says:

      Thanks for that, Mike. I’m afraid I don’t have Errol Jones’ book. Could you provide more details? Which daughters specifically are said to be involved in this letter-burning? And what reason does Errol give for the paper not being read at the BAAS meeting?


      • Howard Minnick says:

        Dr. Weale,The three spinster daughters are  Euphemia, Agnes and Helen by age order.  They are in the picture with their Mother and Father from Wulf’s Die Matthew Saga Volume I Page 7.  Helen was known to play the mandolin…so she may be the one with the guitar.  From Errol Jones book “Shadows on my Wall” which I have a copy of… she writes the following:  Page 9. Under Matthew’s Children

        “…in 1858, Christian Matthew died, aged 65.  The old Laird lived on with his three unmarried daughters until his death on June 8th 1874 at the age of 84.  His spinster daughters stayed on in the crumbling manor house having become quite reclusive since the death of their mother, and being somewhat outcast by society because of their father’s outspoken ideas.  Their father had blighted their lives – and after his death they purposefully rid themselves of all his offending literature!  All that survived were letters from Charles Darwin,  which had been kept by Robert Matthew in Perth and those posted to Alexander in Schleswig-Holstein –of which the several duchies had now become the German Empire.”

        Same page 9. Under Plagiarism “Thankfully, Christian Matthew would have missed the second upheaval of her husband’ troubles — the exposure of  Charles Darwin’s plagiarism — as she died two years before.  She had suffered through the first ignominy at the publishing of Patrick’s first book in 1830 with the irreligious appendix of 28 pages with that awful phrase, “Evolution by Natural Selection”.  The book was banned in Perth Libraries.  The family was ostracised.  But it did not impact on the children, as they were too young then — my paternal grandfather and his sister not yet born.  the eldest of the eight children only aged 12 in 1831 –at the first taste of obloquy and odium towards the family at the Manor.”

        Note: That’s just a taste as she continues on page 11. ” All the New Zealand descendants knew of Darwin’s plagiarism and as I discovered later (1980) when in contact with Wulf and Margot Gerdts from the German branch of the Matthew family, that they had been well aware also.  The Scottish kin were not so knowledgeable, as the matter had not been handed down from the spinster aunts at odds with their father.  However Robert Matthew in Perth had saved Darwin’s letters to his Father, and they were ultimately passed down into the hands of his grand daughter, Margaret Kemp and at the insistence of the Gerdts family and myself, were put into the safety of the Edinburgh Museum for posterity by her brother,  John Matthew. Note:  It is at this point that John Matthew’s friends Min Hunter and especially Ian Hardie of the the not yet formed “Patrick Matthew Trust” become involved. 

        There’s also pictures of  John Matthew and Min Hunter together on pg. 146 and John’s wife Dorothy with The Queen…on pg.117 of Die Matthew Saga Volume II. Now do you see why I deferred you to Ian, Errol and Margot???

        Howard L. Minnick

        Liked by 1 person

      • mikeweale says:

        Thanks Howard, this is all very useful information to me. There was some “WordPress” text at the end of your comment – I’ve edited these out for clarity.


      • Howard L. Minnick says:

        Clarify what you meant that you found some WordPress text at the end of my comment???


      • mikeweale says:

        Hi Howard, I’m appending the text that was at the bottom of your comment below:

        WordPress.com |

        mikeweale commented: “Thanks for that, Mike. I’m afraid I don’t have Errol Jones’ book. Could you provide more details? Which daughters specifically are said to be involved in this letter-burning? And what reason does Errol give for the paper not being read at the BAAS mee” | | Respond to this comment by replying above this line |

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        | New comment on PMP | |

        | | | mikeweale commented on Leave a Reply. in response to Dysology: To be even handed, I think Mike W has taken the only possible objective line based on the information we currently have that is published in Dempster’s three books on Darwin and Matthew. To try to be necessary pedantically objective Howard (apologies), taking on board the “oral history” data, I know that Errol Jones tells […] Thanks for that, Mike. I’m afraid I don’t have Errol Jones’ book. Could you provide more details? Which daughters specifically are said to be involved in this letter-burning? And what reason does Errol give for the paper not being read at the BAAS meeting? | Reply | Comments |



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      • Howard Minnick says:

        Thanks mike…Makes sense now…no problem…Howard


  9. Howard L. Minnick says:

    Look guys…The English Language originated in your country…not in mine…it was brought here…but sometimes I purposefully use if for my own purposes just like the two of you most certainly do. I think twice mentioning the bloody bonfire the daughters made of P.M.’s letters and papers pretty much spells out that Dempster pretty well knew that he couldn’t prove his own serious leanings of Darwin’s duplicity with out saying Dempster knew that he couldn’t prove his own serious leanings of Darwin’s duplicity…which I myself do know that he had…and which I myself strongly feel… and…if I might point out… you obviously feel too Dr. Sutton…especially after he told me himself his contemptuous feelings for what the 3 daughters had done. Is that any clearer???????


    • mikeweale says:

      Thanks Howard. For what it’s worth, I do think the english language can be a slippery beast, especially in the context of web forums where writers tend to write quickly and readers have to read without the benefit of paralinguistic clues. So, thanks for making your views clear. The good new is that, as far as I can make out, we are all more or less in agreement! Dempster had pro-plagiarism suspicions (I accept that) but he also lacked hard evidence. As far as I can figure out, this lack of hard evidence meant he never directly accused Darwin of plagiarism in his books. I know both you and Mike S think that the original passage Mike cites is proof that he did, but I’ve given you my reasons why I think that passage doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it does. And there are other passages where Dempster specifically says that he takes Darwin at his word, in the absence of hard evidence to the contrary.


      • Dysology says:

        Howard and Mike_W

        I think this juncture presents us with just one question. Why did Dempster so patently demonstrably and deliberately come as close as it is linguistically possible to accuse Darwin of plagiarism but not write plainly that in his opinion Darwin WAS a plagiarist?

        Logically and rationally if Dempster did not think Darwin was a plagiarist why be so skillful in coming as close to saying it without actually saying it?

        Mike Weale and Howard: lets settle this point. Can you both answer the following question (as i do below and please provide a similarly short reason for your answer): “Based on what he wrote in the paragraphs in question, is it (rationally and logically) more likely than not that Jim Dempster thought Darwin plagiarized Mathew’s prior published hypothesis of natural selection?

        My answer is “Yes. How on earth could anyone come to a different conclusion. Why write such a thing if you thought otherwise? It seems Dempster had decided he was not actually going to write that Darwin was a plagiarist but only to imply it as heavily as it is humanly possible to do so. The big question is. Why did Dempster behave this way?


      • mikeweale says:

        Well Mike, we are definitely “entering into the mind of Dempster” at this point, but so long as we signpost that, then fine. The way I would put it (i.e. my view of Dempster’s mind) is that Dempster *suspected* that Darwin plagiarised Matthew (“suspected” has a somewhat different connotation to “thought”). In particular, he was suspicious of the similarities between Darwin’s and Matthew’s writings. He then wrote in such as way as to reveal his suspicions, without directly accusing Darwin of plagiarism.

        Dempster never wrote about this directly (to my knowledge), but there are, in fact, ways in which “contact” could be made without plagiarism being involved. This is assuming we are defining plagiarism to mean a deliberate, intentional act of appropriating other people’s ideas for personal gain (as in the Wikipedia article on the subject). In that case, the “crypomnesia hypothesis”, in which Darwin reads Matthew’s books early in his career and then forgets about it at a conscious level, would not be plagiarism although it would still be “contact”. Likewise, any one of Mike’s “knowledge contamination” proposals, in which Darwin reads about one of Matthew’s ideas via an intermediate source who also fails to cite Matthew, would also be contact without plagiarism (well, without deliberate plagiarism of Matthew, at any rate).


  10. Dysology says:

    Mike, agreed we tying to assess the probable mind of Dempster but we are not doing so with some kind of unrevealed Darwinist Seance Methodology (as appears to have been deployed by Darwinists to “know” the hidden mind of Matthew). We are trying to make rational sense of his published words on the highly precise and specific topic in question – upon which he wrote.

    I think your answer and reasoning are rational and quite probable. I don’t think mine trumps yours. I think my answer and your own can sit beside one another as sensible interpretations.

    A couple of other bits of information might help us to try to wonder about possible thoughts Dempster may have had on what to write on this topic and why.

    Dempster’s great mentor was Sir Arthur Keith. Sir Keith was a lifelong devotee of Darwin. Keith was implicated in the Piltdown Man fraud because he credulously was swayed by (but not at all first) by weight of scientific opinion that the fake skull was real. Dempster actually spent time working at Down House in Kent when it was owned by The Royal College of Surgeons. He may have pulled himself up short in respect to his mentors love of Darwin.

    Dempster (1957, p. 9) wrote in his book “An Introduction to Experimental Surgical Studies”:

    ‘Nothing, however, in these critical comments should be interpreted in a dogmatic way; dogma, particularly in science, is peculiarly opposed to the very spirit of inquiry. The character of knowledge is transcendental; truth itself is transitory and evolving; theories come and go and it is as well that we remember that. Only the less thoughtful can afford to be cocksure today.’

    Dempsters 1957 book is dedicated to the memory of Sir Arthur Keith (FRS)

    Perhaps Dempster feared also that if he was cocksure of plagiarism that new data might come along and render his books obsolete?

    Of course, new data has come along. And, in my opinion it is enough for me to be cocksure that plagiarism is more likely than not in absence of a miraculous virgin conception miracle: https://www.bestthinking.com/thinkers/science/social_sciences/sociology/mike-sutton?tab=blog&blogpostid=22734


    • Dysology says:

      If new evidence that an immaculate, dual virgin brains, cognitive conception miracle took place, so that Darwin and Wallace were wondrously protected by a divine brain contraceptive device to keep out impregnating “knowledge contamination,” from their admitted naturalist influencer friends, associates and correspondents, who both read and cited the one book in the world Darwin and Wallace most needed to read, because they replicated so much from it whilst claiming no naturalist known to them read it – then my book will be rendered obsolete.

      Who knows, perhaps proof of such highly improbable supernatural “immaculate conception” miracles will one day swim up and around the corner in their millions. But I’m thoughtfully prepared to be absolutely cock-sure it wont. All puns intended.


  11. Howard L. Minnick says:

    Mike and Mike

    To be honest… I think Dempster felt more inclined to believe that the time needed to prove his suspicions would be his most limited commodity…and not that the proof wasn’t out there. Having said that I have to agree with Dr. Sutton’s assessment.. I myself cannot come to any other conclusion. Jim Dempster brilliantly and ingeniously prepared to pass the torch so he chose to infuse rather to incite and in so doing euphoniously ingratiated himself in order to avoid having to waste precious time from his search for the proof deflecting outright criticism. Yes….there is no doubt his statement is euphemistic in nature…but it certainly is not lacking in inference…and Jim Dempster no doubt believed in those inferences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dysology says:

      Agreed Howard.

      We can only wonder what Dempster would have made of the discovery that Chambers (author of the most influential Vestiges) and Selby (Wallace’s Sarawak paper editor) read and cited Matthew pre-1858. And what to make of the discovery that Loudon, who prominently reviewed Matthew’s book in 1832 and said it might have something original to say on “The Origin of Species” no less, edited Blyth’s two highly important papers? What to make of the fact that Professor David Lowe Matthew’s Perth Academy schoolmate, who shared the same two publishers as Matthew was first to replicate Matthew’s unique and world-changing analogy of artificial slection to explain natural slection (as well as being apparently first to replicate two apparently unique Matthewisms) . What to make of the fact that Darwin recommended Professor Lowe to the Royal Society precisely for his work on artificial slection to explain natural selection?

      I suspect he would have crowed cocksure – dual miraculous conception miracles aside – from the rooftops that plagiarism was proven more likely than not. But I cannot know that. unfortunately.


  12. Dysology says:

    On which note, I have been actively seeking out critical responses to my conclusions about the importance of the newly discovered fact that Matthew’s book in fact was read by naturalists known to Darwin and Wallace. I have collected 20 general responses so far. I think each and every one of them can be easily rebutted with hard facts : https://www.bestthinking.com/thinkers/science/social_sciences/sociology/mike-sutton?tab=blog&blogpostid=22734

    I wonder are there any other arguments against knowledge contamination ?


    • mikeweale says:

      Hi Mike,
      My main argument against knowledge contamination is that, even if it were proven to have happened (and this is far from being proved at this point, IMHO), it still would not strip Darwin and Wallace of their right to be considered independent originators of the idea of macroevolution by natural selection. I’m talking about “knowledge contamination” in the sense of “an idea that passed from Matthew to an intermediate person (e.g. David Low), and then from the intermediate person to Darwin without the intermediate person telling Darwin about Matthew’s book”. The “discovery” that Matthew, Darwin and Wallace made was the act of putting two pre-existing ideas together – macroevolution (as propounded by Lamarck and earlier transmutationists) and natural selection (as propounded by James Hutton, J.C. Loudon and others). If either Darwin or Wallace had directly read the one piece of prior literature where these two ideas had already been put together (the “end-appendix” in Matthew’s book), then their claim to have independently discovered it is gone. If, on the other hand, Darwin or Wallace simply received a few scattered fragments of Matthew’s ideas via “knowledge contamination”, then their claim to be independent originators remains intact.
      This now becomes a debate over how one defines “independent discovery”, but I believe my definition is logical and makes sense to me. I have used the “Lego contamination” analogy to illustrate my point – see https://patrickmatthewproject.wordpress.com/opinions/matthews-influence/.


      • Dysology says:

        Mike, my argument is not at all that knowledge contamination must be “proven” to have happened. It is that – rationally – explained by way of the “Virgin Darwin Analogy – it is more likely than not that it happened. I can’t prove that a miraculous cognitive contraception device was not gifted to Darwin and Wallace. But it seems more likely than not that no such miracle happened. Similarly, St Mary was probably impregnated by a human, rather than a divine “god”.

        If they read Matthew pre-1858, if or any degree of the Originator’s ideas on the topic, which they merely replicated, reached Darwin/Wallace to assist them to replicate those unique ideas then they are mere replicators who were in fact influenced to replicate (directly or indirectly) by the originator himself.

        The new evidence for who they knew who did read Matthew (1831) pre-1858, and the wealth of evidence of Darwin’s and Wallace’s complete replication of the prose, unique ideas and unique explanatory examples that were all prior published by Matthew (1831) are all revealed by the best literature search so far undertaken to be all Matthew’s unique origination.

        Unless disconfirming knowledge for Matthew’s unique origination of terms, phrases, concepts and explanatory – analogy – examples, turns up, which, as you know, is the usual accepted scientific caveat in all such issues – then Darwin and Wallace Originated zero from what they read (that replicated Matthew’s original work) that was not first written by Matthew. They replicated it. Any other conclusion must – logically – be based on massive nd irrational bias.

        If it were not Darwin (a deified icon) we were discussing this would be done and dusted – in my opinion.. Darwinists are behaving like religious zealots on this issue – in my opnion. And I think history will judge them accordingly.

        The new data changes everything in the old story of Darwin’s and Wallace’s “immaculate conception of a prior published hypothesis.” The hard fact that Darwin and Wallace were surrounded and met and corresponded with men whose brains were fertile (to some unknown degree) with Matthew’s ideas makes human social intercourse the most probable route of Darwin’s and Wallace’s conception of Matthew’s prior published hypothesis.

        Nothing needs to be proven. Instead, as in all such cases, what we need to establish – rationally in light of the New Data that Matthew’s (1831) book was in actual fact read by influential naturalists known to Darwin and Wallace (who they admitted influenced them) – is whether or not it is more likely than not that the only true originator (according to a straightforward and sensible definition as the one who did it first) influenced the replicators to replicate what they replicated that the originator first originated. I think that’s been achieved. It is more likely than not (because we should not merely believe in supernatural miracles) that Matthew influenced the replicators Darwin and Wallace to replicate what they replicated of his original Origination: . Here is the reasonng: https://www.bestthinking.com/thinkers/science/social_sciences/sociology/mike-sutton?tab=blog&blogpostid=22734

        Barring the new discovery of supernatural phenomena at play, which would, laughably, have involved the insertion of some mysterious supernatural cognitive contraceptive devices into the minds of Darwin and Wallace, Darwinist defences cannot stand up to the bombshell impact of the new data that busts the former Darwinist myth of Darwin’s and Wallace’s immaculate conceptions of a prior published theory. Alternatively, a massive “invasion of the book snatchers” conspiracy – or divine event – may have occurred whereby all libraries, bookshops and homes had fake books citing Matthew seeded into them. Are you asking me to disprove those two supernatural possibilities Mike? Of course not.

        As far as I am concerned, after 155 years, the game is finally up for Darwin and Wallace. Because newly available BIg Data research unearthed real books that prove it more likely than not they were influenced by the Originator – Matthew – in their replication of his bombshell discovery of the theory of natural selection.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mikeweale says:

        Mike, I agree with you on your first point, over whether knowledge contamination has to be “proven”. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a question of whether the onus is on you to prove “knowledge contamination”, or on whether the onus is on the mainstream to prove the absence of “knowledge contamination”. Instead, I’m for weighing up the evidence dispassionately and attempting to arrive at a “balance of probabilities” type of conclusion. Currently, I’m undecided about whether knowledge contamination has taken place – I’m somewhere in the middle. I should probably edit my “Matthew’s Influence” piece to reflect that.
        Where I don’t agree with you is where you say that if “any degree of the Originator’s [Matthew’s] ideas on the topic … reached Darwin/Wallace to assist them to replicate those unique ideas then they are mere replicators” (i.e. not independent discoverers of the idea). I understand that it your point of view, but it is not mine. I guess that’s the difference between your “immaculate conception” analogy and my “Lego contamination” analogy.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Dysology says:


    I feel we are narrowing this debate down to finer differences of opinion (albeit our opinions formed from our rational weighing of the facts) than when we started out several months ago.

    In reply to what you write above, I feel that if what we now know about who read Matthew (1831) pre-1858 had been told in 1860 that the entire history of the discovery of natural selection would be different. Matthew would be treated like Peter Higgs and Alexander Fleming are today. The only obstacle to that is 155 years of Darwinist myth mongering about no naturalist known to Darwin or Wallace having read Matthew pre-1858.

    I sincerely apologise if this sounds patronizing. There is no other way to express it, I think you are influenced by that fallacious Darwinist storytelling. And I think your Lego analogy reveals that to be the case.

    Please forgive me Mike. This is not written to be rude or insulting. My rebuttal of your Lego analogy involves me asking you directly – here in this comments section – what I think are the telling questions about that analogy, which I think show it is not a good analogy to explain how Darwin and Wallace could, more likely than not, have independently replicated the hypothesis of natural selection without “significant” influence from Matthew:

    Your Lego Analogy:

    “Darwin and Wallace simply,and independently, reconstructed the same complex hypothesis as Matthew’s, and replicated Matthew’s unique artificial selection analogy, by chance, rather like three children independently making the same building out of Lego bricks.”

    My Rebuttal:

    “Where else in the history of discovery of a complex and groundbreaking idea has such a thing happened when the replicators were surrounded by friends and associates – who influenced and facilitated their work – who had read the original discovery before they replicated it? Why ignore Dawkins’ notion of the contagious meme in the story of Matthew, Darwin and Wallace?”


  14. Joachim says:

    The priority issue has been settled in 1860, neither by ballot nor by a ruling body (e.g., Linnean or Royal Society) passing a verdict, but simply by Matthew pointing it out in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Darwin admitting it in the Chronicle and in his later historical sketch. I do not think that a respectable historian, who has done his homework (read ‘On Naval Timber’ and the letters by Darwin and Matthew in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and the historical sketch) will make excuses and say otherwise. Beating up people who say otherwise out of ignorance or incredulity is not a very interesting pastime, in my opinion.

    The plagiarism issue is another question. But even if I went along with the assumption that Darwin plagiarized Matthew, simply for seeing where that assumption leads to, it only leads me to ask: “So what?” For 28 years (until 1859 not 1858) after Matthew’s publication, nothing happened. The study of natural history has not been revolutionised by Matthew (1831) nor has it been revolutionised by what has been read before the Linnean Society in 1858 on behalf of Darwin and Wallace. The book that revolutionised the study of natural history will remain ‘On the Origin of Species.’

    Posterity may say that the Origin of Species was not original in any detail, not even in combining the very old idea of natural selection with the old idea of a transmutation of species. But they will probably say, if I may propose an analogy as well, that it was the first explanatory system where this idea of a transmutation of species through natural selection did not only illuminate one or a few curious rooms and cabinets, but everything in the whole vast building.

    The same is not true for Matthew or any other predecessor. In particular, what Matthew said on ship building, politics, or the practical matters of arboriculture (pruning etc.) was not enlightened by that idea, although it did pop up here and there. Matthew mainly criticised other authors, who had written on tree planting, and that did only rarely bear on natural selection and transmutation. The centrality of natural selection in the Origin of Species, however, is what made the difference between high impact and low impact.


    • Dysology says:

      Yes, Matthew got the hypothesis (the whole complex thing) years before Darwin and Wallace and Darwin found more confirmatory examples and explained it in more length – and (debatably) more eloquently. However, Matthew’s version was more veracious in terms of catastrophic events. All of that is not in dispute. So there s no need to keep rehearsing it all as though it is some kind of argument against the likelihood of significant Matthewian knowledge contamination of the minds of Darwin and Wallace pre 1858.

      What is in dispute is whether it is more likely than not that Matthew influenced Darwin and Wallace with his prior published hypothesis in light of what we now newly know in terms of who actually did read it.

      Your argument that priority was settled in 1860 is seen through a Darwinist lens. Matthew – the Originator clearly saw it differently. Have you not read the relevant materials on this very web site? I have – indeed I transcribed the Nov 24 1860 Saturday Analysis and Leader article (as just one example of Matthew’s great dissatisfaction with his treatment – and the weirdly biased, illogical and totally unique response about priority that he received by way of reply).

      If you think the priority was settled in 1860 you must surely think squashing the legitimate rights to Matthew’s full priority (under the Arago Effect rules of the Royal Society) of an originator under the heel of Darwin’s cronies settles things to your one-sided satisfaction. I find that very odd.

      A good scholar would think no such thing.

      A good scholar would look objectively at both sides of the situation.

      Moving on to dealing with your digression from the question I asked Mike Weale:

      A good historian would note that Matthew was not at all satisfied with the outcome.
      A good historian would see the way Matthew was completely unfairly treated with regard to the then and now standing rules of priority of the Royal Society.
      A good historian would then check the story told by Darwinist that they used to justify such unfair and unique treatment of an admitted and undoubtful originator.
      A good historian, on unearthing new evidence that 100% proves the old story that none known to Darwin or Wallace read Matthew pre 1858 is untrue would weigh what New Evidence rationally means for the history of the discovery of natural selection.
      A good scholar knows it is their duty to make the world aware that they have found disconfirming evidence for prior knowledge beliefs.
      A good scholar would publish their finding in books and peer-reviewed journal articles and disseminate them as widely as they can.
      A good scholar would debate what the findings mean,
      A good scholar knows that no amount of confirmatory evidence can turn a prior published hypothesis into your own. That is why Fleming and Higgs are deemed immortal great thinkers – even though neither proved the importance of their own great thinking and discoveries with confirming evidence.

      A good scholar does not keep digging up their own unjust and untenable special Darwinist pleading/privileges arguments again and again as though they will become convincing in the repetition that the newly discovered facts don’t change everything we once thought we knew to be true about the story of “independent discovery” that has been told for the past 155 years.

      Your arguments have all been dealt with before. They are among the 20 Darwinist defenses that can all be refuted by reference to facts and rules. Here: https://www.bestthinking.com/thinkers/science/social_sciences/sociology/mike-sutton?tab=blog&blogpostid=22734

      Have you anything else, perhaps something new to say? Have you got any new data yet I wonder?


    • __Emile Zola (1840-1942) from “Jacusse!”…published in La’ Aurore (The Dawn) 13 Jan 1898

      “When the Truth is buried underground it builds up so much force
      that the day it explodes, it blasts everything with it.”

      ….especially the over saturated, antiquated soils of redundancy and rationalization purposefully bulldozed to cover it up from exposure.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Dysology says:

        Good quote Howard, I’ve never seen it before but I love it.

        I think what Zola describes is pretty much what happened in 2014 Howard when the old “independent discovery” paradigm was blasted away by the new data revealed in “Nullius in Verba: Darwin’s greatest secret” that tested it and found the old Darwinist “independent discovery” explanations for Darwin’s and Wallace’s replications of a prior published theory untenable, and so rendering them redundant. As redundant as Matthew uniquely made “God” in 1831.

        Apart from its gender bias, Thomas Kuhn’s landmark work on the structure of scientific revolutions describes the task ahead for good scholars with the courage, honesty and ability to assess exactly what has been newly discovered in this story in question and what it means for our understanding of the discovery of what is arguably the most important scientific discovery ever made. I am very grateful to my colleague Phil Wane for reminding me of Kuhn’s pertinence to this issue. Kuhn (1962, pp. 1-2) writes:

        “If science is the constellation of facts, theories, and methods collected in current texts, then scientists are the men who, successfully or not, have striven to contribute one or another element to that particular constellation. Scientific development becomes the piecemeal process by which these items have been added, singly and in combination, the ever growing stockpile that constitutes scientific technique and knowledge. And history of science becomes the discipline that chronicles both these successive increments and the obstacles that have inhibited their accumulation. Concerned with scientific development, the historian then appears to have two main tasks. On the one hand, he must determine by what man and at what point in time each contemporary scientific fact, law and theory was discovered or invented. On the other hand, he must describe and explain the congeries of error, myth and superstition that have inhibited the more rapid accumulation of the constituents of the modern science text. Much research has been directed to these ends, and some still is.”


  15. I think that my appendage to Zoa’s quotation is fitting and that the modified combination of his and my thinking are harmonious…I love big explosions…that’s the fun of being an Army Engineer. I should use it on Dr. Dagg… one of the most epitomizing redundant minds I’ve ever come across. I have the perfect opportunity to do so right now on Rick Coste’s Evolution Talk podcast ” Everything is Related” from last week…but I’m just going to let it pass. I actually enjoy just laughing at and ignoring him. He’d fit well in my Christmas Donkey story as well.


  16. oops I mean Zola’s…can’t give Joachim rusty ammunition to throw back at me.


  17. The reason I bring up Zola is because it was he who helped expose the “Dreyfus affair” and the sequential cover ups which went to great lengths… to the point of even imprisoning the person who originally discovered the original cover up surrounding it. It’s a classic textbook example of redundancy to cover up the truth. Every JAG officer of the Army is familiar with this piece of Military Justice…or should I say Injustice !!!


    • Dysology says:

      Howard, I think that the Zola analogy is interesting. Obviously, that cover up involved some form of conspiracy. I don’t see any evidence for that in the Matthew & Darwin story.

      What I see is innumerable “party line” following – empowered by numbers – Darwinists who write articles, book chapters and books that add more and more selective bias to the story. We see such cherry picking pseudoscholarhip in Dr Dagg’s great bias (particularity in his Darwin worship blog site where he writes ad hominem and libelous and defamatory comments about me) in wheeling out of the old party line that “priority was settled in 1860”. In the real word, with reference to the 19th century literature record, any cursory reading of what Matthew – the Originator – wrote in his letters (including one to a German scientist!) and newspaper articles shows that he wished to be correctly recognized for his great discovery of natural selection – and his unique explanation of it that Darwin and Wallace replicated.

      We know Darwin was forced to capitulate in the Gardeners Chronicle of 1860, and we know he credited Matthew with priority from the third edition of the Origin of Species onward (he had no choice once confronted with the facts in the press), but, on reading the Darwinist story telling thereafter, Matthew is “crankified”. We need only read the Dublin University Review of 1860, as just one example, written by Darwin’s friend Daivd Anstead, where Matthew is portrayed as an unoriginal crank with no right to priority at all. And so the process went on. And so it went on untill 2014. And so it will continue to go on until we shake the sytem to reflect the truth.

      I hate injustice and I hate hypocrisy and I despise its bedfellows of pseudoscience and pseudoscholarship and all their necessary self-serving mythmongering and stubborn refusal to follow all the necessary facts.

      Now we have New Data that challenges the “independent discovery” hypothesis and that data finds that old story wanting. But in light of this new dsconfirming data what now do we see happening? It is just as you write, Howard, we see Darwinists desperately scrabbling about to chuck at me their rusty ammunition. But it won’t work. They have only got duds and damp squibs! I have far superior mythbusting ordinance. Its called “The New Data”. And from that new data I also have created Dawkinite: https://www.bestthinking.com/thinkers/science/social_sciences/sociology/mike-sutton?tab=blog&blogpostid=22733%2c22733


      • Dysology says:

        As just one – amongst the multitude – consider how a book published by Chicago University Press, written by the Darwinist Professor Peter Bowler gets so many facts 100% wrong in a typically dysological desperate Darwinist attempt to deify Darwin at the expense of the truth.Most interestingly he thinks The Artificial Selection Analogy (incidentally Matthew’s 1831 unique origination) is of great importance. So great is its importance Bowler writes that Darwin is superior to Wallace because Wallace never used it before Darwin. But that is 100% wrong (yes – supernatural mind-bending and multiple worlds miracles aside – it is possible to prove something 100% wrong) because Wallace used it in his Ternate paper: http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B00BGMRV12

        Who on earth peer reviewed Bowlers book? You’ve got it: the “gate keepers of dysology”. The so called “expert” Darwinist “scholars”.

        Bowler’s book is one amongst a multitude of works by Darwinists that prove Darwinists are not fit to police self-serving bias and error in their own field. After all, how on Earth can we trust a person named after Darwin to be objective and accurate when it comes to including and leaving out what serves and does not self f-serve the interests of their namesake?


      • Dysology says:

        Of course, to write more precisely, above I should have written:

        “They have only got duds and damp squibs! I have far superior myth bustling ordnance – called “The New Data”. And from that new data I also have created Dawkinite. And far more superior ordinance in the form of the Royal Society rules of priority as enshrined in the time of Darwin and today as “The Arago Effect”. An ordnance known to Wallace when he wrote to Darwin and cronies, via Jospeh Hooker, in 1858: http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-2337

        ” it has hitherto been too much the practice in cases of this sort to impute all the merit to the first discoverer of a new fact or a new theory, & little or none to any other party who may, quite independently, have arrived at the same result a few years or a few hours later. “


  18. Mike,
    It does however show the level of intensity someone who really doesn’t want the truth to come out will go…as we have seen with your own incidents with Wikipedia and mine with the documentation of Patrick Matthew actually coining the Peace Corp and the premise it’s based on.


    • Dysology says:

      Yes Howard. As I wrote earlier, history will judge this part of the story of Matthew and Darwin accordingly.

      Those who think they have been operating anonymously in that regard would do well to learn of my international award winning work in the field of hi-tech crime. On the internet, it is true that anyone may be a dog, but it always possible – with new technology, know-how and the right connections – to find that dog, identify it, and alert its owner and owners friends what it has been up to.


  19. I’d rather deal with an honest donkey !!!


  20. You’ve probably…as I have come to learn on several occasions…already seen this but I hadn’t… and found it quite interesting in comparison to Patrick’s motivations


    From Strange Science:

    Title: Rocky Road; Charles Darwin

    …” Still it would be misleading to paint Darwin as something like a modern day liberal. He deplored slavery but overlooked the Victorian class system that kept many of his Britons in a state of relentless poverty. He argued that members of the aristocracy looked prettier than the rest because they could pick out prettier spouses from all the other classes. Like other Victorian men he considered his own society superior to others and considered men superior to women – all the while he relied on his daughter Henrietta to edit his manuscripts. Some 19th Century feminists begged to differ; Antoinette Brown Blackwell for instance, countered Darwin and Spencer’s arguments for male superiority in nature with examples of ruling female insects with males who looked after offspring. But, like her contemporaries found the theory of natural selection a liberating replacement of biblical authority on the role of woman.”

    I know…just another coincidental case to be easily kept out of historical context (1831 vs. 1858 ) like so may other Darwinist skeletons hidden away in a vast array of closets.



    • Dysology says:

      Hi Howard

      Yes – I’ve seen it all said before in The Dark Side of Darwin: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0890516057?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00

      Such information is useful in allowing us to look behind the facade of the plaster science saint . However, we must be careful not to use evidence of Darwin’s hypocrisy in our arguments to counter all the Darwinist myths about him. Where we have disconfirming facts for Darwinist myths we do no good to anyone engaging in ad hominem (mere attacks against his attributes or character) attacks.

      However, if we need to produce evidence of his dishonesty – if it exists – in order to counter a possible Darwinist defense that our evidence against him is insufficient because he was so honest, then it is fair to expose him for the lies he told. In Nullius I expose six.

      When we compare what he wrote about black people smelling badly – and therefore being unattractive to white people – we can see his palpably daft racism. Particularly when we compare it to what Wells did to check that notion years earlier in his own work in the field of natural selection. Wells made sure the subjects had an opportunity to bathe and then he smelt their skin. He then reported no difference between black and white people. Noting this is not an ad hominem attack. It reveals Darwin’s relatively poorer brain!


      Wells WC. Two essays: one upon single vision with two eyes; the
      other on dew. A letter to the Right Hon Lloyd, Lord Kenyon and
      an account of a female of the white race of mankind, part of
      whose skin resembles that of a Negro; with some observations on
      the causes of the differences in colour and form between the white
      and Negro races of men. With a memoir of his life, written by
      himself. Longman, Hurst. Ree



  21. Dysology says:


    I thought of you when I saw it and thought also of Mike_W’s position paper and so I put a highly relevant General Patton quote Patrick Matthew.com: http://patrickmatthew.com/matthew's%20influence.html


  22. Poorer brain….you mean like…. Darwin’s failure to properly preserve and catalogue his finches… an honest donkey would win there too I’m afraid.


  23. Dysology says:

    Is is Palm Sunday soon? Perhaps the analogy is one the church might take up if the natural conclusions of the Blessed Virgin Darwin analogy lead some wag offering him up for beatification by the Pope. After all, such history of science faith belief in Darwin’s immaculate conception of Matthew’s prior published theory, whilst surrounded by men whose brains were fertile with Matthew’s ideas because they had read them and cited his book, serves as a wonderfully ironic lesson that even atheist Darwinists need faith and a God substitute. Is Richard Dawkin’s actually “Gods” unwitting zombie-puppet atheist apostle? Heaven forbid it!


  24. See…I told you… Donkey’s are good reference material…and they make better fertilizer too…and this article is from … the Edinburgh Review …1841… pre Darwin..no less.

    Thanks Mike


    • Dysology says:

      Most laughably, it’s before his deifying Darwinist science-cult was formed. Before joining it, the poor suckers should have noted that cautionary (1841) tale back in 1860 and, like I 154 years later, been steered by the motto of the Royal Society: “Nullius in Verba”!


      • I have to apologize to Dr. Weale and to be more civil…therefore he may censor my use of fertilizer in association with donkeys…and I’m serious and sincere.


      • mikeweale says:

        Howard, there’s no need to apologise, not to me at any rate. My stance is that so much of the Internet is filled with ad hominem exchanges – I’m trying to cultivate a different atmosphere here at PMP.
        I for one would like to hear the story of the Christmas Donkey – I assume it’s not this (first hit on Google)? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQrdxtWgHbE


  25. oops put it with the wrong post


    • Dysology says:

      Re: “The honest donkey was found standing across the path in the Boulevards at daybreak with his tail straight on end as rigid as a harl. In his death he retained his wonted look of patience and contentment so completely that the people thinking him still alive drubbed him soundly for being in the way.”

      I suppose in berating and braying at Darwinists for not seeing what he New Data actually means for the story of the discovery of natural selection, we are behaving rather like those Parisians in that frightfully cold winter of 1841. We are berating a dead donkey for not moving out of the way. What we did not realize is that it can’t move. Because it’s not just being stubborn. It’s bleeding well dead!

      With apologies to the Monty Python Team:

      A criminologist enters the Darwinist end of the field of the history of scientific discovery.

      Criminologist: ‘Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

      ( Darwinist does not respond.)

      C: ‘Ello, Dysologist?

      Darwinist: What do you mean “Dysologist”?

      C: I’m sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!

      D: We’re closin’ for lunch.

      C: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this Darwin book what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

      D: Oh yes, the, uh, the Origin of Species…What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?

      C: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

      D: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.

      C: Look, matey, I know a dead donkey when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.

      D: No no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’! Remarkable book, the Origin of Species, idn’it, ay? Beautiful theory!

      C: The theory don’t enter into it. Darwin’s discovery story is a Donkey and its stone dead.

      D: Nononono, no, no! ‘E’s resting!

      C: All right then, if he’s restin’, I’ll wake him up!

      (shouting at the book)

      ‘Ello, Mister Darwin! I’ve got a lovely fresh bunch of New Data for you …(Darwinist hits the book)

      D: There, he moved!

      C: No, he didn’t, that was you hitting the book!

      D: I never!!

      C: Yes, you did!

      D: I never, never did anything…

      C: (yelling and hitting the book repeatedly) ‘ELLO Donkey DARWIN!!!!!

      Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o’clock alarm call!

      (Tears sheath of pages out of the book and thumps them on the counter. Throws them up in the air and watches them flutter to the floor.)

      C: Now that’s what I call a dead Darwin Donkey.

      D: No, no…..No, ‘e’s stunned!

      C: STUNNED?!?

      D: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin’ up! Darwinists stun easily, major.

      C: Um…now look…now look, mate, I’ve definitely ‘ad enough of this. That Donkey is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not ‘alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein’ tired and shagged out following a prolonged braying.

      D: Well, he’s…he’s, ah…probably pining for the Galapagos Islands.

      C: PININ’ for the Galapogos?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment I started checkin the facts on Google?

      D: The Darwinist donkey prefers kippin’ on it’s back! Remarkable scientist, id’nit, squire? Lovely theory!

      C: Look, I took the liberty of examining that story of independent discovery when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been braying about it for so long was that nobody had bothered to Google it.


      D: Well, o’course it was braying about it! If I had checked the facts myself , it would have nuzzled up to the spine of that book, bent ‘it apart with its hooves, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

      C: “VOOM”?!? Mate, this Donkey wouldn’t “voom” if you put four million volts through it! ‘E’s bleedin’ demised!

      D: No no! ‘E’s pining!

      C: ‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This Donkey is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker!

      ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t been so bloody credulous ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies 155 years ago!
      ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig!
      ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!!



      Darwinist: Well, I’d better replace it, then.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Dysology says:

    The System of Nature, Or, Laws of the Moral and Physical World, Volumes 1-2
    By Paul Henri Thiry Holbach (baron d’), Denis Diderot (1835) pp. 33-34:

    “It is therefore in his imagination alone man finds the model of that which he terms order, or confusion, which like all his abstract metaphysical ideas, supposes nothing beyond his reach. Order, however is never more than the faculty of conforming himself with the beings by whom he is environed or with the whole of he forms a part.”

    And this pertinent observation leads us to the Frozen Donkey Hypothesis – which applies by the hard facts that are the premise upon which it stands, as much for Wallace as it does to Darwin.

    The Frozen Donkey Hypothesis is born of the implications of the obvious catastrophic extinction event impact of the New Data on Darwinist professional and amateur historians of science, who reveal by their plainly biased response to it, that they are necessarily concerned – if they are to remain so named Darwinists and not be re-born Matthewists – with ignoring the rational implications of the new disconfirming hard evidence for their prior soft knowledge beliefs in their namesake’s “independent” discovery of a prior published hypothesis that was read, and the book containing it cited, by naturalists who were Darwin’s admitted influencers and associates and correspondents- even though Darwin himself fallaciously wrote in 1860 that no naturalist known to him had read it.


  27. mikeweale says:

    The new photos of Patrick Matthew, his family and the house at Gourdie Hill are now posted on PMP – https://patrickmatthewproject.wordpress.com/about/new-photos-of-patrick-matthew/. The photos are also available at Mike Sutton’s website: http://patrickmatthew.com/new%20pictures%20of%20matthew.html.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Dysology says:

    Brodie, A. (2007):

    ‘The enlightened person accepts the word of authority not as something to which he has to say ‘yes’, but as something to which it is appropriate to subject to critical analysis. The question for the enlightened person therefore is whether the word of authority can stand up to cross-examination before the tribunal of reason. If it can then it is accepted because it is sanctioned not by authority but by reason. If on the other hand it cannot withstand the cross-examination then it has to be discarded, however exalted the source.’

    Brodie, A. (2007) The Scottish Enlightenment: The Historical Age of the Historical Nation. Edinburgh. Birlinn Ltd.


  29. Dysology says:

    Professor Peter Bowler’s writing on the discovery of natural selection confirms the Frozen Donkey Hypothesis (that Darwinists are unfit to police and peer review the history of the discovery of natural selection). If it were otherwise why has not a single Darwinist criticized his decades of published fallacy spreading with top publishing houses? https://www.bestthinking.com/thinkers/science/social_sciences/sociology/mike-sutton?tab=blog&blogpostid=22756

    Why did it take a non-expert social scientist to do so?


    • mikeweale says:

      Mike, you claim that Peter Bowler “gets his facts completely wrong. Because Wallace, in his 1858 Ternate Paper, does use the analogy of artificial selection to explain Natural selection”. I’ve read Wallace’s Ternate paper (http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S043.htm) very carefully, but I cannot find any point where Wallace is arguing in this way. He certainly doesn’t argue that way in the passage you cite – is there some other passage where you think he does?


  30. Dysology says:

    So do you think Wallace is NOT arguing that Natural slection is nothing like artificial slection when he writes in his Ternate paper:

    “Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature: …”


  31. Dysology says:

    And you see Wallace as NOT using Artifical slection as an analogue of natural slection when he write (1858 in his Ternate paper:

    “We see, then, that no inferences as to varieties in a state of nature can be deduced from the observation of those occurring among domestic animals. The two are so much opposed to each other in every circumstance of their existence, that what applies to the one is almost sure not to apply to the other.”

    Read the last sentence – its an analogue. It’s just that Wallace has written is badly.

    If Wallace is not using artificial slection as an Analogue here to explain it as being the opposite of of wild slection (the only analogy being selection) then what exactly do you think he is doing with it Mike?


  32. Dysology says:

    Mike – here is the whole thing form Wallace’s 1858 Ternate Paper.

    I asked above, if you think Wallace is not here using artificial slection as an analogy to explain how completely different it is from natural selection (the only analogy being ‘selection’) then please do tell me what on Earth he IS saying?

    `…those that prolong their existence can only be the most perfect in health and vigour – those who are best able to obtain food regularly, and avoid their numerous enemies. It is, as we commenced by remarking, “a struggle for existence,” in which the weakest and least perfectly organized must always succumb.’ [And]: `We see, then, that no inferences as to varieties in a state of nature can be deduced from the observation of those occurring among domestic animals. The two are so much opposed to each other in every circumstance of their existence, that what applies to the one is almost sure not to apply to the other. Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature: their very existence depends altogether on human care; so far are many of them removed from that just proportion of faculties, that true balance of organization, by means of which alone an animal left to its own resources can preserve its existence and continue its race.’


    • Dysology says:

      Just this tiny bit is the core of Wallace’s use of artificial selection in the EXACT way Matthew used it in 1831 and Darwin (1844) in his incredibly audacious replication of Matthews nursery tree analogy:

      “…irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature..”


  33. mikeweale says:

    Mike, there are two issues here. The first one is that the word “analogous” means “comparable”, “similar”, etc., not “opposite”. I’ve never heard of two opposites being referred to as “analogous”.

    The second issue is that I don’t think that Wallace is referring to artificial selection here. What he is mostly referring to in his essay is the *result* of domestication (i.e. more variation), not the *process* of artificial selection (whether it be an analogue or not). Furthermore, he is mostly referring to the result of the *removal of natural selection*, not the result of the *imposition of artificial selection*. There are some places in the Ternate essay where Wallace refers to the results of artificial selection – for example in referring to race horses, shire horses, etc, but he never refers to that process of artificial selection as an analogue of natural selection.

    On a final note, I would be equally careful when referring to Matthew’s use of artificial selection in his book. Yes, Matthew does refer to artificial selection, but in many places he is referring to the removal of natural selection rather than the imposition of artificial selection. Does Matthew ever use artificial selection as an analogy to natural selection in his book? I think the closest he gets to doing so is in the following sentence from Excerpt 3 (https://patrickmatthewproject.wordpress.com/on-naval-timber/natural-selection/excerpt-3/), where by implication he compares “Nature’s own rearing” to our own:

    “May we, then, wonder that our plantations are occupied by a sickly short-lived puny race, incapable of supporting existence in situations where their own kind had formerly flourished—particularly evinced in the genus Pinus, more particularly in the species Scots Fir; so much inferior to those of Nature’s own rearing, where only the stronger, more hardy, soil-suited varieties can struggle forward to maturity and reproduction?”


  34. Dysology says:


    An analogy is used as an explanatory device – a model.

    An analogy is about what is analogous to what and why. In that way it must be kept simple. Simplicity is the most important criteria of a useful analogy – why else use one?

    The next most important criteria of a good analogy is how close it is to reality (in my opinion). This is why the artificial selection analogy is so powerful, so useful.

    Artificial selection is not natural selection, and so it is – like all analogies – a fallacy. But “selection” is the analogy. And it is close to reality as an analogy, because humans breed what they want into varieties they desire. Nature has no such cognitive purpose – selection in nature is born of random types being the most circumstance suited to survive and so they are better able to pass on their characteristics. But the outcome of this random generated process of natural selection leads to the most circumstance suited (in the wild) varieties – and, eventually, new species. Matthew in fact writes a great deal about this Mike.

    An analogy explains how two things are similar. What is similar in the case in point is “selection”. Selection is the only analogy. Selection is what is similar. Artificial selection by humans versus natural selection by nature. That is the analogy.Darwin, Wallace and Matthew all used it.

    Matthew, Darwin and Wallace all understood the difference between artificial and natural selection. All three understood two things:

    (1) Artificial selection led to more varieties any one point in time under human culture.
    (2) Natural slection often leads to fewer varieties at any one point in time in the wild, but those varieties can survive better under wild conditions than artificially selected varieties- which most usually cannot.

    I think we can agree on this. Let’s call it “Agreement One”. If you don’t agree with it then please say so, If we agree on Agreement One then we agree that all three – Matthew, Darwin and Wallace, used this artificial selection analogy to explain natural selection

    Wallace writes:

    ” The two are so much opposed to each other in every circumstance of their existence, that what applies to the one is almost sure not to apply to the other. Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature: their very existence depends altogether on human care; so far are many of them removed from that just proportion of faculties, that true balance of organization, by means of which alone an animal left to its own resources can preserve its existence and continue its race.”

    Wallace, in the paragraph we are discussing, is explaining the difference between varieties bred by humans (artificial is the word he uses) versus varieties selected by nature (natural selection). If you agree then. let us call that “Agreement Two.”

    By the “Agreement One” analogy. This means Wallace, just like Matthew and Darwin is using artificial slection as an analogy to explain natural selection. Do you agree? If not, please explain why not.

    If we agree on “Agreement One” and “Agreement Two” then what exactly is it you are disagreeing with me about?

    And if we agree on “Agreement One” and “Agreement Two”, above, how can you possibly claim Wallace did not use artificial slection as an analogy to explain natural selection?


  35. mikeweale says:

    Yes, I’m with you on your “Agreement Two”: Wallace is indeed is indeed describing the difference the between varieties bred by humans versus varieties selected by nature.

    I’m not quite with you on “Agreement One”, but if we modify it as follows then yes I am:
    (1) A combination of artificial selection plus relaxation of natural selection leads to more varieties any one point in time under human culture.
    (2) Natural slection often leads to fewer varieties at any one point in time in the wild, but those varieties can survive better under wild conditions than domesticated varieties – which most usually cannot.

    Thus modified, I am content that all three originators – Matthew, Darwin and Wallace – made the observation described in “Agreement One”. Also, “Agreement Two” is the same thing, so I’m not sure if it’s worth treating this separately.

    Darwin argued that the process of artificial selection (with man as the selector) was analogous to the process of natural selection (with nature as the selector). Wallace never argued in this way – in fact he was opposed to Nature being personalised in this way. I don’t think Matthew ever made a specific statement of this sort either, though he may have hinted at it.


    • Dysology says:


      Let’s be perfectly clear.

      Are you actually arguing that Wallace is not making an analogy between artificial selection and natural selection – as a way to explain the difference between the two – knowing what he wrote both earlier and later in his Ternate paper, and also his earlier Sarawak paper, about natural selection, when he wrote:

      “Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature.”


    • mikeweale says:

      Yes, that’s correct.


  36. Dysology says:

    But he writes it. That cannot be denied. Of course. But you think Wallace writes:

    “Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature.” to explain only what you call “a relaxation of natural slection.”

    “HE never uses that term “absence of natural slection” That is your term – unless I missed it in his Sarawak or Ternate papers.

    Which leads to the logical concluding question: What was artificial selection in Darwin’s Wallace’s and Matthew’s eyes, if it is not humans naturally selecting animals under their culture? Being under culture, in their eyes there must be what you call “a relaxation of natural slection” – there can be no other kind of artificial selection.

    So : (1) Your term “relaxation of natural slection” applies to any notion of artificial slection – does it not? It must do because of artificial selection operating inside of human culture.

    So : if we agree point (1) above then how can you possibly argue that Wallace did not write : ” “Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature.” as an analogy to explain the difference between natural selection and artificial selection?

    Do you think he wrote those words for no reason in on paper on natural slection? Of course not.

    So : if its not an analogy, why did Wallace write it in a paper on natural slection Mike? For what other purpose?


  37. Dysology says:

    By the way, my argument is that simply because Wallace write those words in a paper on natural selection then they are deliberately included in his paper as an analogy to explain natural selection.

    Wallace did write:

    “Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature.” to explain what you call “a relaxation of natural selection.”

    That means Wallace did use artificial selection as analogy to explain natural slection. It’s done, because Wallace uses it in exactly the same way Matthew and Darwin used it (Agreement 1) Namely to explain (1) There are more varieties in artificial selection than under natural selection (2) Those artificially selected varieties cannot survive in nature.

    I say: That is an analogy to explain what natural slection does compared to what artificial selection does.

    What do you say it is if it’s not used in a paper on natural selection as an analogy?


  38. mikeweale says:

    Mike, you raise a valid point. Wallace does not use the phrase “relaxation of natural selection” in his essay. But then again he does not use the term “artificial selection” either. You are defining artificial selection in a way that makes sense to you, but Bowler is using “artificial selection” in a different sense to the way you are. When people refer to Darwin using artificial selection as an analogue to natural selection, what they are referring to is a process of active selective breeding for certain traits. The analogy is then between man as the selector and Nature as the selector.

    This “analogy argument” is different from the more general point, which all three originators made, which is that variation in domesticated species is very different (and broader) to that found in Nature. This point is, arguably, the more important point. It leads to the observation that species are “plastic” or mutable, and thus to the idea of variation as the “raw material” on which natural selection can act. In contrast, there are valid objections to using artificial selection as an analogy to natural selection, objections which Wallace was keen to stress. One is that it personalises Nature. Another is that artificial selection selects the best, whereas nature eliminates the worst – it should be called “natural elimination” not “natural selection”. I know that this sounds like nit-picking, but Wallace does have a point.

    So returning to Matthew, my view is that Matthew (and Wallace) did not use artificial selection as an analogy for natural selection, but this is all to the good, because it’s a bit of a crap analogy anyway.


    • Dysology says:

      Mike You write :

      ” there are valid objections to using artificial selection as an analogy to natural selection, objections which Wallace was keen to stress. One is that it personalises Nature. Another is that artificial selection selects the best, whereas nature eliminates the worst – it should be called “natural elimination” not “natural selection”. I know that this sounds like nit-picking, but Wallace does have a point.”

      Where is this stressed in Wallace’s Sarawak or Ternate papers that “..artificial selection selects the best, whereas nature eliminates the worst.”?

      Gong back the key sentence once again, Wallace wrote: “Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature.”

      How does that make artificially selected varieties “best”?

      Surely, you don’t think he means they are best suited to survive in nature. No. Of course not.

      Wallace means that naturally selected varieties are “best” suited to survive in nature. He means, therefore, that artificially selected varieties are worst suited to survival in nature.

      So how on Earth can Wallace mean artificially selected varieties are best? Best at what? Best at being worst to survive in the wild is all I can see in his meaning. And so surely that is why he brings it up in a paper that is all about the discovery of natural selection. Why else mention it at all?

      And if, therefore, as he surely means – artificially selected varieties are worst at surviving in the wild and, as you admit, he meant nature eliminates the worst, then he has – by dint of what he wrote in a paper about the discovery of natural selection – used artificial selection as an analogy to explain it as what nature does compared to what happens in artificial selection under human culture.

      What humans do and what they get when they breed animals (we don’t even have to call it artificial selection) is deployed by Wallace as an analogy to explain natural selection – to explain the difference between the two processes. And – being written thus: “Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature.” Those words about human breeding of animals serves as an analogy – and a very powerful one at that. If I am wrong about that this whole debate between us would not even be possible.


    • mikeweale says:


      Wallace’s comments about the dangers of using artificial selection as an analogy to natural selection are not in his Sarawak or Ternate papers. They are in his later papers where he is responding to Darwin’s use of artificial selection as an analogy to natural selection.

      The basic issue here is that you are continuing to define “artificial selection” in a manner that makes sense to you, but it’s not the way that Darwin and Bowler meant it when they referred to artificial selection as an analogue to natural selection. Of course one can have a debate about nomenclature, but that is a debate about nomenclature, not about whether Bowler was wrong within the confines of his own nomenclature.


      • Dysology says:

        Hi Mike

        Remember we embarked upon this debate because Bowler writes:

        (Bowler 1996 p, 113 )

        ‘The efforts to denigrate Darwin serve only to conceal the real differences between the two naturalists’ approach to transmutation. Careful reading of Wallace’s paper reveals that in several important respects his theory failed to duplicate the essence of Darwin’s thinking. Wallace had no interest in artificial selection and refused to treat it as analogous to the natural process, even later years.”

        I’m focusing on the last sentence, What Bowler writes in the second half of that last sentence refers to a later (after 1858) ongoing debate between Darwin and Wallace – but does not take account of Wallace’s later use of the term “natural selection” – a term he wanted Darwin (initially) to drop – as you know. Wallace did later adopt it. But that is not the point of this debate so lets not get sidetracked by it.

        The point of this debate concerns Bowler wrote in 1996 that I am claiming is wrong is where he writes: “Wallace had no interest in artificial selection..'”

        The reason being because in his later book “Darwin Deleted” Bowler writes:

        Bowler (2013, p. 31):

        `Alfred Russel Wallace also conceived a basic idea of natural selection, although we shall see that he understood its implications rather differently. Wallace also missed key elements of the case Darwin presented, most obviously the analogy between artificial and natural selection.’

        Now remembering we both agree that one cannot know the mind of the dead at the time they wrote something unless they tell us what there mind was on that precise matter at the time. And because anyone can change their mind later on, I am concerned only with what Wallace actually did write in his Ternate paper. As you know, Matthew appears to have changed his mind in later in his life regarding whether or not there was an intelligent designer “God”. But that is irrelevant to his state of mind and what he wrote in 1831.

        The question is, therefore, did Wallace (as Bowler claims) miss the key analogy of artificial selection to explain natural selection altogether?

        We need for the umpteenth time to look at that Wallace Ternate paper sentence again:

        “Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature.”

        Now your argument that this is not an analogy to explain the difference between natural selection and artificial slection is based on what,apparently you think you know of the mind of Wallace. I am, however, sticking only to the facts by examining what he actually wrote.

        Wallace does not use the term artificial selection but the literature of the time (and for many years before) is jam packed with references to human animal breeding as “selection” – not artificial selection, however (as my book shows) . I think it more likely than not that Wallace like any other naturalist or agriculturalist of the time would have been able to tell us what “selection” in breeding meant. I feel certain we can agree on that without the need for me to cite 100+ pre 1858 books using the term.

        Now note in Wallace’s own nomenclature,when writing about humans breeding animals, which was called “selection” in all the books (I’m sure that using ID I can give you a list of 100 + if you want me to find them for you..all pre 1858) Wallace says that human breeding results in “artificial” varieties. That is human breeding to produce artificial varieties that he explains in the key sentence are all ill equipped to compete in nature compared with those selected by nature. So Bowler is wrong. I’ts an analogy of the kind he claims Wallace never used.

        And it matters not what Wallace actually called it. Because he understood what human breeding of animals produced. It produced animals that were – unlike those selected by nature – unsuitable to survival in the wild.

        The point is obvious and has nothing to do with my modern conception of selection. It’s simply about what human breeding produces versus what nature produces in the wild. And that is what Wallace used then when he wrote about varieties bred by humans being incapable of competing in the wild with those bred by nature – what we call artificial selection versus natural selection today. Again, he wrote:

        “Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature.”

        That is an analogy. If you like lets call it ” Wallace’s humans breeding animals versus nature breeding animals analogy” We could also call it the artificial selection to explain natural slection analogy. Whatever you prefer to call it does not change the quality of what it actually is. Both are exactly the same analogy.

        That one sentence by Wallace that I’ve repeated numerous times to prove it, proves Bowler wrote a fallacy when he claimed Wallace missed that exact same analogy. He never missed it at all because he used it. He wrote:

        “Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature.”

        That proves Wallace did understand the importance of the explanatory analogy of animals bred by humans (artificial slection) why? Because he deployed it in a paper on natural selection. What he actuall called it is irrelevant. In fact he never named it at all!

        Wallace’s use of this obvious analogy as an analogy has nothing to do with any modern understanding of artificial selection. It’s about Wallace’s obvious understanding of human breeding producing inferior varieties compared with nature in terms the abilities of each to survive in the wild. He wrote that when he wrote:

        “Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature.”

        Bowler is wrong. Wallace did use the analogy he claimed he never used.


      • mikeweale says:


        Did Wallace write about variation under domestication? Yes he did.

        It is correct to equate “variation under domestication” with “artificial selection”? You are arguing “yes it is”, but I would argue that these are different things. I think it’s fair to say that I’m not the only one who thinks that way. In particular, when people talk about artificial selection as an analogy for natural selection, they are talking about something else. I’m not sure there’s much more to say on the matter – we’re starting to repeat ourselves.


  39. Dysology says:


    Yes you are absolutely right. I do equate variation under domestication – if it is variation brought about intentionally, or as an unintended consequence of actions by humans, under their means of culture – as being the result of “artificial selection.”

    In that regard, I use in in the same basic pre-Mendel way Matthew used it, the same pre-Mendel way Wallace used it and the same pre-Mendel way Darwin (1859) used it. And that is the reason I say Bowler is wrong to claim Wallace did not see the analogy in the same way Darwin did.

    Essentially – as Darwin saw it in the Origin of Species (1859) – animals in the wild, of the same species, under the conditions of their existence can “freely” inter-cross – unlike those under the domestic dominion of the human breeder.

    Such “free-crossing” in the wild and its results is natural selection.

    Selective (by humans) crossing under domestication – and its results is “artificial selection.”

    We both agreed Agreement One (above) – as you edited it. You wrote

    “Agreement One”, but if we modify it as follows then yes I am:

    (1) A combination of artificial selection plus relaxation of natural selection leads to more varieties any one point in time under human culture.
    (2) Natural slection often leads to fewer varieties at any one point in time in the wild, but those varieties can survive better under wild conditions than domesticated varieties – which most usually cannot.

    Thus modified, I am content that all three originators – Matthew, Darwin and Wallace – made the observation described in “Agreement One”.

    And that is surely the point of my criticism of Bowler for claiming Wallace did not see the analogy when he wrote: ” Wallace also missed key elements of the case Darwin presented, most obviously the analogy between artificial and natural selection.”

    Clearly, as I have shown – exhaustively and repetitively, he never missed it compared to the case Darwin presented where Darwin used it.

    Most importantly, you must remember, Bowler 2013 (Chapter Two of Darwin Deleted) is using this argument to defend Darwin against accusations of his plagiarizing or otherwise being influenced by Wallace’s work – of course, therefore, including, Wallace’s pre 1859 published work.

    Bowler (2013) is making the case that if Wallace were deleted from history then it would not have effected what Darwin subsequently wrote. Instead, as I have shown, the fact of the matter is that Wallace published the basic analogy before Darwin.

    Where post 1859 Darwin and post Mendel thinking has subsequently taken what Darwinists later thought/ think of when they use the term “artificial selection” versus “natural slection” beyond the basic analogy I have focused upon in this debate has to be – logically – beside the point of a debate about what Wallace wrote pre-1859.

    We can discuss Matthew’s prior to Wallace use of the same basic analogy another time.


  40. Dysology says:


    Perhaps this whole dogged debate would have been avoided if Bowler had written that he does not mean the basic analogy that Wallace used in his Ternate paper, but he means the near-Mendel discovery Darwin relayed to Wallace in his “sweat pea” letter of 1866?

    Oh gawd! Darwin taught himself German and Mendel’s paper was published only the year before. Nope- I’m not even going there. Not yet anyway.


    • Dysology says:

      Picking up on my last point about Bowler – if he did so he would then – however – need to retract what he wrote in 1996 …: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=IpLkEMA3FrsC&pg=PA113&lpg=PA113&dq=#v=onepage&q&f=false

      …in order to make it clear that he meant Wallace’s 1858 paper failed to capture Darwin’s post 1860 thinking. However, were he to do so, that would then mean Bowler could not use the prior-deployed-confusion to argue that Wallace did not influence Darwin pre-1859. Because Bowler accuses others of “denigrating Darwin” in the Wallace and Darwin priority and plagiarism debate. Bowler 1996 p, 113 – referring ONLY to Wallace’s 1858 Ternate paper wrote

      ‘The efforts to denigrate Darwin serve only to conceal the real differences between the two naturalists’ approach to transmutation. Careful reading of Wallace’s paper reveals that in several important respects his theory failed to duplicate the essence of Darwin’s thinking. Wallace had no interest in artificial selection and refused to treat it as analogous to the natural process, even later years.”

      What a ‘self-served mess’, which is the very point of my blog post that sparked this debate:



    • mikeweale says:

      Mike, your points above are noted, and thanks for providing a link to the passage from Bowler (1996) currently under discussion – that is helpful.

      For what it’s worth, although I think Bowler’s reference to “artificial selection” is perfectly OK in the context in which it is given, I do take issue with Bowler’s claim that Wallace was referring to varieties in the sense of “subspecies” in his Ternate essay. I think it makes more sense to interpret what Wallace means as referring to what would nowadays be called “alleles”, not “subspecies”. Dawkins makes the same point in his 2010 “5 Bridges” essay. So I do think Bowler is wrong to denigrate Wallace on that point.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dysology says:


        Noted. I bow to your more specialized knowledge in those specific areas where you take issue with Bowlers claim. I cannot comment on that.

        With regard to my criticism that Wallace did use the artificial selection analogy in 1858 and your opinion that he never, let’s call this a virtual handshake made with continuing differences of opinion on that particular issue,

        My comment below will be of some interest, I think.


      • mikeweale says:

        I agree, let’s shake hands and move on.

        Liked by 1 person

  41. Dysology says:


    Something more interesting.

    Today I unearthed something Loren Eiseley wrote about Robert Mudie. Then I realised Mudie (1832) cropped up in my First To Be Second (F2b2) analysis of those who replicated apparently unique Mathewisms. Then I learned form Wikipedia that Mudie served time as an Editor of the Dundee Advertiser.

    Add that to the other information I have about Matthew and the Dundee Advertiser (not yet in public domain) and the networks are growing ever stronger.

    Your position paper might well criticize the F2b2 hypothsis, but we would not have this rich information about Mudie without it. That is a point that it would be unfair to neglect.

    Note also that Eisley notes Mudie (1832) draws an analogy between animals bred under human culture and those selected in the wild.

    I think we are going to be hearing a lot more about Robert Mudie as the virtual spades dig deeper.

    Check it out here : https://www.bestthinking.com/thinkers/science/social_sciences/sociology/mike-sutton?tab=blog&blogpostid=22763


    • mikeweale says:

      Mike, that is indeed interesting, in light of other connections between Matthew and the Dundee Advertiser we have discussed previously.

      I have been doing a lot of collating of Patrick Matthew newspaper articles recently, making use of the excellent British Newspaper Archive (BNA) facility. I’ve discovered in excess of 100 new articles by or relating to Matthew, and shall be presenting them on PMP when I get the time!

      Regarding the Dundee Advertiser specifically, unfortunately the BNA archive is incomplete. It only covers 1861-69, 1871, 1879-82, 1884-87, 1890-94, 1896 and 1898. Sadly, therefore, any articles from before 1861 remain hidden for now.


      • Dysology says:


        That is a truly herculean effort. I know it will not go unappreciated.

        Who would have thought so much could have been discovered about “An obscure Scottish writer on forest trees”. He seems to have enjoyed a fair degree of popularity. I wonder where it will all end. How much more is there to be found?

        I was earlier puzzling over the remark I read in the Athenian Journal where an anonymous author wrote to caution readers from investing in Matthew’s Scots-New-Zealand Company and not to be swayed by the Chairman’s (Matthew’s) popularity. That raised a similar interest in me to Liebig’s letter to Matthew where he said he was only responding to Matthew’s article in the Times because of who Matthew was.


    • Dysology says:

      Made an initial mistake above. In fact, Mudie merely assisted the Editor of the Dundee Advertiser. All corrected in the blog post.


  42. Dysology says:

    Re Athenaeum article (from Nullius) – mentions Matthew’s popularity:

    Most interestingly, a review of Matthew’s book ‘Emigration Fields’ in the Athenaeum (1839, p. 477) – the journal of the Gentleman’s club frequented at that time by Darwin and Lyell – warned of the great risk of land investment in the new world and warned against the dangers of Matthew’s popularity and his membership of the nobility acting as an allurement to risky speculation:

    ‘The authorship of this project and that of the South-Australian Colonization, belong we believe, to the same individual. Government will, we suppose, be thus forced into a recognition of the scheme of colonization, which it is unable to prevent; but we hope that the interest which attaches to the project as a political experiment will not conspire with the rank and popularity of the nobleman who patronizes it, to divert attention from the pecuniary speculation which may possibly lurk beneath. We cannot imagine any schemes more to be deprecated than bubble colonies.’


  43. Dysology says:

    Now that’s an interesting line of inquiry. Errol Jones’ account is that she believes the fortune was lost on the Scot’s New Zealand Company. It may have been. But as you detected – it may have been in whole or part caused by the failure of another company with which Matthew was involved.

    If indeed the Iron Company failure was the main or contributory cause of Matthew’s bankruptcy that might suggest a reason for his obsession with the Tay Bridge – and his prediction it would fail.

    This poses several lines of inquiry. Firstly, is there any discovererable evidence that the Iron Company failure contributed to Matthew’s poor finances? Secondly – if so – would it be feasible (psychologically) that such a failure would lead him to work out emotional problems by pursuing with a vengeance the plans to build a major cast iron bridge near his home. Thirdly, why did the Iron Company fail? Did it have anything to do with the iron in fact not being malleable at all but air-holed, brittle and unreliable in large construction projects?


    • mikeweale says:

      It’s quite possible that PM first lost money through his Scots NZ Land Co, then in an attempt to recoup his losses he speculated in the Ayrshire Malleable Iron Co, and when that failed it was the final straw and he went bankrupt.

      I think that PM was a man of conviction, and when he presented so many reasons against the Tay Bridge it was because he genuinely believed it was an ill-advised scheme for a host of reasons. I think the roots of his opposition go back way before 1848. In 1835 he had already written to local newspapers proposing an alternative bridge further up the Tay at Newburgh. He would personally gain from his alternative scheme – the Carse of Gowrie (and therefore his estate) would prosper from being on the main North-South rail line, and he was also a shareholder in the Dundee-Perth Railway, which would benefit too from his alternative scheme. But I don’t think Matthew was a man to make up superfluous reasons just for personal gain – I think he genuinely believed that his alternative scheme was safer, cheaper, and better for the whole region. Regarding safety, he never made any specific comments about the quality of iron to be used in the bridge’s construction, but he did make more general comments about the fact that the proposed Tay Bridge was being built on the cheap, and that safety would inevitably suffer.


  44. Dysology says:

    Mike – not trying to re-kindle the last debate,

    Instead, as a line of inquiry, I thought it would be useful to show the use of the Artificial Selection (breeding plants and animals under human culture) Versus Natural Selection analogy that began with Matthew 1831 and ended pre-1859

    Are you aware of any other examples of this analogy pre-1831 or any other pre-1859? If not, might we reasonably hypothesize that this explanatory analogy began with Patrick Matthew?

    1. ‘Matthew (1831 pp. 307-308)) wrote

    ‘The use of the infinite seedling varieties in the families of plants, even in those in a state of nature, differing in luxuriance of growth and local adaptation, seems to be to give one individual (the strongest best circumstance-suited) superiority over others of its kind around, that it may, by overtopping and smothering them, procure room for full extension, and thus affording, at the same time, a continual selection of the strongest, best circumstance suited for reproduction. Man’s interference, by preventing this natural process of selection among plants, independent of the wider range of circumstances to which he introduces them, has increased the difference in varieties, particularly in the more domesticated kinds…’

    Mudie (1832) Page 368:

    ‘If we are to observe nature, therefore, we must go to the wilds, because, in all cultivated productions, there are secondary characters produced by the artificial treatment, and we have no means of observing a distinction between these, and those which the same individual would have displayed, had it been left to a completely natural state. The longer that the race has been under the domestication and culture, the changes are of course the greater. So much is that the case that in very many both of the plants and animals that have been in a state of domestication since the earliest times of which we have any record, we know nothing with certainty about the parent races in their wild state. As to the species, or if you will the genus we can be certain. The domestic horse has not been cultivated out of an animal with cloven hoofs and horns; and the domestic sheep has never been bred out of any of the ox tribe. So also wheat and barley have not been cultivated out of any species of pulse, neither have Windsor beans at any time been grasses. But within some such limits as these our certain information lies; and for aught we know the parent race may, in its wild state, be before our eyes every day and yet we may not have the means of knowing that it is so. The breeding artificially has been going on for at least three thousand years…’

    Mudie (1832) Page 369-370

    ‘But there is another difficulty. When great changes are made on the surface of a country, as when forests are changed into open land, and marshes into corn fields, or any other change that is considerable, the changes of the climate must correspond; and as the wild productions are very much affected by that, they must also undergo changes; and these changes may in time amount to the entire extinction of some of the old tribes, both of plants and of animals, the modification of others to the full extent that the hereditary specific characters admit, and the introduction of not varieties only but of species altogether new.

    That not only may but must have been the case. The productions of soils and climates are as varied as these are; and when a change takes place in either of these, if the living productions cannot alter their habits so as to accommodate themselves to the change there is no alternative, but they must perish.’

    Mudie (1832) seemed to be recommending that humans engage in trying to approximate a kind of natural process of selection (370-371):

    “Cultivation itself will deteriorate, and in time destroy races, if the same race and the same mode of culture be pursued amid general change. Our own times are times of very rapid change, and, upon the whole, of improvement; we dare not, without the certainty of their falling off, continue the same stock and the same seed corn, season after season, and age after age, as was done by our forefathers. The general change of the country, must have change and not mere succession, in that which we cultivate; and thus we must cross the breeds of our animals, and remove the seeds and plants of our vegetables from district to district. There is something of the same kind in human beings..”

    2. Low (1844) wrote:

    ‘The Wild Pine attains its greatest perfection of growth and form in the colder countries, and on the older rock formations. It is in its native regions of granite, gneiss and the allied deposits, that it grows in extended forests over hundreds of leagues, overpowering the less robust species. When transplanted to the lower plains and subjected to culture, it loses so much of the aspect and characters of the noble original, as scarcely to appear the same. No change can be greater to the habits of a plant than the transportation of this child of the mountain to the shelter and cultivated soil of the nursery; and when the seeds of these cultivated trees are collected and sown again, the progeny diverges more and more from the parent type. Hence one of the reasons why so many worthless plantations of pine appear in the plains of England and Scotland, and why so much discredit has become attached to the culture of the species.’

    3. Darwin (1844 – unpublished essay) wrote

    ‘In the case of forest trees raised in nurseries, which vary more than the same trees do in their aboriginal forests, the cause would seem to lie in their not having to struggle against other trees and weeds, which in their natural state doubtless would limit the conditions of their existence…’

    4. Wallace (1858 Ternate paper) wrote

    ‘…those that prolong their existence can only be the most perfect in health and vigour – those who are best able to obtain food regularly, and avoid their numerous enemies. It is, as we commenced by remarking, “a struggle for existence,” in which the weakest and least perfectly organized must always succumb.’ [And]: ‘We see, then, that no inferences as to varieties in a state of nature can be deduced from the observation of those occurring among domestic animals. The two are so much opposed to each other in every circumstance of their existence, that what applies to the one is almost sure not to apply to the other. Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature: their very existence depends altogether on human care; so far are many of them removed from that just proportion of faculties, that true balance of organization, by means of which alone an animal left to its own resources can preserve its existence and continue its race.’


  45. Dysology says:

    Proposing “The Matthew Man’s Interference Analogy Hypothesis”.

    With regard to my comment – and data – directly above. If there is no forthcoming disconfirming evidence for the currently available evidence that Patrick Matthew (1831) originated (was first) to write and have published the Artificial Selection versus Natural Selection Analogy, then I propose that he did.

    I invite others to test this hypothesis with regard to the published literature record. I call it: “The Matthew Man’s Interference Analogy Hypothesis”.

    If anyone can dis-confirm it. I will warmly embrace their endeavors and their discovery of new data. Moreover, I will thank them for taking our knowledge forward with regard to coming closer to a purer form of the truth in the story of the discovery of natural selection.


    • mikeweale says:

      Mike, I’m not entirely sure how you’re defining the “The Matthew Man’s Interference Analogy Hypothesis”, but if you mean that Matthew was the first to write about organisms under domestication being more varied than in the wild, then the answer is “no”.

      As it happens, the blogger Joachim D has recently uncovered dis-confirmatory evidence of just the type you’re after. Both Buffon and Loudon wrote about greater variation in organisms under domestication pre-1831, and I suspect there will be other pre-1831 writings on this idea. I think this idea was definitely “in the air”, if you will.

      For Buffon (1764) on variation under domestication – see http://historiesofecology.blogspot.de/2015/04/buffon-1764-on-variation-under.html

      For Loudon (1806 and 1822) on variation under domestication and natural selection – see http://historiesofecology.blogspot.de/2015/02/matthew-re-quoting-loudon-via-steuart.html

      For Buffon on species transformation and artificial selection, and Palin (1822) on artificial selection, see recent posts here – http://historiesofecology.blogspot.de


      • Dysology says:

        Yes there are many examples of that Mike. Well noted throughout the first half of the 19th century in the agricultural literature. I’ve dozens of examples – including some rare ones form the 18th century in Nullius. But – that is not the point.

        The point is to ask about the analogy. Therefore I am asking whether for any time before Matthew (1831) – has anyone found Matthew’s analogy of artificial slection to EXPLAIN natural selection being used in the literature to demonstrate two linked things: (a) nature selects varieties that are more suited to survival in the wild and that (b) varieties selected by humans are less suited to the wild.

        See my blog on this the hypothesis: https://www.bestthinking.com/thinkers/science/social_sciences/sociology/mike-sutton?tab=blog&blogpostid=22780


      • Dysology says:

        I’ve looked at Dr Dagg’s examples – to which you kindly provided links.

        I think Dagg definitely has a point that Matthew was influenced by Loudon and that he took without properly citing (plagiarized would be a fair term – of which he was accused in the scathing 1831 Edinburgh review of his book) many of Loudon’s ideas. However, Loudon never got the natural selection hypothesis. That was apparently Matthew’s unique origination. Moreover, there is no sign in the text quoted by Dr Dagg of the “Artificial Selection versus Natural Selection Analogy” explanation to which I refer.

        That said, what Dr Dagg has found that Matthew clearly plagiarized IS – as far as i am aware – a unique unearthing of a major influence upon Matthew. And for that reason it is highly important (in my opinion), because it adds more hard and independently verifiable data to the story of the history of the discovery of natural selection.

        I’m glad to see this discovery by Dr Dagg.

        Who knows, Dagg may yet find more data that will disconfirm The “Matthew Man’s Interference Analogy Hypothesis.” But he has not yet done so.

        It’s a darn same all of Loudon’s papers were lost in the Blitz. He was a most fascinating character. I have several books about him.


  46. Joachim says:

    Jesus Christ, Mike Sutton, I am not writing my blog posts in order to meet challenges you pompously announce here or anywhere. That is just my hobby.

    My premises are too different from yours–they differ even from Mike Weale’s.

    In fact, I think that history has been rather gradual and pointing out in retrospect that this or that idea (combination of old ideas, synthesis, …) was revolutionary, quantum leaping, friggin fuc#Xing, whatever is exactly what I am working against.

    That said, I do not think that either Darwin or Matthew have done anything big. They have just taken the next little step. Alas, Matthew had bad luck thereafter, while the sun shined on Charles Darwin. Let me state for you, Mike Sutton, very clearly, that I do not think it impossible that Darwin did plagiarise Matthew. I only think that I have no right to judge him. Let me also state as clearly that I never actually accused Matthew of plagiarising Loudon. What I said it that Whiggish standards would be needed to conclude that, and I would never adopt them. Finally, I thank you for admitting that there is some merit, after all, in my blog posts and suggest you read my very last one. You may learn something of interest about the Golden Pippin and how Darwin got to muse about it.


    • mikeweale says:

      Joachim, use of swearing, even if disguised via use of extraneous characters, is not condoned on PMP. Your arguments will work better without them. Please respect PMP house rules and conduct all exchanges with civility.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dysology says:

      First of all, I would like to begin with a lesson in polite manners and good scholarship..

      Thank you Dr Dagg for digging up the work by Loudon that Matthew clearly adopted. Of course, Matthew’s uncited (plagiarized) use of his prose and ideas appeared not to bother Loudon who took every opportunity to cite and promote Matthew’s 1831 book.

      You seem, at least from what you write above, quite angry and frustrated. Could that be the reason, I wonder, that it so appears from what you write above to have totally misunderstood the point of my reply to Mike Weale about whether or not you had discovered an earlier Natural Selection versus Artificial Selection analogy?

      The history of my reply to Mike_W is that so far in this story, it seems that Matthew was the first to originate that analogy (I am looking for disconfirming evidence for that notion of mine, and asked Mike what he might know on the topic). That is what good scholars do.

      Now, whether or not you are looking for an earlier one I don’t care a jot. However, if Mike Weale says that you may have found one and directs me to what you have written as evidence – as a good scholar like Mike would do – then I am perfectly entitled to read it and comment back. That, Dr Dagg, is also what good scholars do. And replying back is good manners, to boot.

      As you know, I do – obviously – feel entitled to Judge Darwin. He may be a deified scientist – but that is, in my opinion, the root of the problem for why his more likely then not plagiarism of Matthew has been ignored for so long.

      Once more – for the record – it is due to my original research that we now have brand new disconfiriming evidence for the old Dariwnian myth that Darwin and Wallace independently discovered Matthew’s prior published hypothesis. Because in the past Darwinists credulously believed Darwin’s self-serving fallacious tale that no naturalist known to him had read Mattthew’s book of 1831. I proved that 100% wrong.

      In light of the new evidence I discovered, it would be (in my opinion) a supernatural miracle – akin to the Christian miracle belief in the virgin conception by St Mary of Nazareth whilst surrounded by men who were, to some unknown degree, fertile. – if Darwin (and Wallace) immaculately conceived Matthew’s prior published hypothesis whilst surrounded by men whose brains were fertile with Matthew’s ideas (we now newly know those brains were, to some unknown degree, fertile because they read and cited his book). I feel entitled also to simultaneously judge and teach credulous Darwinists with this amusing explanatory analogy, which reveals the significance of the New Data in this story. That is what good scholars – with a sense of humour – do.

      Darwin told 6 lies to obtain primacy over Matthew and Wallace. I feel entitled to judge hi for that as well.

      Darwin’s earlier behavior in Edinburgh over the sea sponges caper proves he was something of an original idea thief – I feel entitled to judge him for that as well. And I have done so in my book.

      Good scholars are entitled to use their judgment to judge in light of what they have uniquely discovered that so enables them to do so.


      • Joachim says:

        It was an expression of despair, like “oh my God,” because you did not see the irony in my blog post and now consider earnestly the possibility that Matthew also was a plagiarist. The endpoint of that attitude will be that everybody at the time was a plagiarist and we will retrospectively only distinguish the severity of the crimes by the scientific value attached to the lifted item. How that is good scholarship escapes me. I think of it as a reduction ad absurdum.

        P.S. I’m not an apologist, yet I apologise for Jesus Christ. 🙂


      • Dysology says:

        Dr Dagg

        I saw no irony because it actually contained none – at least not of the kind you claim. The reason being, I have from the outset made it clear that Matthew was poor at citing his influencers.

        By way of just one example form my book (among several such comments) I make it clear that Matthew must have been influenced by Lamarc – yet never once cited him. I am not alone in making this criticism. It was implied in 1860 in a newspaper article (The Saturday Analyst) that I recently transcribed for this site. In my book, I write:

        ‘However, Matthew’s greatest influence was clearly Lamarck, and here in particular it is he who is blameworthy for failing to cite that great naturalist’s work.’


        That said, I still congratulate you on finding a precise example of independently verifiable text from Loudon that we now know must have influenced Matthew – because he borrowed so heavily from it.

        Matthew might have plagiarised some ideas but so far none of that plagiarism was plagairsm of the hypothesis of natural selection nor of the analogy of artificial slection v natural slection to explain the significance of his discovery.

        Taking his original discovery and his apparently original analogy forward what he did next, I think, sealed his fate to be buried in oblivion by the 19th century gentlemen of science: Matthew (1831) married his bombshell heresy of natural slection by crossing it with seditious bio-social politics:

        What Matthew did that was most revolutionary, and against the codes of the 19th gentlemen of science, was to take his unique discovery of the process of natural selection and his apparent origination of the artificial versus natural slection analogy and apply both to human society to advocate Chartism, wider social reform and inter-class breeding. He proposed that the nobility would do best to breed with those less protected from the harsh realities of nature by the class system. We can see his seditious blending of his heretical work on natural slection with his seditious politics in the following quotation from Matthew (1831 – Note B of his Appendix) he refers to crab apple trees – the original, and most hardy of the apple species) Matthew wrote:

        ‘It is an eastern proverb, that no king is many removes from a shepherd. Most conquerors and founders of dynasties have followed the plough or the flock. Nobility, to be in the highest perfection, like the finer varieties of fruits, independent of having its vigour excited by regular married alliance with wilder stocks, would require stated complete renovation, by selection anew from among the purest crab.’


      • Joachim says:

        The irony is in the title, for if a historian says something is so and so, “by Whiggish standards,” then it is not so.

        For example, no physicist publishing today is expected to cite Newton,Dalton, or Joule, when stating something that is merely basic physics, because these basics are taken for granted. that is, physics students lean them as undergraduates and thereafter regard them as given. Likewise, nobody will accuse Mike Wealy or any other geneticist, if he does not cite Mendel in his genetics research publications dealing with current problems rather than historical issues or problems that have such a long history of not getting solved that they already bothered these forefathers.

        Again, no contemporary of Darwin or Matthew would have thought of accusing anybody of plagiarism, if he uttered an idea from Buffon, Cuvier, Lamarck or Duhamel without giving a reference. i guess that not citing Loudon has been treated with equal nonchalance by Matthew’s contemporaries. They simply assumed that every educated reader could tell what was a reiteration of Buffon, or Lamarck, or Loudon. And they could do so, because science was a much smaller enterprise back then. Also, the format of publications was often that of reading a paper at a society’s meeting or publishing a letter that was addressed to an eminent and highly educated person. In each case, redundant referencing would only have disrupted the discourse and put off the audience.

        Your fretting about Matthew not having cited sources like Lamarck or Loudon properly is Whiggish, because they did not write for someone reading their publications about two centuries late and lacking the background and context that could then be taken for granted.

        You wrote: “However, Matthew’s greatest influence was clearly Lamarck, and here in particular it is he who is blameworthy for failing to cite that great naturalist’s work.” Whiggish.

        I wrote with much irony that we’d be regarding everybody a plagiarist and only judge the severity of the crime retrospectively according to the scientific value that the lifted value obtained through history. That irony was lost on you as well and you answered: “Matthew might have plagiarised some ideas but so far none of that plagiarism was plagiarism of the hypothesis of natural selection nor of the analogy of artificial selection v natural selection to explain the significance of his discovery.”

        That’s Whiggish, because neither Matthew nor Darwin were clairvoyant. While they knew that they were up to something important with their idea of combining natural selection (survival of the fittest) with species transformation, there was no guarantee it would pan out. Nature could have been otherwise and natural selection could have turned out to be a minor force besides use inheritance, pangenesis and other things. That is exactly why Darwin speculated about use inheritance and pangenesis as well. To distinguish between plagiarisms on the base of retrospective knowledge about what turned out to be important is Whiggish.

        However, your insistence that you, with your current standards of criminology, are able and entitled to judge everybody form Darwin to Matthew is the worst Whiggishness. Even a smoking gun that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Matthew reiterated Lamarck without citing him would not make it plagiarism, because he could justly assume that his audience knew a Lamarckism when it read one.

        There is a range of gradual intermediates between purposeful plagiarism and mistakes of historical authors such as: (1) an author misjudges the literacy of his audience; (2) an author misjudges his own literacy; (3) an author misjudges his own originality etc. etc…

        In trying to prove (1) you need to untie your parcel that ties everything from plagiarism to any form of knowledge contamination into your package deal. Putting such a package deal up against your “immaculate conception” strawman is–er–off putting. Plagiarism is proven, if you have excluded any other explanation, like knowledge contamination or any of the mistakes I enumerated, and still something substantial and cogent remains. You do the opposite. You bind the plagiarism claim to your 100% proof that Matthew has been cited by third parties and other circumstantial evidence. That may be okay for advocacy, it is not sufficient for science.


  47. Lovely rhetorical…. thank you very much Dr. Dagg we now know that you certainly just don’t sit on fences and cockle doodle doo. My apologies to Dr. Weale ahead of time.


  48. Dysology says:

    Scholarly open season on the data never ends: Please try to dis-confirm my hypothesis

    If any scholar reading these comments can find dis-confirming evidence for my hypothesis, it would be most useful to help us move towards at a purer form of truth in the story of the discovery of the theory of natural selection

    The Matthew Man’s Interference Analogy Hypothesis”:

    “Patrick Matthew was first to originate and have published the Artificial versus Natural Selection Analogy as an explanation for natural selection.”

    More details here:

    Comments can be left here – or else in the comments section of the above blog post.


    • mikeweale says:

      Mike, I think it would be useful to unpack what Matthew said into separate ideas.

      1) On page 106 of Matthew (1831) (https://patrickmatthewproject.wordpress.com/on-naval-timber/natural-selection/excerpt-3/), Matthew starts by noting that “[man’s] agency in throwing [vegetables and animals] from their natural locality and dispositions” has resulted in greater diversification. Here greater diversification is linked to a wider range of environmental conditions under domestication.

      2) On page 107 (op. cit.), Matthew notes that artificial selection by man, in general, prevents “deterioration” of domesticated species by “careful selection of the largest or most valuable as breeders”.

      3) On page 107-8 (op. cit.), Matthew notes that in the case of tree cultivation, inadvertent and counterproductive selection by man has led to weaker, smaller trees which are “so much inferior to those of Nature’s own rearing”.

      4) On page 307-8 of Matthew (1831) (https://patrickmatthewproject.wordpress.com/on-naval-timber/natural-selection/excerpt-4/), Matthew repeats Point (1), and then adds a new point: that greater diversity in cultivated plants is also due to the relaxation of natural selection (“Man’s interference, by preventing this natural process of selection among plants … has increased the difference in varieties, particularly in the more domesticated kinds”).

      5) On page 381-2 of Matthew (1831) (https://patrickmatthewproject.wordpress.com/on-naval-timber/natural-selection/excerpt-2/, Paragraph 1), Matthew repeats Point (1) above, and then uses this as proof of the “plastic quality of superior life”.

      I think some, and perhaps all, of the above points can be found in prior literature, but let’s start by separating them out as I have done above.

      All of Matthew’s points above are valuable, useful points. However, in case the outside reader is confused by Mike Sutton’s use of the word “analogy”, none of the above points are formally equivalent to Darwin’s argument that natural selection is analogous to artificial selection. Indeed, Matthew’s points are closer to Wallace’s view that artificial selection is a very different process to natural selection. There is an extensive literature on Darwin’s use of his analogy, and, for what it’s worth, Darwin’s analogy does have holes in it. For those with subscription rights, two papers of interest on the subject are http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22037999 and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369848601000395.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dysology says:

        Mike – agreed – that is useful. But I would add three further examples from Matthew to those you usefully outlined

        (1) Matthew (1831) Page 3:

        There are several valuable varieties of apple trees of acute branch angle, which do not throw up the bark of the breeks; this either occasions the branches to split down when loaded with fruit, or if they escape this for a few years, the confined bark becomes putrid and produces canker which generally ruins the tree. We have remedied this by a little attention in assisting the rising of the bark with the knife. Nature must not be charged with the malformation of these varieties; at least had she formed them, as soon as she saw her error she would have blotted out her work.’

        (2) Matthew (1831) p 261-263

        ‘ We ask if even the fact of these unnaturally tender varieties (obtained by long continued selection, probably assisted by culture, soil and climate, and which, without the cherishing of man, would soon disappear)..’

        (3) Matthew (1831) P. 67:

        ‘It is also found that the uniformity in each kind of wild growing plants called species may be broken down by art or culture and that when once a breach is made, there is almost no limit to disorder, the mele that ensues being nearly incapable of reduction.’

        I think (1) and (2) are certainly an analogy between slection by man and slection by nature. Point (2) even used that precise term. Is that not a “selection” analogy therefore?


      • Dysology says:


        I think the three extra examples I included are useful.

        However, on a second reading of your comment I realize I misunderstood what you wrote. I am in agreement with you when you say:

        “Indeed, Matthew’s points are closer to Wallace’s view that artificial selection is a very different process to natural selection. ”

        Just so long as it is re-written to get the chronology of first use correct:

        Indeed, Matthew’s 91831) points are closer to those later replicated by Wallace’s (1858) view that artificial selection is a very different process to natural selection. ”

        The Matthew analogy is that we can understand natural selection by way of an explanatory analogy that shows how it operates differently to artificial selection. All that is analogous is “selection”.

        However, to avoid confusion – What we must be clear about is that Darwin did also replicate this exact same analogy:

        Darwin (1844 – unpublished essay) wrote

        ‘In the case of forest trees raised in nurseries, which vary more than the same trees do in their aboriginal forests, the cause would seem to lie in their not having to struggle against other trees and weeds, which in their natural state doubtless would limit the conditions of their existence…’

        Darwin (1859, pp. 83-84) wrote:

        “Man selects only for his own good; Nature only for that of the being which she tends. Every selected character is fully exercised by her; and the being is placed under well-suited conditions of life. Man keeps the natives of many climates in the same country; he seldom exercises each selected character in some peculiar and fitting manner; he feeds a long and a short beaked pigeon on the same food; he does not exercise a long-backed or long-legged quadruped in any peculiar manner; he exposes sheep with long and short wool to the same climate. He does not allow the most vigorous males to struggle for the females. He does not rigidly destroy all inferior animals, but protects during each varying season, as far as lies in his power, all his productions. He often begins his selection by some half-monstrous form; or at least by some modification prominent enough to catch his eye, or to be plainly useful to him. Under nature, the slightest difference of structure or constitution may well turn the nicely-balanced scale in the struggle for life, and so be preserved. How fleeting are the wishes and efforts of man! how short his time! and consequently how poor will his products be, compared with those accumulated by nature during whole geological periods. Can we wonder, then, that nature’s productions should be far ‘truer’ in character than man’s productions; that they should be infinitely better adapted to the most complex conditions of life, and should plainly bear the stamp of far higher workmanship?”


      • mikeweale says:

        Mike, yes, your additional passages are of interest, thanks for pointing these out. The first seems to be a repeat of what I call “Point (4)”, the second seems to be a repeat of Points (1) and (4), and I think the third refers to Point (1) and hints at Point (4).

        I think that the closest that Matthew gets to directly comparing natural and artificial selection as analogous things (i.e. alike) is by referring to both processes using the word “selection”. I don’t think he presses the point as much as Darwin does, but his use of the same word does imply an analogy of sorts.

        So in that sense, parts of Matthew’s writing are like Wallace’s (later) take on variation in nature vs variation under domestication, while the use of the word “selection” implies some alignment with Darwin’s (later) take on natural selection as analogous to artificial selection.


  49. Dysology says:

    And it is Darwin’s replication of this analogy that is the argument I am making that once again Darwin and Wallace replicated an original explanation prior-published by Matthew.

    To avoid confusion with any other more complex artificial selection v natural selection analogy that Darwin may have uniquely originated (I’ve not seen it explained nor identified it myself – so I cannot comment on that) – we should name both.

    What about calling the one I am writing about “The Difference Between Artificial Selection and Natural Selection Explanatory Analogy”?

    What do you think?


    • mikeweale says:

      Mike, I think I would be against using one phrase to describe a multitude of different points. What not describe them separately? Let GVUD = “Greater Variation Under Domestication”
      Then Matthew’s points are:
      1. GVUD is in part due to man-made change in circumstances
      2. GVUD is in part controlled by intentional artificial selection for different varieties
      3. GVUD is in part due to unintentional artificial selection for weaker varieties (in nursery trees)
      4. GVUD is in part due to relaxation of natural selection
      5. GVUD illustrates the “plastic” quality of living things


      • Dysology says:


        I agree that Matthew, and others after him, saw the analogy that way – GVUD. (I think its a useful acronym and clarifying concept Mike)

        They used GVUD of course as a counterpoint to explain natural selection. However, I think we might have arrived at something of a breakthrough with your GVUD points 1-5 above.

        Matthew’s (1831) Naval Timber aim was to use natural selection as a device to explain why and where good timber exists. He took it forward in Emigration Fields (1839) to encourage human expansion and free-crossing with other peoples so that they would have the survival advantages of naturally selected varieties.

        It surprises me that no writers in this precise area wrote of the way some wild species could not thrive under captivity (culture). I wonder what Darwin would have made of the problems had in mating giant panda’s in captivity? That would have been an interesting analogy. He came close with his captured Fugians strory.

        It seems a fair interpretation that for Matthew artificial selection was as important as natural selection the latter being useful to inform the former. Indeed, We see Mudie did that very plainly when he wrote that humans should adopt more natural selection-type practices in artificial selection practices. I think for Darwin artificial slection served more as a key to understand more about natural selection.

        In short, Matthew’s main concern was artificial selection informed by natural selection and any “good tree/timber” source information informed by natural selection. Darwin’s main concern was the origin of species informed by anything he might learn in that regard from artificial selection.

        One point: I don’t understand is why you insist Matthew needed to use the precise word “selection” (which we now know he did) in order for his notion to be the same as Darwin’s. (this question is obviously related to the “selection stand-off” we had in the debate some way above.

        If we take the Encyclopedia Britannica simple definition

        “Artificial selection (or selective breeding ) differs from natural selection in that heritable variations in a species are manipulated by humans through controlled breeding . The breeder attempts to isolate and propagate those genotypes that are responsible for a plant or animal’s desired qualities in a suitable environment. These qualities are economically or aesthetically desirable to humans, rather than useful to the organism in its natural environment.”

        Surely that is exactly what Matthew would have understood it to be as well. That is the same context in which he used it regarding nursery trees. The same Darwin used when he replicated that example.

        In short I am asking Mike: Why does the precise word “selection” need to be used by Matthew in all the other examples for it to mean the exact same thing as the example in which he does use it?


      • mikeweale says:

        Mike, my point about “selection” is that, as far as I can see, Matthew never drew a direct parallel between the way artificial selection works and the way natural selection works (unlike Darwin who used this as device to try and convince the reader of the truth of natural selection). But inasmuch as Matthew used the same word “selection”, this implies a similarity in the two processes.


  50. Dysology says:


    Whilst awaiting your reading of my comment above – and subsequent reply – it is useful to point out that Matthew used the word “selection” a second time in the same context: :

    (Matthew 1831, p. 387): “As far back as history reaches, man had already had considerable influence, and had made encroachments upon his fellow denizens, probably occasioning the destruction of many species, and the production and continuation of a number of varieties or even species, which he found more suited to supply his wants, but which from the infirmity of their condition—not having undergone selection by the law of nature, of which we have spoken cannot maintain their ground without his culture and protection.”

    From my book: https://kindle.amazon.com/post/NYgvBpNrQCuOcFKSL-n85A


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