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Darwin denied plagiarism? Well, yes, of course

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But look, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, this:

When Charles Darwin published ‘On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection’ in 1859 one Scottish fruit farmer was, understandably, rather put out.

Decades before, Patrick Matthew had written a book in which he described ‘the natural process of selection’ explaining how ‘a law universal in nature’ ensured the survival of the fittest.

Darwin, although accepting that Matthew ‘anticipated’ the theory, always denied plagiarism, maintaining that he arrived at the theory independently.Now, one academic believes that Darwin must not only have been aware of Matthew’s work, but borrowed from it heavily.

Dr Mike Sutton, a criminology expert at Nottingham Trent University, has spend years cross-referencing the passages in both books, checking citations, and studying the influential figures who influenced both men. More

He claims to have unearthed a wealth of hidden information which taken together with Darwin’s unpublished notes, prove the naturalist lied.

Once you can get something passed in a court judgment in a behemoth like the United States, it doesn’t matter any more what is true. It actually really doesn’t.

Significantly, a “related article” from the same site is “Richard Dawkins: ‘I am a secular Christian’ 24 May 2014″ Which is related why, exactly? Yup. We thought so. he heck with science. You got yer job.

Years ago, a Canadian journalist shoved material into my face about this problem. He was too old to pursue it. So he said, if you ever have the chance …

So far I do.

Start the fire.

7 Replies to “Darwin denied plagiarism? Well, yes, of course

  1. 1
    Barb says:

    He claims to have unearthed a wealth of hidden information which taken together with Darwin’s unpublished notes, prove the naturalist lied.

    If the notes were unpublished, then technically Darwin only copied the information; it’s not legally plagiarism (which would involve publication of said notes). If Origin lifts entire sentences or paragraphs from Patrick Matthew’s work, then it’s legally plagiarism.

    Nice to see the Darwin defenders appear so soon: ” “Patrick Matthew has always struck me as a non-issue,” he said.

    “Many people understood the issue of natural selection but it was only Darwin who applied it to everything on the planet, as an entire vision of life. That was his legacy.”

    And apparently “borrowing” freely from the work of Alfred Russel Wallace and Patrick Matthew was a huge chunk of that legacy.

  2. 2
    OldArmy94 says:

    In light of the serious problems with Darwinian theory that have emerged as we delve into the very nature of life, I think if Darwin were alive today, he may actually disclaim that Origin was his work and point the finger at Matthew:

    “No, I didn’t come up with any of that nonsense; it’s all Matthew’s writing! People are just trying to pin the blame on me.”

    🙂

  3. 3
    ppolish says:

    Darwin begins The Origin of Species with “An Historical Sketch” (9 pages in my “150th Anniversary Edition” Signet Classic paperback).

    He mentions Matthew’s work along with in order Aristotle, Lamarck, Saint-Hilaire, Wells, Herbert, Grant, Matthew, Rafinesque, Halderman, d’Halloy, Owen, Wallace, Freke, Spencer, Naudin, Keyserling, Schaaffhausen, Lecoq, and others. He summarizes their ideas and dates their writings. He finished by dating his Sketch “November 24th, 1859, and the second edition on January 7th, 1860”.

    Of course, this Historical Sketch is well done. Reminds me of Myers overview of current Evo Theories in “Darwin’s Doubt”. Although Charles is not complete as Stephen:)

  4. 4
    Acartia_bogart says:

    I really don’t see the point of this article. Even if Darwin stole the text of Origin of Species word-for-word from a circus clown, all this would do would be to change who receives the credit. The theory remains just as valid.

    Creationists are unsuccessful at attacking the evidence for evolution and natural selection with any semblance of rationale so they try to attack the person responsible for it and the acts of people who believe his theory. The theory must be wrong because Darwin was an atheist, a marxist, a communist, a racist, a plagiarist. The theory must be wrong because of eugenics and because Hitler misinterpreted the theory.

  5. 5
    ppolish says:

    Like Einstein and Newton, Darwin benefitted from “standing on the shoulders” of others.

    Unlike Einstein and Newton, Charles was not so original in his ideas. Heck, The Origin of Soecies was a written for the general public. Written for profit, not that there is anything wrong with that.

  6. 6
    Barb says:

    Acartia,

    I really don’t see the point of this article. Even if Darwin stole the text of Origin of Species word-for-word from a circus clown, all this would do would be to change who receives the credit. The theory remains just as valid.

    The point that plagiarism is an ethical violation—made by the article—went right over your head, didn’t it?

    Creationists are unsuccessful at attacking the evidence for evolution and natural selection with any semblance of rationale so they try to attack the person responsible for it and the acts of people who believe his theory.

    No. The evidence for evolution has been examined and debated over for a long time. And this is not an ad hominem argument; this is an article inquiring why Darwin is getting the credit for an idea that wasn’t his originally. Students are expelled from college for similar violations.

    The theory must be wrong because Darwin was an atheist, a marxist, a communist, a racist, a plagiarist. The theory must be wrong because of eugenics and because Hitler misinterpreted the theory.

    No, the theory must be wrong because the evidence doesn’t support it. Try again.

  7. 7
    David Tyler says:

    This is a response to ppolish @ 3. Darwin’s historical sketch was not in the 1st edition – he wrote it because his peers persuaded him to do it. His book needed to be set in a historical context, not released on the world as a new revelation.
    There is an important missing figure: John Stevens Henslow. Henslow was one on Darwin’s mentors. “What Henslow taught Darwin” is the title of an article by Kohn et al. (2005) that seems to me to be very important for making sense of Darwin’s Historical sketch.
    The 2005 paper provides us with a picture of Henslow developing a scientific method for analysing ‘variation within limits’. This seems to me to be a very significant fact of history: creationist thinking *did* stimulate scientific research. “Henslow was a creationist, but with a major difference: he set out to explore the nature of created species as stable entities.” “The aim of collation was to analyse the limits of variation within ‘created’ species. Indeed he was conforming to the orthodox species concept, which included the idea that species only have the capacity to vary within limits”. “What distinguished Henslow’s practice from that of his contemporaries was his intention systematically to turn the creationist species concept into a precise instrument of scientific analysis.”
    Consequently, Kohn et al’s historical study is very significant for the way we interpret Darwin’s argument that all variation is evidence for evolution. This was inexcusable, as he had witnessed the creationist Henslow seeking to explore variation within the created type. Henslow did not go far enough, as he needed to explore hybridisation, the results of plant breeding, and other mechanisms of variation. However, I can see no justification for the way Darwin phrased the argument: he must have known that creationists accepted some variation and did not have the “fixity” view he attributes to them. So his historical study is crafted to preserve his major thesis – that all evidences of variation support evolution and all options for creationists involve “fixity”. But, of course, exploding the “fixity” claim undercuts all the arguments advanced in the “Origin of Species”! So Darwin could not bring himself to do it – and neither can his followers today, who follow their master in affirming that all evidences of variation are evidences for evolution!

    What Henslow taught Darwin
    David Kohn, Gina Murrell, John Parker and Mark Whitehorn
    Nature 436, 643-645 (4 August 2005) | doi: 10.1038/436643a
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....6643a.html

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