Sunday 8 February 2015

Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott

Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This review is from: Darwin's Ghosts: In Search of the First Evolutionists by Stott. Rebecca ( 2013 ) Paperback (Paperback)
This is a very compelling read and provides a reasonably good synthesis of the known literature regarding Darwin's precursors. I see other reviewers, on Amazon, of this book, have identified that Stott has just made some things up in 'Darwin's Ghosts'. I can't comment on that with any degree of qualification. But there is a massive concern on my part about this book being passed-off as non-fiction, because, most unfortunately, Stott, weirdly, creates a brand new myth in her book where she writes the outrageous falsehood on page 12 that Patrick Matthew "...had conceded the throne..." of natural selection to Darwin, and that his final word on the matter was published in the Gardener's Chronicle of 1860. Where on Earth did she get such an idea? I think its possibly a unique falsehood of her own making. Hopefully she will retract this utter un-evidenced claptrap!

We know authors read these reviews so here is some news for Stott and her Editor and Darwinist advisers from a self appointed champion one of Darwin's ghosts, news that she obviously missed by not looking at original sources:

In 1864 Matthew published a political pamphlet that proclaimed him as "Solver of the Problem of Species. That was an act of defiance, one that we know, from his personal correspondence on the Matthew problem, really got under Darwin's skin.

As a matter of fact, all of Matthew's actions following his Gardener's Chronicle revelation of 1860 hardly constitute those of a man conceding the throne to Darwin.

Having been earlier snubbed by the Dublin University Magazine in February 1860, Matthew wrote back to the editor demanding an apology (see pages 717 to 718 of that publication). He demanded that apology in light of the fact that Darwin had, in the Gardener's Chronicle, accepted that Matthew had fully enunciated the theory of natural selection. What followed was typical Darwinist rank closing: David Anstead (FRS) , Lecturer for the East India Company, fellow graduate of Cambridge, personal correspondent of Darwin, fellow member of the Royal Society, former Vice Secretary of the Geological Society - taking up office on Charles Lyell's departure - authored a paper on the subject of Palaeontology where he fully supported Darwin's Origin and in a lengthy footnote replied on behalf of the magazine to blatantly refuse to accept that Matthew had written anything at all that was original.

By way of another example of Matthew's futile fight for recognition against the Darwinists, in a footnote to his letter to the Farmers Magazine, he wrote (Matthew 1862):

`The writer has not been has not been much used to speak of what he has done. For more than thirty years after the publication of "Naval Timber and Arboriculture" he never, either by the press or in private conversation, alluded to the original ideas therein brought forward, knowing that the age was not suited for such. And even now, notwithstanding the great teaching influence of our cheap daily press, such is the power of sham, bigotry and prejudice over the editors of these, directly by perverting their own minds, or indirectly by perverting their candour, honesty and truth in accommodation to the reader's prejudices, together with the subservience of the Editors to power and place that he is not sure the age is yet ripe. He was so far of this opinion, that he did not speak of these original ideas till driven to do so in protecting them as his.'

And we can see even further through the Darwinian myth-smog by way of another example. This one is a recollection by

Darwin's son Francis (Darwin 1887. p.302):

`Mr. Matthew remained unsatisfied, and complained that an article in the 'Saturday Analyst and Leader' was "scarcely fair in alluding to Mr. Darwin as the parent of the origin of species, seeing that I published the whole that Mr. Darwin attempts to prove, more than twenty-nine years ago."--Saturday Analyst and Leader, Nov. 24, 1860.'

Interestingly, years earlier, Darwin's wife Emma (Darwin 1863) used the same parent metaphor in a letter she wrote on Darwin's behalf to reply to a letter from Matthew that is - once again - unfortunately lost, which renders what follows rather cryptic:

`With regard to Natural Selection he [Darwin] says that he is not staggered by your striking remarks. He is more faithful to your own original child than you are yourself.'

Despite Darwin's defensive platitudes, Matthew had sufficient self-regard to continue asserting the truth for the publication record. In 1865, then 75 years old, he wrote to the German scientist Ernst Hallier to let it be known that natural selection was his discovery and concept and not Darwin's (Hallier 1866 p.382):

`Matthew himself wrote me about it in a letter of 6 October 1865, in which he first brought to my attention his book on naval timber and arboriculture, published on January 1st 1831, by Longman et Co London and Adam and Charles Black Edinburgh . He wrote: "I fully brought out the theory of competitive natural selection. This was about 30 years before Darwin brought out the same. In his preface to the edition of his work on the origin of species, Darwin states that I anticipated him by many years, and apologizes for his unintentional blunder. The fact is my work did appear before its time, when bigotry and prejudice were in the ascendant."'

The publication record therefore proves that, despite the most embarrassing lack of genuine expert knowledge among all the leading Darwinian authors on this subject - Stott being their mere toady - Patrick Matthew never ever gave up on letting the general public and other scientists know that natural selection was his original discovery!

in 1874 Patrick Matthew went to an unmarked grave, somewhere in Errol churchyard in Scotland, having fought all his life, without success, for the recognition he deserved for discovering natural selection many years before Darwin and Wallace. For example, at the 1867 British Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Dundee, Scotland, which was attended by Darwin's friends Charles Lyell, Robert Chambers and Alfred Wallace - Matthew (1867), then aged 77 years, was platform blocked! He complained in the press that he was strategically prevented from speaking about his discovery. No one listened then, because Darwin and his adoring Darwinists had so cleverly, yet fallaciously, portrayed Matthew as a deluded crank.

So much for Stott's research. The literature she failed to read and synthesise on Matthew reveals many other examples of how the Originator of natural selection complained in the press and to other naturalists that Darwin was getting all the credit for his idea.

Had Stott researched and addressed the rank mythology that Darwinists have spun to fill the knowledge gaps regarding what naturalists really did with the great breakthrough that Matthew published (not just in the appendix), pre-1868 she would have produced a text worthy of the classification 'non-fiction' - as it is one has to wonder why on Earth she created the Happy Handover Myth?

Matthew, who was in 1860 bankrupt and impoverished when he wrote to the Gardeners' Chronicle to lay claim to his prior-discovery of the 'natural process of selection'. Incidentally Darwin uniquely four-word shuffled Matthew's unique name for his discovery into 'process of natural selection' (Darwin does that 9 times in the Origin 1859!). This and numerous other instances of clear plagiarism have now been discovered. Had Stott done any original research she might have discovered this for herself.

Today Matthew's ghost has returned from his unmarked grave to prove that he did influence both Darwin and Wallace.

Just Google: "Internet Dating with Darwin" to discover newly discovered facts - which always trump old rhetoric, no matter how eloquently written - The newly discovered facts prove why it is always best to search in original sources rather than replicate dreadfully biased Darwinist secondary sources. And as for just making stuff up. Surely no no-fiction writer expects to get away with that. Do they? Did Stott and Bloomsbury get their genres crossed?

By the way, I wrote to Stott's editor at Bloomsbury to inform them of the above facts, so that they might know that they are publishing complete fallacies. Unsurprisingly, they never even bothered to respond. Perhaps they intend to specialise in pseudo-scholarship?

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