Saturday, 16 December 2017

Wikipedia Myth No. 1 The Monkey’s Uncle Fallacy

Identity VerifiedThinker in Science / Social Sciences / Sociology
Mike Sutton
Mike Sutton
Dr Mike Sutton is the author of 'Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret'.
Posted in Science / Social Sciences / Sociology

Sutton’s Mythbusting Protest: Wikipedia Myth No. 1 The Monkey’s Uncle Fallacy

Nov. 2, 2013 6:51 am
Categories: CounterknowledgeDysology

Here on Best Thinking, everyday I will publish a newly busted myth, or newly discovered fallacy, which is currently being disseminated by the online encyclopedia known as Wikipedia.

Throughout November I am highlighting Wikipedia’s unreliability in protest against its deliberate policy of stealth plagiarism. Everyday this month I will publish details of myths and fallacies that are being disseminated by Wikipedia.
At the time of writing (2 Nov..2013), Wikipedia’s senior editors refuse to cite Best Thinkingas a reliable source, yet Wikipedia plagiarizes the original content on this site to pass-off my unique myth busting discoveries as though they are discoveries made by its own replicating Wikipedians. Wikipedia sanctions this fraudulent behavior in order to conceal its unreliability and pervasive mythmongering. (Click here: for the full story).
Today’s blog reveals that Wikipedia is currently publishing what we might name an 'implied fallacy   ' about the origin of the phrase monkey’s uncle being traceable back only to 1881.

Wikipedia Fallacy (on 2nd November 2013):

The Oxford English Dictionary's earliest example is the phrase If that's a joke I'm a monkey's uncle, from an Ohio newspaper on 8 February 1925.It was originally a sarcastic remark made by non-believers of evolution, which Charles Darwin shared with the world with his 1859 book The Origin of Species, and his 1871 book The Descent of Man. The notion "that [people] were descended from apes was considered Darwin's contemporaries", and it was for this reason that the sarcastic phrase came into use.
Michael Quinion notes that the phrase Monkey's uncle occurs in a parody of Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha which was reprinted in James Parton's The Humorous Poetry of the English Language, published in 1881, and observes. This may be just an accident of invention, but the date fits.


The fact of the matter is that the phrase monkey’s uncle was published at least 34 years earlier than 1881. This is a fact that is easily established with hi-tech histographic research methods made possible by Google's Library project. The phrase we are interested in appears in The Economist in a review of a play called the Wigwam by Shirley Brooks (Anonymous 1847. p.125):
‘There is little plot in all this, and we have omitted to notice some incidents, connected with the rejected addresses, of a red uncivilised gentleman called the Monkey’s Uncle, which resulting in nothing and not being well mixed up with the story, result in us accusing the author of being ignorant of the constructive art.’

Reference to support the fallacybust:

How to cite the source of this discovery:

Sutton, M. (2013). Sutton’s Mythbusting Protest Wikipedia Myth No. 1 The Monkey’s Uncle Fallacy. Best Thinking. 2.11.2013:

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