One of the most pervasive science myths currently in existence is the fallacious, and thoroughly dis-proven, tale that Charles Darwin discovered natural selection by observing the adaptation of Galapagos Islands finch's beaks.
Mike Sutton is the author of Nullius in Verba - a book where every fact is independently verifiable and fully referenced.‘Nullius’ will subject you to a significant bombardment of new Big Data discovered,previously hidden book evidence, to uniquely 'prove' two key things far more likely than not:1. That, contrary to prior knowledge-beliefs, Patrick Matthew's 1831 book - containing what Darwinists such as Richard Dawkins (in Bryson 2010 ) admit was the first and only pre-1858 complete hypothesis of natural selection - DID influence the pre-1859 published work of both Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace on the topic of organic evolution and natural selection theory.2. That Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace each, independently, plagiarized the theory of natural selection from Patrick Matthew and then lied when each claimed no prior knowledge of it.Useful websites on the story of Darwin and Matthew
Mike Sutton is imperfectly followable on Twitter
THE DARWINIST'S FINCHES MYTH
A number of cleverly self-serving Darwinist myths abound, which Darwinists use to fallaciously argue against the facts that prove beyond all reasonable doubt Darwin never discovered the theory of natural selection independently of its originator Patrick Matthew (click here if you are not yet aware that Darwinism has been mythbusted as a science fraud).
I expect to encounter the deployment of a number of such myths by Darwinists desperately seeking to bury the discovery of Darwin’s science fraud in oblivion. As and when I encounter them, I will use this series of blogs to explain the source of the myth, prove it is a myth and counter it with genuine facts.
A few days ago I was challenged, on my Google+ account (see here), on the veracity of my discovery of Darwin’s science fraud by the following question:
“So Darwin invented his whole adventures to the Galapagos and his finches?”
To answer that question today, I wish to address the long-busted, but pervasive and still active, Darwinist myth that Charles Darwin discovered the theory of natural selection by way of a Eureka! Moment arising from observations of the adaptation of finch beaks whilst on the Galapagos Islands, or else (the myth has evolved) after his return to Britain.
The Busted Darwin Finches Myth
The voyages of the Beagle ended in 1836. After his return to England in 1836 Darwin never left the UK again. Two editions of the Voyages were published by Darwin (Darwin 1839, 1845)
Darwin (1845) slyly altered this second edition of the Voyages of the Beagle to make it look as though he began thinking about evolution while on the Galapagos Islands. Martinez (2011, p.96) explains:
'The popular myth that the Galapagos finches crucially inspired Darwin to think about evolution arose because in the second edition of his Voyages of the Beagle he added one sentence about finches: "Seeing this gradation and diversity, in one small intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends." But that brief comment was foreign to Darwin's travel books and thousands of research notes; there is no evidence that it represented his thoughts during his voyage in 1835.'
As Martinez (2011) goes on to explain, by the time Darwin (1845) slyly snuck that revision into the second edition of the Voyages of the Beagle he had already believed in evolution for eight years. Martinez (2011) provides an excellent account of Darwin's snakelike doctoring of the second edition of the Voyages of Beagle, which was an essential ingredient of the success of Darwin’s great science fraud.
In actual fact, Darwin did far more than subtly sneak-in the odd sentence, or odd comment - an impression that one might get from reading Martinez alone. When we visit the primary sources, we can see that Darwin slyly added huge amounts of new text into the second edition of the Voyages of the Beagle - without informing his readers that he had done so. The excellent website of the Rockville Press provides a superb comparison of the text between Darwin’s 1839 and 1845 Voyages - by way of presenting comparative text from the Project Gutenberg digitized versions of the two editions in question (here).
'A group of finches, of which Mr. Gould considers there are thirteen species; and these he has distributed into four new sub-genera. These birds are the most singular of any in the archipelago. They all agree in many points; namely, in a peculiar structure of their bill, short tails, general form, and in their plumage. The females are gray or brown, but the old cocks jet-black. All the species, excepting two, feed in flocks on the ground, and have very similar habits. It is very remarkable that a nearly perfect gradation of structure in this one group can be traced in the form of the beak, from one exceeding in dimensions that of the largest gross-beak, to another differing but little from that of a warbler.'
'Of Cactornis, the two species may be often seen climbing about the flowers of the great cactus-trees; but all the other species of this group of finches, mingled together in flocks, feed on the dry and sterile ground of the lower districts. The males of all, or certainly of the greater number, are jet black; and the females (with perhaps one or two exceptions) are brown. The most curious fact is the perfect gradation in the size of the beaks in the different species of Geospiza, from one as large as that of a hawfinch to that of a chaffinch, and (if Mr. Gould is right in including his sub-group, Certhidea, in the main group) even to that of a warbler. The largest beak in the genus Geospiza is shown in Fig. 1, and the smallest in Fig. 3; but instead of there being only one intermediate species, with a beak of the size shown in Fig. 2, there are no less than six species with insensibly graduated beaks. The beak of the sub-group Certhidea, is shown in Fig. 4. The beak of Cactornis is somewhat like that of a starling, and that of the fourth subgroup, Camarhynchus, is slightly parrot-shaped. Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends.'
The first (1839) edition of the Voyages of the Beagle contained no such clue that Darwin thought about natural selection while on the Beagle expeditions. Why not? Because Darwin then believed, and continued to believe, until around 1837-39, that species were immutable.
So here we see in detail exactly what Martinez (2011) is really telling us. Darwin doctored the second edition of his ‘Voyage of the Beagle’ book (Darwin 1845) by inserting some considerable amount text on his observations on evolution to make it look as though these thoughts occurred to him on the voyage itself (Sulloway 1984).
Here, then, we see concrete evidence of the science fraudster Darwin at work - desperately crafting his own mythology to try to account for how he supposedly 'independently' discovered another man’s, namely Patrick Matthew 's (1831), discovery with no prior knowledge of it.
Those finches - often fallaciously and farcically called ‘Darwin’s finches’ - were collected by his shipmate, who was Captain FitzRoy’s Steward, - Harry Fuller. And, for years, after his return to England, Darwin saw no significance in those finches - thinking that they, like all species, were immutable. It was not until he got back to England and started reading books that he became an organic evolutionist. The adaptation of finch beaks never even featured in the Origin.
In reality, contrary to Darwinian mythmongery, it would be over 100 years after Darwin’s return from the Voyages of the Beagle before scientists worked out the natural selection significance of Galapagos finch beak adaptations. As Sulloway (1982) proved:
'Darwin identified the cactus finch as an "Icterus," a genus in the family of orioles and blackbirds, and he mistook the warbler finch for a "wren" or warbler. In fact, Darwin correctly identified as finches only six of the thirteen species - less than half the present total - and he placed these six species in two separate groups of large-beaked and small-beaked Fringillidae. Furthermore, with the exception of the cactus and warbler finches, Darwin failed to observe any differences in diet among the various species, mistakenly believing that their diets were largely identical
For this reason he could never argue that the different beaks of these finches were necessarily adaptive and therefore produced by natural selection. Thus there is no basis to the claim that Darwin had these finches in mind when he broached an evolutionary interpretation of the mockingbirds and the tortoises in his Ornithological Notes'
Therefore, it is an established fact that, despite the pervasive myth in the literature and television documentaries, Darwin never used variation in finch beaks as an example of evolution in the Origin of Species (1859), because he was totally unable to provide sound confirmatory evidence for it.
Finches are mentioned just twice in the first edition of The Origin of Species (Darwin 1859). But neither of the two references made to finches is on beak adaptation between different types of finch.
Perhaps one reason why finches and all their different beaks features so largely in Darwinist mythology is because of a book published in 1947 (Lack 1947), which created the myth of “Darwin’s Finches” to fill in the knowledge gap of Darwin’s missing Eureka moment. It is in this 1947 book (See: Marx and Bornmann) that the term "Darwin's Finches" is first coined. It looks like Darwin certainly fooled Lack with those sly changes in the second edition of the Voyages of the Beagle. But even Lack (1947 xiv) wrote in his preface that: 'Charles Darwin appears not to have appreciated the the evolutionary evidence provided by the finches until several years after his return from the islands.'
The truth is worse than that, however. Darwin never wrote anything at all worth reading about those finches, due to his dismal failure to as much as note which birds came from which islands! Consequently, most of what he did later write about them was an absolute dogs breakfast of assorted errors (see Sulloway 1982). Now that's hardly the work of a genius naturalist and scientific discoverer is it?
The orthodox Darwinian, and widely agreed, fact of the matter is that whilst on the Voyages of the Beagle Darwin understood little about ornithology and was on the Beagle in a geological capacity. In fact, the ship's captain recorded in his journal that Darwin set about the mass slaughter of trusting seabirds on the island with his geological hammer for the sheer fun of it!
The tale of a geological hammer being used to massacre seabirds for naught but its owner’s sadistic glee at slaughtering poor trusting creatures is told by the Beagle’s Captain Fitzroy (1839) who wrote:
‘When our party had effected a landing through the surf, and had a moment's leisure to look about them, they were astonished at the multitudes of birds which covered the rocks, and absolutely darkened the sky. Mr Darwin afterwards said, that till then he had never believed the stories of men knocking down birds with sticks; but there they might be kicked, before they would move out of the way.'And:'The first impulse of our invaders of this bird covered rock, was to lay about them like schoolboys; even the geological hammer at last became a missile. “Lend me the hammer?” asked one. “No, no,” replied the owner, “you’ll break the handle;” but hardly had he said so, when, overcome by the novelty of the scene, and the example of those around him, away went the hammer, with all the force of his own right-arm.’
Darwin's finches are just one more cleverly misleading Darwinian science myth. In fact, this one is classified as a supermyth.
It might be useful for you to remind desperate and muddle-headed Darwinists, at this point in your explanation of the facts, that they do have their own, actually veracious, orthodox Darwinist knowledge, that Darwin came back in 1836 from the Geological Survey (Beagle voyages) still believing that species were immutable. Then ask them to show you where, exactly, Darwin wrote about the adaptation of finch beaks whilst on the Beagle expedition. At which point it becomes an ethical requirement that you take pity on your subject. So serve your Darwinist a niece piece of cake, encourage them to eat the lot, and then use the just desert as a gentle heuristic device to explain why they cannot both have their cake and eat it.
If not finches then what was Darwin's Eureka! Moment?
Expert Darwinists agree that the very first evidence we have of Darwin coming to terms with the idea that natural selection might be the best explanation available for the existence, emergence, habitat and extinction of different species is in his private Zoonomia notebook (Darwin 1837-1838). But what none of those adoration-blinded Darwinists appear to have spotted is that it is Patrick Matthew’s (1831) expert subject of fruit trees that is the very first topic covered in that notebook. And Matthew’s Eureka! Moment clearly came from his observations in the field, made in his own orchards, including experiments he conducted to prove the relatively superior survival qualities of naturally selected crab apple trees over artificially selected (cultivated) varieties.
Darwin (1837-38) wrote:
‘ Two kinds of generation the coeval kind, all individuals absolutely similar, for instance fruit trees, probably polypi, gemmiparous propagation, bisection of Planaria, &c., &c.’
Later in that same private notebook Darwin went on to write another line about Golden Pippen Apples, which were a variety of cultivated apples for which Matthew won many prizes. This is another fact also studiously ignored by Darwinists (Darwin 1837-38):
‘Never They die, without they change; like Golden Pippens it is a generation of species like generation of individuals.’
All the evidence once again points to Darwin discovering the theory of natural selection inside the pages of the one most important book - the one he really needed to read - the book of which he claimed to have had no prior-knowledge of; the book that contained the full hypothesis that Matthew (1831) coined ‘the natural process of selection.’ The same book that I have uniquely proven (see: here) was read and cited in the literature by at least seven naturalists – three of whom were associates of Darwin and associates of his closest friends.
The time for celebrating Darwin and Wallace is now at an end.
Darwin, C. R. (1837-1838) Notebook B: 'Zoonomia' Transmutation of species. Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker. Darwin On-line.
Darwin, C (1839). Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle, under the Command of Captain FitzRoy, R.N. from 1832 to 1836. London: Henry Colburn.
Darwin, C. (1845). Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited during the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle round the World. 2nd ed. London: John Murray.
Fitzroy, R. ( 1839) Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle. Volume II. Proceedings of the Second Expedition. London. Henry Colburn.
Lack, D.L. (1947). Darwin’s Finches. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (reissued in 1961 by Harper, New York, with a new preface by Lack; reissued in 1983 by Cambridge University Press with an introduction and notes by Laurene M. Ratcliffe and Peter T. Boag).
Martinez, A. A. (2011) Science Secrets: The Truth about Darwin's Finches, Einstein's Wife, and Other Myths. Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh Press.
Matthew, P (1831) On Naval Timber and Arboriculture; With a critical note on authors who have recently treated the subject of planting. Edinburgh. Adam Black. http:
Marx, W. and Bornmann, L (2013) Tracing the origin of a scientific legend by Reference Publication Year Spectroscopy (RPYS): the legend of the Darwin finches. InScientometrics. October 6th. http:
//arxiv.org /ftp /arxiv /papers /1311 /1311.5665.pdf . Actual journal abstract: http: //link.springer.com /article /10.1007%2Fs11192-013-1200-8#page-1
Sulloway, F. (1982) ‘Darwin's Conversion The Beagle Voyage and its Aftermath’. Journal of the History of Biology 15 (Fall, 1982), pp. 325-397 http:
Sulloway, J. (1984) Darwin and the Galapagos. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. January. Volume 21, Issue 1-2. pp. 29–59.