One particularly naive and incredibly weak Darwinist defense against the strong-evidence of Charles Darwin's plagiarism of Patrick Matthew's prior published hypothesis of natural selection is that his notebooks and two unpublished essays reveal that he arrived at the theory independently from 1837 to 1859.
This argument is one that Professor Peter Bowler has popularized - that Darwinists such as Richard Dawkins regularly deploy to seek to dismiss the strong evidence for Darwin's plagiarism of Matthew's prior published hypothesis of natural selection. This is simply one more desperately biased argument among many - all of which can be refuted quite easily with logic, reason and hard facts
Peter Bowler (1983, p. 158) Evolution: the history of an idea, (1st and all revised editions). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p158 :
".... Darwin's notebooks confirm that he drew no inspiration from Matthew or any of the other alleged precursors."
This silly Darwin biased argument holds no water. Let me explain why not:
- We no longer owe Darwin the benefit of the doubt that all scholars should start out with when it comes to their honesty. Darwin is newly proven a serial liar on the question of Matthew's priority and on the question of his own knowledge pre 1859 (see Sutton 2015) So it would be unreasonable of us not to accept the reasonable likelihood that Darwin fabricated the dates on those notebooks. Although his Zoonomia notebook of 1837-38 is accepted as the date and evidence for when Darwin first began writing about the broad concept of ideas approximating Matthew's (1831) earlier published work on natural slection, the earliest dates that we might reasonably concur - from evidence beyond Darwin's own words - that we can be fairly confident Darwin wrote anything (for sure) on natural selection are 1847. That is the year when Darwin claims to have sent a copy of his 1844 essay to Joseph Hooker. And 1857 is when Darwin sent Asa Gray an abstract of the same essay (see my previous blog post for the supporting references to both private disseminations of Darwin's 1844 essay). It is notable, therefore, that 1847 was the same year that Darwin met with Robert Chambers, author of the (1844) Vestiges of Creation - who had earlier read Matthew's 1831 and cited it in 1832. Both Darwin and Wallace admitted Chambers was a great influence on their work on natural selection! Some kind of Matthewian knowledge contamination seems rationally more likely than not in light of this new discovery (Sutton 2014) that Chambers had cited Matthew,
- Darwinists repeatedly confuse Darwin's private notebooks and letters as some kind of objective fossil record of what he did or did not do or know. As I explain in my position paper, Darwin - like all of us - was no robot. Consequently, he did not write down or record everything he did or knew. Darwinists themselves know this - when it suits them - because they know that Darwin never could tell his publisher - who demanded to know - where exactly he found the term 'natural selection' in the literature. Darwin could only write. fallaciously, that the term was in abundant use in the literature. Moreover, Darwin's Darwinists even refer to some of Darwin's most important private documents as his "torn apart notebooks". And many have remarked on the extent to which letters in the Darwin archive are simple "missing". In reality, it is no secret that much of Darwin's correspondence - and letters he received - are "missing". Wallace's original Ternate paper is "missing". Darwin tore his own notebooks apart and ripped out many pages from his notebooks. What those pages contained we will never know. Darwin habitually rendered whole sections of his own handwriting illegible by scribbling over it. Relying therefore on the insensible argument that what survives of Darwin's letters and notebooks show that he slowly and independently of Matthew's prior published book discovered the bombshell hypothesis of natural selection is just plain silly. Darwinists do themselves a great intellectual disservice by relying upon such daft-as-a-brush reasoning as some kind of strong evidence that their namesake arrived at the theory of natural selection independently of Matthew, because we now newly know that both Darwin and Wallace were influenced and facilitated pre-1858 by naturalists who they knew - who they said were a great influence upon them - who had cited Matthew's 1831 book, which contained the full theory of natural selection, in the literature before 1858 (Chambers) and by another (Blyth) whose editor (Loudon) had reviewed it and remarked on its originality on the topic of "the origin of species" and by Wallace's own Sarawak paper editor (Selby) who sat with Darwin on various scientific committees many times pre 1858 and had both Darwin's father and his great friend Jenyns as house guests - where Matthew's book sat in his library, having been purchased for him in 1840 by the great and influential naturalist Jardine - no less.Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, Darwin not only tore pages for his notebooks he also burned his correspondence, which was common practice. Letters in and no longer in the Darwin archive prove it. For example, Hooker's 1862 letter to Darwin instructs Darwin to burn material. Moreover, an account is given by Francis Darwin that his father systematically burned his letters.
NOTE (POSTSCRIPT) Further refutation of the notion that Darwin's private essays and notebooks confirm hi discovered the concept of macro evolution by natural slection independently of Matthew is in my peer review science essay on knowledge contamination (Sutton 2016).