Darwin’s cat is well and truly out of the bag.
On Friday the 11th April a national newspaper, the Scottish Daily Mail, ran the following story on a body of research that has been unfolding here on Best Thinking from the start of 2014.
Caven (2014, p.21):
Did Darwin copy ideas for Origin of Species?‘For centuries he has been credited with laying the foundations surrounding the theory of evolution.Almost single-handedly Charles Darwin transformed the way people thought about the natural world and how it evolved over time.But there has been a suspicion that the English-born naturalist and geologist established his theory on the strength of earlier work carried out by a Scottish scientist.Critics now suspect Darwin only wrote his Origin of Species after reading the work of Patrick Matthew, writing nearly three decades earlier.The explosive new claims of alleged plagiarism more than 150 years ago were revealed last night by a top criminologist during the Festival of Science in Edinburgh.Dr Mike Sutton, of Nottingham Trent University, insisted that, without the contribution of the Scot, Darwin may never have written his theory.He said: “Until now, Matthew has been credited with having discovered the theory prior to Darwin but no one has been able to prove to within reasonable doubt that Darwin read – or was otherwise influenced by – his prior-published discovery of 1831.”But thanks to the latest hi-tech research methods, the criminologist has unearthed newly discovered literature that proves seven naturalists – three of whom were well known to Darwin – cited Matthew’s book years before 1859, when the Origin of Species was published.Dr Sutton admitted the mystery may never be solved.But he added: ‘This unique and brand new discovery is one of many newsworthy bombshells now blasting to smithereens current mythical Darwinist accounts of the origin of Darwin’s Origin of Species.’
Caven, B, (2014) Did Darwin copy ideas for Origin of Species. The Scottish Daily Mail. April 11th. p. 21.
Note: The blog post was first published on Best Thinking April 13th 2014