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Mike Sutton
Mike Sutton
Dr Mike Sutton is the author of 'Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret'.


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The Arago Effect Makes Matthew an Immortal Great Thinker and Darwin a Good Finisher

Jan. 18, 2015 4:24 pm

Readers of my blogs and articles will be only too familiar with my research into the New Facts - contrary to Darwin's (1860 and 1861) claims that no naturalist known to him had read Matthew's views and that they had gone unnoticed - about who really did read Patrick Mathew's (1831) book On Naval Timber and Arboriculture, in which - 28-years pre-Origin of Species - Matthew prominently published (see Dawkins 2010) the complete theory of natural selection. Darwin and Wallace always maintained that they had each discovered natural selection independently of Matthew and independently of one another. In light of what I newly discovered about who they knew who DID read (indeed cited!) Matthew's 1831 book before 1858, and the roles those readers played at the known epicentre of influence and facilitation of Darwin's and Wallace's pre-1858 work on natural selection it seems that knowledge contamination from Matthew to Wallace and Darwin is now impossible to rule out and science fraud by way of plagiarism is more likely than not. See my peer-reviewed article (Sutton 2014) for some of the precise details and my e-book for a much the fuller account of these and other significant and newly discovered facts.


Public Domain

Robert K Merton, Sociologist, Wrote the Classic Text on the Rules of Scientific Priority in 1957

In addition to all the newly discovered facts discussed in Nullius in Verba, that I argue prove it more likely than not that Darwin and Wallace plagiarized Matthew's book, I have recently discovered for myself a well known rule that has been completely ignored (to my knowledge) by all those who have written on the story of Matthew. Wallace and Darwin. The weirdly neglected rule, which is an established rule of priority in scientific discovery - as accepted by the eminent Royal Society, of which Darwin was a member - is that being first to publish an idea is everything.

Under the accepted rules of priority in scientific discovery, it matters not that another scientist came along later and claimed to have arrived at the same idea or discovery independently and it matters not that another scientist came along later and did more with the original idea or discovery (as Darwin certainly did with Matthew's prior-discovery), because under the rule known as the Arago Effect priority in science is simply and absolutely awarded to the one who got there first.

Simply being first is deemed the greatest of all achievements when it comes to who has priority for any discovery!

To prove this fact, I quote here from an excellent paper by Micheal Strevens (2003) The Role of Priority in Science. Journal of Philosophy (page 4) . In this quotation from Strevens, it should be noted that he is referring to Robert Merton's (1957) classic sociological review of the rules of priority in science.

The third Mertonian observation that I wish to consider here concerns the extreme literalness with which the priority rule is enforced: if the same fact is discovered twice, Merton notes, the first discoverer garners all the rewards no matter how slender the margin by which it edges out the second. To this effect, Merton quotes the permanent secretary of the French Academy of Sciences and distinguished physicist Francois Arago, writing in the first half of the nineteenth century:

Questions as to priority may depend on weeks, on days, on hours, on minutes.

I have no idea why Merton (1957) made no mention of Matthew's (acknowledged by both Darwin and Wallace) priority over Darwin in his seminal paper. One thing we do know from his paper, however, is that Merton thought this priority rule pathological and a cause of science fraud - since being first takes priority over hard work and weight of production of useful extra information! Consequently, Merton reasoned that so great was the weight placed on being first that anyone who discovered later, or earlier, the work of an originator, would be motivated to claim independent discovery and create a false paper trail to give the impression that they had arrived at a discovery earlier than they actually had. In light of that fact, I would like to point out that because of the possibility Darwin might have faked the dates on his notebooks and unpublished essays, and the evidence that his best friends Hooker and Lyell were prepared to be dishonest to secure his priority (having self-servingly mislead the Linnean Society that Wallace consented to their 1858 arrangement), that - arguably - the only truly reliable date of anything Darwin wrote on natural selection is 1857 (see my conversation with Howard Minnick - Matthew's third great grandson on Dr Mike Weale's excellent website on Matthew).

In trying to understand why a scientist would commit fraud on the priority issue, Merton wrote about the ideal-standard expectancy that scientists should serve the truth first and foremost, be humble and underplay their own contribution. He discussed how this expectancy was not in reality a "norm" because the priority rule - awarding greatness to those who were first over those who did more valuable work on the same topic - made them egotistical if they wished to be rewarded and honored.

Most tellingly, Merton discussed the fact that Darwin's letters reveal that he fully admitted that he wanted to make his mark and be celebrated. Moreover, Merton touched upon the fact that Darwin revealed his own antagonism towards the rules of priority when it came to the discovery and naming of new species. In fact, Darwin tried very hard for several years but failed in his attempts to have those very rules changed. And it might be particularly revealing that in his letter to Hooker on that very failure he wrote that he hoped yet to make a name for himself on the subject of species (see Sutton 2014).

Taking a contrary position to Merton, Strevens (2003), writes that the priority rule is fundamentally fair, and remains for that very reason the accepted norm. This exact same - proven first to the post in making the discovery - priority rule most certainly was known to Darwin and Wallace in 1858, because in a letter sent to Darwin, Wallace reminded Darwin of it after he learned that Darwin and his cronies Lyell and Hooker had, without a word of approval from Wallace, despite giving the Linnean Society the self-serving bold impression it had been written for and received, presented and read Darwin's paper before Wallace's at the Linnean Society to ensure that natural selection would thereafter be known as Darwin's and Wallace's theory.


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Nullius in Verba

The fact of the matter is that, according to all the totally inflexible accepted rules of scientific priority, both then and now, Patrick Matthew has full and complete priority over Darwin and Wallace for the discovery of natural selection. Consequently, Matthew is the one who should be attributed for his great achievement of being first to make his independent and unique great scientific discovery.

We have the wrong scientist on the back of the £10 note.

To recap some important points of fact in the story of Matthew, Wallace and Darwin and the history of the discovery of natural selection:

1. Both of the replicators Darwin (1861) and later Wallace (1879) fully admitted that priority belongs to the Orignator Matthew for publishing the full theory of natural selection many years before either Darwin or Wallace so much as put pen to private notepaper on the subject. The world's most influential and famous Darwinist - Richard Dawkins - reluctantly - but fully - admits as much (Dawkins 2010).But, self-servingly, Dawkins and the scientific community, led by those named after Darwin, who are deemed expert on history of the discovery of natural slection, have made up a new, unofficial, rule just to deal with Matthew. According to this "Dawkins' Darwinist Demand Rule", which has never been used to deny another first discoverer, Matthew cannot have priority over Darwin, because he never "trumpeted his discovery from the rooftops". Dawkins' Darwinist Demand is ludicrous, however, because Matthew's book was seditious and heretical and published at a time when seditious heretics were imprisoned and their publications banned (see my blog on the topic of Dawkins' Demand in the context of the 1831 riots).

2. Contrary to the latest Darwinist mythmongery (see my review of Stott 2012), Matthew never once gave up fighting for his right to be recognized by the scientific community as an immortal great thinker in science for his remarkable achievement in being first to discover and then publish the full theory of natural selection. See for, example the letter he wrote after being platform blocked by members of The British Society for the Advancement of Science (Matthew 1867).

3.Matthew's (1831) articulation of his discovery of what he coined the natural process of selection was in fact better than that of either Darwin or Wallace (Sutton 2014):

Dempster (1985) reasoned with a multitude of his own evidence that Matthew should be hailed as the true discoverer of natural selection, simply because he most certainly did more than merely enunciate it, he worked it out and published it in detail as a complex and fully comprehensive law of nature. Moreover, Matthew got it right and Darwin wrong when it came to comprehending the impact of geological disasters on species extinction and emergence. Yet, from the third edition of the Origin onwards, Darwin (1861), a follower of Lyell’s erroneous uniformitarianism, jumped at the chance to denigrate Matthew by referring to him as a catastrophist. Dempster (1996) made this injustice abundantly clear, but if you can find a Darwinist, or any other biologist, admitting as much and citing Dempster then you've found one more than I have. Punctuated equilibrium – essentially Matthew’s discovery - is accepted science today but, as Dempster (1996; 2005) noted, its Darwinist purveyors sought to keep the originator of that theory buried in footnote oblivion. Rampino (2011) explains some of the detail.

The cat is well and truly out the bag. After 154 years of self-serving lies and mythmongery motivated by biased Darwin worship, the game is finally up for Darwin and Wallace!

Who then will rid us of this great injustice before the international embarrassment undermines the credibility of the history of scientific discovery? Perhaps the Royal Society will? On the 20th January 2015 I published an open letter to the Royal Society to ask whether they had silently but officially changed their previously steadfast rules of priority for scientific discovery and, if so, whether or not they had done so specifically in order to deny Matthew's priority over Darwin and Wallace. Please click here to read that letter.


A short essay arguing that Matthew has full priority over Darwin and Wallace can be found on RationalWiki: here

You can vote on my open letter to the Royal Society on this issue, Here

Howard Minnick
January 18, 2015 at 6:45 pm

Now that a Great Catch...and doctrinally... one that needs to be completely reiterated, reestablished and completely reaffirmed...otherwise the Royal Society cannot with honor or with any integrity continue to be the flagship for the purpose of honoring those in the pursuit of Academic Excellence through the far reaches of Science. It must be puritanical in every conceivable strategy and course...whether looking futuristically forward to discovery.. or in it's attempts to traverse historically to recapture and uncover missing parts of the past. I want you to think about that for a few moments...both of you! You can.. if it will be of any use... quote that if you wish...but the need for this reconversion is definitively and definitely needed in a world perverse with corruption.

I'll leave you with this thought... quoted from text... written by John Jaques (1827-1900).

Oh Say What Is Truth?

Oh say what is truth?

Tis the fairest gem that the riches of worlds can produce

and Priceless the value of truth will be when.

the proud monarch's costliest diadem

is counted as dross and refuse.

Yes, say what is truth?

tis the brightest prize

to which mortals or Gods can aspire:

Go search in the depths where it glittering lies

or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies.

'Tis an aim for the noblest desire.

The sceptre may fall from the despot's grasp

when with winds of stern justice he copes,

but the pillar of truth will endure to the last,

and it's firm-rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast,

and the wreck of the fell Tyrant's hopes.

Then say what is truth?

tis the last and the first,

for the limits of time it steps o'er.

Though the heavens depart

And the earth's fountains bursts,

truth, the sum of existence,

will weather the worst,

eternal, unchanged, evermore.


Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
January 19, 2015 at 3:44 am

Dear Howard

Many thanks - truth outlasts fallacy in the end. That's surely the essential message of that verse.

For the past 154 years we can be witness - looking back on it with a newly hi-tech polished lens - of the results of Big Data analysis - and the old lens of sound scholarship of the literature - that something is most surely rotten in the state of science when it comes to the story of Matthew, Wallace and Darwin.

To your own excellent example of what truth is and how important (above all else) and therefore how enduring it is, I would add a much quoted line from a highly respected Nobel Prize winner in physics. The late Richard Feynman:

‘The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.’

…I’m not talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you’re maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.’ - Richard Feynman (1992)

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