Mike Sutton's Talks on Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret

  • Internet Dating With Darwin. Edinburgh International Science Festival. Edinburgh Skeptics Society. April 10th.2014

  • Hi-Tech Detection of Charles Darwin’s and Alfred Wallace’s Great Science Fraud. British Society of Criminology Conference. Liverpool University. July 10th  2014

  • A DREADFUL DISCOVERY: BIG DATA PROVES WALLACE AND DARWIN COUNTERFEIT DISCOVERERSI. Conway Hall Sunday Lecture. Ethical Society. London. July 27th 2014. Note : this lecture is now published in the Ethical Record:  Click here to read it .

  • Teesside Skeptics in the Pub  2 October 2014, For details please past

       event details  here.

              Click here to listen to a YouTube interview on my Teesside SITP talk

  • James Hutton Institute Lecture on 100 Per Cent Proof of Darwin's Lying Plagiarising Glory Thieving Science Fraud.  17th March 2016 Here
  • Sheffield Skeptics in the Pub  25 May 2015. For details please click here

Click the above image and then the pop-out icon in the top right corner to see my Power Point time line presentation, of December 6th 2018, at Teesside Skeptics in the Pub, on Darwin's lies and the reaction of Darwin historians and the scientific community to the painful facts of Darwin's proven science fraud by lies and plagiaraism.

A blogpost written by an audience member at the above Teeside SITP talk who thinks my version of what is a lie is "an autistic" definition. A must read, therefore, for anyone interested in our 2020's dishonest, post-truth and fake news society:

Transcript of the League of Nerds interview by Miles Power talking to Dr Mike Sutton

POWER The talk youʼve just given was about Charles Darwin and how you donʼt believe he was the first to come up with the idea of natural selection. What evidence do you have that he might not have been the first?

SUTTON There is a lot of evidence and published explanations are available in the orthodox history of science that Matthew fully articulated the complete theory of evolution by natural selection. Probably the most powerful of those explanations is from Richard Dawkins (2010) in Bill Brysonʼs edited collection Seeing Further, where Dawkins fully admits the only person who could be attributed with having the full theory of natural selection, prior to Darwin, is Matthew.

POWER Who was Matthew?

SUTTON Patrick Matthew in 1831 wrote a book called On Naval Timber and Arboriculture, which many of the few historians of science writing on the specific topic fully admit articulated the entire theory of natural selection, 28 years before Darwin wrote Origin of Species.

POWER And did it definitely have the theory for natural selection in it?

SUTTON Well, both Darwin and Wallace when confronted by Matthew in 1860 admitted it had the full and entire theory of natural selection. Subsequent to that, many experts have said he is the only person with the full precursory explanation for natural selection.

POWER In the talk you just gave, you kind of said Darwin knew about it.

SUTTON Well, the current explanation for how Darwin and Wallace came up with natural selection independently of Matthew and independently of each other is that they were all unique originators of the theory of natural selection. In other words all three were supposed to have come up with it independently of each other. The reason Darwin is on the back of the £10 note and it is his statue in the Museum of Natural History in London is because he came up with so many confirmatory examples. And the story is that Matthew in particular never influenced anyone with his ideas. Darwin wrote in his defence after being challenged by Matthew [1860a , 1860b] in the Gardenerʼs Chronicle: “Neither I nor any naturalist known to me read Matthewʼs book.”

POWER You in your talk said thatʼs not the case. You even cited people who cited Matthewʼs book. Is that correct?

SUTTON What Matthew couldnʼt do that we can do now in 2014 using Googleʼs Library Project is to look prior to 1858, when Darwin and Wallace (1858) both had their papers presented before the Linnaean Society, and a year before the publication of Darwinʼs Origin of Species, to see whether anyone cited Matthewʼs book in the literature. Whilst the current story is that nobody did, in fact we find now that it was cited by 25 people [Note: in Sutton [2022] this has now been updated to 30]. This is new information. Seven naturalists cited it. Did Darwin and Wallace know any of them? Yes! They knew three.

POWER They cited the book, but did they cite anything in it that had anything to do with natural selection?

SUTTON John Loudon [1832] wrote a review of Matthewʼs book that literally said Matthew had something “original to say on the origin of species.” That is not a new discovery by me. That is in a small amount of the literature written by others. But what people donʼt know is that Loudon went on to both edit and publish [Edward] Blythʼs papers that were influential for Darwinʼs work on natural selection, some of which Darwin admitted influenced him.

POWER Darwin had published his Origin of Species in 1859, right? So that is well before.

SUTTON Darwin published 29 years later than Matthew. That was 28 years after Loudonʼs review. So we must ask next, who else cited Matthewʼs book who was known to Darwin and Wallace? Robert Chambers [1832] cited Matthewʼs book. Unlike Loudon, Chambers did not write about Matthewʼs book containing the theory of natural selection. He only cited what Matthew wrote about the pruning of trees. But Chambers [1844], who was a geologist, went on to publish The Vestiges of Creation, which is hailed by experts [e.g., see Secord 2000) as a major precursor to Darwinʼs Origin of Species, the most important book on evolution pre-Darwin. The book that is said to have “put evolution in the air.” Chambers also cited Matthewʼs [1839] second book Emigration Fields. So we know Chambers was reading Matthew. Chambers knew Darwin. They met and corresponded long before 1858. And Wallace [1845] wrote that Chambers was his greatest influencer on the topic of the evolution of species.

A third person is Prideaux John Selby [1842] who cited Matthew many times in his book and he did write about Matthewʼs theory, about how he did not understand what Matthew wrote about trees being circumstance suited. Selby edited Wallaceʼs [1855] Sarawak paper on the evolution of varieties and species which was a major influence on Darwin. So out of only seven naturalists newly discovered to have read Matthewʼs book before 1858, three of them played major roles at the epicentre of influence on Darwin and Wallace. The question I ask is this: If contrary to where the newly unearthed data points, if somehow Matthew never influenced Darwin, are those citations of Matthew by Darwinʼs and Wallaceʼs influencers and facilitators, and their influencerʼs influencers just an amazing tri-coincidence, even though such a multiple coincidence appears improbable as simple coincidence? Improbable beyond rational belief and reason?

POWER But anyway, you said in your talk that people like Richard Dawkins have dismissed Matthew by asking why he didnʼt sing his theory from the rooftops if he thought he came up with an interesting theory. So what is your take on that?

SUTTON First of all, to my knowledge Dawkins is not currently aware of the new data on who we now newly know did cite Matthew pre-1858. What Dawkins has written about is the fact some experts know and have fully admitted Matthew fully articulated the theory of evolution by natural selection before Darwin or Wallace. Dawkins is not writing about anything I have discovered. Dawkins admits Matthew got the full thing, but he says that does not matter because Matthew did not influence anyone. Dawkins says “Nobody read it.” We now know thatʼs not true. Dawkins asks: “Why didnʼt Matthew, if he knew what he had, trumpet it from the rooftops?” But there are books written about why Darwin delayed publishing the theory for over 20 years because he was supposedly afraid of being labelled a heretic and of being prosecuted for heresy. So, you canʼt have it one way and not the other. In 1831 there were riots. Matthew was a head of the Chartists. He provided a scientific explanation for why people were being kept out of their natural place by politics and the social class system. He was lucky his book wasnʼt burned.

Now, if we write Matthew out of the story, we donʼt really understand how natural selection was discovered. We need to know how Matthewʼs story fits the discovery of natural selection.

POWER For me, personally, theories stand up on their own. It doesnʼt matter who creates them. It doesnʼt matter about the history behind them. From a scientist's point of view, history is interesting, but itʼs always wibbly-wobbly. It is not set in stone. People see things through rose-tinted glasses. History, I guess, is written by the winners, isnʼt it? [Laughs].

SUTTON Well, then we are talking about PR and game playing rather than understanding how the most groundbreaking discovery of all time was really made. If we are not really interested in how Mathew discovered it….

POWER I wouldnʼt say we are not interested. I mean it is really interesting…

SUTTON Does it matter?

POWER Yes it does. Someone in the talk used the old analogy that you are just asking how many angels can dance on a pin. He was basically asking “Does it matter?” And I was thinking “Yes of course it matters. We have to have an accurate history.” That is why we have historians.

SUTTON If we can collect enough valid data about how all breakthroughs are made it might help us to make new ones. We can only do that with veracious data. We donʼt want wrong data.

So what we get to at the end of the day is the question “Was Darwin influenced by Matthew?” I think Iʼve shown by way of the people we know influenced Darwin, who we now newly know read Matthew, that it is more likely than not that he was. Knowledge contamination seems to me, subjectively, to be more likely than not. We now need to look at Matthew in more depth in order to understand how he arrived at this discovery.

The other argument is justice. Letʼs put aside the legacy that descendant relatives of Matthew would have, if you just look at injustice. If we let people get away with science fraud by plagiary, if they think they can get away with it for over 154 years and no-one will care, because it doesnʼt really matter, then their own legacy is secured. Is that not giving people a license to commit such science fraud so long as they can get away with it? As a criminologist, I think justice is important. Justice to Matthew.

We must simply take a look at the facts, it doesnʼt matter that I am not a biologist. Since the great enlightenment, facts must stand on their own. The veracity of them is not determined by who discovered them.

We now know for an empirical evidence-based fact it is not true that no naturalist read Matthewʼs book before Darwin and Wallace replicated the big idea in it. These are newly discovered facts. Darwin and Wallace said that no-one who they knew who was a naturalist read Matthew [1831 ] before 1858, we now know that is simply not true.

You can listen to the interview on YouTube HERE


Solver of the problem of species

In 1831, the Scottish laird, farmer, orchard owner, grain dealer and botanist, Patrick Matthew, authored 'On Naval Timber and Arboriculture.'  Matthew's book is universally recognised as the first publication to contain the complete hypothesis of the theory of natural selection. New evidence proves that both Darwin and Wallace lied by pretending they had no prior-knowledge of it; both committed science fraud by plagiarising Matthew's discovery, his name for it, his examples of the process in nature compared to culture. They even ripped-off his unique creative perspective.