Saturday, 20 September 2014

Argument map of Nullius in Verba – Darwin's greatest secret

[See here for all my 13 or so posts on Pattrick Matthew and plagiarism claims made on his behalf.]

The following is an argument map illustrating the reasoning of Mike Sutton (2014, Nullius in Verba). As there really is nothing in the words, you can now see for yourself.

As you do see, Sutton dug up good evidence for arguing the case that Pattrick Matthew has not been a recluse Scot sitting in some earth hole writing stuff that nobody ever read. Whether he is busting a myth, here, or beating a strawman, I do not know. But he seems to have found pop-science writers like Richard Dawkins or Michael Shermer say something to that effect and gotten very upset.

Alas, Mike Sutton inevitably mistakes the evidence he found as good, also, for arguing another case. Namely, that Darwin and Wallace plagiarized Matthew. To paraphrase Sutton, this is no tri-coincidence in the historical record, but a tri-conclusion on his part: 1. many have read Matthew (1831), 2. therefore Darwin and Wallace must also have read Matthew (1831) and 3. therefore they must have plagiarized Matthew.

You can also see that I've given the general evidence in the upper half of the second column and some specific examples in the lower.

  • Blyth, E. 1835. "An attempt to classify the “varieties” of animals, with observations on the marked seasonal and other changes which naturally take place in various British species, and which do not constitute varieties." Magazine of Natural History 8: 40-53.
  • Blyth, E. (1836). "Observations on the various seasonal and other external changes which regularly take place in birds, more particularly in those which occur in Britain; with remarks on their great importance in indicating the true affinities of species; and upon the natural system of arrangement. The" Magazine of Natural History, 9, 393-409.
  • Blyth, E. (1837). "On the psychological distinctions between man and all other animals; and the consequent diversity of human influence over the inferior ranks of creation, from any mutual or reciprocal influence exercised among the latter. Mag"azine of Natural History, new series, 1, 1-9.
  • Matthew, P. (1831) On Naval Timber and Arboriculture. Edinburgh, Adam Black.