Mod+ 247. ROY DAVIES EXPOSES CHARLES DARWIN’S PLAGIARISM

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2015
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  2. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's questions at the end of the podcast:

    Did Darwin plagiarise the work of Alfred Russell Wallace? What do you think about Roy Davies' critics?
     
  3. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Did Darwin plagiarise the work of Alfred Russell Wallace? What do you think about Roy Davies' critics?

    I find this episode very difficult to comment on because I haven't read Roy's book, and it looks like it hinges on dates that letters were sent and received.

    I'd like a copy of Roy's book, but I wouldn't want it for free: I'd want to pay for it and if Roy could sign it, all the better. I live in Britain, so it wouldn't be much hassle for him to post it to me. You know my email address, Alex, so please let him have it.

    Has Roy thought about making a Kindle version available?

    I don't usually check out the podcast transcript, but on this occasion I will, and may do some googling to see if I can get myself into a better position to comment later.
     
  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    OK: a helpful resource:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2011.01858.x/pdf

    This is a 6-page comment by Roy published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, entitled:

    How Charles Darwin received Wallace’s Ternate paper 15 days earlier than he claimed: a comment on van Wyhe and Rookmaaker (2012)

    For anyone preferring the full HTML version, it's here:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2011.01858.x/full

    There's also an article here:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/01/darwin_plagiari055371.html

    I may get back when I've read those.

    PS: there's also a debate here:

     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2014
  5. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    I was looking for the book on Amazon and I noticed that there are many different books entitled "The Darwin Conspiracy" by lots of different authors, but not Roy Davies... peculiar! It really seems an unappreciated work.

    See here

    Correction: the book is listed in 8th position, without an icon and I didn't notice it. Searching for the author didn't report any results though.
     
  6. It may be true that Darwin got his best ideas by plagiarizing from Spiritualist Alfred Russel Wallace, but that should not distract people from more important issues:

    Darwin believed in intelligent design, he believed natural laws were designed.
    http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/eminent_researchers#researchers_darwin

    Darwin believed that if human intelligence evolved, it is not reliable and this undermines materialism. If human reason is not reliable there are no grounds to believe anything including materialism.
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/charles-darwin-refutes-materialism.html

    Darwin believed that working as a scientist can make a person narrow minded. This explains why so many scientists are pseudo-sketpics and it supports the argument that scientists are not qualified to make decisions on public policy including how scientific research funds should be allocated.
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/george-orwell-scientists-themselves.html

    In the interview Davies says:
    I think materialists may want to discredit Darwin because people are beginning to realize Darwin was not the materialist advocate the "skeptics" claim he was.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  7. Alex

    Alex New

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    back up your claim or retract.
     
  8. I'm not sure it's a fake - by which I think Jim means irrelevant - controversy. Nbtruthman posted some interesting stuff about Wallace in this thread indicating the man ultimately realized consciousness could not be accounted for via evolution alone:

    If Wallace had been credited with the idea, then perhaps others in Darwin's time who accepted the possibility of things like Idealism, or the importance of teleological and potential characteristics, might have prevented the prevalence of mechanistic/materialistic thinking.
     
  9. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    It's plain from the video debate I posted that there's more to it than when Darwin received the letter from Wallace, i.e. about whether he had had enough time to incorporate what Wallace had said into his ideas. If he received it when he claimed, then he wouldn't. If a few weeks earlier, as Roy seems to be claiming, then he might.

    As I see it, Roy's main argument centres around whether there's any evidence from before the receipt of the letter that Darwin had already come up with the central principles of evolution, such as common descent.

    He thinks that Darwin was lost at sea, still thinking in terms of geographical migration somehow causing evolution to occur in some unspecified way. Wallace, on the other hand, had put a coherent evolutionary theory together (not necessarily understood in the same way as Darwin eventually understood it, because Wallace focused on group rather than individual selection).

    I find it really hard to either support or refute Roy's arguments without actually having read his book. In any case, I don't find the possibility that Darwin plagiarised Wallace that crucial. The fact is, his view prevailed and became the bedrock of evolutionary theory, whether or not he filched it from Wallace and put his own spin on it.

    I would agree that the controversy isn't so much fake, as rather peripheral (albeit interesting). If Roy is right, then Darwin was devious and self-aggrandising; but regardless, the view he claimed as his own (and to have independently discovered before Wallace's letter) won out, and gibed with the spirit of the times: Malthus and all that. It was an idea, right or wrong, whose time had come, and which was promoted by prominent people of influence who belonged to Darwin's class. Given Wallace's humility and lack of desire to rock the boat, the outcome was probably inevitable.

    The victors get to write the history books, and Darwin's unimpeachable character, true or false, is the darling of the historians of science. They're not going to contemplate allowing an upstart non-academic to upset any applecarts even if there might just be something to his hypothesis. Particularly when if they did, that would open the door to more serious consideration of Wallace, especially where he differed from Darwin, and therein lies a whole can of worms.
     
  10. Alex

    Alex New

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    not really. if you accept the overwhelming evidence that he got is sooner, then there is no way to explain away his deception and what follows from it.
     
  11. Backing up the claim is so trivial I did not think it necessary, but since you insist:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Russell_Wallace
    But I updated my post anyway. Is this okay now?
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2014
  12. LoneShaman

    LoneShaman Member

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    I think the general idea was around long before Darwin and Wallace. Even theology referred to variations within a type.
    From what I recall on the subject, Wallace indeed prompted Darwin to present his hypothesis much sooner because he knew Wallace was actually far ahead, had done far more field work so he felt in danger of missing the boat. Borrowed some ideas in the end? It is possible, perhaps even likely. There were commonalities and major differences. Darwin went on expeditions, he obviously was formulating his own work. I am sure the central concept was already around. It is not like it is difficult to envision the general idea.

    There is virtually nothing left of it anyway. Recently some of Wallaces ideas have sprung back into validity, the same can't be said for Darwin. But they both would have shat themselves if they had even the faintest comprehension of what was going on inside even the most basic of cells.

    The fact Wallace was sidelined in history is quite telling and fairly obvious I think.
     
  13. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    I'm only referring to what Roy himself said in the video debate I posted above (around 1:04:45 et seq), where he says that the arrival date of the letter is not the "smoking gun". What is, is the fact that between 1854 and 1856, Darwin produced nothing to show that he had arrived at the "principle of divergence". The evidence about the arrival date of the letter from Wallace is ancillary to that, although it does support his hypothesis that Darwin had enough time to take advantage of it to tweak his own work and claim he'd already reached the same conclusions as Wallace.

    Crucial to Roy's argument (about the letter) is that Wallace said he sent two letters on the same ship: one that arrived a couple of weeks earlier than Darwin said he received his letter. The historian says Roy has no proof that Darwin was lying: maybe there is some unknown reason why the letter arrived later for Darwin (I can think of one: possible delays in the British postal system after the ship had landed). It's probably true there's no proof: but in that couple of weeks, Roy claims that Darwin did produce an extra 66 pages for his work.

    If there was documentary evidence that Darwin had in fact come up with the principle of divergence before receiving the Ternate letter from Wallace, then the argument about the two week's delay would be trivial. But Roy is claiming there isn't such evidence. Hence, as I indicated, the real smoking gun, according to Roy, is the lack of that evidence, and the purported delay in receiving the letter is further suspicious circumstantial evidence.

    I still think that to get the full story, one needs to read Roy's book. There seems considerably more to it than just the incident with the letter.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
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  14. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    About the bits marked "inaudible" in the show transcript, the transcriber may have had difficulties with Roy's South Walian accent (as I lived in Wales for six years, I had less of a problem). There follows what I made of what Roy said. Note: the times in brackets are the times as I clocked them in my downloaded podcast, and the bolded ones are as given in the transcript. Anything in square brackets is my comment and not mentioned in the transcript:

    0:10:24 (0:12:17)

    ...which started the whole Linnaean procedure off in London on the first of July...

    0:11:45 (0:13:37)

    ...Before that, at the Linnaean [I think he's referring to the society] nothing was referred to...

    0:16:02 (0:17:25)

    ..and then on to the Malay archipelago he is sending...

    0:16:41 (0:18:30)

    ...they were writing about the Sarawak Law [refers, according to Wikipedia, to Wallace's conclusion that "Every species has come into existence coincident both in space and time with a closely allied species" has come to be known as the "Sarawak Law] in 1855...

    0:28:16 (0:29:59)

    The transcript says ...So the firm he is talking about actually took the mail from Singapore and delivered to the archipelago, but Roy says "and delivered it to Ternate and the archipelago"

    The bit that is marked inaudible says:

    ...I am saying that the other firm fetched the mail from the Archipelago, from the firm at Surabaya, on Java, delivered it first to...

    0:29:06 (0:30:57) The strange thing is that John Van Wyhe [not van Whye as in the transcript]...

    0:33:31 (0:35:24)

    ...I had an interview a while back with a Wallace biographer...


    One final point: the title of this show doesn't appear to be in the list shown when one clicks the "Discuss the show" tab--the last one referred to appears to be the previous one with Michael Graziano.
     
  15. Alex

    Alex New

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  16. Alex

    Alex New

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    thank you so much for this... corrections made :)
     
  17. Alex

    Alex New

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    good stuff :)
     
  18. Andrew Paquette

    Andrew Paquette Administrator

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    [originally posted in wrong thread]

    Loved the interview. Like others, one of the best in my opinion. Does not sound to me as if Darwin's work is original, though I can imagine how he could end up with the credit. A simple example from my experience in the video game and the film industries is this: the credit list published at the end of a game or movie is often made up of the names of people who were employed by the studio on the day the end titles were made. This means that some significant contributors are often left out while insignificant contributors are given full credit. For instance, on the game "Parasite Eve", the man in charge of the project from the day it started until more than two years later, just a month shy of completion--Steve Gray--does not have a credit because he left the studio a month before the end. His replacement, a man who had nothing to do with the direction of the project until that last month, got Steve's credit. I got full credit on Space Jam for work I did in addition to work done by the man I replaced--who didn't get credit. I know a woman who was given an art director credit on a movie she never worked on, simply because of the timing of her hire. I almost had a credit on the X-men movie because I was assigned to the movie at the time the credit list was made, but then moved off before I'd done much work. If I hadn't asked them to remove my name from the list (because what I'd done to that point wasn't very much) I would have a credit on the movie.
    It doesn't take a conspiracy to get an unearned credit or to lose an earned credit, but it can look like a conspiracy once it becomes important to bolster false claims on the subject. In films and video games, most people would simply admit what they did or didn't do on a project, so there wouldn't be any controversy, but sometimes it can be useful career-wise to not advertise the details. I know one man (who will remain nameless) who became president of a large studio because he got credit for a successful project made by his predecessor but delivered after he took the other man's job. In his case, maintaining that credit was very useful.

    AP
     
  19. Critiques of Davies book can be found here:
    https://answersingenesis.org/charles-darwin/there-is-no-darwin-conspiracy/
    http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2009/01/06/darwin-worship-and-demonisatio/

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB123060404325341583?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123060404325341583.html
    It would be interesting to know if Davies has replied to these critiques.

    I would also like to know if Davies looked in the London papers to confirm the mail ships containing Wallace's letters arrived on time. The papers would have articles written from dispatches on the same ship. Davies makes it sound like Darwin's claims of late delivery are obvious lies, so why wouldn't contemporaries, even Wallace, be suspicious if it was such an obvious lie?

    You can find any number of articles about mail delivered late by searching on the internet.
    https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=mail delivered years later
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
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  20. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Blyth#On_natural_selection
    I think it would be interesting to know what was in Darwin's 1844 draft of "On the Origin of Species". Did Darwin attribute natural selection, an idea already common, as the means of speciation?

    Interestingly, this idea that natural selection is responsible for maintaining species, not creating new ones, is most consistent with the interpretation of the data made by proponents of intelligent design. Most mutations are harmful, the probability of a sequence of mutations necessary to produce new structures is vanishingly small.
     
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