Did Dar­win copy ideas for Ori­gin of Species?

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Bill Caven

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 has evolved over time.

But there has long 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, writ­ten 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.’

Dar­win: Pub­lished in 1859

Matthew: Pub­lished in 1831

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