Comments: The following letter was sent to the magazine, Resurgence, in response to an article in the January/February issue, but was not published.

Brian Goodwin lists the good parts of Darwin’s theory and the ways in which it needs to be re-evaluated (Resurgence 252), complete with a photo of giraffes, without mentioning Lamarck. As far as I am concerned, the re-incorporation of Lamarckism into the prevailing paradigm is just what is needed to make it both more environmentally-friendly and more liberating. Lamarckism was the predominant pre-Darwinian evolution theory, which is currently enjoying a revival amongst dissident scientists and philosophers, in the light of increasing scientific evidence. Lamarckian inheritance was included in Darwin’s theory until it was censored out after his death. Put very crudely in modern terms, Lamarckism holds that there is experience passing down the generations as well as genes. Evolution is responsive to the environment, so there is flow and consequence, in contrast to the neo-Darwinian obsession with aimless co-incidence. In other words, Lamarckism permits the idea that there is much more to life and evolution than random chance and natural selection.
Hugh Dower

Comments: During early 2009, I did an enormous amount of research into “Darwin’s Influences”, resulting in the essay of the same name and unexpectedly in the evidence for “Darwin’s Guilty Secret”. My focus in 2009 became the discrediting of not only neo-Darwinism but also Darwin himself.

The following three letters were all sent to The Guardian or The Guardian Review, but were not published.

In his measured Response (6 January), Thomas Crowley points to the confusion in the use of the term creationism. There is far greater confusion in the use of the word evolution. I’m sure that, for most of the public, evolution means no more than the Theory of Descent – the idea that, over a vast period of time, single-celled organisms have evolved, by descent with modification, into the vast diversity of species that we now perceive. As such, evolution would get no argument from most of the intelligent design school or many educated creationists. It is the source of modification that is the big bone of contention in this issue. To neo-Darwinists, evolution means the Theory of Descent in which the modifications were spontaneous and random, being preserved or eliminated by natural selection. To Lamarckists, the modifications were natural responses to the conditions of life. To exponents of intelligent design, the modifications were caused by some intelligent entity. It is naturalism that exponents of intelligent design are opposed to, not evolution as such, and Crowley is right to suggest that they have been shabbily treated by neo-Darwinists.
Hugh Dower

Ian Sample’s review of Remarkable Creatures (24 January) conveys some false impressions. Firstly, Sample devotes a lot of attention to Wallace, whose first expression of belief in evolution was in 1855, many years after Darwin had formulated his theory. This was ignored by Darwin until Wallace’s subsequent paper in 1858 which indicated his belief in natural selection. The only effect Wallace had on Darwin was to prompt him into publishing! The principal scientists and naturalists to affect Darwin’s thinking were Robert Grant, Charles Lyell and Edward Blyth. The review doesn’t mention this.
Hugh Dower

In his review of “Darwin’s Armada” (The origin of Origin, 9 May), Steven Rose says that in this bicentenary “it maybe hard to find anything new to say”.
Earlier this year, I wrote an article which presented the accumulated, compelling evidence that Darwin had read Patrick Matthew’s “Naval Timber and Arboriculture” by 1842, and had hence plagiarized the theory of evolution by natural selection. That article has been rejected by the editors of every serious newspaper and journal in this country. I hesitate to present the article to more disreputable outlets for fear of the headline, “Darwin was a cheat and a liar”, with all that that implies. However, as and when my article does get publicised, I can guarantee that no-one will legitimately be able to say that it is either of no interest or old hat.
Hugh Dower

Comments: I was not the only person looking to question Darwin’s integrity. At the beginning of December, there was a spate of letters prompted by Roy Davies’ book, “The Darwin Conspiracy”, concerned with Darwin’s possible plagiarism of Wallace. I had the following letter published.

The Charlesworths (Letters, December 7) are quite right to say that Darwin had formulated the theory of evolution by natural selection fully 20 years before Wallace. However, they don’t point out that Patrick Matthew had beaten Darwin to it by 7 years, and there is considerable evidence that Darwin knew about Matthew by 1838, so Darwin didn’t originate the theory at all.
Hugh Dower

Comments: A few days later, there was a letter from Roy Davies himself. The following letter was not published. See my own review of Roy Davies’ book, “The Darwin Conspiracy”.

If it weren’t for what Roy Davies’ case tells us about Darwin’s duplicity (Letters, passim), even the educated, Guardian-reading public would surely regard the issue of whether Darwin’s 1844 theory of evolution by natural selection had ‘added divergence’ in 1858 as a super technicality. To most of them, even ‘natural selection’ is probably a technicality. What matters is natural evolution from scratch. Though it is impossible to say who originated that, the person who deserves all the accolades Darwin has received for 150 years is Lamarck.
Hugh Dower

Continue to 2010