Patrick Matthews tautology interpreted as Natural Selection by Darwin

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Mar 29, 2009, 9:51:15 AM3/29/09
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The passages below from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Matthew
reduces to:

Those monkey individuals who died are dead, those monkeys that didn't
die now continue the species. From this tautology by Patrick Matthews
he deduces that their monkey offspring might give birth to humans,
with the humans and monkeys incapable of co-reproduction.

=== Patrick Matthews ===
There is a law universal in nature, tending to render every
reproductive being the best possible suited to its condition that its
kind, or organized matter, is susceptible of, which appears intended
to model the physical and mental or instinctive powers to their
highest perfection and to continue them so. This law sustains the lion
in his strength, the hare in her swiftness, and the fox in his wiles.
As nature, in all her modifications of life, has a power of increase
far beyond what is needed to supply the place of what falls by Time's
decay, those individuals who possess not the requisite strength,
swiftness, hardihood, or cunning, fall prematurely without reproducing—
either a prey to their natural devourers, or sinking under disease,
generally induced by want of nourishment, their place being occupied
by the more perfect of their own kind, who are pressing on the means
of subsistence . . .

There is more beauty and unity of design in this continual balancing
of life to circumstance, and greater conformity to those dispositions
of nature which are manifest to us, than in total destruction and new
creation . . . [The] progeny of the same parents, under great
differences of circumstance, might, in several generations, even
become distinct species, incapable of co-reproduction.

=== asdf ===
There is a law rendering every being the best possible suited to its
condition that its kind, or organized matter, is susceptible of. This
law sustains the lion in his strength. As nature, in all her
modifications of life, has a power of increase far beyond what is
needed to supply the place of what falls by Time's decay, those
individuals who possess not the requisite strength, swiftness,
hardihood, or cunning, fall prematurely without reproducing—either a
prey to their natural devourers, or sinking under disease, generally
induced by want of nourishment, their place being occupied by the more
perfect of their own kind, who are pressing on the means of
subsistence . . .

There is more beauty and unity of design in this continual balancing
of life to circumstance, and greater conformity to those dispositions
of nature which are manifest to us, than in total destruction and new
creation . . . [The] progeny of the same parents, under great
differences of circumstance, might, in several generations, even
become distinct species, incapable of co-reproduction.

=== asdf ===
There is a law rendering every being suited to its condition that its
kind, or organized matter, is susceptible of. This law sustains the
lion in his strength. As nature has a power of increase far beyond
what is needed to supply the place of what falls by Time's decay,
those individuals who possess not the requisite strength,fall without
reproducing
, their place being occupied by the more perfect of their own kind.

There is more beauty and unity of design in this continual balancing
of life to circumstance, and greater conformity to those dispositions
of nature which are manifest to us, than in total destruction and new
creation . . . [The] progeny of the same parents, under great
differences of circumstance, might, in several generations, even
become distinct species, incapable of co-reproduction.

=== asdf ===
There is a law rendering every being suited to its condition that its
kind is susceptible of. This law sustains the lion in his strength.
Those individuals who possess not the requisite strength,fall without
reproducing
, their place being occupied by the more perfect of their own kind.

There is more beauty and unity of design in this continual balancing
of life to circumstance, and greater conformity to those dispositions
of nature which are manifest to us, than in total destruction and new
creation . . . [The] progeny of the same parents, under great
differences of circumstance, might, in several generations, even
become distinct species, incapable of co-reproduction.


=== asdf ===
There is a law rendering every being suited to its condition that its
kind is susceptible of. This law sustains the lion in his strength.
Those individuals who possess not the requisite strength,fall without
reproducing
, their place being occupied by the more perfect of their own kind.

There is more beauty and unity of design in this continual balancing
of life to circumstance, and greater conformity to those dispositions
of nature which are manifest to us, than in total destruction and new
creation . . . [The] progeny of the same parents, under great
differences of circumstance, might, in several generations, even
become distinct species, incapable of co-reproduction.


=== asdf ===
Those individuals who possess not the requisite strength, fall without
reproducing, their place being occupied by the more perfect of their
own kind. Their progeny might, in several generations, become distinct
species, incapable of co-reproduction.

=== asdf ===
Those individuals who died are dead, their place being occupied by the
more perfect of their own kind. Their progeny might, in several
generations, become distinct species, incapable of co-reproduction.


=== asdf ===
Those individuals who died are dead, those that didn't die now
continue the species. Their progeny might, in several generations,
become distinct species, incapable of co-reproduction.


=== Finally ===
Those monkey individuals who died are dead, those monkeys that didn't
die now continue the species. From this tautology by Patrick Matthews
he deduces that their monkey offspring might give birth to humans,
with the humans and monkeys incapable of co-reproduction.

backspace

unread,
Mar 30, 2009, 11:37:28 AM3/30/09
to
On Mar 29, 2:51 pm, backspace <Stephan...@gmail.com> wrote:
> === Finally ===
> Those monkey individuals who died are dead, those monkeys that didn't
> die now continue the species. From this tautology by Patrick Matthews
> he deduces that their monkey offspring might give birth to humans,
> with the humans and monkeys incapable of co-reproduction.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/rhk86067q63l4428/

The historical context of natural selection: The case of Patrick
Matthew

Conclusions It should be evident from the foregoing discussion that
one man's natural selection is not necessarily the same as another
man's. Why should this be so? How can two theories, which both Matthew
and Darwin believed to be nearly identical, be so dissimilar?
Apparently, neither Matthew nor Darwin understood the other's theory.
Each man's viewpoint was colored by his own intellectual background
and philosophical assumptions, and each read these into the other's
ideas. The words sounded the same, so they assumed the concepts must
als be the same.123

As Ghiselin has pointed out, historians attempting to evaluate
Darwin's predecessors have been similarly blinded by a preoccupation
with words, without regard to their proper context.124 In the case of
Matthew, the practice of quoting only brief passages from the appendix
to Naval Timber and Arboriculture, without relating them to the rest
of his work, has suggested a greater resemblance to Darwin's theory
than actually exists.
It is clear, both from the use which Matthew made of his ideas and
from the philosophical roots of his natural world view, that he could
not have arrived at the concept of natural selection by the same
thought process which Darwin employed. His discussion of natural
selection is presented not as an argument, but as an axiom. No theory
is proposed, no evidence marshaled to support it. Natural selection is
stated as a fact, a Law of Nature, unquestioned, and presumably,
unquestionable.
Despite his clamor for recognition as the discoverer of natural
selection, Matthew recognized and acknowledged this very fundamental
difference between Darwin and himself. In a letter to the Gardener's
Chronicle of May 12, 1860, he
wrote:

To me the conception of this law of Nature came intuitively as a self-
evident fact, almost without an effort of concentrated thought. Mr.
Darwin here seems to have more merit in the discovery than I have had—
to me it did not appear a discovery. He seems to have worked it out by
inductive reason, slowly and with due caution to have made his way
synthetically from fact to fact onwards; while with me it was by a
general glance at the scheme of Nature that I estimated this select
production of species as an a priori recognisable fact—an axiom,
requiring only to be pointed out to be admitted by unprejudiced minds
of sufficient grasp.125
In the same letter, Matthew maintained that his ideas had not been
accepted because ldquothe age was not ripe for such ideas.rdquo126
Nor, he said, was the present age. He considered the inability of most
of Darwin's critics to grasp his theory to be ldquoincurable.rdquo Yet
he did not argue that natural selection should be accepted because of
the evidence, but rather, that it should be accepted on faith:

Belief here requires a certain grasp of mind. No direct proof of
phenomena embracing so long a period of time is within the compass of
short-lived man. To attempt to satisfy a school of ultra skeptics, who
have a wonderfully limited power of perception of means to ends...
would be labour in vain.... They could not be brought to conceive the
purpose of a handsaw though they saw its action, if the whole
individual building it assisted to construct were not presented
complete before their eyes... Like a child looking upon the motion of
a wheel in an engine they would only perceive and admire... without
noticing its agency in... affecting the purposed end.127
Here, then, is the final irony. In a passage urging acceptance of
Darwin's theory, a theory which was to banish design and purpose from
the natural world, we find echoes of Paley and of Providence.
Loren Eiseley has lamented the fact that Matthew ldquodid not bring
his views into the open, because the amount of ground he was able to
cover in a few paragraphs suggests that he might have been able to
sustain a longer treatise.rdquo128 Now that the intellectual and
historical context of Matthew's ideas are known, this statement is no
longer tenable. Matthew was not a scientist, and his books were not
written as biological treatises. His discussions of natural selection
were not attempts to ldquocover groundrdquo in advancing a particular
scientific theory, but were simply reflections of his own assumptions
about the natural world.

Furthermore, despite Matthew's acceptance of evolution and natural
selection, his biological thought was basically conservative on points
where Darwin's was radical. Where Matthew saw a series of stable
worlds interrupted by violent upheavals, Darwin saw a continuous
process of change in an ever-fluctuating world. Where Matthew
conceived of species in terms of Aristotelian classes and essences,
Darwin revolutionized our concept of species by treating them as
populations. Where Matthew saw a world of design and beauty
functioning according to natural laws laid down by benevolent
Providence, Darwin abolished design and Providence from nature and
ushered in a world which cycles ever onward according to laws of
chance and probability.

It is not even particularly useful to point to Matthew as evidence
that evolution was ldquoin the airrdquo prior to 1859.129 His ideas
did not represent the first wave of a coming revolution, but were the
product of his own personal philosophical outlook, as expressed in the
context of the biological thought of the 1830's. Matthew is important
in the history of ideas, not simply because he accepted the concept of
evolution or thought of something resembling natural selection, but
because he did so without overthrowing, in his own mind, any of the
basic philosophical assumptions which had underlain biological science
since Aristotle. In recognizing Matthew's failure to do so, we are in
a position to appreciate more fully the significance of the Darwinian
Revolution.

trader100

unread,
May 4, 2009, 1:00:27 PM5/4/09
to
On Mar 29, 3:51 pm, backspace <Stephan...@gmail.com> wrote:
> The passages below fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Matthew
> reduces to:

> === asdf ===
> Those individuals who possess not the requisite strength, fall without
> reproducing, their place being occupied by the more perfect of their
> own kind.

We observe that some individuals won't reproduce. This observation
implies that they are "less perfect" and handicapped, but doesn't tell
us the actual reason why such individuals didn't reproduce.

We observe that some individuals from the same group do reproduce.
This observation implies that they were "more perfect" than their
kinsmen but doesn't tell us the actual reason they were "more
perfect".

Thus Patrick Matthews formulates a banality: Those that didn't
reproduce were less perfect while those that did reproduce were more
perfect. "didn't reproduce" and "less perfect" are terms that alludes
to the same fact guaranteeing the truth of the proposition: They
didn't reproduce but doesn't explain why they didn't reproduce.
Obviously if individuals from a population didn't reproduce they where
handicapped in some way, but why were they handicapped?

The next fallacy is the non-sequitur that these individuals all from
the original same species might diverge in the future into separate
species incapable of interbreeding. People failed to notice that the
preceding tautology ("didn't produce" and "less perfect") , the
formulation of the proposition in such a way that " the truth of the
proposition cannot be disputed" to use Darwin's words , resulted in
society accepting a non-sequitur. If a pack of strong dogs interbreed
perpetuating their line into a million years, how would one falsify
that their offspring might not be able to interbreed, they have to be
able to interbreed at say 1000 years from now
for the progeny to reach the next 2000 years, why suddenly would the
offspring at 2010 years not be able to mate? How could one falsify
such a proposition. I thus maintain that there is no Theory of
Evolution, a theory is something which at least in principle must be
able to be falsifiable.

And Patrick Matthews probably got his tautological thinking from James
Hutton 1794 http://groups.google.com/group/alt.talk.creationism/browse_frm/thread/aefd3884630a72bb#

trader100

unread,
May 4, 2009, 4:57:44 PM5/4/09
to

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2009/may/02/richard-dawkins-contempt-religion-charles-darwin
"....Before Darwin the only known alternative to the possibility that
there had been an intelligent designer behind the wonders of nature
was random chance, which was no alternative at all. It wasn't even
that the concept of natural selection was original when Darwin put his
thoughts to paper. A Scottish landowner and fruit farmer Patrick
Matthew had written a book in 1831 on Naval Timber and Arboriculture.
In an appendix, Matthew recognised that the principles of artificial
selection could also apply to natural selection and speculated that
"the progeny of the same parents under great differences of
circumstance might in several generations even become distinct species
incapable of co-reproduction......"


Compare the journal paper below on Matthews to what the Guardian wrote
about Matthews. The issue is what did Matthews say, what did he mean,
what logical fallacies did he commit etc.... Lets take one fact for
example, the term http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_selection
was coined by DArwin and used only once in his book. Matthews said
"natural means of selection" and if he had anything "artificial" in
mind then cite the paper, he didn't say 'artificial selection'. If he
had some idea like Darwin had here: "....low though the process of
selection may be, if feeble man can do much by artificial selection, I
can see no limit to the amount of change, to the beauty and complexity
of the co adaptations between all organic beings, one with another and
with their physical conditions of life, which may have been effected
in the long course of time through nature's power of selection, that
is by the survival of the fittest......" then motivate for it with
reference to Herbert Spencer who coined SoF..... How for example did
Spencer measure the fitness other than noting the organism survived?

trader100

unread,
May 24, 2009, 8:44:41 AM5/24/09
to
http://probaway.wordpress.com/2009/02/06/darwin-credits-patrick-mathew-with-discovering-his-theory-first/

Darwin credits Patrick Matthew with discovering his theory first.
Posted on 2009 February 6 by probaway

Charles Darwin credits Patrick Matthew with discovering his theory
first, some 28 years before the publication of The Origin of Species.
That concession was made in the later editions. But, Darwin is quick
to add that he had never heard of Matthew or his 1831 book until after
the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859. Below is a brief
quote from Matthew’s On Naval Timber and Arboriculture[link] :

There is a law universal in nature, tending to render every
reproductive being the best possible suited to its condition that its
kind, or organized matter, is susceptible of, which appears intended
to model the physical and mental or instinctive powers to their
highest perfection and to continue them so. This law sustains the lion
in his strength, the hare in her swiftness, and the fox in his wiles.
As nature, in all her modifications of life, has a power of increase
far beyond what is needed to supply the place of what falls by Time’s
decay, those individuals who possess not the requisite strength,
swiftness, hardihood, or cunning, fall prematurely without reproducing—
either a prey to their natural devourers, or sinking under disease,
generally induced by want of nourishment, their place being occupied
by the more perfect of their own kind, who are pressing on the means
of subsistence . . .

There is more beauty and unity of design in this continual
balancing of life to circumstance, and greater conformity to those
dispositions of nature which are manifest to us, than in total
destruction and new creation . . . [The] progeny of the same parents,
under great differences of circumstance, might, in several
generations, even become distinct species, incapable of co-
reproduction.

Matthew had succeeded in stating evolutionary theory with sufficient
clarity such that had it been published in Nature or in some other
more scientifically public venue it would have caused a stir or at
least established some priority. Had the other scientists of the day
studied his idea it may have gained some traction and been built upon.
But part of the criterion of science is that you convince at least
some of the authorities in the field of the correctness of the new
idea, at least after some time has passed. Then if it does become part
of general knowledge it gains its priority. Furthermore, Matthew did
not send his manuscripts or his publications to the accepted
authorities (as did Wallace) or have them published in the accepted
scientific journals. Therefore his ideas did not come into the realm
of general knowledge. But, he did publish so that aspect of his
priority is valid but his personal work did not convince anyone of the
profundity of his observations so there it falls short. There is an
element of self evident tautology inherent in evolutionary theory
because of its recursive self modifying nature which confuses
philosophers and delights them with opportunities.

Matthew’s priority is similar to Gregory Mendel‘s but in that case the
later discoverers Hugo de Vries and Carl Correns admitted to Mendel’s
priority and even popularized it even though they had come to similar
conclusions independently themselves before they discovered Mendel’s
ideas which were almost invisible in an obscure publication. Had they
chosen to publish and claim priority their names might now be held
high as Mendel’s currently is held. But, they like Wallace before them
chose not to make a claim and they sank into obscurity although their
contributions lived on.

There is another problem, that of timing. Some would claim that
Matthew deserves no credit because he didn’t publish anything further
upon his ideas on the origin of species and natural selection after
1831 and apparently has no further consideration for the subject until
after Darwin publishes The Origin of Species. If one makes that claim
then that same argument should apply equally to Darwin because he did
nothing with his supposed ideas on the subject of evolution for almost
as many years. And Darwin’s ideas were not even published (as were
Matthew’s), until after receiving the fateful letter from Wallace
explaining the theory.

Ernst Mayr’s opinion was even more clear-cut:

Patrick Matthew undoubtedly had the right idea, just like Darwin
did on September 28, 1838, but he did not devote the next twenty years
to converting it into a cogent theory of evolution. As a result it had
no impact whatsoever.[link]

This September 28, 1838 reference by Darwin is not nearly so clear as
Matthew’s and therefore one would assume that Darwin hadn’t seen
Matthew’s work.

The historian of biology Peter J. Bowler has gone so far as to say
that:

Such efforts to denigrate Darwin misunderstand the whole point of
the history of science: Matthew did suggest a basic idea of selection,
but he did nothing to develop it; and he published it in the appendix
to a book on the raising of trees for shipbuilding. No one took him
seriously, and he played no role in the emergence of Darwinism. Simple
priority is not enough to earn a thinker a place in the history of
science: one has to develop the idea and convince others of its value
to make a real contribution. Darwin’s notebooks confirm that he drew
no inspiration from Matthew or any of the other alleged precursors.
[link]


EXCEPT FOR WALLACE ! ! !

A further note on the obscurity of a book about arboriculture. The
ship Darwin sailed in was a wooden ship as was every other ship in the
English navy and that was a serious problem for the English nation
because all of their good timber had been cut down and they were
searching the entire planet for good navel timber. Which is precisely
what Matthew’s book On Naval Timber and Arboriculture[link] was about.
It would be surprising to me, in fact dumbfounding, if a survey ship,
which the Beagle was purported to be, didn’t have a copy of that very
book in their library.

It was reported that Darwin and Robert Fitzroy, the captain of the
Beagle, had strong arguments over various scientific subjects which
no doubt sharpened Darwin’s thinking. Since Darwin at that time was
still a pre-Darwinian he might still have been arguing against
Matthew’s ideas if he heard them from Fitzroy who was a staunch anti-
Darwinian to the end. In fact Fitzroy, who later became Governor of
New Zealand, later committed suicide because he felt he had been
instrumental in helping Darwin create his Satanic theory.

Some people prefer absolute nonsense to relative truth and will die
for it.

Filed under: evolution, reviews | Tagged: Alfred Russel Wallace,
Charles Darwin, evolution, evolution of ethics, On Naval Timber,
Patrick Matthew, Scientific priority, The Origin of Species
« Charles Darwin follows in James Hutton’s path. Charles Darwin was
preceded by his grandfather Erasmus. »
One Response

1.
Dr M.Wainwright, on February 27th, 2009 at 12:20 pm Said:

Some of these replies miss the basic point. Since Darwin,
Wallace ,and T.H.Huxley all admitted that Patrick Matthew (as well as
Charles Wells) beat Darwin and Wallace to the idea of natrual
selection anyone who states that Darwin originated natural selection
is simply telling a barefaced lie!
(search Google for “wainwrightscience” for my website “It’s Not
Darwin;’s or Wallace’s Theory)
Professor Milton Wainwright,Dept.Molecural Biology and
Biotechnology,University of Sheffield,UK
Reply

trader100

unread,
May 24, 2009, 8:49:26 AM5/24/09
to
On May 4, 7:00 pm, trader100 <Stephan...@gmail.com> wrote:
> ThusPatrickMatthewsformulates a banality: Those that didn't

> reproduce were less perfect while those that did reproduce were more
> perfect. "didn't reproduce" and "less perfect" are terms that alludes
> to the same fact guaranteeing the truth of the proposition: They
> didn't reproduce but doesn't explain why they didn't reproduce.

And this banal concept was taken over by Darwin and arbitrarily
labeled Theory of Evolution here:

"........This difficulty, as in the case of unconscious selection by
man, is avoided on the theory of gradual evolution, through the
preservation of a large number of individuals, which varied more or
less in any favourable direction, and of the destruction of a large
number which varied in an opposite manner. hat many species have been
evolved in an extremely gradual manner, there can hardly be a
doubt......................."

=== Which reduces to ===
The preservation of individuals, which were favorable, and the
destruction of those which weren't favorable.

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