[Quotes] [History, #1, #2, #2a: Darwin's dishonesty, #2b: Darwin's lies (1), #2d: Darwin's lies (3), #3, #4, #5]
Note: These are allegations only. I believe that Darwin was dishonest and lied to help get his theory accepted, but I cannot prove it. All I can do is present the evidence that, in its cumulative weight, persuaded me, so that readers can make up their own minds.
"The remaining land-birds form a most singular group of finches, related to each other in the structure of their beaks, short tails, form of body and plumage: there are thirteen species, which Mr. Gould has divided into four subgroups. All these species are peculiar to this archipelago; and so is the whole group, with the exception of one species of the sub-group Cactornis ... The most curious fact is the perfect gradation in the size of the beaks in the different species of Geospiza, from one as large as that of a hawfinch to that of a chaffinch, and (if Mr. Gould is right in including his sub-group, Certhiup) even to that of a warbler. The largest beak in the genus Geospiza is shown in Fig. 1, and the smallest in Fig. 3; but instead of there being only one intermediate species, with a beak of the size shown in Fig. 2, there are no less than six species with insensibly graduated beaks. The beak of the sub group Certhidea, is shown in Fig. 4. The beak of Cactornis is somewhat like that of a starling; and that of the fourth subgroup, Camarhynchus, is slightly parrot-shaped. Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends." (Darwin C.R., "The Voyage of the Beagle: Journal of Researches Into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During the Voyage of HMS, Beagle Round the World," , Modern Library: New York, 2001, reprint, pp.339-339). [top]
"Many biology textbooks explain that the Galapagos finches were instrumental in helping Darwin to formulate his theory of evolution ... Yet the Galapagos finches had almost nothing to do with the formulation of Darwin's theory. They are not discussed in his diary of the Beagle voyage except for one passing reference, and they are never mentioned in The Origin of Species. ... While Darwin was in the Galapagos Islands, he collected nine of the thirteen species that now bear his name, but he identified only six of them as finches. Except in two cases, he failed to observe any differences in their diets, and even in those cases he failed to correlate diet with beak shape. In fact, Darwin was so unimpressed by the finches that he made no effort while in the Galapagos to separate them by island. Only after the Beagle returned to England did ornithologist John Gould begin to sort out their geographical relationships, and much of the information Darwin provided turned out to be wrong. Eight of the fifteen localities he recorded are in serious doubt, and most had to be reconstructed from the more carefully labeled collections of his shipmates. Thus, according to historian of science Frank Sulloway, Darwin `possessed only a limited and largely erroneous conception of both the feeding habits and the geographical distribution of these birds.' (Sulloway F.J., "Darwin and His Finches: The Evolution of a Legend, Journal of the History of Biology, Vol. 15, 1982, pp.1-53, p.38). And as for the claim that the Galapagos finches impressed Darwin as evidence of evolution, Sulloway wrote, `nothing could be further from the truth.'" (Sulloway F.J., "Darwin and the Galapagos," Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Vol. 21, 1984, pp.29-59, pp.11-12) (Wells J.*, "Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth?: Why Much of What We Teach About Evolution is Wrong," Regnery: Washington DC, 2000, pp.160-161, 307n) . [top]
"It has frequently been asserted that Darwin's finches, along with certain other organisms from the Galapagos Archipelago, were what first alerted Darwin to the possibility that species might he mutable. But as David Lack (1949:9) has pointed out, Darwin did not even discuss the finches in the diary of his voyage on the Beagle-except for a single reference in passing, and his treatment of them in the first edition of his Journal of Researches (1839:461- 462) was brief and matter of fact compared with the famous statement about them that he added to the 1845 edition. Given these facts, Lack concluded that Darwin's evolutionary understanding of the finches was largely retrospective. This interpretation is essentially correct ..." (Sulloway FJ., "Darwin and His Finches: The Evolution of a Legend," Journal of the History of Biology, Vol. 15, No. 1, 1982, pp.1-53, p.5) [top]
"Tradition holds that Charles Darwin glimpsed the signature of natural selection quite early in his career, after observing the finches of the Galapagos Islands. He visited these teeming shores of the tropical East Pacific in 1835, during his famous circumnavigation of the globe. One passage in his Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle (a work usually published under the more compact title The Voyage of the Beagle) describes his reaction to the markedly different beaks of the six species of Galapagos ground finches: `Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends.' A woodcut showing four finch heads in profile appears next to this statement, further suggesting that these birds were key to the development of Darwin's ideas about biological evolution. But as Frank Sulloway of Harvard University has shown, the familiar story of `Darwin's finches' that many people learned in school is mostly just that-a story. In actuality Darwin gathered few examples of these supposedly crucial birds. He failed to recognize the importance of the specimens that he did collect and neglected to so much as tag each one with the name of the island from which it came. Indeed, Darwin did not even realize that some of these birds were finches until six years later, when John Gould, an eminent British ornithologist, set him straight. One reads gushing descriptions in The Voyage of the Beagle only because Darwin revised the text of his journal in 1845 to reflect what he had pieced together in the intervening years. His original account says very little about the finches, reflecting the minimal attention he paid to these birds when he first saw them." (Sanderson J.G., "Testing Ecological Patterns," American Scientist, Vol. 88, No. 4, pp.332-339, July-August 2000, p.332). [top]
"Contrary to legend, Sulloway has shown, Darwin did not think the finches were very important. He did not even think they were all finches. The cactus finch looked to him like some kind of blackbird; other finches looked like wrens and warblers. Darwin assumed there were plenty more just like them on some part of the coast of South America where the Beagle had failed to stop. In other words, the very quality that makes the finches so interesting now made them look like nothing special to Darwin. Their diversity disguised their uniqueness. Much to his later regret, Darwin stored the finch specimens from his first two islands in the same bag, and he did not bother to label which bird came from where. Since conditions on the islands seemed more or less identical, he assumed the specimens were identical too. He did notice that the mockingbirds he shot on his second island were slightly different from the mockingbirds on the first. For that reason he took the trouble to label these specimens, and all of the other mockingbirds he caught, by place of origin. But when the vice governor of the islands told Darwin that the tortoises varied from island to island as well (claiming he could tell which island a tortoise came from by its shell), Darwin more or less ignored him. `I did not for some time pay sufficient attention to this statement,' he confessed later, `and I had already partially mingled together the collections from two of the islands. I never dreamed that islands, about fifty or sixty rules apart, and most of them in sight of each other, formed of precisely the same rocks, placed under a quite similar climate, rising to a nearly equal height, would have been differently tenanted.'" (Weiner J., "The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time," Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1994, pp.22-23). [top]
"Darwin first questioned the mutability of species when actually in the Galapagos, through finding different forms of the mocking bird and tortoise on different islands (Barlow, 1935). The finches, with several species on each island, are more complex, and their influence was apparently retrospective. Thus, in Darwin's private diary of the voyage, the finches are not mentioned (Barlow, 1933), and even in the first published edition of the Journal, in 1839, they receive only brief notice, without particular comment. However, this paragraph was considerably amplified in the second edition of 1845: 'The remaining land-birds form a most singular group of finches, related to each other in the structure of their beaks, short tails, form of body and plumage. All these species are peculiar to this archipelago.' Darwin went on to describe 'the perfect gradation in the size of the beaks in the different species', and concluded: 'Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends.' This last phrase is the most significant in the whole book, and is Darwin's first public pronouncement on a subject the elaboration and generalization of which was to occupy the next fifteen years of his life." (Lack D., "Darwin's Finches: An Essay on the General Biological Theory of Evolution," , Harper Torchbooks: New York, 1961, pp.9-10). [top]
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists.
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Created 1 October, 1999. Updated: 3 August, 2003.