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Exploiting Google's Library project of over 30 million publications it is possible to discover who (amongst those documents) published a word, term, phrase or concept before the claimed originator.

In numerous blog posts    and articles    over the past year, I have presented and discussed my unique findings, which now 100 per cent dis-confirm all prior Darwinist knowledge beliefs that Patrick Matthew's (1831) original prior published hypothesis of natural selection    was unread by naturalists known to Darwin and Wallace.

The significance of the New Data is that the old Darwinist dual 'independent discovery' story is now dis-confirmed, because I discovered that influential naturists, well known to Darwin and Wallace, who each admitted significantly influenced their work on natural selection, had actually cited Matthew's 1831 book in the literature before Darwin and Wallace had their papers on the same topic read before the Linnean Society in 1858.

You might perhaps wish to know more about how I discovered this New Data, and you might, perhaps, try out my method for yourself in other areas of contested knowledge that currently interest or later occur to you. If so, then you will be glad to know that anyone can learn how to use the Internet Date Detection (ID) method. I show you how in the first three chapters of Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret. Those three chapters from my book are available completely free of charge on Amazon.    Perhaps you will even check out the 5-star reviews whilst you are there and think about supporting me and my publisher - - by buying a copy of the book that changes everything we once thought we knew about the discovery of natural selection? If so, or if you have purchased a copy already, I thank you for your money.

In this blog post, I focus on a more controversial research method to reveal just some of the other unique findings it has so far produced. All of the unique findings so far discovered with this method are revealed and discussed in Chapter Four of Nullius.

The First to be Second (F2b2) Hypothesis

Those who the ID method in Google's Library reveals are apparently first to be second with apparently original words, terms or phrases more likely than not replicated them because they read them first in the apparently original source.

One element of this unique research method involved discovering apparently original phrases and terms in Patrick Matthew's 1831 book and then searching in an instant on the Internet through millions of books and other publications to see who appears to have been first to second-publish them.

In this way, a number of long-dead research subjects identified themselves like ghosts, coming down from the dusty library shelves and out of the archive boxes, to present the relevant pages of their long forgotten works for scrutiny.



Robert Chambers - Author of the Vestiges of Creation (1844) that is said to have put 'evolution in the air' before Darwin - cited Matthew's 1831 book in 1832. In 1859, Chambers was 'first to be second' with Matthew's unique term 'natural process of selection' in his review of Darwin's 'Origin of Species.'

That many of those detected in this way turned out to be connected in various ways socially or geographically to Matthew, in Darwin's social network and to have written pre-1858 work that is known to have influenced Darwin involved absolutely no known selection bias on my part. Whether the replications and links are all mere coincidence is something currently beyond our means of knowing. In that respect it is a science problem in need of a solution. Meanwhile, what has been detected about those who were first to be second with unique "Matthewisms" is worthy of careful examination and cautious consideration.

Notes and caveats on the "First to be Second Hypothesis"

One particular caveat must be emphasized regarding this new research method and the associated First to be Second Hypothesis (F2b2). Namely, that my interpretation that someone is apparently first to be second with an exclusive term or phrase rests on the premise that it is unlikely that an earlier use by the apparent originator, replicator or another exists beyond what is currently in Google's Library Project.

Further caveats must be stressed about this highly controversial research method and hypothesis- and I state these very plainly in Nullius. and in Rebuttal 21 of my responses to Darwinist Defenses Against the New Data.

The F2b2 hypothesis alone is never going to give us 100 per cent certainties, as did my discovery with the ID method did in absolutely proving other naturalists known to Darwin and Wallace in fact did read - and cite - Matthew's book pre-1858. However, like all academic work, particularly like all discoveries, it rigorously enjoys the ever present 'threat' that dis-confirming evidence may turn up and refute my claims in each case where I claim Matthew was apparently first to use a term or phrase, and also in each of the cases where I claim another person was apparently the first to replicate that apparently unique "Matthewism".

Most importantly, this method is not a witch hunt that involves finding a scholar and searching within all their publications for Matthewisms. On the contrary, the terms and phrases are used to search within the entire 30+ million documents in the Google Library pre-1858. It is the author's that effectively reveal themselves by apparently being the first to have replicated an apparently unique term or phrase.

Of the 30+ million documents Google has so far scanned and uploaded to the Internet, the vast majority are out of copyright. Since my investigation of Darwin’s claim to have independently discovered natural selection (Sutton 2014   ) was predominantly focused upon works published more than 150 years ago, it is this mammoth sample of the literature that I spent several months searching through.

Not every out of copyright publication has been uploaded to the internet yet. But an army of volunteers is currently sweeping through many major university libraries in the US and UK, scanning and uploading everything they are legally able, from the 1930s backwards to before the 10th century.

With such a large sample of the out of copyright literature now uploaded, the Internet Date Detection (ID) way to discover who almost certainly read a publication is to go through it and simply, subjectively, eyeball very single term and phrase that looks like it might be exclusive to the publication you are concerned with. Once candidate terms and phrases are sampled in this way they can then subjected to the ID process, which was explained fully in Chapter Two. The method is akin to those very simple word search puzzles.

The ID process revealed many of the phrases found in this way were, apparently, coined by Matthew in 1831, and integral to his natural selection hypothesis. They were, therefore, all subject to a second round of ID to see who was apparently first to be second to deploy the in print.

Since the ID method has identified many naturalists in Darwin’s close social and professional network, who more likely than not read Matthew's (1831) book, the onus on disproving the veracity of the F2b2 hypothesis lies now with those who wish to challenge its findings and my conclusions. Since the ID method is based upon the analysis of millions of scanned and uploaded documents, one way to challenge it is to discover any, so far undiscovered, pre-Matthew (1831) publications where the phrases occur. Only two other ways exist: prove with some other evidence that its premise is completely unsound, or seriously questionable, or else do the same with logic, reason and evidence to show that is not capable of allowing us to accurately discover who did first and was first to be second to publish a given word, term or phrase.

One important possibility should be considered by anyone quite rightfully seeking to challenge the unknowable reliability of ID regarding detecting who was first to be second to replicate a unique phrase, which is that this exact same criticism surely implies also that ID cannot reliably find all those who actually cited Matthew. And that means the current count of 24, including seven naturalists, is an undercount. If it is an undercount then yet more in Darwin’s inner circle who indisputably read Matthew are likely to exist, which means that further incriminating discoveries will be made just as soon as the search engine improves, any currently ‘hidden’ important books are scanned and the paper bound archives of Darwin’s friends and prolific correspondents are explored for evidence on this particular question.

I very much doubt that I have found them all, and I might even have missed the most important ones. However, at the time of writing, 198 apparently Matthew coined phrases have been discovered as having been reproduced in the literature by different authors after 1st January 1831 and prior to publication of the Origin in 1859.

To revisit one important caveat outlined in Chapter One in my book Nullius in Verba, it is anticipated that the current ‘Googlebug’ that I discovered in my research, which prevents the ID method from detecting exact words, terms or phrases if they are precisely enclosed in “double inverted comas”, will soon be remedied. However, because of that bug it is necessary be clear that, at least at the time of writing, the First to be Second Hypothesis is based on the premise that whoever was first to coin any of the terms and phrases examined in this book did not go into print with them in double inverted commas. In other words, where phrases and terms have been identified as being coined by Matthew, it is assumed that no one published the same terms or phrases earlier and enclosed them in inverted commas.

The element of uncertainty that will always exist regarding the possibility that one, or indeed all, of these allegedly Matthewist phrases might at some future date prove to have been published pre-Matthew 1831, is effectively no different than the ever lasting possibility that we may one day find disconfirming evidence for evolution in the fossil record.

The fact of its potential capability of being completely disconfirmed, and impossible to vary if disconfirmed, makes the F2b2 hypothesis a promising scientific explanation for Darwin’s supposedly ‘independent’ replication of Matthew’s hypothesis. Deutsch (2012)    explains that these two essential qualities - refutability and invariability – are essential characteristics of all good scientific explanations.

Some initial confirmatory evidence for the validity of the F2b2 hypothesis - that those who first second-published unique phrases from Matthew 1831 pre-Origin did read the book - comes by way of the fact that prior to 1859 the naturalists David Low and Ebenezer Emmons were twice apparently first to be second with exclusive Matthewisms. The agriculturalist Cuthbert Johnson, was apparently first to be second with ‘adapted to prosper’ and then actually cited Matthew in a separate publication to the one where he replicated that phrase. Contrariwise, Robert Chambers, author of the hugely influential (see Millhauser 1959) pre-cursor to Darwin’s Origin - ‘The Vestiges of Creation’ - cited Matthew (1831) in 1832. Then, 27 years later, in 1859, he was apparently first to second-publish Matthew’s unique phrase ‘natural process of selection’ in his review of Darwin's Origin of Species.

The way forward

Two cases follow this explanation of the F2b2 hypothesis and the research method that led to it. Both cases are merely examples from Nullius of some surprising results, which provide remarkably unexpected confirmatory evidence for it. These cases, and the others, are discussed in far greater detail and context in the book, where all sources are fully referenced.

The Case of Robert Mudie

  • In his Book The Botanic Animal Robert Mudie (1832) was apparently the first to replicate the Matthewism "rectangular branching" - a phrase not used in print again (apparently) until 1871.
  • The Scot, Mudie, like Matthew, was born in Forefarshire Scotland
  • Mudie, a prolific author   , worked worked energetically for burgh reform with R. S. Rintoul   , editor of the radical Dundee Advertiser - a newspaper that was very kind to Patrick Matthew - giving him a voice when others would not.
  • Mudie was a friend and twice co-author with Blyth - the naturalist who most assisted and influenced Darwin pre-Orign. And Blyth's two early papers on species variety - that so influenced Darwin - were edited by John Loudon who reviewed Matthew's 1831 book in 1832 and remarked that it may have had something original to say on "The Origin of Species".
  • Mudie died in 1842 - leaving his second wife (daughter of a captain in the East India Company) penniless. One report    describes him as an intemperate spendthrift worn out too early by excessive intellectual endeavour and poverty.
  • The highly respected anthropologist and science historian Loren Eiseley (1979, p. 214) spotted in a different 1832 publication of Mudie's that this particular Scot had somehow grasped, something, quite significant:

'Long ago when Darwin was still a youth aboard the Beagle, the Naturalist Robert Mudie, faithful to his century, had written:

' "There is a law that maintains the species." Scarcely had he made this assertion before he was busy explaining that all cultivated plants or animals were more or less monsters and that of the appearance of their parentage we know little or nothing. Even of wild forms he ends by hinting ambiguously of the emergence of species "altogether new". Finally he verges on complete heresy. "There is something," he almost whispers, "of the same kind in human beings," '

Eiseley was citing and quoting from: Mudie, R. (1832) A Popular Guide to the Observation of Nature. Whitaker, Constable's Miscellany of Original and Selected Publications of Literature, Science & the Arts. Vol. LXXVII Teacher and Co,     London   And Waugh and Innes.Edinburgh. pp. 366-371   . The text, below, from his book, is what Mudie has to say about humans breeding animals and plants under culture versus nature's process of "breeding" them in the wild ( 'artificial versus natural selection') - as it was understood in general terms - before Mendel's 1856-1863 research work on sweat peas was presented as a paper in 1865 - and published in 1866    apparently, yet again 'independently' almost grasped by Darwin (1866)    in the year of its publication year - no less! Darwin, even used sweet peas, the exact same plant types as Mendel - despite supposedly never having read it (Note it is apparently fallaciously claimed that there a was a rare 1866 re-print of Mendel's paper discovered in Darwin's library (see Ezra Galun on page 10   ) - rebutted by Mario Livio on page 53 of his book    .

There is the no evidence in his surviving correspondence, or from his library, that Darwin had read Mendel's prior-published theory before he wrote on the same tops to Wallace. Livio does prove that Darwin - a year before his death - did have a copy of another much later (1881) book containing an explanation of Mendel's discovery (even though the edges of the pages - the book being new - were uncut, Darwin could have read it. But it hardly matters.

Darwin, who took German lessons    , and was a well known admitted Duffer at mathematics, almost understood, although from a different research approach, the bombshell significance of Mendel's prior published ideas. However, it was to be years later (after his death) that the scientific world would come to fully understand Mendel's genius. Here then a case of Darwin yet again 'independently' discovering (although not quite understanding in this case) yet another prior-published bombshell discovery! At least so runs the so-called "majority view" - more Interestingly and veraciously, my ID research method throws up some very fascinating results about who actually cited Mendel's (1866) work pre the 1890's and, no doubt, were anyone to try it, would discover even more fascinating results regarding who was apparently first to be second with apparently unique Mendelisms. But I digress. Back to Mudie.

In his own earlier book of 1832, Mudie writes a great deal of text that focuses upon Matthew's topic of forest trees and the effects upon wood of the natural and cultivated circumstances in which it grows. In what follows, we can see his general insights into the effect of time and environmental change on varieties leading to new species and his comparison of this with varietal change under human culture:

Mudie (1832) Page 368:

‘If we are to observe nature, therefore, we must go to the wilds, because, in all cultivated productions, there are secondary characters produced by the artificial treatment, and we have no means of observing a distinction between these, and those which the same individual would have displayed, had it been left to a completely natural state. The longer that the race has been under the domestication and culture, the changes are of course the greater. So much is that the case that in very many both of the plants and animals that have been in a state of domestication since the earliest times of which we have any record, we know nothing with certainty about the parent races in their wild state. As to the species, or if you will the genus we can be certain. The domestic horse has not been cultivated out of an animal with cloven hoofs and horns; and the domestic sheep has never been bred out of any of the ox tribe. So also wheat and barley have not been cultivated out of any species of pulse, neither have Windsor beans at any time been grasses. But within some such limits as these our certain information lies; and for aught we know the parent race may, in its wild state, be before our eyes every day and yet we may not have the means of knowing that it is so. The breeding artificially has been going on for at least three thousand years…’

Mudie (1832) Page 369-370

'But there is another difficulty. When great changes are made on the surface of a country, as when forests are changed into open land, and marshes into corn fields, or any other change that is considerable, the changes of the climate must correspond; and as the wild productions are very much affected by that, they must also undergo changes; and these changes may in time amount to the entire extinction of some of the old tribes, both of plants and of animals, the modification of others to the full extent that the hereditary specific characters admit, and the introduction of not varieties only but of species altogether new.

That not only may but must have been the case. The productions of soils and climates are as varied as these are; and when a change takes place in either of these, if the living productions cannot alter their habits so as to accommodate themselves to the change there is no alternative, but they must perish.'

Mudie (1832) seemed to be recommending that humans engage in trying to approximate a kind of natural process of selection (370-371):

“Cultivation itself will deteriorate, and in time destroy races, if the same race and the same mode of culture be pursued amid general change. Our own times are times of very rapid change, and, upon the whole, of improvement; we dare not, without the certainty of their falling off, continue the same stock and the same seed corn, season after season, and age after age, as was done by our forefathers. The general change of the country, must have change and not mere succession, in that which we cultivate; and thus we must cross the breeds of our animals, and remove the seeds and plants of our vegetables from district to district. There is something of the same kind in human beings..”

Had Mudie read his Forefarshire neighbor's book, published the year before one of his own replicated a unique Matthewism and another touched upon the same heresy?

Did he influence Blyth with some type of Mathewian knowledge contamination so that Blyth's work - that so significantly influenced Darwin - infected Darwin's brain?

Was Blyth more likely than not double-dosed with Matthewian knowledge via his editor Loudon, who reviewed Matthew's book, as well as by Mudie?

I would say so.

What think you Dear Reader? In all probability, can all of this be mere coincidence?

The Case of David Low

  • The Scot Professor David Low of Edinburgh University was apparently twice first to replicate apparently unique Matthewisms.
  • In his book Elements of Practical Agriculture (1834) Low replicated the phrase "Long continued selection".
  • In his book On Landed Property and the Economy of Estates (1844) Low replicated the phrase "Overpowering the less".
  • In his book ‘On Landed Property, and the Economy of Estates’ (1844), on page 546, where The Matthewism 'overpowering the less' is replicated, Low replicated Matthew’s exclusive theme that trees grown by means of artificial selection in nurseries were inferior to those naturally selected by nature. As it was understood at the time, this is what we might call the "Artificial versus Natural Selection Analogy".

The Artificial versus Natural Selection Analogy

1. 'Matthew (1831 pp. 307-308)) wrote

‘The use of the infinite seedling varieties in the families of plants, even in those in a state of nature, differing in luxuriance of growth and local adaptation, seems to be to give one individual (the strongest best circumstance-suited) superiority over others of its kind around, that it may, by overtopping and smothering them, procure room for full extension, and thus affording, at the same time, a continual selection of the strongest, best circumstance suited for reproduction. Man's interference, by preventing this natural process of selection among plants, independent of the wider range of circumstances to which he introduces them, has increased the difference in varieties, particularly in the more domesticated kinds…'

2. Low (1844) wrote:

‘The Wild Pine attains its greatest perfection of growth and form in the colder countries, and on the older rock formations. It is in its native regions of granite, gneiss and the allied deposits, that it grows in extended forests over hundreds of leagues, overpowering the less robust species. When transplanted to the lower plains and subjected to culture, it loses so much of the aspect and characters of the noble original, as scarcely to appear the same. No change can be greater to the habits of a plant than the transportation of this child of the mountain to the shelter and cultivated soil of the nursery; and when the seeds of these cultivated trees are collected and sown again, the progeny diverges more and more from the parent type. Hence one of the reasons why so many worthless plantations of pine appear in the plains of England and Scotland, and why so much discredit has become attached to the culture of the species.’ 

3. Darwin (1844 - unpublished essay) wrote

‘In the case of forest trees raised in nurseries, which vary more than the same trees do in their aboriginal forests, the cause would seem to lie in their not having to struggle against other trees and weeds, which in their natural state doubtless would limit the conditions of their existence…’

4. Wallace (1858 Ternate paper) wrote

‘…those that prolong their existence can only be the most perfect in health and vigour - those who are best able to obtain food regularly, and avoid their numerous enemies. It is, as we commenced by remarking, "a struggle for existence," in which the weakest and least perfectly organized must always succumb.’ [And]: ‘We see, then, that no inferences as to varieties in a state of nature can be deduced from the observation of those occurring among domestic animals. The two are so much opposed to each other in every circumstance of their existence, that what applies to the one is almost sure not to apply to the other. Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature: their very existence depends altogether on human care; so far are many of them removed from that just proportion of faculties, that true balance of organization, by means of which alone an animal left to its own resources can preserve its existence and continue its race.’

Other Replications

Social Connections

Darwin's 'known knowledge' of Low

  • Darwin's far from comprehensive notebooks of books he wanted to read and books he read have no record of Low's books that contain two apparently unique Matthewisms, which Low was apparently first to replicate. However thosenotebooks    do record the following from Darwin: "Advertised. David Low “Treatise on Domestic Animals”; also Illustrations of the Domestic animals of Gt. Britain [D. Low 1842]. must be read carefully." Strangely, or not as the case may be, given that he recommended Low to the Royal Society, there is also no correspondence to or from Low in the much decimated Darwin correspondence archive.

Links to Matthew

  • Low and Matthew shared the same London publisher - Longman and Co (e.g. here   ) and Low also shared Matthew's Black's of Edinburgh publisher    . Indeed, Matthew's 1831 book was published by Blacks of Edinburgh and Longman and Co of London - exactly as was Low's (1847) fifth edition of The Elements of Practical Agriculture.

Low died in May 1859, six months before Darwin's Origin of Species was first published. He is buried in relative obscurity.



Nullius in Verba

Is it more likely than not, given all of this new found information, and weighing it all together, that Matthew influenced Darwin - indirectly - though Low? I would say so. What about you Dear Reader?

And as if all of that is not enough to confirm the potential importance and validity of the F2b2 hypothesis, just see what the new technology that underpins it detected about Darwin's great friend and mentor Charles Lyell: here.

No wonder desperate Darwinists, without even addressing the actual findings, have fallen foul of the Semmelweis Reflex by seeking to dismiss these bombshell findings as based on an invalid research method! Read my position paper {here}.


The F2b2 hypothesis might appear implausible and fraught with uncertainties, but look what it found for us. Robert Mudie and David Low are much neglected scholars who have been given no place in the story of the discovery of natural selection until now.

Thanks to the remarkable ID method, we need now to look deeper into their work and discover more about what they wrote and who they met and influenced.

Were they influenced by Matthew? I think so. Did they in turn influence Darwin, directly and/or indirectly through others with what had influenced them from Mathew's work? I think it far more likely than not.

A full list of apparently unique Matthewisms that have been apparently first replicated by named authors can be found on the "Matthewisms" page on    . If you can find a pre-1831 published use to help dis-confirm the F2B2 hypothesis then please let me know in the comments section of this blog post.

I welcome any comments on the F2B2 hypothesis. 

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