Supermyths are myths about myths that are created and compounded by experts, spread by pseudo-skeptics and destroyed by evidence. Braced myths are a sub-type of supermyth, created by orthodox expert authorities that are so powerful they are believed to be true by respected scholars who unwittingly promote them as examples of the need to be healthily sceptical of counterknowledge and then, with unintended irony, use them as argument winners to refute other fallacious knowledge.
The Dysology Hypothesis
Letting scholars get away with publishing fallacies and myths signals to others the existence of topics where guardians of good scholarship might be less capable than elsewhere. Such dysology then serves as an allurement to poor scholars to disseminate existing myths and fallacies and to create and publish their own in these topic areas, which leads to a downward spiral of diminishing veracity on particular topics.
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
Open letter to the Royal Society. 20.01.2015
Dear Royal Society
Charles Darwin (FRS), Alfred Russel Wallace, and Richard Dawkins (FRS) and others, among whom I include myself, acknowledge that Patrick Matthew (1831) - in his book On Naval Timber and Arboriculture - published the full theory of natural slection many years before Darwin and Wallace put pen to private notepaper on the topic and 28 years before Darwin and Wallace (1858) had their papers read before the Linnean Society.
Matthew uniquely coined his discovery the 'natural process of selection' and 29 years later Darwin uniquely shuffled Matthew's term into his own unique re-coinage the 'process of natural selection'. Darwin and Wallace each claimed to have arrived at exactly the same theory, used the same terminology and the same unique explanatory examples, independently of Matthew and independently of one another.
The purpose of my open letter, therefore, is to request of the Royal Society an official statement to explain whether the Royal Society will affirm that Patrick Matthew, by dint of his achievement at publishing first one of the greatest discoveries in science, should be officially awarded full priority over both Darwin and Wallace for his great unique breakthrough?
I presume the Royal Society has not unofficially changed its views on the rules of priority? In this regard I wish to remind the Royal Society of the Arago Effect to which it has adhered in all other disputes over priority for discovery in science - which is that being first is everything.
Ignoring the convention of priority, and specifically ignoring the Arago Effect, Richard Dawkins (2010) and others have created a new, unique in the history of scientific discovery, "Dawkins' Demand Rule" , which is that Dawkins demands that Matthew should not have priority over Darwin and Wallace because it was previously their mere un-evidenced 'knowledge belief' that Matthew's unique views went unnoticed. And because Dawkins demands that Matthew should have "trumpeted his discovery from the rooftops" at a time of great social unrest and tension when his political ideas, linked to and including his natural selection discovery, were criminally seditious and heretical. However, newly available Big Data research techniques reveal solid evidence, from the independently verifiable published literature, that Matthew's (1831) book was, in fact, (all pre 1858) cited by other naturalists known to Darwin/Wallace - including Loudon (who edited and published two of Blyth's influential papers), Robert Chambers (who wrote the highly influential book on evolution - the Vestiges of Creation) and Prideaux John Selby (who edited and published Wallace's Sarawak paper). (see: my peer reviewed paper for this new evidence http://britsoccrim.org/new/volume14/pbcc_2014_sutton.pdf ).
If the Royal Society is quietly in approval of an unannounced exception to the rule of priority in the case of Patrick Matthew would it be so good as to explain why? And if so, could the Royal Society please go further than remaining publicly silent on this important issue of contested priority by making an official statement regarding whether or not they have adopted a unique and biased Darwinist 'made for Matthew' rule?
Dr Mike Sutton (Reader in Criminology and Sociology) School of Social Sciences Nottingham Trent University