Hoary old chestnut

BBC: Darwin's theory under attack [Link removed - see below]
…The Galapagos Islands, famed for its giant tortoises, is where Darwin came up with his theory of evolution by natural selection.

NO "IT" BLOODY WASN'T. Shame on you, BBC, for perpetuating this myth: Darwin came up with his theory of evolution by means of Natural Selection in London, after he'd returned from his five-year voyage around the world aboard HMS Beagle. (Shame on you as well for referring to the clearly plural Galapagos Islands as "it".)

The BBC is contradicting its own potted biography of Darwin, which correctly states (my emphasis added):

Upon his return to England in 1836, Darwin tried to solve the riddles of these observations and the puzzle of how species evolve.

[The Darwin's theory under attack headline on the first article quoted above is equally inaccurate, by the way: the article makes absolutely no mention of anyone attacking Darwin's theory.]

I should probably get out more.

Postscript (18-Oct-03): I didn't get out more, of course; I stayed in and wrote an email to the BBC, telling them about the mistakes in their article. They have now replaced the offending piece with a corrected version entitled, Did Darwin evolve his theory? (which is still a misleading title, by the way). The corrected section now reads:

[Darwin's] observation of different types of finches on the Galapagos Islands - also famed for its giant tortoises - also helped mould his ideas. […] When he returned to England in 1836, Darwin used his knowledge of the animal and plant life he had seen to try to solve the riddle of how species evolve.

The finch observations weren't actually Darwin's—a friend of his called Gould drew his attention to the fact that the Galapagos finches were closely related—and the BBC is still referring to the Galapagos Islands in the singular (which I guess is OK, as I keep referring to the BBC as they), but I'm not prepared to split hairs.

Bad-mouth Charlie Darwin, and you have Richard Carter to contend with!

Published
Filed under: Nonsense

By Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *