The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Francis Hitching: Commonly quoted by creationists
Alan Feuerbacher

Francis Hitching is the author of, among other books, The Neck of the Giraffe. He believes evolution is directed by some sort of cosmic force, but does not like Darwinism. He wrote in this book [The Neck of the Giraffe, Ticknor & Fields, New Haven, Connecticut, 1982, p. 12 (p. 4, paperback)] that:

For all its acceptance in the scientific world as the great unifying principle of biology, Darwinism, after a century and a quarter, is in a surprising amount of trouble. Evolution and Darwinism are often taken to mean the same thing. But they don't. Evolution of life over a very long period of time is a fact, if we are to believe evidence gathered during the last two centuries from geology, paleontology, molecular biol- ogy and many other scientific disciplines. Despite the many believers in Divine creation who dispute this ..., the probability that evolution has occurred approaches certainty in scientific terms.... On the other hand Darwinism (or neo-Darwinism, its modern version) is a theory that seeks to explain evolution. It has not, contrary to general belief, and despite very great efforts, been proved.
Research on Hitching turned up the following: Hitching is basically a sensational TV script writer and has no scientific credentials. In The Neck of the Giraffe he claimed to be a member of the Royal Archaeological Institute, but an inquiry to that institute said he was not. He implied in the "Acknowledgements" of The Neck of the Giraffe that paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould had helped in the writing of the book, but upon inquiry Gould said he did not know him and had no information about him. Hitching also implied that his book had been endorsed by Richard Dawkins, but upon inquiry Dawkins stated: "I know nothing at all about Francis Hitching. If you are uncovering the fact that he is a charlatan, good for you. His book, The Neck of the Giraffe, is one of the silliest and most ignorant I have read for years."

Hitching believes in the paranormal and has written on Mayan pyramid energy and for some "In Search Of..." episodes on BBC television. The reference work Contemporary Authors, Vol. 103, page 208, lists him as a member of the Society for Psychical Research, the British Society of Dowsers and of the American Society of Dowsers. His writings include: Earth Magic, Dowsing: The Psi Connection, Mysterious World: An Atlas of the Unexplained, Fraud, Mischief, and the Supernatural and Instead of Darwin.

Hitching's book spends much of its time attacking Darwinian evolution, borrowing heavily and uncritically from young-earth creationist arguments. Many of Hitching's "references" are lifted from young-earth creationist literature rather than being quoted directly from their original sources. One magazine had this to say [Creation/Evolution Newsletter, 7, No. 5, pp. 15-16, September/October 1987]:

Speaking of the Biblical Creation Society, there was an interesting letter in the January 1983 issue of their journal Biblical Creation (p. 74) concerning a review of Francis Hitching's 1982 book The Neck of the Giraffe. Hitching's book is strongly anti- Darwinist, and is enthusiastically hailed by most creationists (though he also pokes fun at fundamentalist creationists). The letter, by creationist Malcolm Bowden (author of The Rise of the Evolution Fraud), points out that Hitching simply "culled his information from the creationist literature." This is indeed the case: many creationist works are cited favorably (Anderson, Coffin, Clark, Daly, Davidheiser, Dewar, Gish, Morris, Segraves, Whitcomb, and Wysong, plus various anti-Darwinists). Hitching does cite Bowden's earlier book Ape-Men -- Fact or Fallacy?, but Bowden accuses Hitching of "lifting" several passages and illustrations from his book without acknowledgment: in other words, plagiarism. "Hitchin's [sic] book is largely an exposition of the creationists [sic] viewpoint from the beginning to almost the end," Bowden points out.... Hitching is also a paranormalist, an advocate of psychic evolution.... [Hitching's book] Earth Magic is a wild, extremely entertaining and thoroughly psychic interpretation of megalithic structures.... Hitching also includes in his scheme cosmic cataclysms, Atlantis, pyramidology, dowsing, ESP, miraculous healing, and astrology.

Home Page | Browse | Search | Feedback | Links
The FAQ | Must-Read Files | Index | Creationism | Evolution | Age of the Earth | Flood Geology | Catastrophism | Debates