Douglas Dewar

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Douglas Dewar (1875–1957) was a barrister, British civil servant in India, and ornithologist who wrote several books about Indian birds. He wrote widely in newspapers such as The Madras Mail, Pioneer, Times of India and periodicals such as the Civil and Military Gazette and Bird Notes,[1]


Douglas was born in London where his father Dr Dewar practiced at Sloane Street and Hampton Wick. He studied natural science at Jesus College, Cambridge, before joining the Indian civil service in 1898.[2] Dewar married Edith, daughter of Alfred Rawles on 7 March 1902 at Bombay.[3] He was posted Accountant General in Punjab from 1921 to 1924.[4]

Dewar however wrote most on ornithology and wrote numerous books on the birds of India. He particularly favoured the study of birds in life in the field wrote in his Birds of the Plains:

"The ornithological world is peopled by two classes of human beings. There are those who study nature inside the museum with the microscope and scalpel and there are those who live to observe birds In the open and study their habits."

He accuses the museum ornithologists of needlessly multiplying new species and altering names, too much attention being paid to local variations.[5]

In his early education, he had been taught the ideas of evolution and was half-hearted in his acceptance of the principles. Although his early works on ornithology seemed to accept ideas of adaptation and selection, he later became a creationist and published a number of books and debates attacking evolution, and was the founding secretary-treasurer in the Evolution Protest Movement in 1932 along with Bernard Acworth and Lewis Merson Davies,[6] jointly known as the Acworth Circle. He leaned towards the idea of old earth creationism but questioned radiometric dating. His book, The Transformist Illusion published posthumously in 1957 attempted to show the failure of evolution using examples such as the infinitesimal probability of proteins arising out of random mixing, the fossil record, bird anatomy, blood group incompatibilities, and queried evolutionary claims in embryology and vestigial organs. Reviewers pointed out the problems in his objections.[7][8]

The Dewars had a daughter, Millicent, who married Walter Waldron.[9]


Dewar wrote several books mainly on the birds of India, numerous articles in newspapers and other periodicals and later in life wrote critiques on the theory of evolution.


  1. ^ Glimpses of Indian Birds, Foreword.
  2. ^ Denis R. Alexander, Ronald L. Numbers (2010). Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins. University of Chicago Press, p. 320
  3. ^ "Marriages". Sussex Agricultural Express. 11 March 1902. p. 2.
  4. ^ "Indian Shipping Firm's methods. Unfair trade". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. 9 November 1933. p. 5.
  5. ^ New York Times review January 23, 1909, Saturday online
  6. ^
  7. ^ Review by D.S. Robertson of The Transformist Illusion, by Douglas Dewar; Dehoff Publications, Tennessee; 1957; 306 pp. in the Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 1960. online
  8. ^ Numbers, RL (2006). The creationists: from scientific creationism to intelligent design. Harvard University Press. pp. 166–167. ISBN 0-674-02339-0.
  9. ^ "[Personal]". Northampton Mercury. 30 December 1927. p. 5.

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