Thursday, November 01, 2007

"Why Scientists Hate to Talk to the Media"

Everyone has heard about, and many have blogged about, the scientist who recently predicted what the human race would turn into in the future. Making fun of him, and so forth.

Except, he didn't.
A wildly interesting story about the eventual division of mankind into two species by the year 3000 caught my eye over the weekend. The story originally published by the Daily Mail authored by Niall Firth on October 26, 2007 provided astounding predictions for the future of mankind. It was also given a top position in the American news index Drudgereport. The Daily Mail story has graphic displays of the evolution of mankind and film clips of the classic work by H.G. Wells, The Time Machine.

Further, the story piqued my interest because the sources cited were from the eminent London School of Economics. Specifically, a professor, Oliver Curry who received his PHD from the London School of Economics. His dissertation concerns Morality as Natural History: An adaptationist account of ethics, published in 2005. In essence Professor Curry interests are about values and attitudes and where do they come from.


In response to the press releases mentioned in the Daily Mail article, Dr. Curry released the following explanation on October 17, 2007.

"In the summer of 2006 I was commissioned by Bravo Television to write an essay on the future of human evolution. The essay was intended as a science fiction way of illustrating some aspects of evolutionary theory."

"Bravo then sent out a press release on the essay, but did not release the essay itself. As a result, a wildly distorted version of what I had written ended up being reported as science fact in the media. I do not endorse the content of these media reports."


In essence Dr. Curry was asked to write a fictional account of what if and make some projections about some 1,000 years in the future for an episode of a popularized series on Bravo. He never intended that his Essay for Bravo be presented as scientific evidence. An examination of the quotes made in the Daily Mail article referring to a report confuses the peer review research he is conducting and an entertaining essay he never intended to have published as scientific evidence. His words and work are taken out of context.
The Mainstream Media: is there anything you can't trust them to screw up?

1 comment:

  1. I read the prediction of future humanse that was attributed to him and I couldn't help but think that it sounded like a really bad 1970's take off of an HG wells book.

    No wonder...I am relieved.