I honestly, and obviously naively, thought that I had seen the stupidest speculation passed off as science news with the LiveScience “report” that humans will be marrying robots within 45 years (at least in Massachusetts) [The story that caused me to stop reading LiveScience].
“Humanity may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years’ time as predicted by HG Wells, an expert has said.”
‘The human race would peak in the year 3000, he said – before a decline due to dependence on technology.”
“In the nearer future, humans will evolve in 1,000 years into giants between 6ft and 7ft tall, he predicts, while life-spans will have extended to 120 years, Dr Curry claims.”
“Physical appearance, driven by indicators of health, youth and fertility, will improve, he says, while men will exhibit symmetrical facial features, look athletic, and have squarer jaws, deeper voices and bigger penises.”
“Chins would recede, as a result of having to chew less on processed food.”
One of two things is happening here. Either Dr. Curry is the so-bad-it-hurts-my-head, absolute worst evolutionary theorist I have ever encountered, or the BBC is distorting the heck out of what he said to make it sound as though he is the worst evolutionary theorist I have ever encountered.
At this point, I was prepared to enter into a tirade about people who know nothing about evolution talking entirely out of their posteriors, but something told me that no self-respecting evolutionary theorist could say anything this silly and not mean it as a parody or an April Fool’s joke. And guess what? Dr. Curry wasn’t this silly. Not by a long shot.
This BBC story is one of many to have picked up these “expert predictions” as though they had merit. However, these were not predictions at all, but intentionally amusing speculations written in a short piece for a television station. As Dr. Curry put it on his website, “The Bravo Evolution Report was a brief ‘think piece’, commissioned by Bravo Television to celebrate their 21st anniversary. Writing about the future of evolution for Bravo seemed to offer a fun, ‘sci fi’ way to introduce some evolutionary principles to a popular audience.”
As Dr. Curry notes in a remarkably restrained understatement, “Unfortunately, when filtered through headlines and talkshows, the coverage did not faithfully reflect the aim and scope of the original piece”.
My head hurts, and it’s the BBC’s fault.