All men will have big willies

October 21st, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, cash-for-"stories", evolutionary psychology, references | 57 Comments »

This article was cut to a deflating wiffle in the paper, 650 down to 400 words, here is the last version I touched.

Ben Goldacre
Saturday October 21, 2006
The Guardian

“All men will have big willies”, said the headline of the Sun. This was the story of Dr Oliver Curry, “evolution theorist” from the Darwin@LSE research centre. “By the year 3000, the average human will be 6½ft tall, have coffee-coloured skin and live for 120 years, new research predicts. And the good news does not end there. Blokes will be chuffed to learn their willies will get bigger – and women’s boobs will become more pert.”

Where did this story come from? And does it stand up? Well, what has been represented as important “new research” is in fact just a rather fanciful essay from a political theorist at LSE, and while it’s not ridiculous, there’s quite a lot to take issue with in the science.

For example, Dr Oliver Curry seems to think that geographical and social mobility is a new thing, and that this will produce uniformly coffee coloured humans in 1,000 years. Oliver has perhaps not been to Brazil, where black African, white European, and Amerindian have lived side by side and bred together for many centuries. The Brazilians have not gone coffee coloured, they in fact still show a wide range of skin pigmentation, from black to tan. This is because skin pigmentation seems to be coded for by a fairly small number of genes and probably doesn’t blend and even out as Oliver – a political theorist, not a scientist – suggests.

What about his other ideas? Like the one that ultimately, through extreme socioeconomic divisions in society, humans will divide into two species: one tall, thin symmetrical, clean, healthy, intelligent and creative, the other short, stocky, asymmetrical, grubby, unhealthy and not as bright?

Dividing into species requires some fairly strong pressures, like geographical divisions: even then, the Tasmanian aboriginals, who were isolated for 10,000 years, can still have children perfectly easily with white Europeans. “Sympatric speciation”, a division into species where the two groups live in the same place, as Curry is proposing, is even tougher. For a while, many scientists didn’t think it happened at all. It would require that socioeconomic divides were absolute, although history shows that attractive impoverished females and wealthy ugly men can be remarkably resourceful in love.

I could go on (the full press release is at badscience.net for your amusement). But the trivial problems in this trivial essay are not the issue: what’s odd is how it became a “boffins today said” science story, all over the media, with the BBC, the Telegraph, the Sun, the Scotsman, Metro and many more lapping it up, without criticism.

How does this happen? The “research” – or “essay” – was paid for by Bravo, a bikini and fast car “men’s TV channel” celebrating its 21st year in operation. Just to give you a flavour of Bravo, tonight at 11pm you can catch the movie classic Temptations: “When a group of farm workers find that the bank intends to foreclose on their property, they console each other with a succession of steamy romps. This might go some way to explaining the “pert breasts” angle of Curry’s “new research”.

More and more, empty “science” stories are being generated by public relations companies, who team up with academics, and commission some spurious piece of “research” that will be attractive to the media, where the company is name-checked. The classic examples are the “equations for” stories. None of Dr Curry’s doubtless excellent scholarly work in political theory has ever generated media coverage like his silly futuristic essay. I spoke to friends on other newspapers (the Guardian didn’t cover the story, mercifully) who told me they had stand up rows with news desks, explaining that this was not a science news story. But the selective pressure on national newspapers is for journalists who compliantly write up this kind of commercial puff nonsense as “science news”, while religious fundamentalism of all varieties is conquering the world. Bravo!

A Polite Request:

Are you an academic who has been approached to give your name and affiliation over to commercial promotional activity like this? Did it make you feel dirty? Email me in confidence, ben@badscience.net … it’ll make you feel better.

Incidentally, we discuss this issue in the Guardian Science Podcast that’s out on Monday. The excellent Dr James Randerson PhD, in particular, is endearingly indignant on the subject.

www.guardian.co.uk/science/podcasts

The Press Release:

EVOLUTION STUDY REVEALS WHAT MAN WILL LOOK LIKE IN YEAR 3000 AND BEYOND

Research predicts humans will have coffee-coloured skin, grow to an average of 6 ½ feet and live for up to 120 years by the year 3000

Humans to begin to diverge into genetic ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ within 10,000 years

The human species is set to evolve within a thousand years into a ‘coffee’ coloured race of 6 ½ foot giants who can live up for up to 120 years, according to a new research project released today.

Evolution expert Dr Oliver Curry of the Darwin@LSE research centre at the London School of Economics embarked on a two-month project to investigate the impact of technological, biological and environmental factors on the future evolution of man over the next 1,000, 10,000 and 100,000 years.

The report, commissioned by leading men’s television channel Bravo to celebrate their 21st anniversary, predicts that the human species is set to reach its peak in the year 3000, growing taller and living longer thanks to improved nutrition, lifestyles and increased medical knowledge. They will also modify themselves – through technology or otherwise – to attract partners and will therefore be better looking. ‘Race’ will also be a thing of the past – by the year 3000 all humans will have ‘coffee’ coloured skin.

However, the research also predicts that after 10,000 years mankind’s reliance on technology will allow genes to degenerate; for example, the immune system will deteriorate through an over-reliance on medicine. Looking further into the future, 100,000 years from now, thousands of years of mate choice and sexual selection will create greater and greater genetic inequality, which could see humans diverge into two separate sub-species – a genetic upper class and a genetic underclass.

1,000 years from now

The Bravo Evolution Report indicates that people of the year 3000 will have reached the peak of human enhancement, leading the longest, healthiest and most accomplished lives in the entire history of the human race. Improved nutrition and understanding of the human body will see people grow taller, with men reaching an average height of between six and seven feet, while life spans will also be far greater, with humans living for up to 120 years.

Physical features will be driven by indicators of health, youth and fertility that men and women have evolved to look for in potential mates, the accomplishment of which will be aided by cosmetic surgery and advanced body modifying techniques. As a result, men will exhibit symmetrical facial features, athleticism and the classic signs of high testosterone such as a square jaw, deeper voice and a bigger penis. Meanwhile, women will exhibit lighter-coloured skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, symmetrical features and smooth hairless skin.

Across both sexes, regional variations in skin tone are also expected to be smoothed out as humans move towards having a uniform ‘coffee’ coloured skin tone. However, eating processed foods means that there is less chewing to do, so future humans will have less developed jaws and shorter chins.

10,000 years from now

While mankind reaches a peak in 1,000 year’s time, further in the future the outlook for mankind is bleak and as the report predicts that the human species will pay the genetic price for its overwhelming reliance on technology. Spoilt by the gadgets around them, the research predicts that humans may come to resemble domesticated animals. Many key skills such as communicating and interacting with others will be degraded, and emotions such as love, sympathy, trust and respect are predicted to diminish leaving humans less able to care for others or perform in teams.

Far away from the peak experienced in the year 3000, humans will look more juvenile. This might make women look younger and more attractive, but it would be yet another factor, following on from the impact of human losing their jaw structure due to a lack of chewing, in men becoming ‘chinless wonders’.

There is also a very real danger the human reliance on technology leading to defects in genetic make-up and diseases – such as cancer not being weeded out of the gene pool. The increasing obsession with hygiene and reliance on medicine are also likely to lead to deterioration in the immune system.

As the size of infants continues to rise, natural mothers will also be forced to resort to caesarian sections. A rise in genetic engineering may allow humans to replace faulty stretches of DNA and may also lead to more genetic uniformity as humanity strives for perfection.

100,000 years from now

Much further in the future it is predicted that sexual selection – that is, being choosy about with whom one mates – will create more and more genetic inequality. With the genetic elite moving in ever more exclusive circles and losing contact with the rest of society, it is expected that new varieties of human will be created.

Mankind may be divided into two distinct sub-species – the ‘gracile’ descendents of a genetic upper class and the ‘robust’ descendents of a genetic underclass. The genetic ‘haves’ will be tall, thin, symmetrical, clean, healthy, intelligent and creative. The genetic ‘have-nots’ will be short, stocky, asymmetrical, grubby, unhealthy and less intelligent.

The Bravo Evolution Report was researched and prepared by Dr Oliver Curry, of the Darwin@LSE research centre at the London School of Economics.

Dr Curry comments: ‘The Bravo Evolution Report suggests that the future of man will be a story of the good, the bad and the ugly. While science and technology have the potential to create an ideal habitat for humanity over the next millennium, there is the possibility of a monumental genetic hangover over the subsequent millennia due to an over-reliance on technology reducing our natural capacity to resist disease, or our evolved ability to get along with each other. After that, things could get ugly, with the possible emergence of genetic ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.”

Johnny Webb, Director of Programmes at Bravo says, “The Bravo Evolution report makes fascinating and rather uncomfortable reading, and it is amazing to think that in just one thousand years time away everything will be so different.’

Notes to editors

The Bravo Evolution report was commissioned by Bravo to celebrate its 21st anniversary.

About Bravo

Bravo has been entertaining men since 1985, and is the UK’s leading entertainment destination for men 16-44. Now in its 21st year, Bravo premieres an eclectic and award-winning blend of programming covering an expanse of genres that boast the cutting edge original productions I Predict A Riot hosted by James Brown and the gritty documentary series The Real Football Factories with Danny Dyer.

Home to a multitude of exclusive crime documentaries and raw factual entertainment, Bravo is a mix of high-octane action as well as the home of covert operation drama David Mamet’s The Unit starring Dennis Heysbert, cult smash Dog The Bounty Hunter and hit US comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

It is the exclusive sporting home of Serie A Italian football presented by James Richardson, and is responsible for bringing the massively successful Emmy Award-winning Ultimate Fighting Championships to the UK.

Dr Oliver Curry is available for interview

For further information please contact Peter Mountstevens, Kat Taylor or Matt Beake or Lesley Land at Taylor Herring on 0208 206


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57 Responses



  1. jobrag said,

    October 21, 2006 at 8:01 am

    If after several million years of evolution we don’t all have big willies already why should the next thousand years make a difference?

  2. le canard noir said,

    October 21, 2006 at 8:51 am

    Avoiding the obvious gags, such as “speak for yourself”, it would be interesting to know how the commissioning of this piece came about. How did all the (undoubted) meja grads at Bravo find Dr Curry and get hime to knock out a few hundred words. Was alcohol involved?

  3. AitchJay said,

    October 21, 2006 at 9:10 am

    Maybe the reporters confused “science” and “science fiction”..

  4. Tony Jackson said,

    October 21, 2006 at 10:46 am

    Oh …surely Zager and Evans did all this (and more entertainingly too) back in 1969:

    In the year 5555
    Your arms are hanging limp at your sides
    Your legs got nothing to do
    Some machine, doing that for you

    In the year 6565
    Ain’t gonna need no husband, won’t need no wife
    You’ll pick your son, pick your daughter too
    From the bottom of a long glass tube

    frodisman.com/2525.html

  5. James said,

    October 21, 2006 at 10:57 am

    There’s quite a good response to that ‘research’ here:

    scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/10/utter_nonsense.php

    From a Biologist at the University of Minnesota. I’d tell you what the gist was but the URL kinda gives it away.

  6. Kimpatsu said,

    October 21, 2006 at 11:16 am

    ‘“All men will have big willies”, said the headline of the Sun. ‘
    Whereas Sun readers are already big pricks…

  7. ed26h said,

    October 21, 2006 at 11:39 am

    A friend of mine (doing a PhD in Philosophy of Biology) wrote about this weird Curry article for our website yesterday and raised some of the same issues. Sorry to blatantly self-link, but it’s relivent!

  8. stever said,

    October 21, 2006 at 11:55 am

    The print version has been savaged again to a point where it loses half its of its impact and ends on a whimper. whats the point of that? and why dont they put the full version online atleast.I really think you should get it sorted so you get an agreed word limit. ‘Thats newspapers’ isnt good enough. grrr.

  9. Dr Aust said,

    October 21, 2006 at 12:15 pm

    ed26h wrote:

    “A friend of mine (doing a PhD in Philosophy of Biology) wrote about this weird Curry article for our website yesterday and raised some of the same issues. Sorry to blatantly self-link, but it’s relevant!”

    Yes, couple of good points there.

    The wider issue, as Ben is pointing out, is why this farrago of nonsense got blanket coverage as “a science story”.

    Wonder if it would have had such legs if the “theory” had been written by a journalist concocting some “futurology”?

    I suspect not, since, although the story would have been the same, ti could not have been started – “sold”…? – by saying “Evolutionary experts claim….”

  10. monkeychicken said,

    October 21, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    Never let the science get in the way of a good story.

    Seriously though, I actually find it quite sinister (sorry you left handed people out there) as it almost harps back to the eugenics of the early to mid 20th century, that people of a lower socioeconomic class are somehow of a poorer genetic stock. Complete right-wing tosh of course.

    In any case, I already have a big willie.

  11. raygirvan said,

    October 21, 2006 at 1:46 pm

    If after several million years of evolution we don’t all have big willies already why should the next thousand years make a difference?

    Quite. Compared to other primates, we already do.

  12. Ben Goldacre said,

    October 21, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    “The print version has been savaged again to a point where it loses half its of its impact and ends on a whimper. ”

    really? bollocks, cant bear to look. it was only 650 words too, ‘s what it normally comes out at, ish. i’m just going to have to start filing much much shorter, two shite ones in a row is getting embarrassing. in the life suppl it was pretty much exactly 440 every week, no variation. i take the piss some weeks and try and get more space, but overall its so much safer being able to create a comic/narrative tempo in a predictable length. bugger bugger.

  13. Ben Goldacre said,

    October 21, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    ok i just read it on the gn site. what a deflating experience, i spent ages on it too. gutted. oh well. about 80,000 people will read it here at least. gutted.

  14. Dean Morrison said,

    October 21, 2006 at 7:10 pm

    It should also be pointed out that for speciation to occur -the same selection pressures need to be in place for a long period of time..

    To assume that we will be living the same type of lifestyle we are living today for the next 100,000 years is a bit presumptious. At current levels of sea level rise you might as well say we’ll evolve into an aquatic species with webbed feet and another with very long legs.

    I had a look at the LSE website – and it does suggest they do aim to pursue some valid lines of research – but I think that the London School of Economics looks a little out of it’s depth on this one – and am surprised that Dr Curry is described as an ‘evolutionary theorist’.

    www.empg.org/

    …………………………

    Ben – it seems like you’ll have to evolve a more attention grabbing prose style.

    Perhaps you should have titled the article ‘Bollocks and Big Willies’ ????

  15. Coobeastie said,

    October 21, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    It’s also been mentioned on some feminist blogs that it’s amazing how all women will evolve into a current Western ideal of beauty. Because in no way have paridigms of beauty changed in the past.

    And the separate species underclass thing? Eugenics, much? The guy’s probably angling for the reestablishment of a Professorship of Eugenics and sees it as his way to get tenure.

  16. Robert Carnegie said,

    October 21, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    Never mind speciation by natural selection, I bet Microsoft genetic engineering will be incompatible with anyone else’s.

  17. Robert Carnegie said,

    October 21, 2006 at 8:59 pm

    …oh, and: if it’s this easy to get a spoof science story up, beware of the Family Values Association. If there is one. If not then there soon will be, probably religious or political or something. In fact is this where stories about drug abuse and mental illness etc come from? Just a thought.

  18. Ben Rood said,

    October 21, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    Ben, are you sure about Brazil ? A lot of Brazilians are coffee-coloured (“moreno”). And as the different ethnic groups have tended to stick together to a certain extent, and have different social positions and regional origins within Brazil, wouldn’t this account for the range of skin pigmentation without considering genetics.

    (I will happily be corrected as I know next to nothing on genetics – just thought I’d divert the discussion away from willies and eugenics)

  19. Junkmonkey said,

    October 21, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    Re post No. 4’s Zager and Evans lyrics. What about Blue Mink’s contribution to the pop/genetics debate: Melting Pot:

    ‘Take a pinch of white man
    Wrap him up in black skin
    Add a touch of blue blood
    And a little bitty bit of red Indian boy
    Oh like a Curly Latin kinkies
    Oh Lordy, Lordy, mixed with yellow Chinkees, yeah
    You know you lump it all together
    And you got a recipe for a get along scene
    Oh what a beautiful dream
    If it could only come true, you know, you know

    What we need is a great big melting pot
    Big enough enough enough to take
    The world and all its got And keep it stirring for a hundred years or more
    And turn out coffee coloured people by the score’

    Curiously, ‘Melting Pot’ was also released in 1969. I suspect our Dr. Curry’s research was merely listening to the Greatest Hits of 1969.

  20. Tessa K said,

    October 22, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    Stupid, ugly lowersocio-economic class? Not as long as there are Posh and Becks and their ilk. Footballers don’t need to be smart or, as Wayne Rooney shows, beautiful.

    There will always be less academic, inarticulate and let’s call it like it is – thick – people who are rich, famous and desired because they have some other skill, even if that is just self-publicising. And then there is the royal family…

  21. Mong H Tan, PhD said,

    October 22, 2006 at 3:07 pm

    Hello, BadScience Readers-Thinkers, Everybody, Mind, and Spirit! :)

    Well done, Dr. Ben Goldacre! Didn’t I point out that the LSE was associated with Bad Science of the Dawkinsian kind here, [url=http://badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=8220#8220]Critical thinking in education[/url] (BadScienceUK; August 15), with the 30th anniversary publication of Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene?

    If Dawkins—a pseudo-Darwinist—could run around spreading his Evolutionism (especially in The Selfish Gene, and now The God Delusion) as a Darwinian Science, why wouldn’t Curry—a political theorist, not a scientist—do likewise, when opportunities come knocking?

    Thank you all for your kind attention and cooperation in this matter. Happy reading, thinking, scrutinizing, and enlightening! :)

    Best wishes, Mong 10/22/6usct9:07a; author [URL=http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0595379907]Gods, Genes, Conscience[/URL] and [URL=http://www.blogger.com/profile/18548948]Gods, Genes, Conscience: Global Dialogues Now[/URL]; a cyberspace hermit-philosopher of Modern Mind, whose works are based on the current advances in interdisciplinary science and integrative psychology of Science and Religion worldwide; ethically, morally; metacognitively, and objectively.

  22. Dean Morrison said,

    October 22, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    Hang on a minute – isn’t that last post convincing proof that intellectually challenged trolls are living amongst us?

    Can we safely assume he has a small willy?

  23. Junkmonkey said,

    October 22, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    I think so. And I guess he uses it to type with too ‘cos neither of the links he provides works in any meaningful way.

  24. pv said,

    October 23, 2006 at 12:14 am

    “Can we safely assume he has a small willy?”
    Dean, Mong H Tan is an anagram of Thong Man. And I think we cane safely say that Thong Man doesn’t have a willy – of any dimension. Rather, he is an one!

  25. AitchJay said,

    October 23, 2006 at 5:16 am

    ‘Mong’ is also a very un-PC insult, though this doesn’t advance the discussion in any way..

  26. MostlySunny said,

    October 23, 2006 at 9:51 am

    *wind up alert*

  27. kim said,

    October 23, 2006 at 10:07 am

    This is off-topic, but did anyone else see the study reported in The Times that says Australian researchers had found a correlation between watching tv and autism in children? The argument seemed to be that in areas where it rains a lot, the incidence of autism is higher, and this is because when it rains children stay indoors and watch television.

    I may not be doing full justice to the argument, but it does look like yet another case of “correlation does not prove causation”.

  28. superburger said,

    October 23, 2006 at 10:39 am

    maybe watching TV whilst being given the MMR jab causes autism?

  29. Delster said,

    October 23, 2006 at 11:04 am

    thats proves it then… i’m not autistic and i don’t watch TV. Case closed!

  30. Nenya said,

    October 23, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    Does anyone else think it is getting a bit out of control that the media are hyping up fears over autism to such a degree? Where is this leading in the long-term?

    At present there are fears of TERRIBLE consequences of autism! “DONT TAKE MMR – it will give your child AUTISM!” threatened the papers. If parents in the halcyon days surrounding the millennium were prepared to let their children die of measles or be infertile from rubella then this autism thing must be really terrible! Better not be hanging out with the autism kids. etc etc.

    I know its also off topic but when I feel a rant coming it’s usually unstoppable :)

  31. Delster said,

    October 23, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    Nenya,

    There has been quite a lot said about MMR / Autism on this site. Have a look at the MMR link on the side bar (right side of this page towards the top) for all the articles and comments associated with them…. but it’ll take you a while to read them all!

  32. Tessa K said,

    October 23, 2006 at 1:02 pm

    >

    In that case, Britain and Ireland should have massive incidence of autism with our high rainfall.

  33. erikringmar said,

    October 23, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    I met this guy briefly when I taught at the LSE. He is one of those “the country that controls magnesium controls the world” kind of guys who explains everything with the help of one big theory. It may work in biology but it doesn’t work in the social sciences. Someone should have stopped him — his PhD supervisor — from giving the LSE a bad name.

    This is a good example of how easily the soft social sciences like political science fall victim to cranks who claim to do “science.” There have been one wave after another of such pseudo-scientification. Evolutionary theory is, I’m afraid, the latest fashion. God help us.

    I blog a bit about it here: ringmar.net/forgethefootnotes/?p=142

  34. Nenya said,

    October 23, 2006 at 5:39 pm

    Delster – I have done. It’s partly from reading a bit more of the truth here than we hear in the media that it irritates me so much that there is so much half-truth and evasion in everyday life these days.

  35. pv said,

    October 23, 2006 at 5:45 pm

    “In that case, Britain and Ireland should have massive incidence of autism with our high rainfall.”
    Not to mention parts of India, Bangladesh, the Amazon basin…

  36. kim said,

    October 24, 2006 at 10:03 am

    Here’s a link to one of the autism news stories so you can judge for yourselves:

    news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/article1919102.ece

    Must apologise – I said it was an Australian study but it was an American one.

  37. Delster said,

    October 24, 2006 at 10:11 am

    Nenya,

    have to admit i’ve always taken a large pinch of salt with anything i read in the papers or through other media but since seeing this site i makes you realise just how bad it can get.

    Tessa,

    Amen to that…. live near Dublin and i used to think England got a lot of rain!

  38. Nenya said,

    October 24, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    It’s surprising how often you assume you are in the wettest areas. I live in Newcastle and everyone here “knows” they are in the rainiest parts of the country. Yet in fact several statistics show that it is one of the driest areas. Perception can be a very difficult thing to master – hence the problems we have when we are given bad/half-baked information in the first place.

  39. RS said,

    October 24, 2006 at 7:27 pm

    Isn’t Darwin@LSE the evolutionary psychology section of LSE staffed with ex-social scientists jumping onto the just-so stories bandwagon?

  40. bootboy said,

    October 24, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    It’s a pretty shocking article. You would think that they might even have got somebody who has a basic grasp of theories of speciation to offer some armchair speculate, rather than this sci-fi fan.

    It’s worth remembering that political science is mostly just a branch of propaganda. It concerns itself with the problem of how best to obscure the fact that a tiny number of people run the show and the rest of us are supposed to eat, sleep, work, consume and die.

    Indeed, much the same can be said for a significant proportion of the ‘soft sciences’ and the liberal arts in general. The flight to post-modernism has released these thinkers from any connection to reality. The frequent borrowing of scientific terminology and the application of concepts in domains where they do not belong is little more than a con trick to make themselves difficult to understand – precisely the opposite motives to science. The Sokal affair showed, rather conclusively to my mind, that there is no objective test which allows you to distinguish between rigorous thought and out and out bullshit in the domain. Therefore the bullshiters prosper – it’s simply easier to produce.

    Incidentally, Ben, you should have a tantrum with the Guardian about the lack of a word-count in advance. You are on very strong ground – you can argue the fact that it is somewhat dodgy to edit out explanatory clauses from an article which criticises sloppy scientific standards. Your negotiating position also benefits from the fact that you have a real job and are in a position to tell them to get lost if they annoy you too much. Finally, I’d be fairly confident that your pieces are very popular – according to my random straw-polling of friends who are not of a scientific bent anyway. I’m also a scientist / journalist combo and it works for me!

  41. C said,

    October 25, 2006 at 2:21 am

    You gotta love the way making stuff up gets called “research.”

  42. Tessa K said,

    October 25, 2006 at 1:31 pm

    >

    Sadly, it’s the advertising that rules. Columns are cut to fit round the adverts. A newspaper is a business before it is a source of information.

  43. Mojo said,

    October 25, 2006 at 3:13 pm

    It’s just a bit of a shame that the daily science page they promised us when they axed the Thursday science section often seems to be three quarters adverts.

  44. gurfgurt said,

    October 25, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    I am the author of the following:

    ‘When a group of farm workers find that the bank intends to foreclose on their property, they console each other with a succession of steamy romps.’

    Hooray!

  45. bootboy said,

    October 25, 2006 at 3:42 pm

    “Sadly, it’s the advertising that rules. Columns are cut to fit round the adverts. A newspaper is a business before it is a source of information.”

    Yes, but the sub-editors who do the cutting are more likely to organise the space so that they cut articles by journos who don’t complain than articles by journos who have hissy fits about cuts.

  46. jdc325 said,

    October 25, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    #44:

    I was one of the farm workers.

  47. gurfgurt said,

    October 25, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    wAHEY!

  48. terry hamblin said,

    October 25, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    Dr Curry can’t possibly be right because by then all Daily mail readers will have died of measles.

  49. woja said,

    October 25, 2006 at 11:40 pm

    Funny thing about this story was that I first came across it via a mate who told me it was a Bravo 21st Anniversary opinion piece, so I wasn’t surprised it was such a slanted piece of fiction. What did surprise me, however, was that I heard it later being reported as “research” when the original context was certainly “opinion”.
    In this case I was lucky, I knew the original context.

  50. gkc said,

    November 9, 2006 at 11:06 am

    Does nobody read H.G.Wells’ “The Time Machine” any more?

    His description of the two races is very similar to Wells’ Eloi and Morlocks (except that Curry’s Eloi are about twice as tall as Wells’!)

  51. Dick Cheney said,

    November 15, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    Men already have big willies – have you ever seen the size of a chimp’s or gorilla’s wanger?

  52. Ben Goldacre said,

    November 17, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    Oliver Curry seems to be trying to wriggle out of this now:

    web.mac.com/scottukgb/iWeb/OliverCurry/Future.html

    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.
    The piece aimed to illustrate how, in the light of our understanding of basic evolutionary principles, we might think about the future of our species. Thus it was not primarily an attempt to make specific predictions about the future of human evolution. Rather, it presented a set of scenarios illustrating what course evolution might take under various conditions.
    For example, the article touches on how, if it becomes possible to genetically modify our physical appearance, such modifications will be guided by our evolved mate preferences. It points out how an over-reliance on technology could reduce the selection pressure on the ‘raw material’ of human nature, thereby enabling it to degrade. And it discusses the conditions under which we might see the emergence of various sub-species of human.
    I thought that the story might make the back pages of a couple of newspapers, and spark off a few interesting discussions on local radio. However, Bravo’s press release and illustration generated an astonishing level of interest, not only in Britain but worldwide. The story was covered by every national newspaper in the UK, by Sky News and ITN, by over 25 radio stations, and was the ‘most emailed story’ on the BBC News website.
    Unfortunately, when filtered through headlines and talkshows, the coverage did not faithfully reflect the aim and scope of the original piece (which was not released).
    For those of you interested in the original essay, see below.

    i have to assume he was paid, i suppose i might possibly be wrong, i asked him about that when i emailed him but he didn’t answer. my take on this is that if you take satans shilling – as we might reasonably guess he did – then he owns your soul.

    If Oliver Curry has a problem with this being styled as his “research” then he shouldn’t be blaming the media for misrepresenting it, he should be blaming Taylor Herring, the PR company he was working with (by choice, not as part of his day job) because they called it “research” in the very first word of their press release, and then go on to use the term repeatedly throughout.

  53. RhondaRShearer said,

    March 6, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    You wrote “while it’s not ridiculous…” Exactly how is this set of absurd speculations disguised as scientific facts not ridiculous?

  54. groksocket said,

    October 28, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides, they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I’m so glad I’m a Beta.

  55. Conservationist said,

    October 30, 2007 at 3:12 am

    Refutation of this article:

    www.nazi.org/nazi/news/archives/00000846.html

    I think the first step to sanity is knowing the truth, and then moving toward rational solutions. There’s too much fear in this article for me.

  56. gongey said,

    January 4, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    As with all studies one has to be carefull to include all possibilites. If you have been to Australia you will have realised that on any given rainy day Autism in one form or another is very easy to explain.
    Watch Australian tv for any lengh of time.
    Alternatively visit a watering hole in any district and observe the damage done to the cranium after only one sip of Tooheys or VB. The placebo effect appears to mirror the said effect almost identically. Although the amount of sugar pills taken by any australian on a rainy day is yet to be studied. So its no surprise to me that rain and autism go hand in hand in Australia. Aoriginies do not have the same problem of course as they have spent thousands of years going walkabout in the driest regions. Could this be the reason they have far superior cognitive powers? Evoloutionary psychology? mmm .

  57. shnabehan said,

    August 5, 2011 at 1:47 am

    I believe anyone should be able to make an educated guess on something they are interested in! Doctor Oliver Curry, is part of Oxford University, so getting that far in life he has my respect and i would never underestimate his intelligence. I do not know him but i see him at least making a better judgement on how evolution for humans will pan out while you try to insult his work and once you have had your joke rely on the overuse of taking the mick out of BRAVO! i find his views quiet empowering ans with his acknowledgment of technology and the way people live life now a days who could blame his educated guess when you have slackers who live off the government and others who are more then determined to suceed in life.
    people these days espically women strive to be better looking and fitter in order to get a males attention, whilst males keep upping the stakes for a woman to be acceptably beautiful, so in a thousand years time or so i dont see why people wouldnt try to further change the way they look in the future because people have been doing it for years. for crying out loud even cleopatra used make up!
    for crying out loud !!