“Researcher” says humans to evolve into 2 subspecies

This story has circulated globally today. Jay Leno used it in his monologue tonight (October 18), although he did not mention the “2 subspecies” idea.

You can expect the anti-evolution folks to attack this as an example of evolutionary science.

I don’t have time to write a proper article now. I may expand this later; but I wanted to go ahead now and share these links:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6057734.stm

http://www.indiana.edu/~workshop/colloquia/papers/curry_paper.pdf

http://www.demos.co.uk//publications//familybusiness

Here are the only two items by this author in the ISI Web of Science (from the citations, it appears that they are both brief book reviews):

Curry, Oliver. “Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature.” Nature 435, no. 7041 (2005): 425-26.

———. “The Darwinian Heritage and Sociobiology.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 37, no. 4 (2001): 395-96.

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4 Comments

  1. Marcelo
    Posted October 20, 2006 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    Having read just now the article you quote from the BBC, I get the impression human beings have already evolved into -at least- two subspecies: those who think in stereotypes and those who think. It seems the intellectual development of the guy behind the ideas at that article was largely influenced by intensive research of internet adult sites according to the types he depicts. Moreover, in the span of time he is talking about (1000 years) there might so much by now impredictible changes… May be this article is the direct result of the “publish or perish” rule at the academical millieu, otherwise I can’t figure out why someone would waste his time writing such a rubbish.

  2. Posted October 20, 2006 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    You raise a number of interesting points.

    First, though, I should point out that, although he makes predictions for the year 3000, and many people (including me) first read the “species split” as something he’s predicting for 1000 years, a closer reading of the BBC article seems to say the “species split” is predicted for 100,000 years.

    It’s hard to be sure, though, since the “report” itself does not seem to be available for critical review, or even just for reading.

    This is far from any kind of scholarly publication. This might somehow help him get a career; but his publishing record is almost non-existent by academic standards.

    There may be room for interesting speculation for why he’s doing this; but I think the more interesting question is why anybody’s paying any attention to it. What are the conditions that result in such an interested reception for this flimsy piece of work around the world? Why did the BBC even think that this was worth reporting? This level of coverage and attention isn’t given to just any crackpot presentation; what is it about the world today that creates such interest in this one?

  3. Posted October 22, 2006 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I don’t have time to read the article right now, but just form this post I have to ask:

    Does Mr. Curry include a reference to “The Time Machine” by HG Wells?

  4. Posted October 23, 2006 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    The press coverage does refer to Wells, and uses the names for the two groups in Time Machine. I was not able to find Curry’s report, so I don’t know if he refers to it. That’s what makes this all so strange – it’s reported as research findings, but you can’t see what kind of “research” was done. So why does it deserve to be reported as news, rather than just one guy’s speculation?


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