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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Darwinism and popular culture: A faint whiff of skepticism in the unlikeliest places

In "How Many Times Will Paleontologists Find the "Missing Link"?: The fossil hunter's favorite phrase", Brian Palmer asks,
The media love the phrase missing link—news stories have used it to describe no fewer than 28 paleontological discoveries in the past decade. Scientists sometimes substitute the phrase for the more technical-sounding "transitional morphologies," which refers to anatomical structures that bear some resemblance to both older and more recent physiology. But the research community tends to frown on the use of such language, and the discoverers of Ida have been criticized in some quarters for overselling their research.
Um, yes. The "missing link" is a cult, one of whose adherents is New York Mayor Michael "the Link - this changes everything" Bloomberg.

In reality, it changes nothing, which is how you know that the Ida thing is a cult.

See also:

Human evolution: Water flows uphill? Science journalists protest latest hype, don't just fall in line ... ?

Human evolution: Hype, tripe, trumpets, and (lagging some way after, way out of breath) truth and realismHuman evolution:

The spin machine in top gear

Related issue: Human evolution: Quest for primitive human backfires

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