About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Ape to monkey??
The web site of the program looks fine, if a bit on the Dysney side of things. There is an accurate time line of human evolution (can you believe it? They actually claim that the story began 5 million years ago!), and a "missing link" interactive challenge, in which the visitor can play paleo-anthropologist.
Of course, I haven't seen the program, but we surely need good science on TV, especially about evolution, and particularly on human evolution. What bugs me is the title of and advertisement for the show: "Ape to Man: Has Evolution Made a Monkey Out of You?", accompanied by a poster showing an image similar to Michelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel painting, where God's hand almost touches Adam's. Except that in the History Channel version, "Adam" has the harm of a monkey. (Notice the confusion in the title vs. subtitle of apes and monkeys, which are pretty different kinds of primates...)
Why? Why peddling to the so-called controversy over evolution? I understand that commercial channels have to attract audiences, and the competition is fierce (especially from all those ludicruous "reality" shows that are so popular nowadays), but couldn't the people in charge of the advertisement campaign for "Ape to Monkey" be a bit more creative and equally effective?
By the way, we most certainly did not come from monkeys (or apes). We share a common ancestor with them. That would be like saying that you descend from your cousin. You don't, although you do have some of the same genes because you share some of the people on your family tree.