Henry Gee’s Outburst

“Aquatic apes are the stuff of creationism, not evolution”

A slur that the so-called “aquatic ape theory” had more akin with creationism than evolutionary science published on-line in May of 2013 would not be worth a response normally. It’s so very ignorant, full of unfathomable hostility, and incredibly facile analogies (space apes, would you believe !?) that it would not be worth responding to, if it were not for the credibility of the author, who he works for, and the place of publication.

640px-Henry_Gee,_December_2008

Cloning jedi at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The author, Henry Gee, has worked for probably the most prestigious scientific journal in the world, Nature, since 1987 and from 2011 has been a senior editor of their naturebiological sciences. If anyone qualifies as a “gatekeeper” of the scientific truth, it must be Gee and people like him.

I always had a lot of respect for Gee before I read this. He’s the kind of rational skeptic you want on your side when arguing with people who are fuzzy minded. But I lost that respect after reading his short diatribe which must have been hastily put together to try to nip in the bud any favourable publicity that might have been generated by a conference that was about to start in London at the time, hosted by Sir David Attenborough.

I also lost some respect for the British institution that agreed to publish it. The Guardian has long been a bastion of common sense and critical thought in the British media. The last place you’d expect to find inaccurate sensationalist journalism.guardian

Read it for yourself, it’s not very long or very intellectually challenging.

I read this on the morning before the London conference was due to start and I was livid. I had to reply, and credit to the Guardian, my reply is still up there, in the comments section, although it would be easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it. So here’s a link to it. It’s a fair way down the page. If you want to find it quickly, just search the page (Ctrl-F) for “Algis”.

Algis Kuliukas

Perth, February 2015

 

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