Brian Cox’s Human Universe presents a fatally flawed view of evolution

I completely agree with Henry Gee’s review (below). I have a lot of respect for Brian Cox, but he is an astrophysicist not an evolutionary biologist and unfortunately this handsomely-produced documentary is worse than an empty vessel, it is a cracked one. “Exceptionalism” is scientifically nonsense, though valid in a more philosophical context. Claiming a species or phenomenon is “exceptional” begs the question of “why”. It is also unfalsifiable as it is reasonable to assume that other species like ours exist in the universe, but currently impossible to prove.

Brian Cox’s Human Universe presents a fatally view of evolution | Henry Gee | Science |


One thought on “Brian Cox’s Human Universe presents a fatally flawed view of evolution

  1. Henry Gee’s accurate if not irrelevant comments with regard to BBC’s “The Human Universe” are getting the 15 seconds of fame that any sensationized headline such “Einstein proven wrong!” Should get. It would be more than complaining about the color of the cars on a thrilling roller coaster, if it came with a valid answer to the resounding “So what?!” It inspires. Granted evolution cares little for chance opportunities it’s availed humanity, but other species don’t need our realativistic (biology context not physics) lip-service that every “body” is special. What they need, now more than ever, is for our species to mitagate consequences of succeeding in the game of evolution — which much to dismay of elitists, is simply to rear the most numbers of viable off-spring.

    I’d like to assume that Mr. Gee’s missing implication is that pride in the triumph of the human condition should not be a license to exterminate or dominion over the beasts of the earth and birds of the air. Where Gee could have used this opportunity to remind us that before we declare ourselves the pinicale of evolution perhaps we should first prove we can rise above its cruel selection pressures (ie addresses climate change to the exclusion of all other priorities, restore wild habitats, etc). Yet failing this, Gree’s comments remind me more of the primal nature to nit-pick and downplay the accomplishmemts of a fellow species members. The technical term is intra-species competition and though it has got us to where we are INCLUDING landing on our Moon, I don’t get the impression that’s the shared ancestry with every branch and twig of the tree of life that Brian is celebrating with his series. Indeed this behavior that Mr. Gee also seems to have difficulty shrugging off was probably least helpful and apative for the more medium sized skulls in Cox’s displayed. So much for the “ascent of man” eh Mr. Gee?

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