Headline News

The following letter appeared in today’s Opelika-Auburn News:

To the editor:

Today’s article on Homo floresiensis was given a very misleading headline, saying that the find “challenges the theory of evolution.” Such a claim is quite false, and is not supported by anything in the body of the article.

Pac-Man skeleton (not actually connected to this story)

The article does say that the find may alter “our understanding of human evolution,” i.e., may change the prevailing views about where and in what sequence human evolution occurred; but the basic theory of evolution itself is entirely unthreatened by anything connected with the discovery.

By analogy, if scientists were to discover that, say, the great pyramid of Giza is heavier than previously thought, would you run a headline saying that the find “challenges the law of gravity”?

Roderick T. Long

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8 Responses to Headline News

  1. Franklin Harris March 10, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    I’m glad none of the copy desk staff at my paper try to get away with headlines that misleading, especially on science stories, which are poorly written enough. (AP could really use some decent science reporters.) I have enough trouble with creationists flooding us with letters to the editor as it is. In fact, I wrote a column this week just to needle them, which was quite a stretch considering I write an entertainment column.

  2. Rad Geek March 10, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    Roderick: … would you run a headline saying that the find “challenges the law of gravity”?

    We are talking about the O-A News here. Don’t give them any ideas.

  3. Kevin Carson March 11, 2010 at 1:03 am #

    That looks like the fossilized ancestor of Pac Man.

    • Black Bloke March 11, 2010 at 2:30 am #

      Took the words out of my mouth. Well, honestly I was going to say something like “proto pac-man” or “a pac-man ancestor”.

      • Roderick March 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

        Mouse over it.

        • Roderick March 11, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

          Or, if your browser doesn’t support mouseovers, right-click the image and choose “properties.”

  4. Kevin Carson March 11, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    Shoulda known.

  5. Kevin Blau March 28, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    I’m not sure that a theory that cannot be fasfified by any facts is a good thing, exept for austrian economics of course.

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