Thursday, July 02, 2009

Genes, Phylogeny, and Orangutans: A Correction

In a recent posting I described how New Scientist devoted several pages to the idea that orangutans could be our closest relatives [Genes, Phylogeny, and Orangutans. Here are my exact words,
It's a lesson that New Scientist should have learned. They devote several pages to the Grahan and Schwartz paper thereby giving it much more publicity than it deserves [Could the orang-utan be our closest relative?]. The article is written by Graham Lawton who you might remember from the "Tree of Life" episode [see: Explaining the New Scientist Cover]. The editors of New Scientist knew full well that their decision would be controversial so they took a proactive position by writing a short editorial [In praise of scientific heresy ]. [my emphasis - LAM]
I've received an email message from Graham Lawton, Deputy editor of New Scientist and the author of the article. He points out correctly that the article was exactly two pages long and the editorial was 400 words. He thinks that this is significantly less than "several pages" and asks me to correct my "mistake."

So, for those who think that two pages and a short editorial don't qualify as "several pages," I apologize for my "mistake." I only wanted to make it clear that the coverage was not just a few lines in their weekly survey of press releases.


  1. Thanks for the correction Larry. Your original post said that we'd devoted "several" pages to the Schwartz and Grehan paper, which suggested that we'd given it 4, 5 or maybe more (how many is several anyway?) pages of uncritical coverage. Not true.

  2. This can't be right... Someone's using GL's name for a parody or some sort of joke on you Larry. I mean, i could sign this comment Graham Lawton. And that seems a much more plausible explanation than that someone's being not only obtuse, but willing to revel in it.