Worst Science Article Headline Ever?

By Carl Zimmer | May 3, 2006 11:42 am

X-Men may be closer than you think | CNET News.com

I suspect all science writers have had the unhappy experience sooner or later of busting their butts to translate tough science into clear writing, only to have a headline writer top it off with a load of nonsense.

For more on the unhappy collision between Darwin and X-men see Chris Mooney here.

(Fraternal hat tip)

MORE ABOUT: Evolution

Comments (6)

  1. And how much do you want to bet that the headline writer was pushed by some editor who wanted to make some idiot tie-in to the next X-Men movie? (Sorry: long experience with moron newspaper editors leaves me twitchy.)

  2. cats

    That’s not the worst, of course. I have seen some much more ridiculous ones.

  3. Markk

    While I really like Chris Mooney’s blog that article bugged me.
    I know little about Steven J Gould personally, except he wrote some fun essays in Natural History. Mooney blames Gould for a viewpoint that Mooney himself, in the very article, shows Gould did NOT hold, and specifically quotes him as denying. It came across as if Mooney got paid to rip Gould.

  4. The Genes of X-Men

    When I saw this title from a CNET article, I knew it was a gross exaggeration.
    X-men may be closer than you think
    This is the justification for the title:
    Succinctly, the human race is genetically mutating, and we now may know how and why–at leas…

  5. Ian Rennie

    Funnily enough, I’ve always thought of X-Men and other superhero comics as good examples of what it would be like to live in a creationist universe. Sudden appearance of new and completely different creatures, vast leaps in genetic information in a single generation, an idea of “direction” in the development of species, all creationist ideas. Of course, that’s because superhero universes, like all fictional worlds, actually do have creators.

  6. Bob C

    Mooney is a good writer, I enjoy reading his stuff. But in the article, he writes “… the vast majority of mutations tend to be very harmful to organisms.” Aren’t neutral mutations far more common than harmful or beneficial ones?


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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