20111027 - Evolution: a future Earth

[Pseudoscience] [<Normal page] [PEREZGONZALEZ Jose D (2002). Evolution: a future Earth. Journal of Knowledge Advancement & Integration (ISSN 1177-4576), 2011, pages 152-153.]

Evolution: a future Earth

The 2002 'The Future is Wild' TV programme by ZDF Enterprises (see 20031,) is a science fiction dramatization about life on Earth at different times in the future. The dramatization is most interesting because of its use of scientific knowledge in portraying the evolution of Earth and life. Unfortunately, it does not emphasize well enough that it is just science fiction: science does not have the keys to answer how the future will develop, and the authority of eminent scientists does not necessarily improve such outcome. All in all, the dramatization is an entertaining example of pseudoscience, even when it may also help educate people on some key scientific concepts, such as plate tectonics and evolution.

  • Scientific key concepts underlying the dramatization:
    • plate tectonics
    • evolution
    • mass extinctions
    • simulation (eg, of weather and geography) as a modelling tool
  • Main pseudo-scientific issues:
    • environments portrayed not as science fiction but as experiments in the imagination
    • reliance on the 'authority' of eminent scientists to portray scientific plausibility
    • initial extinction of humans only, by an unknown phenomenon not affecting other species
    • extinction of species, especially mammals, for no good reason
    • emphasis on the evolution of 'creatures the Earth has never seen', but over-reliance on portraying recognizable species: birds, reptiles, insects, mammals (rodents, monkeys…), fish, cephalopods…
    • emphasis on evolution as strategic decision-making
(Video embedded from YouTube on 23 October 2011)
References
1. ZDF (2003). The Future is Wild is ZDF Enterprises’ bestselling documentary in 2003. Press release retrieved from ZDF Enterprises

Want to know more?

The Future is wild
This is a link to the corporate website.
Wikipedia - The future is wild
This Wikipedia page offers more information about the documentary.
YouTube - The future is wild episodes
You may be able to access some of the series episodes on YouTube: Return of the ice, The vanished sea (part 1, part 2, part 3, & part 4), Prairies of Amazonia (part 1, part 2, & part 3), Cold Kansas desert (part 1, part 2, & part 3), Waterland (part 1, part 2, & part3), Flooded world (part 1, part 2, & part 3), Tropical Antarctica (part 1, part2, & part 3), The great plateau (part1, part 2, & part 3), The endless desert (part 1, part 2, & part 3, The global ocean (part 1, part 2, & part 3), Graveyard desert (part 1, part 2, & part 3), The tentacled forest (part 1, part2, & part 3).

Author

Jose D PEREZGONZALEZ (2011). Massey University, Turitea Campus, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand. (JDPerezgonzalezJDPerezgonzalez).


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