Feature Article - January 2020
by Do-While Jones

2019 Evolution Review

Interest in evolution continues to wane.

Every month we report the stories about evolution that we think are most important—but in January we traditionally tell you about the stories about evolution that appear on the top ten lists in other magazines. Since we usually have already told you about those stories in detail, we simply remind you of their top stories, to tell you what other people think was important.

Little to Report

In recent years, only a few of the top ten stories have been about evolution. That trend continued in 2019. It correlates well with the drop in hate mail we get from evolutionists. Writing this newsletter is getting harder because there is less grist for the mill.

The January/February 2020 issue of Discover magazine listed the top 50 science stories of 2019. The only story related to evolution to make the top 10 was #5, the story about creating a portrait of a Denisovan girl based on DNA, which we reported last November. 1 Since that was the only story to make the top ten, we looked at the next 10. Coming in at #17 was Homo luzonensis, which we reported last May. 2 Discover must not have thought it was such a big deal. Scraping the bottom of the barrel, the #20 story was an inconsequential story about finding the skeleton of a T. rex that apparently had a long and hard life before it died.

There was only one evolution-related story to make the Science News top ten list. Just like Discover, the story about the fictional face of the Denisovan girl came in at #5. When the police start printing wanted posters based on DNA found at the crime scene, and those pictures actually turn out to look like the criminal, then we will think that story is significant.

The January 4, 2020, issue of New Scientist didn’t even have a top ten list, so, unless they come up with a list after our newsletter goes to press (oops, I mean, “goes to pixels”) we can’t know what they thought were the most important science stories last year.

Our fear is that 2020 won’t have much evolution news, either, and we may have to report on less significant articles. Doing that may give insignificant stories more credibility than they deserve. But, really, few stories about evolution deserve any credibility at all.

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1 Disclosure, November 2019, “Facial Recognition”
2 Disclosure, May 2019, Homo luzonensis