Discover Magazine: Science for the Misinformed

cooperative mothers

Discover Magazine: Science for the Misinformed


by Steven Rowitt, Ph.D.

The accurate title of the magazine noted above is really Discover: Science for the Curious. The reason I renamed it Science for the Misinformed has to do with the way this, and many other science periodicals, communicate their content. In my attempt to finish my 2014 pile of journals and magazines, I was thumbing through the Nov. 2014 issue of Discover when I ran across a short article in the Crux section. The name of this article by Hillary Waterman was “It Took a Village.”  I remembered that this was the title of a popular 1996 book by Hilary Rodham Clinton, It Takes a Village. Hilary had based the title of her book on what some refer to as an African proverb; It takes a village to raise a child. The actual origin of this proverb is unknown, however the same exact title was used in a 1994 children’s book by Jane Cowen-Fletcher.

Another reason this article caught my attention was this magazine’s piece touting what the author refers to as “the cooperative mothers” hypothesis. As you might have guessed by now, this is just one more example of evolutionary speculation masquerading as science. It is part of a larger area of study called eusociality. Wikipedia defines eusociality as demonstrating the following characteristics: cooperative brood care (including brood care of offspring from other individuals), overlapping generations within a colony of adults, and a division of labor into reproductive and non-reproductive groups (Crespi & Douglas, 1995; Wilson & Hölldobler, 2005). While eusociality is a legitimate field of scientific inquiry, once Darwin’s theory is factored in, it becomes more propaganda rather than science. The same can be said for many other scientific disciplines that have the word “Evolutionary” inserted into their name, i.e. evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, etc.

The reason for this article became clear as the author informs us that Andrea Bell of the University of Utah, Katie Hind of Harvard and Lesley Newson of the University of California, Davis, developed an alternative hypothesis to explain how those females managed (Waterman, 2014). They noted why they were challenging the standard evolutionary explanation that natural selection would favor the mating of a female with a successful male hunter who could best provide for the family.

Newson explained, “[We] were suspicious of the idea of a mother staying home with the kid while dad brought back food because no other monogamous mammal has evolved such a parenting arrangement.”

Newson explained, “[We] were suspicious of the idea of a mother staying home with the kid while dad brought back food because no other monogamous mammal has evolved such a parenting arrangement.” The ramification of this new hypothesis of the evolutionary development of early Homo sapiens was not lost on the article’s author. Waterman goes on to note their study contradicts the idea of pair bonding (think Adam and Eve) represents the most primal social arrangement. You can see their evolutionary bias has infiltrated their thinking to the point where they can no longer see man as anything more than an animal. They unequivocally reject the biblical model of men and women created in the image of God.  
I would like to remind our readers that evolutionary biologists have been pushing the timeline for the appearance of Homo sapiens back tens of thousands of years. We must recognize the bias of this purely naturalistic and somewhat speculative evolutionary worldview before we can understand why these secular scientists are so committed to developing alternative explanations for prehistoric man.

Another example of the ever-expanding timeline evolutionary theory proposes is demonstrated by their best guess for the first appearance of life on planet Earth. It has expanded exponentially since Darwin’s 1859 publication of On the Origin of the Species, mushrooming from 1 million to 4000 Ma (million years ago). In the 60’s, when I was in high school, the timeline for the appearance of modern man was only 10,000 years ago  with civilization characterized by complex systems developing a mere 5,000 years earlier. Archaeology has confirmed that cradles of civilization can be dated back to circa 3,300 BC, a date that correlates well with the biblical timeline (Wikipedia, 2015). 

I continued looking through this issue of Discover when I came upon another short piece in the Crux section by Laasaya Samhita titled, “Y Not?” The main premise of this article was the human Y chromosome may vanish one day and perhaps that would not be so bad. After a brief review of human genetics 101 (that the sex chromosomes are either XX for male or XY for female), the author quotes geneticist and molecular biologist Jennifer Marshal Graves of La Trobe University as speculating that genetic mutation might eliminate the Y chromosome in 4.6 million years.

Molecular biologist Jennifer Marshal Graves of La Trobe University as speculating that genetic mutation might eliminate the Y chromosome in 4.6 million years.

That is if its degradation rate continues at the rate it’s happened so far. I don’t want to through a monkey wrench, no pun intended, into this entirely speculative scenario, but other geneticists are not so optimistic that the human genome will survive another 100,000 years much less 4.6 million years (Williams, 2008).

Professor Graves goes on to use the spiny rat as an example of a mammal that has lost its Y chromosome. Two of the three species of Japanese spiny rats have the Y chromosome and one does not. This is presented as evidence that one of them lost their Y chromosome. But is this the only explanation? Perhaps the Y-less specie of rats never had this chromosome to begin with. This is a huge assumption by evolutionists. Clearly, the species without the Y chromosome still produce male and female rats, so is the Y chromosome essential in this mammal? Evidently, it is not.

This reminded me of the discussion concerning the inability of mutations to provide the new information necessary to affect the types of changes attributed to them by evolutionary scientists. Clearly, antibiotic resistance is another area where more than one explanation is available. In fact, microorganisms can achieve resistance to antibiotics without any mutation at all. The antibiotic resistant strains may have always existed, but were quite small in comparison to the non-resistant strains. As antibiotic use begins to wipe out the dominant strain, less susceptible or entirely resistant strains begin to become the dominant pathogen. Did one specie of spiny rats loose their Y chromosome, or where they always missing it? That question remains unanswered.

We now have two articles that have decidedly feminist slants. One presents a more communal/socialist view of prehistoric human society that would liberate those cave women from their lonely monogamous existence, freeing them up to follow their dreams of hunting along side their male counterparts leaving the more nurturing among them stay behind with the kids. The other article posits changes are coming to our genotype that might erase some of the genetic markers that differentiate male and female. I have not yet gotten into the more meaty articles of this issue of Discover magazine. Judging by the Crux section, methinks this magazine just might be more evolutionary propaganda and misinformation than it is Science for the Curious.



Crespi, B. J., & Douglas Y. (1995). The Definition of Eusociality. Behav Ecol 6: 109–115 (as cited in Wikipedia (2015). Accessed 1.13.15.

Waterman, H. (2014). It Took a Village. Discover Nov. 2014, p. 12.

Waterman, H. (2014). Ibid.

Wikipedia (2015). Eusociality. Accessed 1.13.15.

Wikipedia (2015). Rise of Civilization. Accessed 1.22.15.

Williams, A. (2008). Mutations: evolution’s engine becomes evolution’s end! Journal of Creation 22(2):60–66. Accessed 1.22.15.

Wilson, Edward O.; Bert Hölldobler (20 September 2005). Eusociality: Origin and Consequences. 102 (38): 13367–13371
(as cited in Wikipedia 2015). Accessed 1.13.15.