Sunday, 16 September 2012

PlosOne Does It Again! 'The Pace Of Cultural Evolution', by Charles Perreault is superfluous

I've just posted this comment at PlosOne, in relation to 'The Pace of Cultural Evolution,' by Charles Perreault, published yesterday.
PlosOne should take note that some might wonder whether or not this paper's referees were 'asleep at the switch' for allowing the author's definition of 'culture' to justify its publication. Socially learned 'information' amongst humans is not a unique behavioural or cognitive trait. It's present in most mammals, such as dogs, cats, bats, and rats. It's also a characteristic of bees and other social insects. As such I fear that your readers may wonder at your purpose in publishing this paper--if it was to advance scholarship and knowledge of the human past, your readers will wonder at how low you have set the bar in this case. Stating the obvious has, I have to point out, never been a significant contribution to any discipline--much less that of our own evolution. Surely PlosOne can do better than this. Competing interests declared: My 'competing interest' is simply the hope that archaeological and evolutionary 'narratives' are premised on well-warranted assumptions, as opposed to 'just-so stories' and fallacious arguments.
Need I say more?

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