Time magazine’s cover story this week (Oct. 9, 2006 issue, available here) is a semi-technical report on research into what the human genome explains, or more precisely, what it will explain once we understand its details. The conclusion is, “Within a few short years, we may finally understand precisely when and how [a creature emerged that could ponder its own origins].” What we understand today turns out to be a bit more skimpy.
The article includes a reference to the FOXP2 gene discussed in today’s post and shows what Simon Fisher was talking about when he complained about genes being considered abstractly rather than biologically. The Time piece says:
The human FOXP2 gene … may nevertheless explain the emergence of all aspects of human speech, from a baby’s first words to a Robin Williams monologue.
All aspects of human speech! If you are going to overstate something, you might as well go whole hog.