Thursday, January 19, 2012

Getting the facts straight

I recently watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I usually love science fiction, but sometimes too many things add up to destroy even the suspension of disbelief.

 First of all, the beginning. One ape getting "smarter" is not good enough proof of the effectiveness of the drug, as there were dozens of other variables that needed to be controlled for, including things like the mother ape's pregnancy. How does a research lab let something like that slide? Second, their measure of intelligence-the tower task-is not a measures of IQ. Rather, it is a measure of executive function, and not only that, but its a task that is designed such that people become better with practice. That's yet another reason why studies with sample sizes of 1 aren't real studies-what about practice effects? As a researcher, it was very hard for me to get past those problems.

Also, apes can't speak. They don't have the throat and tongue structure for spoken language, which is why researchers in real animal labs attempt to teach them to sign in the first place. That, however, was not the worst part. The worst part was the assumption that the development of speech came after learning to sign, and was taken as a measure of true intelligence.

Repeat after me: Spoken language is NOT superior to sign!

I understand that some things have to be hand waved for the purposes of story, especially in sci fi and fantasy, but I also believe truly talented writers would find a way to incorporate as many of the facts as they can without sacrificing plot. Writers, do your research!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Perils of Forgotten Pain-Part 1-is Released!

Herman is a loyal soldier, dedicated to fighting against the man who calls himself the King of the Earth, and his cybernetic enhancements make him valuable to the cause. But when he falls victim to a strange illness and is saved from death, he begins to have feelings for the man who saved him-which lead him to be captured by the enemy. There, Herman finds out that he may not be so valuable after all.  

                            Now available for purchase from Extasy Books!