Some whackjob scientists, ignoring physiology to slavishly follow numbers, seem to think that female sprinters will be faster than men in about 150 years, the Telegraph reports:
After applying different mathematical models to the [best 100m times for men and women since 1928], the team concluded that the improvements in male and female performance fitted a straight line on a graph, and that the gap between them would continue to narrow for the foreseeable future.
Crucially, they found no evidence that improvements in times were smaller or reaching a plateau.
If the trend continues, women will be running faster than men by 2156, said Dr Tatem. "We are not saying categorically that women will overtake the men, but we think there is a chance and we have put this up for discussion," he said.
I may not be a scientist, but I am a sentient being, and that's really all I need to be to know that this is crap. For example, look at this graph plotting the best marathon times for men and women. The data from the last ten years suggests that women will catch men in the next five years. The fundamental flaw, of course, is that the physiological differences between men and women is completely ignored. More from the Telegraph piece:
Dr Greg White, the director of science and research at the English Institute of Sport, challenged the findings. His own study of results from all track and field results suggests that athletics may be reaching a high point. "If you look at the data we are reaching the peak of human performance - the rate of improvement is not as great as it has been in the past," he said.
Female athletes are catching up with men, but mostly because they only recently got access to the training, sponsorship and events available to men, he said. The women's Olympic 100m did not start until the 1920s, while the women's marathon began in the 1980s, he said.
"Women are certainly progressing at a faster rate than men, so it may appear that one day they will run as fast as men," said Dr White.
"But in reality there are fundamental physiological differences between men and women, particularly when it comes to sprints."
Physiology never misleads. Statistics sometimes do.