I really don’t have time to get into the rest of this–but I’ll take this one idiotic comment from the many hysterical comments from the man in the bathtub–since he’s completely off his rocker in terms of self control at this point. He quotes me:
The peppered moth doesn’t even sit on tree trunks; they were placed there for a photo op.
Lysenko from Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub says: Well, that’s wrong. Think about this hard: A tree has bark and leaves. Do the moths rest on leaves? Almost never. What’s left?
Ok, Lysenko, here are the facts:
The fairytale of England’s famous peppered moths (Biston betularia) goes like this.
The moth comes in light and dark (melanic) forms. The assumption was that pollution from the Industrial Revolution darkened the tree trunks, mostly by killing the light-coloured covering lichen (plus darkening it with soot).
The lighter moths, which were well-camouflaged against the light background, now ‘stood out,’ and so the birds ate them at a higher ratio to the dark-colored moths, so the proportion of dark moths increased dramatically. Later, as pollution was cleaned up, the light moth became predominant again.
H.B. Kettlewell, who performed these classic experiments, said that if Darwin had seen this, ‘He would have witnessed the consummation and confirmation of his life’s work.’
This is a far-fetched and exaggerated claim, LOL…(but so was Carson’s claim that the American Robin was on the verge of extinction! Or that swallows were decreasing!) The textbook story of the peppered moths achieves little more than pointing out gene frequency shifting back and forth, within one species. This shifting doesn’t add the sort of complex design information needed for amoeba-to-man evolution.
The other problem with it is that peppered moths don’t even rest on tree trunks during the day. Kettlewell attracted the moths into traps either with light, or with female pheromones—in each case, they only flew at night. Now think about that. When do you see any moths flying? You see them mostly at night, attracted to the light of streetlights or streetlamps. They fly to the interior light when you open your car door at night. They are nocturnal, and active mostly at night. The question is, where are all these moths (Biston betularia) during the daytime?
Cyril Clarke, a British biologist who investigated the peppered moth, wrote:
‘But the problem is that we do not know the resting sites of the moth during the day time. … In 25 years we have found only two betularia on the tree trunks or walls adjacent to our traps (one on an appropriate background and one not), and none elsewhere.’
The moths filmed being eaten by birds were laboratory-bred, which Kettlewell placed on the tree trunks; they were so languid, in fact, that he once had to warm them up on his car bonnet (hood).
What about the infamous still photos of the moths on the tree trunks? One paper described how it was done—dead moths were glued to the tree. University of Massachusetts biologist Theodore Sargent helped glue moths onto trees for a NOVA documentary. He says textbooks and films have featured ‘a lot of fraudulent photographs.’
Kettlewell assumed (1) that the main defect of his release method was an unnaturally high density of moths, affecting merely the tempo of predation; and (2) that he could disregard the observation that many moths would have preferred to take up positions higher in the trees. Before the 1980’s most investigators shared Kettlewell’s second assumption, and many of them found it convenient to conduct predation experiments using dead specimens glued or pinned to tree trunks (e.g., Clarke and Sheppard 1966, Bishop 1972, Lees and Creed 1975, Bishop and Cook 1975, Steward 1977b, Murray et al. 1980). (Wells)
There is a very poor correlation between the lichen covering and respective moth populations. When one group of researchers glued dead moths onto trunks in an unpolluted forest, the birds took more of the dark (less camouflaged) ones, as expected. But their traps captured four times as many dark moths as light ones—the opposite of textbook predictions.
University of Chicago evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne agrees that the peppered moth story, which was ‘the prize horse in our stable,’ has to be thrown out.
He says the realization gave him the same feeling as when he found out that Santa Claus was not real.
When biologists looked beyond Birmingham and Dorset, where Kettlewell had conducted his experiments, they found discrepancies between Kettlewell’s theory and the actual geographical distribution of melanic moths. For example, if melanic moths in polluted woodlands enjoyed as much of a selective advantage as Kettlewell’s experiments seemed to indicate, then they should have completely replaced typicals in heavily polluted areas such as Manchester (Bishop and Cook 1980, Mani 1990). This never happened, however, indicating that factors other than selective predation must be affecting melanic frequencies. Some investigators attributed the discrepancy to heterozygote advantage (Clarke and Sheppard 1966, Lees and Creed 1975), but it has since been established that there is no evidence for this (Creed et al. 1980, Lees 1981, Mani 1982, Cook et al. 1986). (Wells)
Regrettably, students have been indoctrinated by supposed ‘proof’ of evolution which is fraudulent, just as the 30-year period of Lysenko’s biologists suggests. But fervently feverishly and blindly clinging to the Lysenkoist ideology seems to me to be an example of ‘you can’t parody scientific illiteracy’…LOL
- Kettlewell, H. (1959), ‘Darwin’s missing evidence’ in Evolution and the fossil record, readings from Scientific American, W.H. Freeman and Co., San Francisco, p. 23, 1978.
- Clarke, C.A. & G.S. Mani & G. Wynne, Evolution in reverse: clean air and the peppered moth, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 26:189–199, 1985; quote on p. 197.
- Calgary Herald, p. D3, 21 March 1999.
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- The Washington Times, p. D8, 17 January 1999.
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- Unfettered by evolutionary fantasies, researchers can now look for the real causes of these population shifts. Could the dark moth variation actually have a function, like absorbing more warmth? Could it reflect conditions in the caterpillar stage? In a different nocturnal moth species, Sargent has found that the plants eaten by the larvae may induce or repress the expression of such ‘melanism’ in adult moths (see Sargent T.R. et al. in M.K. Hecht et al, Evolutionary Biology 30:299–322, Plenum Press, New York, 1998).
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