Ask your colleague what are the chances of a photographer actually being by
a light tree when a light and dark moth alighted long enough for a photo and
then some 60 miles away being by a sooty tree when the same thing happened .
add to that the problems of suitable light and there is simply minimal
chance of it's happening.
Peppered moths are not that numerous and tend to be nocturnal making
photography harder. I have occasionally found them in my garden.
The best recent paper on Peppered moths is by R.J. Berry in about 1991. I
cant remember the reference but I have read his previous treatment in a book
written in 1977. In Liverpool melanic forms were 90% but 30 miles to the
west in Wales it had dropped to 10%.
RJBerry (Sam) is the editor of the IVP book The Care of Creation and a
leading light of the UK Christians in Science
The whole issue is more complex and it is not as simple as clean air letting
the light ones back.
I have to say that I have always found that the appeal to the peppered moth
as proof for evolution is grossly overstated. It does show small scale
changes due to environmental changes and that they are being partially
I prefer to see Peppered Moths as fitting in with evolution and not prooving
But those who say that the photos are fraudulent are making very
unjustifiable accusations and should retract. Hence my sharp comments about
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeff Witters" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2001 12:53 PM
Subject: moths and fraud
> I am looking for some enlightenment on the matter of the famous peppered
> moths and industrial melanism. On a biology teachers' list, I am
> the matter with a fellow who say that because the pics were staged, the
> whole matter is a case of fraud. That is, it gives the wrong idea to kids
> about massaging data, doctoring things to look like you want them to, etc.
> It is my understanding that what the pics are trying to show is the
> for something that actually HAPPENED -- moths formerly selected against,
> thus low pop'l freq., then increased in freq. with the change in bark
> due to the soot. The fellow seems to me to have a somewhat naive view of
> what constitutes a useful image. His excitement over this is because he
> doesn't want to give any ammo to creationists. I agree, but this seems to
> be somewhat overreactive.
> Is there more to this?
> Jeff Witters
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