Re: moths and fraud

From: Keith B Miller (
Date: Sat Apr 21 2001 - 10:42:42 EDT

  • Next message: Keith B Miller: "Phillip Johnson at Northshore Church"

    I think I may have sent this before, but here it is anyway.

    Wells' critique of the work on evolutionary change in the peppered moth was
    substantially drawn from the work of Michael Majerus (Melanism: Evolution
    in Action" by Michael E.N. Majerus: Oxford University Press,1998).

    Wells quotes the following sentence from Majerus' book: "The findings of
    these scientists show that the precised description of the basic peppered
    moth story is wrong, inaccurate, or incomplete, with respect to most of the
    story's component parts."

    However, the next sentence reads: "When details of the genetics, behaviour,
    and ecology of this moth are taken into account, the resulting story is one
    of greater complexity, and in many ways greater interest, than the simple
    story that is usually related."

    Furthermore, a couple sentences later Majerus states: "First, it is
    important to emphasize that, in my view, the huge wealth of additional data
    obtained since Kettlewell's initial predation papers (Kettlewell 1955a,
    1956), does not undermine the basic qualitative deductions from that work.
    Differential bird predation of the typica and carbonaria forms, in
    habitats affected by industrial pollution to different degrees, is the
    primary influence on the evolution of melanism in the peppered moth."

    I would highly recommend reading Majerus' book. It is realy excellent and
    the most thorough study of melanism that I know of. It will answer almost
    any question you might have about how past studies were conducted and what
    exactly they show.


    Keith B. Miller
    Department of Geology
    Kansas State University
    Manhattan, KS 66506

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