Re: [asa] Rejoinder 3B: Reply to David Opderbeck

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Wed Oct 01 2008 - 15:10:51 EDT


On the Peppered Moth RJ Sam Berry well-known in CIS worked with Kettlewell
of the Peppered Moths in about 1970 and has a high regard for him - though
modifying his ideas. His son Andrew teaches evolutionary biology at Harvard
(we meet each year as I am their guide for their Darwin course when it goes
to Wales) and we discussed it this year as they stayed as a family with
Kettlewell. He was scathing about the dishonesty of the attacks on
Kettlewell and bears out all you say. Of course Michael Majerus vindicates
Kettlewell convincingly.

I have said much the same at various times.

It is a disgrace for anyone to continue to publish such slander whether on
the web or in print yet examples are legion. Those who do publish such
slander/libel/lies should simply be ignored if they don't retract. Can you
give any reason why Wells still puts forth these accusations?

Peppered moths are elusive and even though I often go out at dusk to inspect
my honeysuckle I have only seen one moth. I am not persistent however.

On Cepaea I often find them in my various gardens and also had the pleasure
of meeting Arthur Cain, recently departed, I man I have great respect for.
Years ago he lent me some of his rare books from the 17th century one of
which there were only 7 copies in the world. I then walked through downtown
Liverpool with them in my briefcase, where cars frequently did disappearing
acts and Ford Escorts were called Ford Takeaways

See you in a few days


----- Original Message -----
From: "David Campbell" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 11:16 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Rejoinder 3B: Reply to David Opderbeck

> Denton himself accepts evolution as credible in his more recent work,
> though I don't think he has explicitly commented on the change from
> his previous work. At any rate, I don't know of any specific
> critcisms of evolution in his first book that hold up. Any particular
> arguments that you are interested in?
> Taking another example, Wells' slander of the peppered moth example is
> inexcusable. Although some technical details have been revised by
> more recent studies, it is clear that
> 1) the proportion of moths that were mostly or all dark changed from
> nearly zero to nearly 100% in some populations, and back again
> 2) light moths were better camoflaged on tree bark in places with less
> pollution
> 3) dark moths were better camoflaged on tree bark in places with more
> pollution
> 4) birds were better at spotting the moths that didn't match
> Evolution at work! Incidentally, this qualifies as microevolution by
> anyone's definition, yet Wells still wastes time attacking it.
> The standard photos most often used with discussion of this example
> are posed. Especially given photographic technology available several
> decades ago, it's not too practical to search the woods for two moths
> side by side, one well-hidden and one conspicuous and appealing to
> birds, in a spot amenable to a good picture. However, there's a big
> difference between posed and faked.
> The selective pattern affecting color banding in Cepaea nemoralis (a
> European snail, invasive in many other parts of the world) provides a
> similar story and the photographic advantage of a slow-moving subject.
> However, the story is a bit more complex. Birds learn to look for
> the most common color pattern. Heavier predation makes it less common
> and other color patterns more common. Birds change search image to
> new common form. Net result: a mix of color patterns.
> --
> Dr. David Campbell
> 425 Scientific Collections
> University of Alabama
> "I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Wed Oct 1 15:14:32 2008

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