Re: Peppered Moths again

Kevin O'Brien (
Thu, 1 Apr 1999 17:08:59 -0700

>Mark Kluge wrote:
>>While I have your attention, and since you gave an eloquent defense of
>>Wells' credentials and qualifications to opine on this subject to this
>>forum, and since you and he share institutional affiliation, might I ask
>>your opinion of Wells' suggestion, of dishonesty on the part of textbook
>>writers and publishers using peppered-moth photos? Your remarks suggest
>>you view the question of the cause of the shift in relative frequencies of
>>carbonaria and familiar to be rather murky. Is it not reckless, then, for
>>Jonathan Wells to toss out "dishonesty" grenades? I think that such
>>recklessness does not enhance The Discovery Institute's reputation among
>>thinking people when such "over-the-top" remarks both originate from a
>>Discovery Institute Fellow, and their author and source are subsequently
>>enthusiastically defended by another Fellow from the same institution as
>>you have done here?
>You make the call. (Forget about the Discovery Institute.) Is it
>really honest, in 1999, for biology textbooks to include photographs
>of peppered moths resting in daylight on tree trunks?

It is if the purpose is to illustrate the contrast of body color with
background color and not to illustrate the behavior of the moths. The
textbooks I have seen take the former approach rather than the latter.

Kevin L. O'Brien