Re: Peppered moths

Kevin O'Brien (
Thu, 1 Apr 1999 17:22:05 -0700

>I have omitted at Jonathan's suggestion #4, in order to attempt to find
>areas of agreement. He writes:
>Mendelian (though not the molecular) genetics of peppered moth morphotypes
>is reasonably well understood. (The melanic "carbonaria" allele is
>dominant to the light "typica" allele, and there are at least three
>intermediate "insularia" alleles.)

So, I'm not the only one pointing out your ignorance of this subject. Yet,
still no admission of that ignorance?

>Thus industrial melanism in peppered moths DOES (trivially) involve changes
>in gene frequencies (as neo-Darwinism claims), it's just that we don't know
>what causes those changes. And in the absence of evidence for some
>mechanism(s), it's not clear that industrial melanism can even be called

Are these your words or Well's? Either way they are wrong; read Majerus's

>To illustrate this point: let's say that a hole in the northern ozone layer
>leads to an increase in solar radiation which causes all the people in
>Scandanavia to get a spectacular tan. Then the hole closes, and people
>revert to their typical pale skin-color. Is that evolution?

Yes; it is a change in allele frequency brought about by an environmental
change; it simply isn't Darwinian evolution. However, what if the change in
skin color did not revert, because it confered some advantage other than
simply protection against increased solar radiation? Then that would be
Darwinian evolution, because natural selection had preserved the trait.

>The illustration is not far-fetched: some early workers on peppered moths
>proposed that melanism in some insects was induced directly by
>environmental pollution, which (they claimed, affected the early embryo.
>The induction hypothesis was swept aside by Darwinists after Kettlewell,
>but it still remains a theoretical possibility.

It's major failing is a lack of mechanism. On top of that, known cases of
pollution affects on genes does not involve induction, but mutagenesis
leading to cancer or other diseases. To my knowledge there is not a single
known instance of pollution activating a dormant gene or producing a
nonlethal mutation.

Kevin L. O'Brien