Don Frack criticizes me at length for being what he calls a "creationist."
But my beliefs and affiliations -- whatever they may be -- are no more
relevant than Frack's beliefs and affiliations -- whatever they may be --
to the facts about peppered moths. The salient facts are:
1. Since 1988, it has been well known to everyone who studies peppered
moths that tree trunks are not their normal resting places. Michael
Majerus lists six moths on exposed tree trunks over a forty year period,
but this is an insignificant proportion of the tens of thousands that were
observed during the same period. There simply is no question about it:
peppered moths do not normally rest on tree trunks in the wild.
=====Which doesn't alter the clear fact, based on all the research, that
natural selection caused by selective predation is still the best explanation
for the shifts in phenotype.
2. Textbook photographs which show peppered moths on tree trunks have been
staged. The photographs were made by people who either manually positioned
live, torpid moths on tree trunks, or glued or pinned dead moths to them.
=====Ditto above comment.
My view of these facts is the following: The use of such photographs
should have been discontinued after 1988; or, at the very least, their
captions should have at pointed out that they did not represent the natural
situation. Their continued unqualified use indicates either that some
textbook writers knowingly used, or experts on peppered moths knowingly
permitted them to use, illustrations which misrepresent the truth.
=====Ditto above comment; plus Don Frack has demonstrated that these
illustrations are meant to clearly demonstrate the affect that background has
on how well either phenotype can blend in, NOT to illustrate the moth's
normal resting place. That the color contrasts would have the same affect in
their natural resting places has also been demonstrated by the research
described by Don Frack and related by Majerus.
Such conscious misrepresentation of the truth (which others, including
Theodore Sargent, have called "fraud") has no legitimate place in science.
It doesn't really matter whether the whistle-blower is a "creationist" or
=====On the contrary, Don Frack has demonstrated that it is Wells who is
consciously misrepresenting the truth, both about the moth itself and his
motives for critiquing the research.
Of course, all of us have theoretical presuppositions which affect our
perception of the evidence. But when a theory leads to misrepresentation
of the evidence, that theory should be discarded, or at least modified to
fit the facts. Creationists who misrepresent the evidence deserve to be
criticized; but the fact that some of them do does not excuse Darwinists
who do the same.
=====And in that light, Don Frack is simply "criticizing" Wells for his own
willfull misrepresentation of the facts.
I have used the term "peppered myth" to refer to the textbook story that
cryptic coloration and selective predation are known to be the causes of
industrial melanism because birds eat peppered moths off tree trunks. In
light of the evidence, the peppered myth and its staged photographs should
be abandoned, because they misrepresent the truth.
=====Don Frack has in fact demonstrated that Wells' evaluation is clearly
false, yet Wells appears to be too mule-stubborn to acknowledge this fact.
Now, since he cannot refute Don Frack's critique or present evidence to
support his accusation of fraud, he has decided to bail out of the
discussion. Why am I not surprised?
Jonathan Wells, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular & Cell Biology
University of California, Berkeley
=====Speaking of willful misrepresentation, Wells is merely a post-doc at
Berkeley, not a member of the faculty as this implies. He isn't even doing
any laboratory research, just helping to write a book. Does not his above
comments therefore appear to be just a tad hypocritical?
Kevin L. O'Brien