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April 26, 2008

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Are peppered moths proof of evolution?

This tale is about one of the sacred cows of evolution: the peppered moth. The story of this moth has been set forth for decades as the prime example of evolution in action. It is a fascinating story about how, due to a combination of environmental changes and selective predation, a moth turned into, well, a moth.

The peppered moth, scientifically known as Biston betularia, exists in two primary forms, one light colored with spots and one almost black. As the tale goes, in the mid 1800s, the lighter variety of the moth (typica) predominated. During the Industrial Revolution, the lichen on tree trunks died, soot got deposited on trees, and as a result trees got darker. As this change occurred, the population of darker moths (carbonaria) increased, presumably due to the camouflage offered by the darker trees. Bird predators could not see the dark moths against the dark bark. As the darker moth population increased, the lighter moth population decreased.

This story has been touted for years as a great example of Darwinian evolution in action. Countless textbooks are lavishly illustrated with photographs of light and dark moths resting on light and dark tree trunks to teach the wonders of evolution. “It is the slam dunk of natural selection, the paradigmatic story that converts high school and college students to Darwin, the thundering left hook to the jaw of creationism.”

Much of the “proof” for this evolutionary change came from the work of a man named Dr. Bernard Kettlewell, a medical doctor-turned-entomologist, at Oxford University. Dr. Kettlewell had been intrigued by changes in the relative populations of the moths. In his experiments he set out to show that the changes were a result of natural selection in response to environmental change and selective predation.


To read the rest of this article, see Much Ado About Moths.

News to Note Quick Look

Myth making: We’ve received more news tips on this story than on any other in recent memory—new research published in the American Journal of Human Genetics purports to describe how humankind diverged, then nearly went extinct, and then finally reunited more than 50,000 years ago. Read more.


A fresh face: A mysterious group of icy objects in our outer solar system are covered in “fresh powdery ice” and look as though they’re “no more than 100 million years old”—a far cry from their supposed age of a billion years. Read more.


Also: one mean chicken and looking for intelligence. Read more.

Get the word out!

Expelled Movie Action Kit

Have you seen Ben Stein’s new movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed? We’ve viewed it and agree that it will be a very popular “evolution-busting” tool to expose the lack of academic freedom in America’s schools today. Once you’ve seen the movie, you’ll want to equip yourself and help your friends. That’s why we’ve assembled this incredibly low-priced value pack of Creator-affirming materials; plus, you’ll even receive an exclusive coupon good for $5 off Expelled at our online store as soon as the film is available to us on DVD!

Prayer Requests

Answers ... with Ken Ham radio program

After Eden

top leftThis Week . . .

Video On Demand

Video On Demand: The Great Debate
The Great Debate (part 10) Watch Video

Resources

Amazon Expedition VBS
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