RSS 2.0 Feed

» Welcome Guest Log In :: Register

    
  Topic: Peppered moth resting locations, and the assertions of Wells and others..< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
niiicholas



Posts: 319
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 21 2002,13:06   

This thread is for accumulating

(1) Assertions
(2) Links to articles
(3) Facts

...regarding the question "where do peppered moths rest during the day".  The importance of this topic lies in that many have argued that peppered moths don't rest where Kettlewell thought they did, and that therefore his experiments were invalid, and that therefore the entire peppered moth bird-predation-theory is without support.  Or something.

Another avenue taken by Jonathan Wells in particular is the "this means that textbook photos of moths are fake and a fraud has been committed on students" avenue.  I suggest that we collect pictures that we can find on the web, with comments on the source (if we can find 'em), whether or not they are staged (if known), with a goal of getting a sense of whether or not textbook pictures are misleading.

nic

Edited by niiicholas on Sep. 22 2002,01:18

  
niiicholas



Posts: 319
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 21 2002,13:15   

An initial list of Wells utterances on moths and tree trunks:

Quote
...peppered moths don't even rest on tree trunks
[Jonathan Wells,  Icons of Evoluton, p.140]


Quote
Peppered moths don't rest on tree trunks
[Icons of Evoluton, p. 148 (section heading)]


Quote
...peppered moths do not normally rest on tree trunks
[Icons of Evoluton, p. 149]


Quote
the fact that peppered moths do not rest on tree trunks...
[Icons of Evoluton, p. 153]


Quote
Peppered moths do not rest on tree trunks in the wild.
[Icons of Evoluton, p 260 (suggested textbook warning label)]
   

Quote
4) In the 1980's, several researchers showed independently that peppered moths do not rest on tree trunks in the wild.
[Jonathan Wells, http://www.calvin.edu/archive/evolution/199903/0348.html ]


Quote
BUT EVERYONE, INCLUDING MAJERUS, HAS KNOWN SINCE THE 1980'S THAT PEPPERED MOTHS DO NOT REST ON TREE TRUNKS IN THE WILD
[Calvin debate, http://www.calvin.edu/archive/evolution/199903/0348.html ]


(courtsey KC)

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4375
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 21 2002,18:43   

More instances of Wells holding forth on where peppered moths do or do not "normally" rest:

Quote
4. "students should know that the pictures were faked": This goes without saying.  Since biologists have known since the 1980s that peppered moths do not normally rest on tree trunks, not to tell students that the pictures were staged (in many cases by gluing or pinning dead moths to desired backgrounds) constitutes as clear a case of scientific fraud as any on record.  Yet I'm aware of no sincere efforts by Darwinists to inform students of this -- despite their pious declarations of good intentions. Almost all recent (1998-2000) biology textbooks use such photos without any indication that they were staged.  As a scientist, I find this absolutely inexcusable.  If dogmatic Darwinists were as smart as they pretend to be, they would be actively campaigning -- for their own good! -- to rid textbooks of this fraud.  Acquiescence in scientific misconduct will not look good on their resumes.

(Source)


Quote
Then there's the story of peppered moths. Most current biology textbooks carry photos of these moths on tree trunks, claiming that experiments performed in the 1950s showed that natural selection (stemming from camouflage differences and predatory birds) made dark- colored moths more common during the Industrial Revolution. But Martin omits the fact that this textbook story is now very much in doubt, because biologists discovered in the 1980s that peppered moths don't normally rest on tree trunks. All the textbook photos have been staged- -some by gluing or pinning dead moths in place.

(Source)


Quote
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.

(Source)


Quote
Regarding the peppered moths: Kettlewell's experiments supposedly demonstrated that cryptic coloration and selective bird predation are the principle causes of industrial melanism were discredited by (a) findings in the 1960's and 1970's that other factors (such as migration and non-visual selection) had to be invoked to account for observed geographical distributions, (b) reports that the rise and fall of melanism were not correlated with lichen cover on tree trunks in the U.S. or many parts of the U.K., © research in the 1980's showing that peppered moths in the wild do not normally rest on tree trunks (where Kettlewell conducted his experiments), and (d) revelations that all photographs of peppered moths on tree trunks have been staged, either by manually positioning live moths or by pinning or gluing dead ones.

(Source)


Ah, this is the one that I wanted to track down specifically:

Quote
BUT EVERYONE, INCLUDING MAJERUS, HAS KNOWN SINCE THE 1980'S THAT PEPPERED MOTHS DO NOT REST ON TREE TRUNKS IN THE WILD. This means that every time those staged photographs have been knowingly re-published since the 1980's constitutes a case of deliberate scientific fraud. Michael Majerus is being dishonest, and textbook-writers are lying to biology students. The behavior of these people is downright scandalous.

Fraud is fraud. It's time to tell it like it is.

(Source)


Wesley

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
ExYECer



Posts: 36
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 22 2002,10:01   

I am not sure if these have been mentioned but an interesting 'discussion' between Wells and Musgraeve can be found at Peppered moths

Quote

…Using caged moths, Mikkola (1984) observed that `the normal resting place of the Peppered Moth is beneath small , more or less horizontal branches … probably high up in the canopies, and the species probably only exceptionally rests on tree trunks…'
…In twenty-five years of field work, Clarke (1985) and his colleagues found only one peppered moth on a tree trunk…

…in the 1980s…biologists found that in the wild peppered moths do not rest on tree trunks…

Source

Quote
   (2) Even if the correct number were 168 rather than 6, this would still represent only a tiny percentage of the tens of thousands of peppered moths studied by field researchers between the 1950s and 1990s.


Source


Exposed tree trunks versus tree trunks

Quote
   (3) I do not claim that peppered moths NEVER rest on tree trunks, but only that they do not NORMALLY rest on tree trunks in the wild. This is the conclusion of everyone who has studied the natural resting-places of peppered moths, including Majerus. In addition to the conclusions you already cite from my work, I could add the following from Majerus's book: "Peppered moths do not naturally rest in exposed positions on tree trunks.... Data on the natural resting sites of the peppered moth are pitifully scarce, and this in itself suggests that peppered moths do not habitually rest in exposed positions on tree trunks.


Source

And this incredible ignorant comment

Quote
  Finally, Thomas claims - without mentioning specifics - that I misrepresent a 1985 paper by Clarke, Mani & Wynne.  Clarke et al. (1985) wrote that "all we have observed is where the moths do NOT spend the day.  In 25 years we have found only two" - one on a tree trunk, and another on a wall near a mercury vapor trap.  To appreciate the significance of this - and the numbers cited in the other papers - it is helpful to note that Steward (1977) listed 52 studies conducted between 1952 and 1974, involving a total of 8,426 peppered moths.  Clearly, the one moth reported by Clarke et al. (1985), and the six moths reported by Majerus (1998) as resting on exposed tree trunks, represent only a vanishingly small percentage of all peppered moths studied.
Source

  
niiicholas



Posts: 319
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 22 2002,14:40   

Wells has an unusual talent for mixing several obfuscations together into a story that looks convincing to anyone who hasn't done some reading of the actual moth experts.

Some things to watch out for:

Obfuscation between "moths don't rest on exposed positions on tree trunks" and "moths don't rest on tree trunks".  Wells' quotes usually say the former, but Wells will argue the latter.

Obfuscation about what "'normal' resting position" means to the experts Wells cites.

Audience-dependent obfuscation about whether or not to mention Majerus' data on the natural resting positions of moths.  Wells has been bashed about the head so many times with this that in his most recent writing (reviewing Hooper's book for Christianity Today, here) he has finally brought the data forth rather than having a skeptic do it.  However, reports indicate that his normal strategy in front of friendly audiences is to not mention this inconvient data at all and instead talk about "fraudulent photos" in textbooks (but if peppered moths do rest on tree trunks at least sometimes, then any objection to the photos has become moot).

In every Wells debate on peppered moths that I've read, his ultimate last-ditch position on peppered moths is to talk about how small those observed numbers are in proportion to the thousands of moths observed over the years.  E.g., here:

Quote

Nevertheless, many defenders of Darwinian evolution rush to protect the peppered moth icon as though their religion depended on it. In 2000, I wrote a book pointing out that the peppered moth story—though of limited significance in itself—is part of a larger pattern of systematic misrepresentation serving to prop up Darwin's theory. Kevin Padian, a Berkeley professor and president of the National Center for Science Education, a militantly pro-Darwin advocacy group, responded by likening me to the sociopathic antihero of the film The Talented Mr. Ripley. According to Padian, "a particularly egregious example of Mr. Wells's talents is his treatment of the peppered moth." Padian then went on to defend the classic story by claiming that peppered moths "rest on tree trunks 26% of the time" (The Quarterly Review of Biology, March 2002).

Padian bases his astonishing claim (which contradicts the published scientific literature) on the fact that 47 moths were found resting in the wild between 1964 and 1996, and that one quarter of these were on tree trunks. During the same period, however, many thousands of moths were caught in nighttime traps, so the 47 found in natural resting positions were less than 1 percent of the moths studied, and much less than 1 percent of all peppered moths living in the wild. Padian might as well claim that a quarter of all ocean fish are visible to predatory birds because he did statistics on the few that can be spotted from a boat.

Character assassination supported by transparently bogus statistics—how does a highly placed scientist end up indulging in such tactics? Obviously, the peppered moth story involves more than objective science.


'Course, Wells doesn't mention that the "many thousands of moths" caught in traps were caught in traps that attract moths with light or pheromones and which are therefore utterly irrelevant to determining natural resting positions.  All this was pointed out to Wells in the very first moth debate on the Calvin listserv:

(URLs reviewed here:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/#mothmaj )

Fracks response to the traps claim:

Quote

[Frack, "RE: My last word":
http://www.calvin.edu/archive/evolution/199904/0207.html ]

I have only one comment on Wells's "last word". He wrote:

> 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.


I have already been contacted by a list member asking me about the "tens of thousands" of moths. Attentive readers will probably have noticed that we were talking about Majerus's sample of field collected moths from resting positions as 47, and Wells's incessant "one moth". Wells has found me out. You can now be told the truth that the normal resting position of peppered moths is in the bottom tray of light traps, for that is where these specimens were "observed."


...and yet, you will find Wells ending every debate on peppered moths (with Frack, Miller, Dave Thomas, and probably others) with this false Ace.

And, of course, tactically leaving out important pieces of information like this is exactly what the Matt Daemon character in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" did at the beginning of the movie (the part cited in the Padian review), and is indeed the major fault of all of Wells' antievolution polemics.

nic

Edited by niiicholas on Sep. 22 2002,14:42

  
niiicholas



Posts: 319
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 26 2002,00:13   

Here is another Wells gaffe:

Quote

(4) In the 1980's, several researchers showed independently that peppered moths do not rest on tree trunks in the wild. The moths normally fly only at night, and before dawn they apparently take up positions high in the canopy, underneath horizontal branches. In 40 years of field work, only one peppered moth was found resting on a tree trunk in the wild. Although some uncertainty remains about where the moths actually do rest during the day, it is absolutely clear that they do not rest on vertical tree trunks.

[ http://www.calvin.edu/archive/evolution/199903/0348.html ]


Michael Majerus took the trouble to respond to this himself:

Quote

4) This is just wrong. Dr Wells' who gives the impression in his response that he has read my book, obviously has not. If he had, he would have seen that in Tables 6.1 and 6.2 I myself have recorded 168 peppered moths on tree trunks or at trunk/branch joins. If Dr Wells' wishes his views to be taken seriously, he should ensure that his research is thorough.

[ http://www.calvin.edu/archive/evolution/199904/0103.html ]


yersinia

  
niiicholas



Posts: 319
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 12 2002,21:02   

Philosopher/Historian of science, who has authored a PhD and several articles on Kettlewell's work, has weighed in against Jonathan Wells:

Quote

Cryptic designs on the peppered moth.

Rev Biol Trop 2002 Mar;50(1):1-7
Rudge DW.

Department of Biological Sciences, Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, 3134 Wood Hall, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5410, USA. david.rudge@wmich.edu

In a provocative recent book, Jonathan Wells (2000) decries what he discerns as a systematic pattern in how introductory biology textbooks "blatantly misrepresent" ten routinely cited examples offered as evidence for evolution. Each of these examples, according to Wells, is fraught with interpretive problems and, as such, textbooks that continue to use them should at the very least be accompanied by warning labels. The following essay critiques his reasoning with reference to one of these examples, the phenomenon of industrial melanism. After criticizing Wells's specific argument, the essay draws several conclusions about the nature of science lost in his account.


Rudge's webpage is here:
http://vms.cc.wmich.edu/~rudged/index.html

One of Rudge's articles is online:
(another version of this was published in something like the Journal of Biological Education

"Does being wrong make Kettlewell wrong for science teaching?"

from here:
http://www.ed.psu.edu/CI/journals/2001aets/01file1.asp

Rudge's current and upcoming articles are listed here:
http://homepages.wmich.edu/~rudged/vita.html#refereed_journal_articles

Edited by niiicholas on Dec. 12 2002,21:12

  
niiicholas



Posts: 319
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 12 2002,21:44   

Other Biston researcher webpages:

Bruce Grant
http://faculty.wm.edu/bsgran/

Michael Majerus
http://www.gen.cam.ac.uk/dept/majerus.html

Books by Majerus:
amazon.com link

  
niiicholas



Posts: 319
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: July 22 2003,20:23   

Some more peppered moth cross-refs:

Peppered moth resting locations, and the assertions of Wells and others...

Peppered moths and the moon

Hooper's 'Of Moths and Men' and reviews thereof, Links, discussion, etc.

  
  8 replies since Sep. 21 2002,13:06 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

    


Track this topic Email this topic Print this topic

[ Read the Board Rules ] | [Useful Links] | [Evolving Designs]