Moth proof frightens creationists, claims Michael Majerus according to an article in BBC Science Features 26 January 2009. The peppered moth story has been one of the icons of evolution ever since a series of famous experiments conducted by Bernard Kettlewell in the 1950’s appeared to prove the changes in populations of dark and light moths to be an observable example of natural selection, and therefore evolution in action. However, there were some serious flaws in Kettlewell’s experimental method, (e.g. placing moths on tree trunks when they don’t normally rest on tree trunks) and the experiments have been criticised in both secular and creationist literature.
Therefore, in an attempt to defuse the criticism, Michael Majerus, an evolutionary biologist at Cambridge University has spent several years repeating the studies of predation of peppered moths by birds. Majerus compiled a large number of observations of birds eating moths in rural Cambridgeshire (where the trees are not soot-blackened), and concluded that “the black form was significantly more likely to be eaten than the peppered.”
Majerus commented: “The peppered moth story is easy to understand because it involves things that we are familiar with: vision and predation and birds and moths and pollution and camouflage and lunch and death. That is why the anti-evolution lobby attacks the peppered moth story. They are frightened that too many people will be able to understand.” He went on to say, “If the rise and fall of the peppered moth is one of the most visually impacting and easily understood examples of Darwinian evolution in action, it should be taught. After all, it provides the proof of evolution.”
Editorial Comment: The only thing creationists are afraid of is that Cambridge professors like Majerus, who should know better, will bluff ordinary people into believing that they have proven evolution. Majerus’ better experimental methods have no more proven evolution than Kettlewell’s flawed experiments did. All he has proven is that birds will eat whichever moths are easiest to see, and that leaves the less visible ones alive to breed. This is natural selection, but it is not evolution.
Majerus seems to think that if we find any change in numbers of dark versus light moths he has proved moths were not created. He is looking at the world through Darwin’s Glasses , a term we have coined to describe the thought processes that define evolution as change, then call all change evolution, then accept any change as proof of evolution, then turn around and claim such change disproves creation.
To prove evolution by natural selection Majerus will need to observe moths turning into another kind of creature as result of selection. Since selection can only eliminate things that already exist, Majerus is barking up the wrong tree. Selection does not make new living things. Peppered moths are exactly the same as they were when black and white variations were first recorded by moth collectors in the 1850s; as they were when Kettlewell did his experiments in the mid 20th century, and as they are now observed by Majerus in the 21st century. If you take off Darwin’s Glasses you will actually observe that moths have produced after their kind as you would expect to see as a result of Genesis being correct. (Ref. insects, Lepidoptera, pigmentation)
Evidence News, 19 Nov 2009