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Author Topic:   Peppered Moths and Natural Selection
Member (Idle past 1173 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

Message 61 of 350 (261783)
11-21-2005 3:16 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by randman
11-20-2005 9:17 PM

Natural selection
And of course, natural selection is neither here nor there since this is presented as evidence for evolution, not just natural selection.

Where is this presented? Natural selection is a falsification test for evolution, if Natural Selection doesn't occur, then evolution cannot occur.

From this site

White and black peppered moths are a classic example of natural selection in action

Indeed, I'm having difficulty finding much reference to the moth story on the old 'web, but the references I have found all discuss it as an example of natural selection, sometimes as a subset of a 'evidence' section, but never a stand alone piece of evidence. I've only seen references over and over again to a practical example of natural selection, or of population variance changing due to environmental change.

Randman, you accept that natural selection occurs,

randman writes:

It's natural selection of existing traits.

and that the peppered moth example is natural selection. You accept that the mechanism of evolution requires natural selection.

Do you have a specific example of the peppered moths scenario being presented as anything other than as an example of natural selection? It would be useful to see what you consider inappropriate use, so we can discuss that.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by randman, posted 11-20-2005 9:17 PM randman has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by randman, posted 11-21-2005 3:36 AM Modulous has responded
 Message 63 by randman, posted 11-21-2005 3:41 AM Modulous has not yet responded

Member (Idle past 1173 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

Message 74 of 350 (261815)
11-21-2005 6:55 AM
Reply to: Message 62 by randman
11-21-2005 3:36 AM

Re: Natural selection
So evos claimed this was "evolution in action"? Well, was it? Did even speciation occur?

Do evos claim this is 'speciation in action'? Does speciation have to occur for alelle frequencies to change? Why do you insist that a speciation event had to occur? This is not a study about reproductive isolation, or population genetics which are seperate details of evolutionary theory. This is a real life, practical example of natural selection. One (very major) detail of evolutionary theory.

Also, check this out where prominent evolutionists admit the studies are inaccurate and do not show natural selection...

Irrelevant to the sub-discussion we are having. Others have discussed repeated experiments, and the habits of moths using science papers rather than quote mining a popular press book. Perhaps you can raise this issue with them?

When I say I agree natural selection exists, that really isn't that the changing moth population has anything to do with soot

OK, so natural selection exists. That's a start. Maybe it isn't, there could be some other factor at play, and science in its tentativity is open to that. However, the correlation does exist which leads many to accept that this is an example of natural selection. That is how it is presented.

It's a little dishonest therefore to try to take that concession as some sort of agreement with evolution, and that's the problem with you evos here.

The problem with you, randman, is that you seem to be fanatically paranoid. I've never taken your concession that natural selection exists as an agreement with evolution. All I am saying is that the moth population changed in areas with heavy pollution. The correlation is strong and it suggests that the change was caused by natural selection. The vector for this selection is generally credited as birds preying on resting moths.

All that is being said is that the peppered moth is a great example of natural selection, if you accept that, we can move on to discuss whether or not the confirmation of the existence of natural selection causing population change is evidence for evolution or not.

You are not being honest in your approach.

How dare you question my integrity! All I have done, randman, is try to find the areas we agree on, and the areas we disagree on. You have accused me of dishonesty, which is extremely bad manners. I ask you politely for an apology.

How can somebody be dishonest when their post comprises of

a) A question
b) A statement that natural selection is a possible falsification of ToE
c) My difficulty finding any references to peppered moth that says anything other than it being an example of natural selection.
d) My stating you accept natural selection and that you accept ToE requires natural selection
e) Finally, a request you post an example usage that you find problematic.

What on earth is dishonest about ANY of that???

it is dishonest to claim somehow evolution being verified in the sense of any change means evolution meaning ToE is somehow supported.

Not claiming that. I am claiming that if natural selection did not exist then that would falsify ToE. I will claim now that any time a theory passes a falsification test, it grows in strength, but I never stated anything about support for ToE in my original post. If anyone's honesty should be in question, randman, I don't think it is me.

This message has been edited by Modulous, Mon, 21-November-2005 11:56 AM

This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by randman, posted 11-21-2005 3:36 AM randman has not yet responded

Member (Idle past 1173 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

Message 89 of 350 (261891)
11-21-2005 10:55 AM

General interest and easy reading
Good old Ken Miller. Here is a link which seems to sum up, in a balanced manner, the moth 'controversy':

However, Majerus also discovered that many of Kettlewell's experiments didn't really test the elements of the story as well as they should have. For example, in testing how likely light and dark moths were to be eaten, he placed moths on the sides of tree trunks, a place where they rarely perch in nature. He also records how well comoflaged the moths seemed to be by visual inspection. This might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but since his work it has become clear that birds see ultraviolet much better than we do, and therefore what seems well-camouflaged to the human eye may not be to a bird. In addition, neither Kettlewell nor those who checked his work were able to compensate for the degree to which migration of moths from surrounding areas might have affected the actual numbers of light and dark moths he counted in various regions of the countryside.

it goes on to say

As Majerus explains, to be absolutely certain of exactly how natural selection produced the rise and fall of the carbonaria form, we need better experiments to show that birds (in a natural environment) really do respond to camouflage in the ways we have presumed...Until these studies are done, the peppered moth story will be incomplete. Not wrong, but incomplete...What we have to be cautious about is attributing 100% of the work of natural selection in this case to the camouflage of the moths and their direct visibility to birds.

Pretty much does it for me. There is even a nice little quote from their text book, the massively popular 'Biology' which says how it is considered a 'classic' example of natural selection - does randman have a problem with this wording? Sounds like a non-definite statement to me.

Member (Idle past 1173 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

Message 94 of 350 (261922)
11-21-2005 11:26 AM
Reply to: Message 68 by randman
11-21-2005 4:24 AM

interchanging 'evolution' with 'the theory of evolution'
To interchange a loose term "evolution" with a definite term for a specific scientific theory also called "evolution" all jumbled up together is something we critics object to and think is dishonest and misleading.

It can get confusing, and creationists are wonderful for doing it 'evolution isn't a theory, since we can't see dinosaurs in the lab!!!". Context can help, but sometimes it can't. Still its the same for everything else. Theory of Gravity can be equivocated with 'Gravity'.

I made a post about this a while back. The whole 'phenomenon' and 'theory to explain phenomenon' problem. Just be vigilant and try to ascertain from context which one is being discussed, will probably help.

This message has been edited by Modulous, Mon, 21-November-2005 04:28 PM

This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by randman, posted 11-21-2005 4:24 AM randman has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 95 by arachnophilia, posted 11-21-2005 11:44 AM Modulous has not yet responded

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