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Wayne Rossiter on teaching Darwin’s unquestionable truths

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The claim that British moths “evolved” because of industrial pollution (microevolution) in recent centuries became an unquestionable truth of Darwin lobby textbooks in recent decades. But there are serious problems with that example (the peppered myth). From Waynesburg University (Pennsylvania) biology prof Wayne Rossiter, author of In the Shadow of Oz, a note:

Note that I do not deny that there are examples of microevolution in action (in fact, I affirm the existence of such examples). I simply point out that this “prized horse” in the evolutionist’s stable—an example that ranks with Darwin’s finches—has serious shortcomings that go unmentioned in the public or in the classroom. In [Darwin defender] JB’s attempt to rescue the sacred cow, he/she completely misses the major problem. Let’s suppose the arguments JB brings forth are sufficient to re-establish the Peppered moth story as a good example of microevolution.

Note: The peppered myth?:

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.

So, what about those textbook photographs that impressed my college professor friend? If peppered moths don’t normally rest on tree trunks, how were the photographs obtained? It turns out that they were staged—often by pinning or gluing dead moths in place. – Jonathan Wells

It still would not negate the point of this section of my book. I’ve been in the academic arena since 1998. I don’t know of one classroom lecture that has ever even mentioned the concerns I raise in my book; concerns significant enough to have Jerry Coyne (professor of biology at Univ. Chicago and an atheist) writing in the journal Nature that it’s as if somebody told a little boy that Santa is a fiction. That is, the warts on this story have not been removed from scientific understanding of the system, but are never mentioned in the classroom. Coyne admits his ignorance of the subject up until that time. He taught something he didn’t even know about. We all have. More.

Darwinism does that to people. We end up retailing unquestionable truths instead of teaching students to research and evaluate.

See also: Darwin’s finches not a good example of Darwinian evolution?

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4 Replies to “Wayne Rossiter on teaching Darwin’s unquestionable truths

  1. 1
    tommy hall says:

    It would be interesting if, just once, Big Science would actually do its job and test the notion that natural selection is actually responsible for this adaptation. How about setting up a controlled experiment???? They could do this very easily; simply build a couple of large enclosed cages (using one for the control group) each filled with a good number of these lightly-colored peppered moths…. One cage would be filled with with trees with dark trunks and branches while the control group was filled with trees with light trunks. There would be no birds inside either cage, though birds may be brought in to live outside the cages, for their very presence may better-initiate a biological response.

    Thus, would the moths raised in the cage with darkened tree trunks and branches generate an adaptive developmental response resulting in offspring with darker colored wings? — without natural selection at all? How about over multiple generations? would wings slightly darken over time, with each passing generation? Or would a quick, decisive change occur…. Or would no change happen…. Scientists have recently claimed that jumping genes are the responsible mechanism — and from what I understand genes don’t just jump around willy-nilly — this is a highly controlled mechanism that’s responsive to environmental signals. So could this merely be an environmentally-adaptive response on behalf of developing embryos, cured by mother’s hormones? I’d bet money on it.

    Yet we know Big Science is not terribly interested in uncovering the truth about one of their icons.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    The claim was that the numbers of light or dark variants of the peppered moth varied as a result of bird predation. It was reasoned that light-colored variants would have stood out against a background darkened by industrial pollution and so would be more likely to be eaten by birds that prey on the moths. This would result in the dark variants becoming the majority of the population. In other words, this was an excellent example of what Darwin meant by natural selection in action.

    Field experiments by the naturalist Bernard Kettlewell in the 1950s produced results which appeared to support Darwin’s theory but subsequent attempts had problems achieving the same results. Kettlewell’s work was criticized on the grounds of poor experimental design although a book by journalist Judith Hooper went much further with allegations of scientific malpractice and fraud. These allegations are now judged to have been soundly refuted.

    Starting in 2001, the British geneticist Michael Majerus ran a seven-year experiment with a much more rigorous protocol to test the same hypothesis that Kettlewell had investigated. The results, published after Majerus’s death, found that changes in the numbers of light or dark variants were indeed the result of bird predation. This vindicated Kettlewell’s earlier work and re-established the peppered moth as a prime example of Darwinian evolution through natural selection.

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    This vindicated Kettlewell’s earlier work and re-established the peppered moth as a prime example of Darwinian evolution through natural selection.

    Darwin wrote a book called “The Origin of Species.” These experiments reveal that the book was mis-titled. It should have been

    The Origin of Variants

    After all most of his evidence was based on the breeding of different variants of animals.

  4. 4
    Robert Byers says:

    it seems natural selection must be true. the whole principal of camouflage seems to be nature saying that without it one would be destroyed for sure. Not just chance.
    Yet its probably a very minor thing in nature. not the driving engine of evolutionist claims.
    In fact common sense natural selection was seized and by this line of reasoning they made the whole concept of evolution.
    there was not only not controlled experiments for natural selection but not for macro evolution.

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