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The Lie: Evolution


Peppered Moths—Back on the Agenda?

From grade schools to universities, the story of peppered moths has become an almost legendary illustration for the basic workings of natural selection. Millions have been taught that the workings that (allegedly) caused different colored varieties of peppered moths to dominate different regions based on pollution are exactly the same as the workings that (supposedly) produced “goo-to-you” evolution over billions of years.

Of course, this “proof” of evolution is nothing of the sort, since non–information-increasing natural selection and adaptation—the only sort we observe—is explained perfectly in creation models, too. Even evolutionary biologist L. Harris Matthews admitted that peppered moth variance showed only natural selection, not evolution, in his foreword to the 1971 edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species.

Beyond that flaw in the presentation of the peppered moth legend, however, was its outright fraudulence, as explained in An Examination of Error. Yet sadly, even after being exposed as a fraud, the peppered moth legend continues to be included in biology textbooks and mandatory lessons on evolution.

Now, Cambridge geneticist Michael Majerus has repeated the famous, flawed “experiments” of the peppered moth legend “tak[ing] into account the criticisms and apparent flaws in the original research.” His conclusion? That “[a] statistical analysis of the results revealed a clear example of Darwinian natural selection in action.” Majerus argues:

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. It provides after all the proof of evolution.

AiG News to Note, September 1, 2007

Peppered Moths—Back on the Agenda?

By Paul Taylor

Britain ’s left-leaning newspaper, The Independent ran a story ( 8 September 2007) on August 25, 2007 that Kettlewell’s famed peppered moth experiments had been vindicated as evidence of evolution occurring in nature. The article claims that Kettlewell’s experiments were right, that the population distributions of peppered moths are a good example of evolution in action, and that those naughty creationists have got it all wrong, as usual. However, both the article’s author, Independent Science Editor Steve Connor, and the researcher, University of Cambridge Professor Michael Majerus , are disingenuous in their criticism of creationists and their claims about the research.

Connor writes: “Creationists smelt blood. The story of the peppered moth became a story of how Darwinism itself was flawed—with its best-known example being based on fiddled data.” He reports Majerus as saying, “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.”

This AiG website has featured information about the peppered moth saga before. 1 This species of moth (Biston betularia) exists in two forms—a light variety (typica) and a black variety (carbonaria). (Actually the moth Biston betularia shows a continuous range of pigmentation from relatively lightly peppered to darkly pigmented. The darker ones have been arbitrarily assigned to a different type.) The account was that the light-coloured variety could be seen more easily on the dark-coloured bark of trees in heavily polluted areas. Therefore, birds would more easily eat the light-coloured variety in such areas, causing a greater percentage of dark-coloured moths. Similarly, in pollution-free areas, the light-coloured variety would predominate. There is some evidence that such population distributions do indeed occur.

What the Independent article fails to acknowledge is that criticism of the peppered moth experiments did not hinge on whether or not the population observations were correct. It was the experimental methodology and the conclusions that were criticized. If the population distribution evidences are correct, then this is no problem for creationists. After all, we have here an example of moths evolving into ... well, moths. This involves a rearrangement of genetic information that already was in existence. It does not involve an increase in genetic information of the kind that would be required for “molecules-to-man” evolution.

Kettlewell’s techniques were first criticized not by creationists, but by fellow evolutionists. It is alleged in Judith Hooper’s book, Of Moths and Men, that some of the famous photographs were taken by gluing dead moths to trees. This is because the moths do not tend to settle on the bark, but fly up into the canopies. A criticism of this methodology does not negate the population observations, and if Majerus now has proof that birds are eating the relevant amounts of moths, then creationists would have no problem with that.

It is noteworthy that the Independent article suggests that there were flaws with Kettlewell’s methodology. The article ought to state what these flaws were; otherwise, the accusation that “scientists at the centre of these experiments set out to prove the story irrespective of the evidence” still stands. In a scientific study, the end does not justify the means. Even if the conclusion is correct, the experiment is rendered invalid if the methodology is dishonest.

The article claims that peppered moths were “the quintessential example of Darwinism in action.” This is not correct. If true, then the peppered moth experiment is an example of natural selection (which creationists accept), not evolution. Despite the use of the term Darwinian natural selection, true natural selection merely involves the selection of attributes genetically, for example, by the environment. Natural selection does indeed happen—it can be observed. Darwinian natural selection (i.e., natural selection, for a Darwinist assuming molecules-to-man evolution), however, would require additional genetic information.

Majerus is right on one point. The peppered moth story is indeed easy to understand. Inappropriate methodology and impossibly exaggerated claims have once again been used in a vain attempt to prove the unprovable: molecules-to-man evolution—because it didn’t happen.

8 September 2007

Dear Editor:

The Independent Science Editor, Steve Connor, should put some moth balls in his brain if he thinks the Peppered Moth will save Darwinism ("Moth Study Backs Classic 'Test Case' for Darwin 's Theory" 8-25-07

Evolution is more impossible than the West Virginia Mothman (

Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo has caused England 's best true believer, Dr. Richard Dawkins, and hundreds of other evolutionists to hide in whatever form of " lie-chen they can find.  See the list at

The Independent and Mr. Connor will continue to flutter around the flame in the darkness while creationists fly in the truth of scientific daylight.

Yours truly,

Karl Priest 141

Karmel Lane

Poca , WV 25159



Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo in The Rise and Fall of Evolution (pp. 68 and 69) accuaretly calls this issue “The Peppered Moth Fraud” and says, “Like Darwin’s original so-called evidence, this example of the missing evidence was a forgery".