David Berlinski – Artistic Fraud in Evolution

David Berlinski discusses the fraudulent methods in which evolutionary theory is taught in our schools.

A recommended resource is a recent book entitled, “Haeckel’s Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud” — here is Chicago University Press’ description:

Pictures from the past powerfully shape current views of the world. In books, television programs, and websites, new images appear alongside others that have survived from decades ago. Among the most famous are drawings of embryos by the Darwinist Ernst Haeckel in which humans and other vertebrates begin identical, then diverge toward their adult forms. But these icons of evolution are notorious, too: soon after their publication in 1868, a colleague alleged fraud, and Haeckel’s many enemies have repeated the charge ever since. His embryos nevertheless became a textbook staple until, in 1997, a biologist accused him again, and creationist advocates of intelligent design forced his figures out. How could the most controversial pictures in the history of science have become some of the most widely seen?
           
In Haeckel’s Embryos, Nick Hopwood tells this extraordinary story in full for the first time. He tracks the drawings and the charges against them from their genesis in the nineteenth century to their continuing involvement in innovation in the present day, and from Germany to Britain and the United States. Emphasizing the changes worked by circulation and copying, interpretation and debate, Hopwood uses the case to explore how pictures succeed and fail, gain acceptance and spark controversy. Along the way, he reveals how embryonic development was made a process that we can see, compare, and discuss, and how copying—usually dismissed as unoriginal—can be creative, contested, and consequential.
           
With a wealth of expertly contextualized illustrations, Haeckel’s Embryosrecaptures the shocking novelty of pictures that enthralled schoolchildren and outraged priests, and highlights the remarkable ways these images kept on shaping knowledge as they aged.

Another book with a more apolgetic verve is one by Jonathan Wells, “Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Why Much of What We Teach About Evolution Is Wrong,” especially chapter five, “Haeckel’s Embryo’s.” Here is the author speaking to it:

Other Examples of SO-SO-STORIES… but first… what is a so-so-story? Here is a quote, and really, a definition of the general theory of evolution (GTE) that G.A. Kerkut defines in his older text, Implication of Evolution (second quote). Here Spetner calls it the neo-Darwinian theory (NDT), it more common name today. Here is Spetner’s relevant quote:

Neo-Darwinian Theory (NDT) is counterintuitive, and is acknowledged as such even by its supporters. All present-day life is assumed to have evolved from some primitive cell, and that cell was supposed to have formed itself from simple chemicals. Nobody seems to know how that cell came to be, but almost all biologists think they understand fairly well how evolution proceeded from that cell to all the life we see today.

There appears to be a vast amount of information contained in trees, fish, elephants, and people. Where did this information come from? It is said to have come from random mutations and natural selection. How can that work? Natural selection is supposed to be the magic that makes evolution happen, but all natural selection does is eliminate the less adaptive organisms and allow the more adaptive ones to survive and proliferate. Where do those more adaptive ones come from? Ap­parently, that’s what random mutations are supposed to accomplish.

So the information buildup required by Common Descent can come only from random mutations. That means that the buildup of informa­tion is a matter of chance. At each step of the evolutionary process, a mutation has to have occurred that grants the organism an advan­tage. The big question is: Is that reasonable? To see if it is, some people (including me) have made calculations of the probability of mutations building information.

We really don’t have all the data we need to make this calculation. But even if we make some conservative assumptions and give the ben­efit of all doubts to the Darwinian side, such calculations demonstrate that Common Descent is not reasonable. The Darwin­ists, however, do not accept these calculations as conclusive — they suggest alternative scenarios that might make the probabilities larger.

In his book Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe addressed the un­reasonableness of Darwinian evolution. He described some biological systems as what he called “irreducibly complex.” By that he meant that these systems are composed of several critical components in such a way that the system cannot work unless all those components are in place. He then argued that the system could not evolve one small part at a time, because natural selection could not work on less than the whole system. Here, too, the Darwinians countered by suggesting scenarios in which natural selection might work, but again, the Dar­winian scenarios are purely hypothetical.

Because the Darwinians can invent scenarios to address any chal­lenge to their theory, they are not convinced by attempts to show that neo-Darwinian evolution cannot work. Therefore, I have concluded that it would be more productive to challenge them to show that it could work — challenge them to do more than just offer vague scenarios of how their theory might work, but to show by calculation that the prob­ability of it working is reasonably high. This is a challenge they must meet to establish their theory on a scientific basis. They have never met this challenge and they cannot. They cannot show that the events they claim to have produced Common Descent have a high enough prob­ability to justify their claim. Their inability to establish the theory of Common Descent means that Common Descent is not an established theory. This is one of the main points of this book.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of probability calculations. NDT is not like Newton’s theory of mechanics, whose equations de­scribe the motion of a physical body under a force. Nor is it like Max­well’s theory of electromagnetism, whose equations describe the effects of electric and magnetic fields on electric charges. These theories are checked against experiment by solving those equations. NDT describes evolution as the result of random mutations that may or may not yield an adaptive phenotype. These are chance events. The theory can be checked only by calculating the probabilities of the required events to see if they are reasonably large. The theory has not been shown to have passed this test and is therefore not a valid theory. Whatever evidence is given for Common Descent is circumstantial. Circumstantial evi­dence cannot stand alone. It needs to have a theory tying the evidence to the conclusion. But instead of a theory, imaginary scenarios are of­fered to suggest how evolution might work. No calculations of proba­bilities are made.

[….]

Common Descent is a key component of an agenda advocating a natural origin of life. The effort to demonstrate the possibility of such a natural origin is usually divided into two parts: (1) abiogenesis, the origin of a simple life form from naturally occurring chemicals, and (2) the evolution of all life from that single simple beginning. It turns out, however, there is no good evidence for either of these two parts.

Lee Spetner, The Evolution Revolution: Why Thinking People Are Rethinking the Theory of Evolution (Brooklyn, NY: Judaica Press, 2014), 7-9, 15.

(LINKS IN PICTURES)

EYE EVOLUTION IN DRAWINGS:

NEBRASKA MAN (Drawn from from a single — later to be known — pigs tooth)

WHALE EVOLUTION:

Etc., Etc., Etc….

 

MYTH: Human/Chimpanzee Similarities

(There are really two “apologetics” [streams of arguments] below. The first is a refutation of Chimp/Human similarities; the second is a dealing with the underlying presuppositions and the self-defeating aspects of them [Jump To This]. And this post spawned a “SISTER POST” of sorts. Enjoy.)

Here I want to offer a somewhat short refutation [NOT] of the perpetual myth about human and chimpanzee DNA being 99% similar. One friend included it in a comment to me:

  • A cat shares 85 percent of our dna Along with dogs. Plants 15-20 percent . We share 90% of the genome with a banana. Chimpanzees 99% nearly

Here is my short response:

Not only that, but your idea of 99% is not a real stat as well. Many things have changed since that 1975 claim.* One example is that junk DNA is roundly refuted, and 2001 and 2005 Nature and Science Journal articles make clear that we share from 81% to 87% of DNA with chimps. That shouldn’t be a surprise since we both have eyes to see, stomachs to digest food, etc. So again, when I see you make claims above, rarely are they rooted in anything either current or true. 

* (CREATION.COM) The original 1% claim goes back to 1975.2 This was a long time before a direct comparison of the individual ‘letters’ (base pairs) of human and chimp DNA was possible—the first draft of the human DNA was not published until 2001 and for the chimp it was 2005. The 1975 figure came from crude comparisons of very limited stretches of human and chimp DNA that had been pre-selected for similarity. The chimp and human DNA strands were then checked for how much they stuck to each other—a method called DNA hybridization. (2. Cohen, J., Relative differences: the myth of 1%, Science 316(5833):1836, 2007; doi: 10.1126/science.316.5833.1836)

Even a recent 2006 TIME article continues the mantra when they say, “Scientists figured out decades ago that chimps are our nearest evolutionary cousins, roughly 98% to 99% identical to humans at the genetic level.” So while science moves on and corrects itself, our culture is stuck in what was said to be a proof, and reject what ACTUALLY an evidence against the evolutionary proposition. Similar refutations of evolutionary positions that Richard Dawkins and “Junk DNA.”

What do I mean by that? I mean that if something is said to be evidence and is used to promote [FOR] the evolutionary paradigm… and then it is shown not to be the case… wouldn’t it then logically be an evidence AGAINST this said paradigm? I think so.

MOVING ON. . . SORTA

Before zeroing in on the Chimp issue, one other quick note regarding a recent discovery that undermines this “similarity” idea. That is this study:

PJ MEDIA notes:

study published in the journal Human Evolution is causing quite the stir. In the words of Phys.org, “The study’s most startling result, perhaps, is that nine out of 10 species on Earth today, including humans, came into being 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.”

So startling, in fact, that according to David Thaler, one of the lead authors of the study, “This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could.”

The study’s very own author was so disturbed by how the conclusions challenged current scientific dogma that he “fought against it as hard as [he] could.” His “fight” gives credence to the study’s conclusions. His eventual acceptance, not to mention publication, of the conclusions speaks well of Thaler’s commitment to being a scientist first and an ideologue second.

[….]

This is no small matter for evolutionists because, as World Magazine helpfully summarizes:

According to traditional evolutionary thinking, all living things on Earth share common ancestry, with species evolving through a slow process of random mutation, natural selection, and adaptation over roughly 3.8 billion years. The idea that humans and most animals suddenly appeared at the same time a mere 200,000 years ago or less does not fit with that model.

(See more from my post, “Major DNA Study Undermines Evolution ‘In A Big Way’“) Obviously we differ on time-scalesbut it sure seems like they are getting closer to mine over said time. But if one wishes to keep it ecumenical, here is a quote I love: 

  • “While thoughtful investigators may disagree about the precise age of the universe, we can be confident about its finite nature”

>> J Warner Wallace, God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2015), 37.

Okay, back to the refutation of the 99% similarity. Here, Dr. Thomas Seiler, Ph.D., Physics, Technical University of Munich refutes compelingly this outdated TIME magazine article… and my friend:

Most of you may have heard the statement that chimpanzees and humans are having 99% of their genes in common. However, what you are usually not told is that this result was not based on comparing the entire DNA of man and ape but only on comparing a very small fraction of it (ca. 3 %). The function of the other 97% of the genetic code was not understood. Therefore, it was concluded that this DNA had no function at all and it was considered “leftover junk from evolution” and not taken into consideration for the comparison between man and ape. Meanwhile, modern genetics has demonstrated for almost the entire DNA that there is functionality in every genetic letter. And this has led to the collapse of the claim that man and chimpanzee have 99% of their DNA in common.

In 2007, the leading scientific journal Science therefore called the suggested 1% difference “a myth.” And from a publication in Nature in 2010 comparing the genes of our so-called Y-chromosome with those of the chimpanzee Y-chromosome we know now that 60% of human Y-chromosome is not contained in that of the chimpanzee. This represents a difference of one billion genetic letters, known as nucleotides.

And modern genetics has recently made another important discovery which was very unexpected. Researchers found that all of the different groups of humans on earth, wherever they live and whatever they look like, have 99.9% of their genes in common. This leads to a problem for the hypothesis of evolution because if humans really were descended from the apes, then how could it be that we only have 40% of our Y-chromosome in common with the apes but at the same time there is almost a complete genetic identity among all humans? If there had been an evolution from ape to man then it should still go on among men and reveal significant genetic differences. These recent discoveries therefore drastically widen the gap between man and the animals. And they confirm that there are in reality no such things as human “races”. Asians, Europeans, Africans and Indigenous people from America and Australia only have superficial differences like color of skin or shape of the nose but they are all extremely similar on the genetic level.

And these recent breakthrough discoveries even go further. Today, because of the extreme similarity of the human genome, it is considered a well-established fact among geneticists, that all humans living on earth now are descended from one single man and from one single woman. In order to convince yourself of this you only have to search in the internet for the terms “mitochondrial Eve” or “Y-chromosome Adam”. These names were given by evolutionists in an ironic sense but now many regret that choice of name because this discovery perfectly confirms the Catholic Doctrine of Creation which has taught for 2000 years that all humans are brothers and sisters descended from one single human couple, the real historical persons Adam and Eve, not from a multitude of subhuman primates….

(Via LIFE SITE NEWS)

Here is a visual of the varying studies (click to enlarge in another window):

This video evaluates the claim that humans and chimps have 98% to 99% DNA similarity.

DR. JONATHAN SARFATI passed this on to me in conversation (click to enlarge):

Wow. Enough said? Or will this myth still infect the brains of people wishing something to be true that continue to lose evidences for? One other noteworthy exchange from that conversation I wish to note here.


Switching Gears


My friend said many things, which is convenient… many skeptics of young earth creationism or Christianity for that matter have paragraphs of bumper sticker [what they think are] facts strung together… like a lullaby to prove to themselves they are right. (What they ironically they call the GISH GALLOP [“it’s far easier to raise numerous unsubstantiated points than it is to refute them properly”] in referring to us.) Which is why I like to stop, and discuss one issue at a time. Which the above is.

When you do that, rarely does the position of the skeptic hold water.

Here is what my friend said:

  • I also see damage being done to children when you teach them things that are scientifically inaccurate. The earth is not 10000 years old…

To which Jonathan Sarfati responded (and reminded me of a larger quote I got from his commentary of Genesis I will post at the end):

ATHEOPATHS: in an evolutionary universe, concepts like “good” and “evil” are just illusions of our brains conditioned by millions of years of Darwinian evolution.

Also ATHEOPATHS: Christianity is evil child abuse.

While the main driver of the topic is a PSYCHOLOGY TODAY article that posits Christianity is harmful to children — just Christianity mind you…

It is a form a Christophobia – a fear of anything related to Christianity/Christ, A bias against one “particular” religious expression. A word I used in one of my first “conversation series” posts on my old blog (November of 2006): “theophobia” – a fear of “the belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe”.

… is telling. The point that Doc Sarfati makes is Yuuuge. That is,

  • skeptics of the Faith like to use moral positions to refute the absolute morality of Christianity, or a position they attribute truth to and expect others to grasp said truth as, well, true — is not in fact the case if their worldview is reality. They pay no attention to the underlying aspect of where these laws or stated facts are reasoned from — mind or matter.

While the whole conversation is a bit drawn out, a refuting principle I used in it which is the same principle Dr. Sarfati taps into (i.e., the Laws of Logic), is this quote by J.B.S. Haldane

  • “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true…and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

It is the same as this reflection by Stephen Hawkings noted by Ravi Zacharias:

One of the most intriguing aspects mentioned by Ravi Zacharias of a lecture he attended entitled “Determinism – Is Man a Slave or the Master of His Fate,” given by Stephen Hawking, who is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, Isaac Newton’s chair, was this admission by Dr. Hawking’s, was Hawking’s admission that if “we are the random products of chance, and hence, not free, or whether God had designed these laws within which we are free.”[1] In other words, do we have the ability to make choices, or do we simply follow a chemical reaction induced by millions of mutational collisions of free atoms? Michael Polyni mentions that this “reduction of the world to its atomic elements acting blindly in terms of equilibrations of forces,” a belief that has prevailed “since the birth of modern science, has made any sort of teleological [a reason or explanation for something in function of its end, purpose, or goal] view of the cosmos seem unscientific…. [to] the contemporary mind.”[2]

[1] Ravi Zacharias, The Real Face of Atheism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004), 118, 119.
[2] Michael Polanyi and Harry Prosch, Meaning (Chicago, IL: Chicago university Press, 1977), 162.

John Cleese explains the above in a Monty Python view for the layman:

Here is Ravi again, but this time at a Q&A at Yale being challenged by a graduate student:

To be clear, my friend has no idea that what he has said is internally self-refuting. To show this working out with yet another skeptic of the Faith, here is apologist Frank Turek dispensing in similar fashion to Jonathan Sarfati (see below), Daniel Dennet:

Atheist Daniel Dennett, for example, asserts that consciousness is an illusion. (One wonders if Dennett was conscious when he said that!) His claim is not only superstitious, it’s logically indefensible. In order to detect an illusion, you’d have to be able to see what’s real. Just like you need to wake up to know that a dream is only a dream, Daniel Dennett would need to wake up with some kind of superconsciousness to know that the ordinary consciousness the rest of us mortals have is just an illusion. In other words, he’d have to be someone like God in order to know that.

Dennett’s assertion that consciousness is an illusion is not the result of an unbiased evaluation of the evidence. Indeed, there is no such thing as “unbiased evaluation” in a materialist world because the laws of physics determine everything anyone thinks, including everything Dennett thinks. Dennett is just assuming the ideology of materialism is true and applying its implications to consciousness. In doing so, he makes the same mistake we’ve seen so many other atheists make. He is exempting himself from his own theory. Dennett says consciousness is an illusion, but he treats his own consciousness as not an illusion. He certainly doesn’t think the ideas in his book are an illusion. He acts like he’s really telling the truth about reality.

When atheists have to call common sense “an illusion” and make self-defeating assertions to defend atheism, then no one should call the atheistic worldview “reasonable.” Superstitious is much more accurate.

Frank Turek, Stealing from God (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2014), 46-47.

Or when the same naturalistic position is used to make moral statements… it should be taken as illusory. Philosopher Roger Scruton drives this point home when he says, “A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely negative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.” I agree.


QUOTE[s]


Here is the promised longer quote[s] by Jonathan Sarfati:

if evolution were true, then there would be selection only for survival advantage; and there would be no reason to suppose that this would necessarily include rationality. After a talk on the Christian roots of science in Canada, 2010, one atheopathic* philosophy professor argued that natural selection really would select for logic and rationality. I responded by pointing out that under his worldview, theistic religion is another thing that ‘evolved’, and this is something he regards as irrational. So under his own worldview he believes that natural selection can select powerfully for irrationality, after all. English doctor and insightful social commentator Theodore Dalrymple (who is a non-theist himself) shows up the problem in a refutation of New Atheist Daniel Dennett:

Dennett argues that religion is explicable in evolutionary terms—for example, by our inborn human propensity, at one time valuable for our survival on the African savannahs, to attribute animate agency to threatening events.

For Dennett, to prove the biological origin of belief in God is to show its irrationality, to break its spell. But of course it is a necessary part of the argument that all possible human beliefs, including belief in evolution, must be explicable in precisely the same way; or else why single out religion for this treatment? Either we test ideas according to arguments in their favour, independent of their origins, thus making the argument from evolution irrelevant, or all possible beliefs come under the same suspicion of being only evolutionary adaptations—and thus biologically contingent rather than true or false. We find ourselves facing a version of the paradox of the Cretan liar: all beliefs, including this one, are the products of evolution, and all beliefs that are products of evolution cannot be known to be true.

Jonathan D. Sarfati, The Genesis Account: A Theological, Historical, And Scientific Commentary On Genesis 1-11 (Powder Springs, GA: Creation Book Publishers, 2015), 259-259.


* Atheopath or Atheopathy: “Leading misotheist [“hatred of God” or “hatred of the gods”] Richard Dawkins [one can insert many names here] often calls theistic religion a ‘virus of the mind’, which would make it a kind of disease or pathology, and parents who teach it to their kids are, in Dawkins’ view, supposedly practising mental child abuse. But the sorts of criteria Dawkins applies makes one wonder whether his own fanatical antitheism itself could be a mental pathology—hence, ‘atheopath’.” (Taken from the Creation.com article, “The biblical roots of modern science,” by Jonathan Sarfati [published: 19 May 2012] ~ comments in the “[ ]” are mine.)

Was Archaeopteryx Devolving? Thus Losing It’s Ability to Fly?

The below is a response to a conversation elsewhere on the WWW.

ARCHAEOPTERYX

I have a digital edition of Science Magazine and they allow me to read all the past articles (like this one, Archaeopteryx: Early Bird Catches a Can of Worms). In the article a wild eyed creationist… er… I mean, a respected evolutionist discusses how Archaeopteryx is more bird like, not the missing link between dino and bird.

In the article we find this:

✦ feathers are 100% bird feathers;

✦ hollow bones like birds;

✦ It’s claws were perching claws (similar to the Bowerbird)…

✦ doubts connected with dico/bird progression

…even the father of the modern “bird/dino” theory, John Ostrom, says this of recent revelations about Archaeopteryx:

✦ “I’m just having a ball,” he said with a chuckle. “It sounds to me as if Alan [Feduccia] has presented a very good argument; I’m not sure he’s absolutely right, but I’m sure he’s on solid ground.”

Since the writing of the linked article at Science, more evidence (I will repeat, e-v-i-d-e-n-c-e) has come to light supporting the articles authored (Alan Feduccia) and curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institute, Storrs Olson:

✦ bumps in the bone where feathers were connected (just like birds);

✦ the avian lung was present in Archaeopteryx [pneumatized vertebrae and pelvis];

✦ Cat Scans of the skull shows that the brain was birdlike, not dino-like (“Axial and appendicular pneumaticity in Archaeopteryx,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B. 267:2501–2505, 2000);

✦ similar inner ear findings (“The avian nature of the brain and inner ear of Archaeopteryx,” Nature 430(7000):666–669, 5 August 2004; Witmer, L.M, “Inside the oldest bird brain, perspective,” same issue, pp. 619–620);

✦ In 2011, “the Royal Society’s Biology Letters, the researchers wrote that Archaeopteryx’s assignment to a dinosaur group earlier this year ‘was acknowledged to be weakly supported’, They constructed new cladograms that pictured Archaeopteryx with birds, and not with any dinosaurs, with a caption that reads, ‘Archaeopteryx robustly reinstated as the most basal bird’.” (“Likelihood reinstates Archaeopteryx as a primitive bird,” Biology Letters. Published online before print October 26, 2011).

Some more resources for the above bullet points:

  1. Archaeopteryx (unlike Archaeoraptor) is NOT a hoax—it is a true bird, not a “missing link”
  2. Archaeopteryx Is a Bird… Again
  3. Dinosaurs vs. Birds: The Fossils Don’t Lie

AND FINALLY

Since other feathered “birds” have been found around the same time or earlier than Archaeopteryx, causing Alan Feduccia to quip, “You can’t be older than your grandfather” (Creation.com)… Nature has published an article pointing out that Archaeopteryx is JUST LIKE modern flightless birds. And so it could have been losing its ability for flight (like modern birds have).

“We know Archaeopteryx was living on an archipelago during the Jurassic. And with its feathers and bones looking so much like modern flightless island birds, it just makes me wonder,” says…. Michael Habib, a biologist at the University of Southern California….

[….]

“Just because Archaeopteryx was the first feathered dinosaur found, doesn’t mean it has to play a central role in the actual history of the origins of birds,” says palaeontologist Thomas Holtz of the University of Maryland in College Park. “We have to remember it appears 10 million years or so after the oldest known bird-like dinosaurs and so our famous ‘first bird’ may really be a secondarily flightless one.”…

(Nature Journal)

There is just as much [at best] evidence for this proposition as the next. “Devolution” — a loss of specificity, may be a more reasonable position to take via observed evidence. We see this all the time (directly below is an example from Lee Spetner’s new book), and Evolution News says that “looks like Archaeopteryx may have to be reclassified as a different sort of icon — symbolizing evolution by loss of function.” Oops.

Antibiotic Resistance

The evolution of antibiotic resistance has been for some time the Dar­winists’ favorite example for “demonstrating” evolution (Common De­scent). Superficially their case looks good. Antibiotics date only from about 1930 with the discovery of penicillin (Fleming 1929), followed by the development of a method to produce it with high yield (Chain et al. 1940). Antibiotics were first introduced to the public in 1942 to cure bacterial infection (Levy 1992, 4), and by the mid 1940s the first strains appeared of Staphylococcus resistant to penicillin (Fisher 1994, 15). Just a few years after antibiotics were introduced, resistant strains of the pathogens were found to have already evolved. As each new an­tibiotic was discovered and put into use against pathogenic bacteria, resistant strains soon followed. The argument then goes, with a wave of the hand, like this: If a small but significant evolutionary change like antibiotic resistance can evolve in only a few years, then surely in a mil­lion years huge evolutionary changes must occur. Darwinists expect this argument to support Common Descent.

An examination of the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance, however, shows it lends no support at all to Common Descent (Spetner 1997, 138­143). Antibiotics are natural molecules produced by some microorgan­isms for the purpose of killing other hostile microorganisms. A microor­ganism that makes an antibiotic must, itself, be resistant to the antibiotic it makes. For this purpose it is typically endowed with a battery of genes that code for a resistance mechanism. Most useful antibiotics have come from soil bacteria (D’Costa et al. 2006). How bacteria have acquired this resistance initially is not known, nor can neo-Darwinian theory shed any light on it. Antibiotic resistance genes have been found to predate the use of antibiotics by at least many thousands of years (D’Costa et al. 2011). Moreover, bacteria are known to be able to transfer genetic ma­terial to other bacteria through HGT (see above). On occasion, copies of the genes for resistance can find their way from a type of bacterium that is normally resistant to a type that is not normally resistant. When that happens, the recipient bacterium becomes resistant. This is indeed evolution, but it is a limited evolution of the population-change type. It is not the Common-Descent type of evolution.

The resistance genes already exist in the biosphere. No new informa­tion has appeared in the biosphere through this type of evolution of an­tibiotic resistance. Common-Descent evolution cannot be achieved by this procedure even if it were repeated innumerable times in succession, because no new information would be built up. This method of evolving antibiotic resistance therefore lends no support for Common Descent.

Sometimes, however, antibiotic resistance can indeed appear through a random mutation — a DNA copying error, which would bring something new to the biosphere. This kind of change looks like it might satisfy the requirements for Common Descent, so I shall give a brief description of it here, although I have already dealt with it in my previous book.

As an example, let us look at how a bacterium acquires resistance to streptomycin through a random mutation. All cells, whether of bacteria or of plants or animals, contain organelles called ribosomes, whose function it is to make protein according to instructions from the DNA of a gene. Proteins are large molecules, consisting of long chains of small molecules called amino acids, and are essential to all living things. They function as enzymes, which catalyze all the chemical reactions in a cell — each chemical reaction catalyzed by a specific enzyme. Proteins can also serve as structural elements. Of­ten, and maybe even always, a structural protein functions also as an enzyme. For an enzyme to perform its function, it must have a specif­ic sequence of amino acids.

A ribosome is an organelle within a cell that manufactures protein. It makes a protein by putting together a chain of amino acids according to the instructions in the DNA. A segment of the DNA is transcribed into an RNA molecule that matches the DNA nucleotide by nucleo­tide. This RNA is called messenger RNA because it carries the DNA message to the ribosome. The ribosome translates the message in the DNA into amino acids according to the genetic code. Three nucleotides translate into one amino acid. Accordingly, the ribosome constructs a chain of amino acids to form a protein.

The antibiotic streptomycin, for example, acts on a bacterial cell by attaching to a ribosome at a site to which it matches, the way a key fits into a lock. When the streptomycin molecule attaches to this site, it in­terferes with the ribosome function and causes it to make mistakes lead­ing to incorrect, dysfunctional or nonfunctional, protein. The errors it causes prevent the cell from growing, reproducing, and eventually from living. The important feature of streptomycin, and indeed of all other antibiotics, is that it kills bacteria but does not harm the mammalian host. Streptomycin kills the bacterial cells that are infecting you without killing your own cells. It discriminates between the cells of the bacteria and the cells of the host by its specific attachment to a matching site on the bacterial ribosome, a site not found on the host’s ribosomes.

A bacterium will gain resistance to streptomycin if a point mutation occurs in the gene coding for the protein in the ribosome, ruining the matching site, destroying the specificity of the protein, and preventing a streptomycin molecule from attaching. If the streptomycin cannot at­tach to the matching site, the bacterium is resistant. Just one mutation in the portion of the DNA coding for the matching site can mess up the site so the streptomycin cannot attach. It turns out that any one of several mutations in that portion of the DNA will grant the bacterium resistance (Gartner and Orias 1966). Note that this type of resistance is caused by a single random point mutation, but it cannot serve as an example of mutations that can support Common Descent. One cannot expect mutations destroying specificity, no matter how many of them there are, to build information and lead to Common Descent. Destruc­tion of specificity does not add information — it destroys it. One can­not add information by destroying it, no matter how many times one repeats the process. I have previously (Spetner 1997) compared trying to build up information in this manner to the merchant who was losing a little money on each sale but thought he could make it up on volume. The acquisition of antibiotic resistance is indeed evolution, but only a limited form of it. It cannot lead to Common Descent.

No example of antibiotic resistance in bacteria adds information to the biosphere. To become resistant, the bacteria either pick up ready-made resistance genes from other bacteria or they undergo a mu­tation that destroys information. Antibiotic resistance cannot therefore be an evolutionary example that could support Common Descent be­cause a chain of such mutations, no matter how long, does not add in­formation and thus cannot lead to Common Descent. The Darwinists’ favorite example of evolution fails to pass muster.

End Notes

Chain, E. et al. (1940) Penicillin as a Chemotherapeutic Agent. Lancet 239: 226-228.

D’Costa, Vanessa M., Katherine M. McGrann, Donald W. Hughes, and Gerard D. Wright. (2006) Sampling the antibiotic resistome. Science 311: 374-377.

D’Costa, Vanessa M. et. al. (2011) Antibiotic Resistance is Ancient. Nature 477:457-461.

Fisher, Jeffrey A. (1994) The Plague Makers: How we are creating catastrophic new epidemics — and what we must do to avert them. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Fleming, A. (1929) On the antibacterial action of cultures of a Penicillium, with special reference to their use in the isolation of B. influenzae. British Journal of Experimental Pathology 10: 226-238.

Gartner, T. K. and E. Orias, (1966) Effects of mutations to streptomycin resistance on the rate of translation of mutant genetic information. Journal of Bacteriology 91: 1021-1028.

Levy, Stuart B. (1992) The Antibiotic paradox: How Miracle Drugs are Destroying the Miracle. New York: Plenum Press.

Spetner. L. M. (1997) Not by chance! Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution. Brooklyn: Judaica Press.

Lee Spetner, The Evolution Revolution: Why Thinking People Are Rethinking the Theory of Evolution (Brooklyn, NY: Judaica Press, 2014), 119-120.

A friend comments about the newer position on his Creation/Evolution Headlines saying one “paleontologist remarked, ‘We really need an improved understanding of how anatomy relates to these diverse behaviours, so we can better interpret the fossil record’.” Continuing he adds his thinking to the matter:

No one called Archaeopteryx a “feathered dinosaur” back then, because the phrase only came into vogue with the Chinese fossil discoveries.  From Darwin’s day till recently, it was argued to be a transitional form between reptiles and birds.  Evolutionists emphasized the reptilian traits (teeth, claws on the wings), and creationists emphasized the flight feathers and anatomy that seemed to show it capable of powered flight. They also pointed out that some living birds, like the hoatzin, have claws on their wings as juveniles.  People saw what their biases wanted to see.  Astronomer Fred Hoyle tried to prove it was a forgery.  Today’s evolutionists use the “feathered dinosaur” label, but there is no guarantee that today’s consensus will not shift again.  The new proposal it was secondarily flightless implies a win for creationists – it devolved from a fully-functional flying bird, just like some living birds with stunted wings have on the Galapagos Islands.  Loss of function is not what Darwin needs!

Let’s think about Nature’s comment that the suggestion Archaeopteryx was losing the ability to fly “might have been considered madness” back in 1861 (actually, all the way from 1861 to just a few years ago).  This tells us that if evolutionists consider something madness now, it might be considered sanity later.  It further means that the sane ones could be the skeptics of the consensus, and the mad ones in the majority.  Don’t be deterred, therefore, if you feel you have good evidence and arguments for your position when it runs counter to the consensus.  It’s entirely possible for the intellectual majority to be suffering from delusions.  “We really need an improved understanding … so we can better interpret the fossil record” – good advice, but it implies that understanding is lacking and interpretation is flawed.  If they haven’t gotten it down after 152 years, don’t expect major improvements any time soon.  They might just be secondarily clueless.

Fraud In My Son’s Textbook? All “Bark” and No Bite (Updated)

Just to be clear… both moths existed before, and after the industrial revolution. At most this is an example of micro-evolution, which ALL creationists agree happens; at worst a hoax (or a mix of the two). This update was not informational but for aesthetic purposes. The update from 2012 to this 2007 post is closer to the bottom.

(Via Dr. Georgia Purdom*) Dr. Tommy Mitchell wrote on the peppered moth controversy several years ago:

The issue of Kettlewell’s shortcomings notwithstanding, the creationist has no problem with the results of his (and other subsequent researchers’) work. The concept that a less visible organism would survive better than a more visible one seems obvious in the extreme. . . . The creationist would agree that this population change represents natural selection. However, this change is most certainly not molecules-to-man evolution. Natural selection and molecules-to-man evolution are not the same thing, and many are led astray by the misuse of these terms.

No amount of posturing by the evolutionist can change the fact that these moths are still moths and will continue to be moths. The variation seen is simply the result of sorting and resorting of the genetic material present in the original moths. At no time has there been any new information introduced into the genome of the moth (which is what molecules-to-man evolution would require). There is no evidence of the beginnings of an intermediate form between the present moth and the creature it is destined to evolve into. Moths stay moths, fish stay fish, and people stay people, regardless of the great variety seen within each.

I’m very thankful for Majerus’ work, and it is a great example of how observational science works. A hypothesis is made and tested multiple times by multiple scientists and either shown to support or reject the initial hypothesis. However, when it comes to what this means in regard to how living things came to be in the past (historical science), the presuppositions of the scientists play a large role in how they interpret the science in the present and the conclusions they draw about the past. The evidence is clear, yet people “suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” and so “professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:18, 22).


* Dr. Purdom graduated with a PhD in molecular genetics from Ohio State University in 2000. Her specialty is cellular and molecular biology. Dr. Purdom’s graduate work focused on genetic regulation of factors important for bone remodeling.

She has published papers in the Journal of Neuroscience (under her maiden name Hickman), the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, and the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. She is a member of the American Society for Microbiology and American Society for Cell Biology. Following graduation, Dr. Purdom served as a professor of biology for six years at Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio…

  • (Original post: Feb 13th, 2007 [videos added to this post], it is a partial portion of my response to a professor who was an editor of the book in question.)

Hope your week is well professor. I just want to repeat here what I said in our first correspondence, which is: “dark and light moths existed before the industrial revolution, dark and light moths existed after the Industrial Revolution… ergo, macroevolution is not in exemplified here.”

My Son’s Science Book

Let us start out this second conversation with an example from my son’s seventh-grade science book says this (p.144)

In the 1700’s , most English peppered moths were light gray in color. The light-colored moths had an advantage over black peppered moths because birds could not see them against the light-gray trees. Natural selection favored the light-colored moths over the black moths.

The Industrial Revolution began in England in the late 1700s. People built factories to make cloth and other goods. Over time, smoke from the factories blackened the trunks of the trees. Now the light-colored moths were easier to see than the black ones. As a result, birds caught more light-colored moths. Natural selection favored the black moths. By 1850, almost all the peppered moths were black.

Of course my son’s science book has a photo (see above, enlarge by clicking) of trees with dark and light bark with dark and light moths on them to “show” how these moths would look. I put show in parenthesis to weed out what has been created in the lab versus what is actually found in nature. What I have clearly shown in my past posts is this, and take note how divergent the facts are from what my son’s science book said “happened”:

Short Summary

This will be the recurring subject of this letter, that is, “further studies done of ‘Peppered Moths’ have shown that their resting positions in nature are not in fact tree trunks.” We will also see that these moths rest underneath leaves and branches during daylight hours which also shows how Kettlewell biased his research work, which if being the case, undermines the legitimacy of the conclusions drawn both in your class and my son’s seventh-grade class. Some points to start:

It is now universally acknowledged that Cyril Clarke, who observed that in twenty-five years he had seen exactly two Biston (peppered moth) resting on tree trunks, was right after all: the normal resting place of peppered moths is not on tree trunks but in shaded areas under branches, where the color differences would be muted.
According to Majerus, theresting spot of the moths would be crucial: “If the relative fitness of the morphs of the peppered moth does depend on their crypsis [blending into the background], the resting position is crucially important to the estimation of fitness differences between the morphs” (M.E.N. Majerus. Melanism: Evolution in Action).
Additionally, the experiment densities were too high. In nature peppered moths are known to be very scantily distributed, but Bernard Kettlewell (the author of the experiment who’s work my son’s book summarizes) set out at least four moths per tree, and then replaced them immediately after one type were eaten. When he and Tinbergen were making their “historic” film, they laid the spread on even thicker.

A Recommended Book

Everyone now concedes that these densities were unnatural. Kettlewell was, in effect, creating a feeding tray, and the “intensity of predation” recorded in his experiments simply reflected a learned response by the local birds from Kettlewell’s previous “bird buffets” (An Evolutionary Tale Of Moths and Men: The Untold Story of Science and the Peppered Moth, pp.265-266). I recommend the chapter that explains the actual parameters to Kettlewells experiment (chpt 6), it is fascinating, and would mute any further discussion. Just two “unnatural” examples can also be found in the popular press:

“The moths filmed being eaten by the birds were laboratory-bred ones placed onto tree trunks by Kettlewell; they were so languid that he once had to warm them up on his car bonnet (hood).” Calgary Herald, p. D3, 21 March 1999.

“University of Massachusetts biologist Theodore Sargent helped glue moths onto trees for the famous NOVA documentary. He says textbooks and films have featured ‘a lot of fraudulent photographs’.” J.A. Coyne, Nature 396(6706):35–36. & The Washington Times, p. D8, 17 January 1999.

The Nitty Gritty

Sargent’s Work (from Of Moths and Men)

In a series of experiments between 1965 and 1969, Sargent tried to replicate Kettlewell’s background-preference work. He got contradictory results, and concluded that the moths’ resting places were genetically predetermined, not selected, as Kettlewell believed, by individual moths noting whether their “circumocular tufts” matched the background. Sargent has also found that the plants eaten by the larvae may induce or repress the expression of such “melanism” in adult moths (see Sargent T.R. et al. in M.K. Hecht et al, Evolutionary Biology 30:299–322, Plenum Press, New York, 1998).

The following point is important to the understanding of how these moths change color and how this may have also impacted the population change in coloration:

[Sargent] noticed that the caterpillars eating the new-growth pine were growing more slowly that the ones in the other container, and they pupated and eclosed later. In both groups all the male moths were melanics, and among females overall there was a fifty-fifty ratio of typicals and melanics. This meant that, assuming the melanism was controlled by a sex-linked dominant allele, the melanic female had mated with a heterozygous melanic male. However, there was a statistically significant difference between the two groups. More than two-thirds of new-growth-fed female moths were melanic, while two-thirds of the group fed on old-growth needles were typical. A second experiment on 8 July yielded similar results. Sargent believed he had hit paydirt. “Something in the new-growth needles was favouring the expression of adult melanism,” Sargent explains….

….Although Sargent would undoubtedly be described by nine out of ten eyewitnesses as “quiet and unassuming” – a mild, grandfatherly figure frequently overlooked by waiters in restaurants – he is a dangerous iconoclast in the eyes of the industrial melanism establishment. He finally published, with two co-authors, a devastating analysis of the classic industrial melanism story in 1998 (see below), concluding that “there is little persuasive evidence, in the form of rigorous and replicated observations and experiments, to support [the classical] explanation at the present time.” Although it enraged the community of his peers – Bruce Grant called it a “dreadful review” and a “hatchet job” – Sargent’s article was not the decisive confrontation of the peppered moth wars. That erupted in the 5 November 1998 issue of Nature, in a review written by Jerry A. Coyne, professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, of a new book by Michael E.N. Majerus. The book, called Melanism: Evolution in Action, was a watershed event. Methodologically and incisively analyzing every flaw in Kettlewell’s experiments and in the industrial melanism paradigm, Majerus’s book left no doubt that the classic story was wrong in almost every detail. [I separated it here for ease]:

a. Peppered moths, if left to their own devices, do not rest on tree trunks;
b. bird vision is nothing like human vision [referring to Kettlewell’s vision scale that were part of his original thesis];
c. Kettlewell was wrong about how peppered moths choose their resting sites;
d. the high densities of moths he used may have skewed the results;
e. the method of release was faulty, and on and on.

The various predation have not replicated his results particularly well, and other “factors” kept having to be invoked to squeeze the data into the standard industrial melanism model. “The findings of [scientists since Kettlewell],” Majerus concluded, “show that the précised description of the basic peppered moth story is wrong, inaccurate, or incomplete, with respect to most of the component parts.”

The reader who makes his way through Majerus’s mountains of evidence is rather stunned to arrive at his verdict: that the basic story, while “undoubtedly more complex and fascinating than most biology textbooks have space to relate”, is perfectly fine. “My view of the rise and fall of the melanic peppered moth is that differential bird predation in more or less polluted regions, together with migration, are primarily responsible, almost to the exclusion of other factors.”

Jerry Coyne (who reviewed Majerus’s book), however, was “horrified.” The sheer magnitude of the problems itemized in the book filled him with dismay and something like shame. After all, he too had been teaching the “standard Biston story” for years. When he dug out Kettlewell’s original papers he found that things were even worse than he thought. How was it that the experiment that Coyne called the “prize horse in our stable of examples” had been accepted unquestionably all this time? …(continued below)

[One answer I received from my son’s science teacher in regards to another subject but that fits here as well is that she “merely teaches what the state tells her to”, which I guess is in opposition to critical thinking and the scientific method. When she responded to me with the “state” quote I had visions of the story Animal Farm and 1984. In Animal Farm, Napoleon begins gradually to build up his power by taking Jessie and Bluebell’s newborn puppies and training them. Similar to this thinking of early “guided” education, Joseph Stalin said, “Education is a weapon whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” Mao was known to have regarded Darwin and radical evolutionist Huxley as his two favorite authors, and after the Communist revolution in China people were put into re-education camps and immediately taught ne0-Darwinian theory. And in 1984, the Ministry of Truth controls information: news, entertainment, education, and the arts, etc. While I do not think we are this far into the “control” of society, education is a very tough nut to crack. For instance, I often hear “change” happens, ergo evolution is true. In other words, centimeter changes in the beak of finches somehow is applied to how you and I came from rocks. Or even worse, how a colorless/orderless gas {hydrogen} turned into a body-odored-laden south-east Asian man. In similar fashion, people say climate changes, ergo man is causing it. These leaps in logic are an attempt to control language.]

…. Was it possible that the facts had been submerged because “such powerful stories discouraged close scrutiny?” Concluding that “we must discard Biston as a well-understood example of natural selection in action, although it is clearly a case of evolution,” he mused:

v B. betularia [peppered moth] shows the footprint of natural selection but we have not yet seen the feet. Majerus finds some solace in his analysis, claiming that the true story is likely to be more complex and interesting, but one senses that he is making a virtue of necessity [emphases added], My own reaction resembles the dismay attending my discovery, at the age of six, that it was my father and not Santa who brought the presents on Christmas eve. (from: Jerry Coyne. “Not Black and White,” Nature 396:35-6. November 5, 1998)

Not so much because of Majerus’s book as because of one review of it – especially the felicitous phrase about Santa Clause – the paragon of natural selection was ousted…. After summarizing the latest findings about peppered moths’ natural resting places in a 1999 article in The Scientist, biologist Jonathan Wells, a fellow of Seattle’s Discovery Institute, an Intelligent Design think tank, quipped: “It seems that the classical example of natural selection is actually an example of unnatural selection.”

Sargent’s original paper for further study: Theodore D. Sargent, Craig D. Miller and David Lambert. “The ‘Classical’ Explanation of Industrial Melanism,” in Evolutionary Biology, vol. 30, Max K. Hetch et al. (eds) (New York: Plentium Press; 1998.)

Even Staunch Evolutionist Douglas Futuyma Caves

“We [scientists] don’t always read the original papers,” admits Douglas Futuyma, of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who a few years earlier had been quoted exulting over “parallel evolution” in the New York Times. “It is clear that there is much more going on here than bird attacks and camouflage.”

Follow the Evidence to its Conclusion

Professor, do you disagree or agree with the findings of Majerus, Sargent, Coyne, and others on this issue? Majerus believes it was a cause of birds and their migration patterns. Sargent has shown that melanism isn’t a population change in allele, but that other factors are involved with the production of melanism. What do you think?

A Final Point

Again… I wish to drive home this point about the photos found in my son’s science book and the photo’s shown at your university by dropping here another source on the matter:

….in the 1980s another problem emerged. Researchers discovered that peppered moths almost never rest on tree trunks. Instead, they apparently rest on the undersides of small horizontal branches in the tree canopy.

By releasing moths onto tree trunks during the day, Kettlewell had created an artificial situation. “Peppered moths are night-fliers, and normally find resting places on trees before dawn.” …. When released during the day, in illumination bright enough for human eyes, such moths can be expected to choose their resting places as quickly as possible — often in the wrong place. “The moths that Kettlewell released in the daytime remained exposed, becoming easy prey for predatory birds.”

This undermines the credibility of Kettlewell’s studies, as well as later studies by others, which used dead specimens glued or pinned to tree trunks.

It also undermines the credibility of the photos displayed in so many textbooks. Since tree trunks are such an unusual resting place, “pictures of peppered moths on tree trunks [were] staged. Some are made using dead specimens that are glued or pinned to the trunk, while others use live specimens that are manually placed in desired positions. Since peppered moths are quite torpid in daylight, they remain where they are put.”

These methods have also been used for television documentaries. One biologist [Theodore Sargent] admitted to a Washington Times reporter in 1999 that he had once glued dead specimens to a tree trunk for a TV documentary on peppered moths.

Scroll down to “Peppered Moths”

25-Years of Study

With this in mind, I want to quote a study found in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (by C.A. Clarke, G.S. Mani and G. Wynne) entitled “Evolution In Reverse: Clean Air And The Peppered Moth”:

“But the problem is that we do not know the resting sites of the moth during the day time. … In 25 years we have found only two betularia on the tree trunks or walls adjacent to our traps (one on an appropriate background and one not), and none elsewhere” (26:189–199, 1985; quote on p. 197)

Again – Fraud

We already know that University of Massachusetts biologist Theodore Sargent helped glue moths onto trees for a NOVA documentary. And we already know that he said textbooks and films have featured “a lot of fraudulent photographs” (J.A. Coyne, Nature 396 (6706):35–36; and, The Washington Times, p. D8, 17 January 1999). This underscores the issue that the photos in your textbook you use in class and my son’s teacher uses has in it, fraudulent photos.

Contemplation Time

Professor, I believe that critical thinking and the true scientific method (not here speaking of metaphysical naturalism) demand that you, and my son’s teacher introduce such information in an easily digestible way to show that there are controversies in these “matter of fact” presentations I find in CSUN’s textbook as well as my son’s textbook.

I look forward to your response.


Updated info below (May, 2012)


A recent partial publishing of Michael Majerus’s papers has added information regarding this story which has been brought to my attention demands attention, here is the update:

Between 2000 and 2006 the British biologist Michael Majerus studied the peppered moth in a large hectare splot near his house in Springfield, England, near Coton, Cambridgeshire. He carefully examined wild moths before starting and was able to determine that 36% of the moths really were found on the trunks of trees in daytime.[1] Moths generally don’t move in daytime, and a dark moth on a light colored tree would stand out to a bird. He then planted moths carefully on special sleeves on branches of trees and counted those that disappeared in the first 4 hours of daylight.[2] He found that there was a definite difference in the number of moths that disappeared when color was taken into account. About 80% of the light colored moths survived and only about 70% of the darker moths survived, which would make a definite difference in the long term populations of each color. He also managed to observe birds actually eating the moths in a quarter of the more than 4,000 cases he studied. (See CreationWiki)


There is some more information that needs to added to this discussion and it comes from the “Biology Letters” (BL) of the Royal Society Publishing:

Moths absent from resting positions 4 h after sunrise were presumed eaten by predators as they rarely fly away during daylight unless greatly disturbed. Of those that disappeared, approximately 26 per cent were seen being eaten by birds via binocular observations [10].


My question is in regards to the percentage actually seen being eaten, and it is more for a mathematician. Of THESE, there was a 10% deficit when compared to the dark moths that were eaten off these sleeves Majerus put on the branches. How did the 74% that were assumed eaten (and apparently didn’t fly off or were eaten by bats, who do not discriminate color) play into this equation of percentages?

My points [above] — in the old post — still stand, and one of the main points [above, in the 2007 post] especially stands, it is this:

Sargent has also found that the plants eaten by the larvae may induce or repress the expression of such “melanism” in adult moths (see Sargent T.R. et al. in M.K. Hecht et al, Evolutionary Biology 30:299–322, Plenum Press, New York, 1998).


In other words, the change in population has very little to do with bird predation during the Industrial Revolution (which documented the difference in “consumption rate” at a meager 10% difference), and possibly had more to do with repression of “melanism” by natural means. Majerus released a total of 4864 peppered moths over 6 years but only noted during a thorough investigation during a 5-year period only seeing 135 moths.

Numbers of wild peppered moths observed in different daytime resting positions, 2001–2006. Previous authors had argued that moths rarely rested on tree trunks during the day, and that many predation experiments employing tree trunks were therefore unnatural. In these new observations by Majerus, 35% of the 135 moths observed, both melanic and typical, were indeed found resting on tree trunks. (BL)


Could he have missed much more in the high part of the trees? Maybe the percentages are much, much lower. Majerus is not omniscient… so the number could have been 2%, considering the availability of cover in his surroundings. I can imagine the authors of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything having a field day with this. Of note from the Biology Letters is this:

While climbing trees in the experimental site in order to set up sleeves for the predation experiment (see below), Majerus systematically scrutinized trunks, branches and twigs of a limited set of trees and recorded natural resting positions of all wild moths he found. The 135 observations he obtained here add considerably to the less-extensive resting site data previously published. (BL)

What!?

135!?

What total was prior to this that allowed for such an authoritative commentary in my son’s biology text book!? This is pretty weak substantiation to show that natural selection (black, medium and white moths existed prior to the Industrial Revolution as well as after to make the larger point that the person reading this came from a rock, or that centimeter changes in a birds beak explain how an odor-laden south-east Asian man came from an odorless/colorless gas. Which the combined “evidences” shown in my son’s biology text book pushes for. Just an aside, it is noted that bats didn’t discriminate between colors, so how does Majerus know that it was bats that contributed to the “missing” moths.

Another Failed Origin of Life Prediction for Evolutionary Naturalists

The above video is the “perhaps” of modern science, that the below refutes with more updated information.

This is with a h-t to Fazale Rana. Fazal wrote on the matter here, “Sea Vents Closed as Life-Origin Site.” Below are some excerpts from the Science Daily article:

One of the greatest mysteries facing humans is how life originated on Earth. Scientists have determined approximately when life began (roughly 3.8 billion years ago), but there is still intense debate about exactly how life began. One possibility — that simple metabolic reactions emerged near ancient seafloor hot springs, enabling the leap from a non-living to a living world — has grown in popularity in the last two decades.

Recent research by geochemists Eoghan Reeves, Jeff Seewald, and Jill McDermott at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is the first to test a fundamental assumption of this ‘metabolism first’ hypothesis, and finds that it may not have been as easy as previously assumed. Instead, their findings could provide a focus for the search for life on other planets. The work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 1977, scientists discovered biological communities unexpectedly living around seafloor hydrothermal vents, far from sunlight and thriving on a chemical soup rich in hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and sulfur, spewing from the geysers. Inspired by these findings, scientists later proposed that hydrothermal vents provided an ideal environment with all the ingredients needed for microbial life to emerge on early Earth. A central figure in this hypothesis is a simple sulfur-containing carbon compound called “methanethiol” — a supposed geologic precursor of the Acetyl-CoA enzyme present in many organisms, including humans. Scientists suspected methanethiol could have been the “starter dough” from which all life emerged.

The question Reeves and his colleagues set out to test was whether methanethiol — a critical precursor of life — could form at modern day vent sites by purely chemical means without the involvement of life. Could methanethiol be the bridge between a chemical, non-living world and the first microbial life on the planet?

Carbon dioxide, hydrogen and sulfide are the common ingredients present in hydrothermal black smoker fluids. “The thought was that making methanethiol from these basic ingredients at seafloor hydrothermal vents should therefore have been an easy process,” adds Reeves.

The theory was appealing, and solved many of the basic problems with existing ideas that life may have been carried to Earth on a comet or asteroid….

[….]

“What we essentially found in our survey is that we don’t think methanethiol is forming by purely chemical means without the involvement of life. This might be disappointing news for anyone assuming an easy start for hydrothermal proto-metabolism,” says Reeves. “However, our finding that methanethiol may be readily forming as a breakdown product of microbial life provides further indication that life is present and widespread below the seafloor and is very exciting.”

The researchers believe this new understanding could change how we think about searching for life on other planets.

Uncommon Descent notes the following after quoting the above Science Daily article:

As noted earlier, origin of life is a problem in the origin of huge amount of information and looking for a way it happened due to some fluke has always been a waste of time.

Software engineer Arminius Mignea’s specifications for a simplest self-replicator in Engineering and the Ultimate would be a useful read on that score. It advances the discussion by setting out what origin of life (by human or other hands) models should look like, to merit consideration.

Too often, people play rhetorical games that sound like: “Life happened, so my ‘stink world’ is plausible” or “The prevailing consensus says Stink World is plausible, therefore life.”

It’s a form of homage to philosophical materialism, not science really, and it suck in lots of well-meaning people. They don’t realize that when we are asked to accept an inherently implausible idea because it is materialist, we are invited to put materialism above every other consideration, including logic, reason, and evidence.