googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Peppered Moth Evolution?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Peppered Moth Evolution?

I’ve blogged before about how some people use the terms “microevolution” and “macroevolution.” Though the creationists who use these terms are well meaning, I discourage their use. It leads to confusion because evolutionists conflate the two.

The peppered moth is a famous example of “microevolution.” You may recall seeing it in your biology text book. It’s considered a text book example of evolution via natural selection. Of course, it might fit the definition of evolution, but I think it’s perhaps the worst example of evolution I’ve ever seen (micro- or otherwise).

As I’ve said, evolutionists tend to conflate micro- and macroevolution. Regarding the peppered moth, Wikipedia said this:
“Critics have argued that the "peppered moth story" showed only microevolution, rather than speciation or other changes at the larger macroevolutionary scale. Biologists agree that this example shows natural selection causing evolution within a species, demonstrating rapid and obvious adaptiveness with such change, and accept that it is not proof of the theory of evolution as a whole. However, though creationists accept "microevolution" of varieties within a "kind", they claim that "macroevolution" does not happen. To biologists there is no dividing line between the two, and in the modern evolutionary synthesis the same mechanisms are seen operating at various scales to cause both evolution within species and speciation at a macroevolution level or wider changes, the only difference being of time and scale.”
You can see that the clear implication is that microevolution + time = macroevolution. The tiny changes (microevolution), like we saw in the peppered moth, over long periods of time, will lead to larger changes (macroevolution) in the species.

But here’s the rub. The peppered moth population comes in a variety of shades from light to dark. Before the industrial revolution, the light colored moths blended well with the lichens on the trees. Consequently, birds would tend to eat the dark colored moths more often and so the population of moths was mostly light.When the industrial revolution began, soot would settle on the trees and kill the lichens. Then the dark moths were better camouflaged and so the birds would tend to eat the light moths more often. Consequently, the dark moths became dominant.Today, industry has cleaned up considerably and soot is no longer dirtying up the trees. Consequently, the moth population has returned to the pre-industrial ratio of mostly light.

So here's the question. It's been more than a century since the peppered moth study. What "macroevolution" has occurred? Now, I know what you're going to say. 100 years isn't enough time. But think very carefully and tell me this: what "microevolution" has occurred in the last 100 years? Don't think too hard because I'm going to tell you. None. The ratio of light/dark moth varies a little over time to a net gain of zero. There was not even microevolution!

In this textbook example of “evolution,” there has been no change in the population. Not even a little one. The accumulative effect of microevolution has achieved nothing more than breaking even. As I’ve often said that time is not the hero of evolution.

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