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Peppered moths don't rest on tree trunks, and pictures of them there were faked (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Peppered moths don't rest on tree trunks, and pictures of them there were faked (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CB601.1:

Peppered moths do not normally rest on tree trunks. In decades of field work, only one peppered moth was found resting on a tree trunk in the wild. Kettlewell released his moths near the ground in the morning, which would have caused the moths to land on the trunks unnaturally. Pictures showing moths on trunks were staged. This invalidates the research that was based on the assumption that they normally rested on trunks.

Source:

CreationWiki response:

It needs to be noted that the traditional peppered moth story is no way a threat to creation science. Not only do the peppered moths remain peppered moths but there has not even been a change in the peppered moth gene pool — only a temporary shift in populations. The fact that Evolutionists even consider this evidence for evolution is a sign of desperation.

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. Peppered moths do not rest exclusively on tree trunks, but they do rest there. Of the forty-seven moths one researcher found in the wild, twelve were on trunks and twenty were on trunk/branch joints. (The other fifteen were on branches). The numbers and proportion on trunks near light traps were even higher. Wells's claim that the moths do not naturally land on trunks is simply a falsehood.

Wells does not claim that “the moths do not naturally land on trunks” but that it is not their normal resting place. Even as worded by Talk Origins the claim shows that sometimes they do land on trunks. So Talk Origins is using a Straw Man.

2. Branches provide a background similar to trunks.

True, but they are not at same angle as the trunks. Talk Origins has conveniently left out the fact that the moths rest on the underside of the branches, thus hiding them from birds regardless of their color.


Photos showing moths on trunks were staged but only for purposes of illustration. The photographs depict what is found in the wild, whether trunk or branch. Furthermore, the photos played no part in the scientific research or its conclusions.

The problem is that they do not show the normal case. If they accurately represented the normal case, the staged photos would be OK. Since they do not show the normal case, they should not be used.

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