Talk:Peppered moth

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Template Peppered Moth[edit]

This can be found at Template:Pepperedmoth


The peppered moth was, during much of the 20th century, believed to be an example that confirmed the theory of evolution, with popular photographs of camouflaged peppered moths resting on tree trunks used in textbooks as evidence for natural selection. But biologists have known since the 1980s that peppered moths don't normally rest on tree trunks. The textbook photographs have been faked - many of them by pinning or gluing dead moths on desired backgrounds.

When University of Chicago evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne learned of this in 1998 - more than a decade after it was announced in the scientific literature - he wrote that he was "embarrassed" to find that the peppered moth story he had been teaching his students for years was seriously flawed. He compared his reaction to "the dismay attending my discovery, at age 6, that it was my father and not Santa who brought the presents on Christmas Eve."

Perhaps Coyne and you should have read this Wikipedia article, or any of the rest of the scientific literature. The photos weren't "faked" -- they weren't supposed to be evidence that moths rest on tree trunks, they were only for the purposes of showing the contrast in color between the moths and their background. And the theory of evolution is extremely well established, as Coyne would be the first to tell you, and the peppered moth has nothing to do with it; it's just a particularly striking example of adaptive evolution in response to natural selection. -- Jibal 11:11, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

That's a good quote--I'll see where I can put it.

It's an irrelevant quote; the article is about the peppered moth, not the reactions of one particular person in one particular circumstance. That Coyne is an evolutionary biologist is irrelevant, a fallacious argument from authority. -- Jibal 11:11, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Glad to be of help. I want to work with you, not against you. I love science and religion equally. --Ed Poor
The loves of editors is irrelevant, other than a love for high quality WP articles, -- Jibal 11:11, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
That may be a "good" quote, but it is a misleading. Notably, it follows Wells' arguments, which will be discussed. It goes nicely in the creationism and the peppered moth page... Duncharris 15:45, May 1, 2004 (UTC)
The archive has a source that says the photos from the 1950's were faked. Another editor agreed, but simply said "this is one of those 'life imitates fraud' things". Can someone clarify that for me? --IronMaidenRocks (talk) 02:30, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
[citation needed] ;-) diff please! . . dave souza, talk 08:29, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
[clarification needed] please? --IronMaidenRocks (talk) 00:31, 23 February 2011 (UTC)


1. With reference to Hooper, answer the following questions:

Christopher cadbury bird reserve is at grid location SO9367 link

Birmingham Airport is where? Establish distance between them, and variation in meterological data.

2. Note Ectropis crepuscularia is Small Engrailed identified by Hübner or Denis and Schiffermüller 1775 (Geometra).

Split the article?[edit]

This page is much too big. It should be broken up into different pages. I think it's also a good idea to seperate the description of the moth itself from the evolution and religion arguments it provides.

how about: Peppered moth and Peppered moth (evolution) ?

Maroux 14:08, 2004 Mar 5 (UTC)

Erm, yeah. The problem is one of order. How about one page with the introduction on, summary of the story and then child pages consisting of genetics and biochemistry, ecology, evolution, phenotypic induction hypothesis, creationism?
Also, many of the sections appear to be useles rambling like the secton consisting purely of: "==Kettlewell 1985== etc"! --Steinsky 22:09, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Right. I was relatively new to all this when it wrote most of it. What I'm going to do is. 1. Pull out the references to a separate page. Then (2) write abstracts of each section here with main articles, as for countries (e.g. United Kingdom and use a blue box to link everything together. Duncharris 22:26, Apr 30, 2004 (UTC)

Hello. I have taken the liberty of putting into peppered moth those items from peppered moth references which are are referenced by peppered moth -- that is a much shorter list, and directly related to the article content. In general it seems very desirable to put the references in the article in which they're referenced; I don't see a motivation for moving the references out, and then mixing them with a number of nonreferenced items. -- As you may know, peppered moth references is on vfd at the moment. See: Template:VfD-Peppered_moth_references. -- I agree that splitting apart the descriptive biology from the evolutionary stuff would be a good idea. Happy editing, Wile E. Heresiarch 06:26, 2 May 2004 (UTC)
I see that the article has been split apart, which seems like a good idea, and that the references have been struck out of each part, which seems like a bad idea. Frankly, striking out the references hasn't improved the articles. User:, who I assume is Duncharris, says on the VfD page that the plan is to put in wikilinks, naming each reference with a #, to a references page. One reason not to do this is that throughout Wikipedia, references are not given in this form, in any article I've read. A more pressing reason is that one cannot print out an article and get the references; I don't see any reason to suppose that people don't want to print articles, and that they don't need the refs if they do. -- Although I went to the trouble of assembling the appropriate refs for the peppered moth article, I won't bother about it again, for a while at least. So, have at it, Dunc; best wishes and happy editing. Wile E. Heresiarch 14:45, 2 May 2004 (UTC)
Yeah, that number was me I forgot to logon. Yeah, probably best in the end to move back to their own page. The main page I think just needs a further reading. The problem is keeping track of the little so-and-sos ****. But I think that's best done when the articles are basically finished. I'd like to keep them, atleast on a Talk page until finished. Duncharris 17:29, May 2, 2004 (UTC)


Article Peppered moth references listed on Wikipedia:Votes for deletion Apr 30 to May 7 2004, consensus was to keep and move to Talk:Peppered moth/references. See Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Peppered moth references for discussion. -- Graham :) | Talk 14:23, 7 May 2004 (UTC)


I have a good quality picture of two pepper moths, one black and one speckled, next to each other, which I took fairly recently in England.

I would be willing for this picture to be displayed on the page, however, I am unaware as to how I should do this.

I would also only wish for it to be used on Wikipedia and nowhere else.

If anyone can help me out, as I believe a picture would enhance this article, please respond here or drop me an email at


Please verify[edit]

I have read in "Signs of Intelligence" edited by William A. Dembski that peppered moths do not normally rest on tree trunks for significant lengths of time. Can anybody verify that for me with another credible source and maybe correct it? -TT

See this image. -Silence 00:49, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
...which makes it perfectly clear that they rest on tree bark. Question: how many birds exist sympatrically with this moth that are able to pick off a sizeable lepidopteran directly from a vertical tree trunk? Nuthatches and treecreepers are too small, so the answer is "a few woodpeckers, which do not normally feed on Lepidoptera". So there you have it: rather than weakening the evolutionary case of the peppered moth, the observation that they do not very often rest on tree trunks actually strengthens it - because their most favorite resting places have a much higher incidence of predation than do tree trunks... Dysmorodrepanis 16:53, 1 June 2007 (UTC)


I may be wrong, but the section on the evolution of the peppered moth seems biased. Some theories are left out, while only the easily disputed ones are included. Mike6271 00:31, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

You are correct that this section was very POVed, and it also included a lot of excessive details and had a lack of structure. I've heavily rewritten the entire article, including trimming off many of those details from that section, so as to provide the important facts as concisely as possible. If the removed information is important and NPOV, it should be reinstated at Peppered moth evolution, where there's more room to cover it fairly. -Silence 01:45, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
The "controversy" is now well covered at Peppered moth evolution, if it's mentioned here at all it has to show creationist allegations in the context of the overwhelming majority expert view, per WP:FRINGE and NPOV: Giving "equal validity". In my opinion a brief outline is preferable, as at present. Other opinions? . . dave souza, talk 13:06, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

michael bell

Michael Bell/ Leslie Martinez


Pepper Moth’s Evolution The pepper moth began to become part of the world’s evolution because they began to change colors going from being a liter color to becoming a dark color and so that is the evolution of the pepper moth.

Number of Moths: Light Form Dark Form

Original Population 5 5 Generation 1 survivor 5 0 Generation 2 survivor 5 0 Generation 3 survivor 4 0

Number of light dark ratio %  % The at the form form light/ light light Start of each dark moths moths Pepper Moths Generation:

Generation 1 5 5 1:1 50% 50% Generation 2 5 0 5:0 100% 0% Generation 3 4 0 4:0 100% 0%

 Section 2

Part 1 The problem issues that was damaging their habitats and population is that people kept on burning coal and when was happening. It would make huge dark clouds of sought that would stain the bark of the trees which put the dark pepper moths. In danger because the color changed from a brown and black color to a white color which helped. The white pepper moths and then when this kept happening the trees went from a white color to a medium color because of this change. In time this helped build both of the populations but only for a short amount of time but then the trees went to a really dark color. Because people/ coal workers/ miners didn’t stop burning coal because of many productions.

Part 2

One way that people could save the pepper moth is by no burning so much coal meaning that companies shouldn’t do so much mining because it’s messing with their habitat and population.

Part 3

Can’t people like try and relocate some of the pepper moths to see how they would survive out in other parts of the world so that their numbers could become grater.

  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:57, 31 May 2008 (UTC) 

Melanism is not Evolution[edit]

Is melanism the same as evolution? Evolution by its theory implies the changes were not already present in the gene pool. Melanism, OTOH, is statistically rare but prevalent everywhere much like its more common cousin, albinism. The irony is the article even says malanism but continues to talk about evolution. Survival in conditional changes is not the same as the random genetic changes required for the theory of evolution. the fact these survival adaptations are present in the genetic code and process further raises questions.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Timjowers (talkcontribs) 17:12, 2 April 2011

The irony, Tim, is that you don't appear to realise what evolution is: a common definition is change in frequency of inherited traits in a population, which is what happens with the moths subjected to the pressures of natural selection. You seem to be confused by the point that this isn't speciation, no one said it was. . . dave souza, talk 18:02, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

I too have a problem with whether or not this is evolution. If the dark trees led to the survival of only dark morphs did these morphs give rise to a next generation that had more dark morphs than the previous one. This would be evolution (a change in the frequency of genes in future generations). If they gave birth to the standard distribution of white and black morphs then it is merely selective predation leading to the survival of one of many different possible morphs. My cursory reading of the article didn't see any mention of this. Please clarify.... Avram Primack (talk) 20:38, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

The article already mentions that the distribution is different: There are several melanic and non-melanic morphs of the peppered moth. These are controlled genetically. TippyGoomba (talk)

Pseudoscience in a scientific article[edit]

The scientific community does not acknowledge the meaningfulness of the term "kind", which has no proper definition, is based on a vague, unscientific extension of the way a few animals were described in the bible, and corresponds roughly to the way a child or someone without biological knowledge might classify animals. Neither is Genesis a valid source for information according to the scientific method. As the paragraph below is an non-specialist opinion, based on the non-scientific concept of kind and on the interpretation of Genesis (according to the author's website), it does not merit a place in a scientific article about a species of moth. [Such an opinion would be fine in a forum discussion on the Internet]. Also note that evolution is entirely comprised of steps which can be described as "microevolution".

According to the Young Earth creationist Dr. Tommy Mitchell of Answers in Genesis, the example of peppered moths only represents a case of natural selection, and not of evolution, as a population of a "kind" of moth turned into simply a population of another "kind" of moth.[1] While it is true that this example shows natural selection causing microevolution within a species, it demonstrates rapid and obvious adaptiveness with such change.[2]

It is however, entirely appropriate to make it clear in the article that the adaptation involved did not amount to speciation, based on scientific evidence for this fact. Elroch (talk) 08:44, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Index to Creationist Claims[edit]

Mark Isaak is not the author of entries CB601.2.2 and CB601.2.3 of the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims. I am. The authors of each of the entries in the Index are listed here. Mark Isaak is the editor of the Index and has accepted ultimate responsibility for any errors appearing in it. However, authorship of individually cited entries should be attributed to those entries' actual authors rather than the Index's editor.

In any case, I don't believe most of the entries in the Index can by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as satisfying Wikipedia's criteria for reliable sources. They were written by various contributors to the usenet newsgroup, many of whom—like me—are not recognised by the relevant academic communities as experts in the areas they were writing about, and, as far as I know, most of the entries—including mine—were never reviewed by acknowledged experts in the relevant fields.

As an alternative, the corresponding entries in the published print version of the Index, The Counter-Creationism Handbook, could be cited. Since I didn't write those entries I presume Mark Isaak did (they're quite different from those on-line versions which I wrote). However, I don't believe that Mark Isaak is any more of an expert on the peppered moth than I am, so I don't see how this could be considered a "reliable" source either. None of this should be read as a criticism of Mark Isaak. I'm confident that his entries on the peppered moth are as reliable as any other written by a non-specialist in the field. But—just like mine—I can't see how they can be regarded as satisfying Wikipedia's criteria for reliability.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 09:21, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

TalkOrigins Archive has consistently been accepted as a reliable source on creationism, giving a reasonable overview of the science. Where better scientific sources or more scholarly publications about creationism are available, we should use them. If you'd like to suggest sources on the article talk page or make sourced edits to the article, that will be great.
Having said that, the whole saga is covered in Peppered moth evolution#Controversy without any reference to ToA. There's discussion there about whether we're giving it undue weight by the extent of coverage: perhaps the best option is to split that into an article about the "controversy", keeping a brief WP:SUMMARY style statement there, and probably a briefer statement here with a link. Thoughts? . . dave souza, talk 22:44, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
"TalkOrigins Archive has consistently been accepted as a reliable source on creationism, giving a reasonable overview of the science."

"consistent use" does not automatically denote reliability. WP Editors may have just 'consistently favored' the opinions expressed at TalkOrigins, or 'consistently held the opinion' that TalkOrigins represents accurate information. Does this make it a reliable source? What is the objective criteria here, please. If consistency = reliability then you are opening a lot of doors for referenced material, so I would be interested in some more specifics on the standards here. (talk) 16:22, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

WP:V sets the standards, which are expanded on at WP:RS. Note that, in this instance, WP:PSCI applies. If you want to discuss this further or look at previous discussions, see WP:RSN. . . dave souza, talk 16:57, 3 October 2013 (UTC)