Mothballed Science

The peppered moth story, for almost fifty years the prime textbook example of evolution by natural selection, is fast becoming biology’s greatest embarrassment. Before long, Biston betularia, to use the moth’s scientific name, will be famous only as the subject of a messy experiment whose faults were overlooked because the data were needed to support something that leading biologists and many other people badly wanted to believe.

Anybody who ever took a biology class has seen the photos of light and dark moths that all the textbooks use to illustrate this classic example. The official story is that the peppered moth in Britain, normally . . .

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Phillip E. Johnson is Professor of Law (emeritus) at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of Darwin on Trial, The Wedge of Truth, The Right Questions (InterVarsity Press), and other books challenging the naturalistic assumptions that dominate modern culture. He is a contributing editor of Touchstone.

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