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eBook Of Moths and Men : Intrigue, Tragedy and the Peppered Moth download

by Judith Hooper

eBook Of Moths and Men : Intrigue, Tragedy and the Peppered Moth download ISBN: 1841153931
Author: Judith Hooper
Publisher: Harpercollins Pub Ltd (March 31, 2003)
Language: English
Pages: 320
ePub: 1977 kb
Fb2: 1956 kb
Rating: 4.1
Other formats: lit mbr azw mobi
Category: Math Sciences
Subcategory: Biological Sciences

Of Moths and Men is a book by journalist Judith Hooper about the Oxford University ecological genetics school led by .

Of Moths and Men is a book by journalist Judith Hooper about the Oxford University ecological genetics school led by . The book specifically concerns Bernard Kettlewell's experiments on the peppered moth which were intended as experimental validation of evolution.

The story of the peppered moth is a case in point, according to Judith Hooper. Biston betularia is a species of moth familiar to anyone who has studied biology. You will have glimpsed them in textbook photographs, posed on tree trunks, immortalised and still as figures in a classical frieze. For this otherwise unremarkable moth proved Darwin right - or at least, that's what everyone thought. The problem with Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is that it describes events that occur over thousands of years, and is therefore difficult to prove empirically.

Of Moths and Men - Judith Hooper. Prologue: The moths of Oxford. The moths of this story – the peppered moths of England – became the most famous insects in the world. You might say they were at the right place at the right time. The ferocity of the debate was puzzling and intriguing to me. The peppered moth story seemed fairly straightforward, and if parts of it were wrong, or even most of it, so what? Surely there were other instances to demonstrate evolution? What was it about this one case that was so sacred?

Every schoolchild is familiar with the peppered moth experiment that ‘proves’ natural selection: in the early 1950s a. .

However, these findings, now immortalised in our biology textbooks, were botched and inaccurate. They came from a scientist who ignored the truth for the sake of fame and recognition. Of Moths and Men’ is a fascinating story of hubris, delusion and heartbreak behind the most important paradigm in 20th-century evolutionary biology.

Grant, B. A. D. Cook, C. Clarke, and D. F. Owen. Geographic and temporal variation in the incidence of melanism in peppered moth populations in America and Britain. Of Moths and Men: Intrigue, Tragedy and the Peppered Moth. Fourth Estate, New York.

Of Moths and Men book. In a revelatory, controversial work that will be debated for years to come, Judith Hooper uncovers the intellectual rivalries, petty jealousies, and faulty science behind one of the most famous experiments-and myths-in the history of evolutionary biology.

Before long the peppered moth had kindled a smouldering scientific feud. What was it about this one case that was so sacred? Perhaps it was a symbol of something. and that was why some people were defending it so tenaciously. If the major predators should turn out to be bats or beetles, instead of birds hunting by sight, or alternatively if birds are picking the moths out of the air, the standard model is in trouble again.

The tale of a flagrant scientific fraud and its cover-up, and scientific incompetence behind the most important paradigm in evolutionary biology: Charles Darwin's & of Evolution'. However, these findings, now immortalised in our biology textbooks, were botched and inaccurate

Similar books and articles. Taking the Peppered Moth with a Grain of Salt. The Great Gypsy Moth War: A History of the First Campaign in Massachusetts to Eradicate the Gypsy Moth, 1890-1901.

Similar books and articles. Robert J. Spear - 2006 - Journal of the History of Biology 39 (2):417-419. L'intrigue du Quatrième Évangile. J. -M. Sevrin - 2006 - Revue Théologique de Louvain 37 (4):473-488. L'intrigue du quatrième évangile, ou la christologie mise en récit. Jean-Marie Sevrin - 2006 - Revue Théologique de Louvain 37 (4):473-488. The Winter's Tale: The Triumph of Comedy Over Tragedy. Mary Nichols - 1981 - Interpretation 9 (2/3):169-190.

The Peppered Moth Story Under Attack: 1998–2003. Then, in 2002, writer and journalist Judith Hooper published a book, Of Moths and Men: Intrique, Tragedy and the Peppered Moth (Hooper 2002). Here, for the first time, were thinly veiled accusations of data fudging and fraud aimed at Kettlewell. Were the Attacks on the Peppered Moth Story Justified?

Spine faded, page edges tanned. Shipped from the U.K. All orders received before 3pm sent that weekday.
Comments: (2)
BlessСhild
I bought this thinking it would be an interesting look at the debate surrounding Kettlewell's work. Instead, it's just a poorly researched hatchet job that does not even pretend to be even-handed. Balancing one dissenting (and eccentric) view against the vast body of scientific literature is sadly a typical journalistic technique and does nothing to inform non-scientists about the issues involved. The great strength of science is that by repeating and refining experiments we can arrive, not at the truth, but at a pretty good approximation thereof. Ignoring all the work done on this topic since Kettlewell rather misses the point. Were Kettlewell's experiments impeccably designed? No. Does he deserve the treatment Ms. Hooper doles out? No. Should people read this book as an objective review of the evidence for natural selection? Absolutely not. Read "The Beak of the Finch" if you want that.
Taulkree
Judith Hooper (born 1949) is an American journalist, who has written/co-written other books such as The 3-Pound Universe,Would the Buddha Wear a Walkman?: A Catalogue of Revolutionary Tools for Higher Consciousness, etc.

She wrote in the Prologue to this 2002 book, “In Darwinian language, natural selection favoured the black appearance in the grimy mill towns and the light one in rural, unpolluted woodlands… For fifty years, this interpretation… was only a theory, until Kettlewell ventured out into the English countryside to prove it in 1953… these twin demonstrations became the most celebrated experiment ever in evolutionary biology… It is the slam dunk of natural selection… the thundering left hook to the jaw of creationism. Craig Holdredge, a young American biology teacher… dug up H.B.D. Kettlewell’s original journal articles… He was appalled… he began to realize that the standard theory of industrial melanism… was full of holes. As it turned out, Holdredge was not the only one to notice the cracks in the icon. Before long the peppered moth had kindled a smouldering scientific feud… away from the public eye… What was it about this one case that was so sacred? Perhaps it was a symbol of something… and that was why some people were defending it so tenaciously. This book grew out of those questions. Behind the story, like a monster lurking under a five-year-old’s bed, is the bogeyman of creationism… For the record, I am not a creationist, but to be uncritical about science is to make it into a dogma.” (Pg. xvii-xix)

Of the famous photos/film that ethologist Niko Tinbergen took with Kettlewell, she recounts, “In his paper, Kettlewell would admit to putting out huge concentrations of moths on these closely watched trees in order to get the photographs… Still more intoxicating, perhaps, was the realization that they were the first people on Earth to catch evolution in action---on film! What the biology textbooks would fail to mention, and what passed unnoticed by their peers for at least a decade, was that [Kettlewell] had done a little tweaking in this experiment, too, just as he had at the aviary and in Birmingham in 1953.” (Pg. 136)

She notes, “In Caldy Common, which had birches, sycamores and oaks, Clarke and Sheppard performed a predation experiment similar to [Kettlewell’s]. They wanted to confirm the two key elements of [Kettlewell’s] work: that the color of the morphs really did provide crypsis, and that there was differential predation by birds. They avoided the inconvenience of getting moths to pupate at just the right moment by using dead, frozen moths… the light-coloured typical; morph should have had and ADVANTAGE of about 23 percent… but in their predation experiments typicals still had a selective DISADVANTAGE of about 20 per cent. It didn’t add up… [Kettlewell] was prickly and defensive about his friends’ experiment. The rough draft that Philip sent to him was returned riddled with marginal notes and long-winded, often irrelevant objections.” (Pg. 192-193)

She points out, “There was an evident gap between the predictions founded on Kettlewell’s model, based on bird predation and crypsis, and actual observations. ‘The discrepancy may indicate,’ Jim Bishop and Laurence Cook reflected in a 1975 Scientific American article, ‘we are not correctly assessing the true nature of the resting sites of living moths when we are conducting experiments with dead ones. Alternatively, the assumption that natural selection is entirely due to selective predation by birds may be mistaken.’ Even then some people knew that the stories and pictures in the textbooks were not quite true, yet it would be another two decades or more before the icon was seriously challenged.” (Pg. 218)

She cites Ted Sargent who notes, “Unconscious bias, he says, could easily have tainted Kettlewell’s background experiments… ‘The moth is a little too high, but you tell yourself, “Well, it’s mainly on the black.” If you have an idea in your mind it’s very easy to eliminate what you don’t want. Kettlewell always seemed to find what he expected to be true… So many subtle things could enter. You might put the black ones closer to the collecting area, or hide the black ones a little better, unconsciously…’ He pauses, looks pained: ‘His stuff is too neat! A two-to-one ratio and then two-to-one the other way, and nobody else gets anything like that? It’s suspicious… Kettlewell’s colleagues didn’t want to shoot him down because they loved the idea. It was an example of Darwinism.’” (Pg. 256)

She summarizes the critiques: “By the early 1990s, if not before, it was known to a small circle of scientists that what every textbook in the Darwinian universe said about industrial melanism was untrue. There were some fundamental discrepancies, not least that birds may not be the major predators. The question is… whether in nature birds are major predators of peppered moths. Equally damaging to the ‘authorized version’ was the fact that moths do not normally rest on tree trunks… but in shaded areas under branches, where colour differences would be muted… Additionally, the experimental densities were too high… When [Kettlewell] and Tinbergen were making their historic film, they laid the spread on even thicker… Furthermore, the method of release was faulty. Peppered moths fly at night and settle into their daytime resting places at dawn. [Kettlewell] released his moths in daylight because if he had released them at night they would have made a beeline for the light traps… the bird predation purportedly demonstrated by Kettlewell could easily have been an artifact of the experiment… there was also the question of what [Kettlewell] put out. He mixed lab-bred and wild-caught specimens… the lab-bred moths were possibly ‘more vulnerable’…” (Pg. 265-267) She adds, “With all these defects, one might suppose that ‘Darwin’s missing evidence’ had lost a little of its lustre. On the contrary, the leading lights of the industrial melanism field still cling to it, even while admitting that there are all sorts of confounding factors.” (Pg. 271)

She concludes, “The accumulation of fifty years’ research has built a monument that researchers in the field are understandably loath to dismantle. The worst-case scenarios, such as the possibility that the rise of melanic peppered moths may not have demonstrated natural selection, are unthinkable… If the major predators should turn out to be bats or beetles, instead of birds hunting by sight, or alternatively if birds are picking the moths out of the air, the standard model is in trouble again. But almost no one really wants to re-examine the theory itself. Those few who do so are demonized.” (Pg. 276-277)

She adds, “H.B.D. Kettlewell advanced his hypothesis and tested it, though perhaps not as rigorously as one might have wished, and it seemed fine for a time. Today new evidence, a rigorous examination of old evidence, and further tests of the hypothesis… have suggested that it may be incorrect… We could fill in the blanks: [Kettlewell’s] desperate need to please E.B. Ford, Ford’s fanatical belief in the power of adaptation, everybody’s craving for merit badges… Then there were [Kettlewell’s] family problems, his insecure finances, his craving for recognition at Oxford, the ‘turns’ he suffered during his experiment, his exhaustion, sleep deprivation and mood swings, even the emotional aridity of his childhood… Traditionally, these human factors are deemed irrelevant to the scientific process, as if scientists were a race of hard-wired robots.” (Pg. 298-299)

While Hooper’s work is subject to criticism [e.g., geneticist Michael Majerus’s paper, ‘Industrial Melanism in the Peppered Moth, Biston betularia’], this book contains a wealth of information not easily available elsewhere; it will be “must reading” for anyone studying the peppered moth experiments.
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