The Peppered Moth Controversy

Q&A with John Mackay the Creation Guy

Alex regularly interviews John on Vision180 radio. Here they discuss the school science textbook.

Q John, let’s talk more about evolution. Well, biology I guess. Because I studied biology in senior school, and I remember going through my textbook…

A  And I heard a rumour you actually did moderately well.

Q I did, just humbly. I was quite good at biology. I was I think second in the class. I wasn’t first. If I was in class with you, if we were the same age, you would have been first for sure.

So I remember going through my biology book, and looking at some of these things, and going ‘that doesn’t make sense as a Christian’. You start to question lots of things. So one of the things I remember, and I actually saw this on your website, that’s what jogged my brain, is about the peppered moths. SO the peppered moths — you can correct me if I’m wrong — they ‘change colour’ to suit their environment ‘over time’ because of the pollution in the air. When they were sticking on the trees, their prey would eat them, because they could see them so clearly with the pollution. So they changed.

A Good example of natural selection, adaptation, all the other things in the chapter on evolution. SO if moths can change colour, fishes can turn into radio commentators.

Q Are you calling me a fish?

A Well, David Attenborough is. An evolved fish. So we have to be honest about what this theory is all about. So I’m not surprised you felt challenged. And one reason we set up the Ask site on creationresearch.net is to put the answer that we’ll give you briefly now, in depth with more references.

So what’s interesting is, you find in England, they noticed in 1950 that a famous collection of moths was not quite the same as it was in the real England of the 1950s and 60s. So a man called Kettlewell actually began to study the number of black and white versions of the peppered moth. Now we’d known they’d been around for a long time, because if you go to the 1850s and 1860s, there are collections of these in the Naturalista Museum. And you can see the ratio of them. But when he counted them in the trees outside of Manchester, high industrial area, lots of smoke for a hundred years, trees dirty, what he noticed was the lighter ones seemed to be fewer in number, and the darker ones had increased in number, compared to the original trays in the Naturalista museum.

So as an evolutionist, he said: ‘Ah, example of evolutionary change’! The reason why the dark moths are increasing is because, in the old days, the trees were clean. The birds could see the dark moths on the clean trees. Peck! Less dark moths, right? Now in dirty England, in dirty trees, the birds can see the white moths, so peck! So it changes the number. So this was put up as an example of natural selection. Natural selection is used as a keystone to Darwin’s evolution and in Darwin’s evolution, fishes give rise to people.

Now secondly, I had to do a debate in Manchester University Museum, for public television, against the head of their evolutionist society. But what was interesting is, the reason why the people picked the University Museum for the debate was they had a big display on the peppered moths. And this is now in the early 2000s. And what they’d noticed by the 1990s, hmm, over in America where the trees didn’t get dirty, the moths changed numbers in the same way! So it can’t be due to the change in colour of the trees. Therefore it can’t be due to the birds being able to see the white ones easier, because something else is involved here. So therefore the museum display now said: ‘We no longer know if this is even connected to natural selection.’ In other words, it’s got no connection to evolution at all.

So go to creationresearch.net, and learn how to think. God gave us all a brain, and He expects us to use it. But one thing that stops us is our textbook sounds so authoritative. It teaches us what to think, and this stops us thinking.

About the author

Jonathan Craig

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