Natural Selection A Struggle for Survival?
Observation and Experiments The True Story of Industrial Mechanism
Why Natural Selection Cannot Explain Complexity Mutations
The Pleiotropic Effect












 The True Story of Industrial Melanism

When evolutionist sources are examined, one inevitably sees that the example of moths in England during the Industrial Revolution is cited as an example of evolution by natural selection. This is put forward as the most concrete example of evolution observed, in textbooks, magazines, and even academic sources. In actuality, though, that example has nothing to do with evolution at all.

Let us first recall what is actually said: According to this account, around the onset of the Industrial Revolution in England, the color of tree barks around Manchester was quite light. Because of this, dark-colored moths resting on those trees could easily be noticed by the birds that fed on them, and therefore they had very little chance of survival. Fifty years later, in woodlands where industrial pollution has killed the lichens, the bark of the trees had darkened, and now the light-colored moths became the most hunted, since they were the most easily noticed. As a result, the proportion of light-colored to dark-colored moths decreased. Evolutionists believe this to be a great piece of evidence for their theory. They take refuge and solace in window-dressing, showing how light-colored moths "evolved" into dark-colored ones.

The top picture shows trees with moths on them before the Industrial Revolution, and the bottom picture shows them at a later date. Because the trees had grown darker, birds were able catch light-colored moths more easily and their numbers decreased. However, this is not an example of "evolution," because no new species emerged; all that happened was that the ratio of the two already existing types in an already existing species changed.

However, although we believe these facts to be correct, it should be quite clear that they can in no way be used as evidence for the theory of evolution, since no new form arose that had not existed before. Dark colored moths had existed in the moth population before the Industrial Revolution. Only the relative proportions of the existing moth varieties in the population changed. The moths had not acquired a new trait or organ, which would cause "speciation."13 In order for one moth species to turn into another living species, a bird for example, new additions would have had to be made to its genes. That is, an entirely separate genetic program would have had to be loaded so as to include information about the physical traits of the bird.

This is the answer to be given to the evolutionist story of Industrial Melanism. However, there is a more interesting side to the story: Not just its interpretation, but the story itself is flawed. As molecular biologist Jonathan Wells explains in his book Icons of Evolution, the story of the peppered moths, which is included in every evolutionary biology book and has therefore, become an "icon" in this sense, does not reflect the truth. Wells discusses in his book how Bernard Kettlewell's experiment, which is known as the "experimental proof" of the story, is actually a scientific scandal. Some basic elements of this scandal are:

- Many experiments conducted after Kettlewell's revealed that only one type of these moths rested on tree trunks, and all other types preferred to rest beneath small, horizontal branches. Since 1980 it has become clear that peppered moths do not normally rest on tree trunks. In 25 years of fieldwork, many scientists such as Cyril Clarke and Rory Howlett, Michael Majerus, Tony Liebert, and Paul Brakefield concluded that in Kettlewell's experiment, moths were forced to act atypically, therefore, the test results could not be accepted as scientific.14

- Scientists who tested Kettlewell's conclusions came up with an even more interesting result: Although the number of light moths would be expected to be larger in the less polluted regions of England, the dark moths there numbered four times as many as the light ones. This meant that there was no correlation between the moth population and the tree trunks as claimed by Kettlewell and repeated by almost all evolutionist sources.

- As the research deepened, the scandal changed dimension: "The moths on tree trunks" photographed by Kettlewell, were actually dead moths. Kettlewell used dead specimens glued or pinned to tree trunks and then photographed them. In truth, there was little chance of taking such a picture as the moths rested not on tree trunks but underneath the leaves.15

These facts were uncovered by the scientific community only in the late 1990s. The collapse of the myth of Industrial Melanism, which had been one of the most treasured subjects in "Introduction to Evolution" courses in universities for decades, greatly disappointed evolutionists. One of them, Jerry Coyne, remarked:

My own reaction resembles the dismay attending my discovery, at the age of six, that it was my father and not Santa who brought the presents on Christmas Eve.16

Thus, "the most famous example of natural selection" was relegated to the trash-heap of history as a scientific scandal-which was inevitable, because natural selection is not an "evolutionary mechanism," contrary to what evolutionists claim.

In short, natural selection is capable neither of adding a new organ to a living organism, nor of removing one, nor of changing an organism of one species into that of another. The "greatest" evidence put forward since Darwin has been able to go no further than the "industrial melanism" of moths in England.

13 For more detailed information about Industrial Melanism, please see Phillip Johnson, Darwin on Trial, InterVarsity Press, 2nd. Ed., Washington D.C., p. 26.
14 Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Why Much of What We Teach About Evolution is Wrong, Regnery Publishing, Washington, 2000, pp. 149-150.
15 Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Why Much of What We Teach About Evolution is Wrong, Regnery Publishing, Washington, 2000, pp. 141-151.
16 Jerry Coyne, "Not Black and White", a review of Michael Majerus's Melanism: Evolution in Action, Nature, 396, 1988, pp. 35-36.