Ken Ham and the Peppered Moth

Everyone knows about Peppered moth evolution. Wikipedia says:

The evolution of the peppered moth is an evolutionary instance of colour variation in the moth population as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. The concept refers to an increase in the number of dark-coloured moths due to industrial pollution, and a reciprocal decrease in the population in a clean environment. … It is the first recorded and experimented case of Charles Darwin’s natural selection in action, and remains as a classic example in the teaching of evolution.

As you might have guessed, creationists don’t like it. A good example is found at the blog of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed not only for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), but also for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum, and for building an exact replica of Noah’s Ark.

Hambo’s post is The Peppered Moth: Popular “Proof” That Doesn’t Prove Evolution. Silly title — nothing “proves” evolution, but peppered moths are evidence that supports it — and as we often point out, there is no evidence that disproves the theory. Anyway, here are some excerpts from Hambo’s latest, with bold font added by us for emphasis and scripture references omitted:

[T]hose who understand the principles of biology, regularly read my blog and AiG articles, or who have visited the Creation Museum should immediately note that “rapid adaptability” is not evolution. In fact, it’s really the opposite of a molecules-to-man type of supposed process.

Hambo has made that same argument before — see Ken Ham: Natural Selection Is Not Evolution, in which he argued:

It’s really just an outworking of the phenomenal amount of genetic variability God built into each kind of organism. … Evolution requires an addition of brand-new information so that novel traits (never seen before) can arise. … And mutations don’t add new information either.

Does Hambo have anything new to say on the subject? He’s ranting about an article, 8 Animals That Are Evolving Quickly, that includes the peppered moth, and he says:

None of the animals created new genetic information to form a brand-new feature.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — information! [*End Drool Mode*] See Phlogiston, Vitalism, and Information. Moving along:

Environmental pressure simply resulted in the expression of a new variation of already existing genes or the increased survival of a certain variety of that created kind. Though these animals can’t be used as examples of evolution, they do highlight how quickly animals can adapt and change to new environments, using the information God placed in their DNA. This showcases the creativity, benevolence, and wisdom of our all-powerful and all-wise Creator.

Aha — everything is evidence for creationism. Let’s read on:

I thought I would note one of the article’s examples that has been used to “prove” evolution for decades — the peppered moth. This supposed proof of evolution had been shown to be a flawed experiment to begin with, but has been resuscitated and continues to be used as a proof of evolution.

Yeah — a “flawed experiment.” That creationist clunker is debunked at the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims, right here. Hambo continues, with an additional argument against the peppered moths:

Well, both varieties [light and dark] already existed before environmental changes caused one version to become dominant over the other one. The darker moths were able to survive and reproduce better than the lighter version, and consequently there were more of the darker-colored moths! This is clearly not an example of molecules-to-man evolution; it simply shows how natural selection works in a population.

Oh — all it does is show how natural selection works. Okay. Here’s more:

Sadly, the idea that evolution and natural selection are one and the same is a very popular idea. But they aren’t the same thing. In fact, they are complete opposites.

Wowie — complete opposites! Moving along:

Natural selection leads to the reshuffling or loss of genetic information. But evolution requires the addition of brand-new information, a process that has never been observed.

For two rebuttal examples we’ve written about before, see How One Gene Becomes Two Different Genes, and also Creationism and Nylon-Eating Bacteria.

The end of the article follows the predictable Hambo formula:

The observational evidence confirms God’s Word: kinds always reproduce according to their kinds [scripture reference].

Now that we know how furious Hambo gets when he thinks of peppered moths, we’ll be sure to mention them from time to time.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Ken Ham and the Peppered Moth

  1. Doctor Stochastic

    Six large moths.
    One dozen chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
    1/4 cup raw coconut oil.
    1/4 cup olive oil.
    1 Tbsp cumin.
    1Tbsp Mexican oregano.
    ….

  2. michaelfugate

    So we have mistranslated Aristotle all along, he referred to God as prime mutator not prime mover.

  3. Hambo:
    “…they do highlight how quickly animals can adapt and change to new environments, using the information God placed in their DNA. This showcases the creativity, benevolence, and wisdom of our all-powerful and all-wise Creator.”

    In other words, Mr. Ham, you are saying that God created evolution. So why is it so hard for you to state the obvious? Evolution happens, Hambo, whether it’s the work of God or just the work of nature.

    Yeah, we know you want to promote a literal interpretation of Genesis, whether for sincere or sincerely monetary reasons. But open your eyes to the writing on the wall, Hambo — that’s a proposal that’s getting harder and harder to support as more and more evidence from the natural world is discovered.

    There aren’t that many rubes left who haven’t seen your museum yet, Hambo. You may want to modify your message.

  4. SC:
    “Now that we know how furious Hambo gets when he thinks of peppered moths, we’ll be sure to mention them from time to time.”

    Yes, we should really pepper him with our comments.

  5. Scientist

    Hambo should be moth balled. But, then there would be less for SC to write about. That said, it certainly was benevolent, and prescient, of the creator to provide the dark variant anticipating the day his/her sinning creation polluted the atmosphere. I wonder if there are peppered moths in the ark replica. After all, Ken seems to think they are a distinct kind.

  6. Also, kinds do not reproduce after their kinds. In fact, they don’t reproduce at all. Individual organisms reproduce and do so after their parents. Leopards always produce leopards and not cat kinds and alsatians always produce alsatians and not dog kinds.

  7. Eric Lipps

    Well, both varieties [light and dark] already existed before environmental changes caused one version to become dominant over the other one. The darker moths were able to survive and reproduce better than the lighter version, and consequently there were more of the darker-colored moths! This is clearly not an example of molecules-to-man evolution; it simply shows how natural selection works in a population.

    Well, if even the Hamster admits natural selection occurs, creationism is, ahem, evolving—indeed, mutating, adding new information to its repertoire as it does.

    As for “molecules-to-man evolution,” surely even ol’ Hambo knows evolution doesn’t involve direct observation of that chain of events—except, perhaps, by God—since one would have to be immortal to do it. But then, neither does history. The history books say George Washington was the first president of the United States, but were you there?

  8. Evolution requires an addition of brand-new information so that novel traits (never seen before) can arise.

    I wonder what qualifies as a never-seen-before novel trait in Ham’s eyes? Would a bird have to grow a tentacle out of it’s head?

    If that ever happened, Ham would simply state that it was a member of the tentacle-head bird kind.

  9. michaelfugate

    Mutation?

  10. Like an elephant’s trunk.
    Would that be “new information”, or just a particularly long muscular nose ?

  11. michaelfugate

    A paper in this week’s Science shows recombination of protein domains leads to novel function. Does that qualify as new “information”?
    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/352/6286/687

  12. I offered one or two thoughts – two separate comments – on this week’s claims by Ham re natural selection and so forth with respect to the peppered moth forms/variations here (by coincidence I had already mentioned the case of the peppered moth in an earlier comment in the thread):
    https://thenaturalhistorian.com/2016/04/26/is-natural-selection-the-same-thing-as-evolution-assessing-dr-purdoms-confusing-answer/