Neil Jones Neil at
Sat Nov 27 14:45:09 EST 1999

In message <Pine.OSF.4.20.9911240217200.25102-100000 at> Kenelm Philip writes:
> 	If I sound a bit dogmatic/arrogant/elitist, you'll have to excuse
> me. Last week I attended a couple of lectures by a visiting young-earth
> creationist, who discussed 'creation science' for a few hours. I failed
> to see much science, but I did see some logical holes you could drive an
> eighteen-wheeler through. I asked him a question about the ages suggested
> by work on stellar evolution, and was amused by his reply "That's just
> mathematical modelling!" So is celestial mechanics (based on Newton's
> _Theory_ of universal gravitation)--but our spacecraft nonetheless get
> to their destinations (so long as NASA doesn't get the units wrong).
> 							Ken Philip
> fnkwp at

It is not at all dogmatic, arrogant or elitist to have the intellligence
to see through charlatans. Personally I see creation "science" as a fraud. 
This is a fairly normal view point for an educated person here in the UK.
Sadly in some parts of the world mythology and mysticism still dominate.

The evidence is massing that evolution is a fundamental property of
genetic systems. The genetic code is directly analogous to a 
computer language. Indeed the example of the Tierra system where a computer
program simulated evolution indicate that the properties of such systems
are mathamaticaly definable. Mathematics has an even stronger basis than
science since any mathamatical construct can be reduced through logical
analysis to a set of fundamental theorems. Still I suppose the mystics
will continue to propagate their stories.

Coming back to Biston betularia itself. It is pretty obvious that the
spread of melanism is positively corelated with the increasing levels
of polution in the UK in the last century. Indeed since the passing
of the Clean Air Act the levels of melanism have fallen. It is of course
entirely possible that the melanism is merely a side effect of another
biochemical change. There is some evidence that the heterozygotes 
actually have a greater fitness due to reduced larval mortality.
It is also evident that the effect of the carbonaria allele has been 
strengthened through selection. It is now completely dominant and the typica
recessive, but this was not, it appears allways the case.

It would seem unlikely however that a dramatically changed appearance
would not have been selected strongly against if it were not the primary

Neil Jones- Neil at
"At some point I had to stand up and be counted. Who speaks for the
butterflies?" Andrew Lees - The quotation on his memorial at Crymlyn Bog
National Nature Reserve

More information about the Leps-l mailing list