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Myths about moths: a study in contrasts

Authors
Journal
Endeavour
0160-9327
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
30
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.endeavour.2006.01.005

Abstract

The phenomenon of industrial melanism is the preeminent example of natural selection in textbooks and the popular media. Much of its fame stems from a set of pioneering and apparently definitive investigations by H.B.D. ‘Bernard’ Kettlewell in the early 1950s. There is a marked contrast in how the phenomenon and Kettlewell's work on it are perceived by the public and scientists. Tensions between these two perceptions have recently led to calls for the removal of the example from textbooks, and indeed allegations that Kettlewell committed fraud. This article (part of the Science in the Industrial Revolution series) will show that these charges are baseless and stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of science as a process.

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