David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 14 (1) (1999)
H. B. D. Kettlewell's (1955, 1956) classic field experiments on industrial melanism in polluted and unpolluted settings using the peppered moth, Biston betularia, are routinely cited as establishing that the melanic (dark) form of the moth rose in frequency downwind of industrial centers because of the cryptic advantage dark coloration provides against visual predators in soot-darkened environments. This paper critiques three common myths surrounding these investigations: (1) that Kettlewell used a model that identified crypsis as the only selective force responsible for the spread of the melanic gene, (2) that Kettlewell's field experiments alone established that selection for crypsis was the most important factor in the spread of melanic forms, and (3) that Kettlewell's investigations in an unpolluted wood near Dorset constituted a control for his earlier Birmingham studies (contra Hagen 1993, 1996). This analysis further identifies two features that distinguish manipulative experiments in evolutionary biology from experiments in other contexts. First, experiments in evolutionary biology rest on a wealth of information provided by strictly observational ecological studies; in the absence of such information experiments in evolutionary biology make no sense. Second, there is a trade-off between how much control investigators have over the conditions being studied and how informative the results of the experiment will be with regard to natural populations.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Michael R. Dietrich (1996). Monte Carlo Experiments and the Defense of Diffusion Models in Molecular Population Genetics. Biology and Philosophy 11 (3):339-356.
Eric Winsberg (2009). A Tale of Two Methods. Synthese 169 (3):575 - 592.
Elke Brendel (2004). Intuition Pumps and the Proper Use of Thought Experiments. Dialectica 58 (1):89–108.
Denny Borsboom, Gideon J. Mellenbergh & Jaap van Heerden (2002). Functional Thought Experiments. Synthese 130 (3):379 - 387.
Elisabeth A. Lloyd (1999). Evolutionary Psychology: The Burdens or Proof. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 14 (2):211-33.
David Wÿss Rudge (2001). Kettlewell From an Error Statisticians's Point of View. Perspectives on Science 9 (1):59-77.
David Wÿss Rudge (1998). A Bayesian Analysis of Strategies in Evolutionary Biology. Perspectives on Science 6 (4):341-360.
Joel B. Hagen (1999). Retelling Experiments: H.B.D. Kettlewell's Studies of Industrial Melanism in Peppered Moths. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 14 (1):39-54.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads7 ( #216,593 of 1,692,175 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #184,284 of 1,692,175 )
How can I increase my downloads?