Peppered Moths Without Evolution

first_imgA new study shows that scientific research on moth camouflage does not require evolutionary theory.Evolutionary biologists from Seoul, South Korea filmed moths resting on tree trunks.  According to PhysOrg, they were trying to understand how moths in the wild orient themselves on the bark for greatest camouflage.  That’s a very different question than the ones asked by Kettlewell, Majerus and other past researchers who were looking for natural selection of peppered moths.  In those old studies, camouflage was a happenstance, not a behavior within the moth.  The opening paragraph referred to the old ideas as if preparing to dismiss them:Moths are iconic examples of camouflage. Their wing coloration and patterns are shaped by natural selection to match the patterns of natural substrates, such as a tree bark or leaves, on which the moths rest. But, according to recent findings, the match in the appearance was not all in their invisibility… Despite a long history of research on these iconic insects, whether moths behave in a way to increase their invisibility has not been determined.In other words, Kettlewell and Majerus didn’t take into account the moths’ behavior.  They treated moths as passive creatures that would alight on tree trunks at random.  They placed the selective power in the environment, with lower contrast producing greater camouflage, leaving the high-contrast moths vulnerable to birds.The South Korean researchers found, instead, that moth behavior plays a vital role in the camouflage.  They “found out that moths are walking on the tree bark until they settle down for resting; the insects seem to actively search for a place and a body position that makes them practically invisible.”  A video clip embedded in the article shows the moths doing this.To determine whether this final spot indeed made the moth really invisible, the researchers photographed each moth at its landing spot (initial spot) and at the final spot at which the moth decided to rest. Next, the researchers asked people to try to locate the moth from the photograph as quickly as possible. People had more difficulty finding the moths at their final spots than the same moths at their initial landing spots. Amazingly, this was even true for the species (Hypomecis roboraria) that only changed its resting spot on the tree bark without changing its body orientation. Therefore, the researchers concluded, that moths seems to actively choose the spot that makes them invisible to predators. How do they know how to become invisible? The research team is now trying to answer this question as the next step.The only mentions of evolution in the article concerned (1) the researchers calling themselves” evolutionary biologists,” (2) the fact that they work at the Laboratory of Behavioral Ecology and Evolution at the Seoul National University, and (3) their research being published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.  The abstract of that paper seemed very cautious about inferring evolution, stating: “Our study demonstrates that the evolution of morphological adaptations, such as colour pattern of moths, cannot be fully understood without taking into account a behavioural phenotype that coevolved with the morphology for increasing the adaptive value of the morphological trait.”  While this suggests the authors are proposing coevolution of behavior with camouflage, the statement is a backhanded swipe at earlier evolutionary research that neglected behavior.Speaking of moths, Live Science posted an interesting list of “7 Things You Don’t Know About Moths, But Should.”  These include their importance as pollinators, their role in the food chain for many other animals, and the males’ ability to smell females from seven miles away.  If we could get over the yuck factor, we might even find their caterpillars a nutritious superfood, meeting the minimum daily requirements of several important nutrients.  Moths are a sister family to butterflies in the Order Lepidoptera, and share many of the same characteristics.This story underscores the uselessness of evolutionary theory.  For decades, evolutionary biologists have strained at moths and swallowed camels.  They watched the simple things, like how closely a moth’s wings match tree bark, but ignored the weightier matters of moth complexity.  Those little flying things circling the lights in your backyard are astoundingly complex machines: they have compound eyes with hundreds of facets, jointed appendages, digestive systems, reproductive systems, navigation systems, communication systems, flight systems – all packed within their tiny, lightweight bodies.Even tougher on evolutionary theory, they undergo metamorphosis – a complete transformation of body plan three times in their lifecycle: egg to caterpillar, then caterpillar to pupa or chrysalis, then chrysalis to adult flying insect.  This is shown exquisitely in Illustra’s beautiful film Metamorphosis, which ends with sound reasons why Darwinism cannot explain these abilities.Yet for decades, evolutionists were obsessed with finding an example of natural selection in one species of moth, whether it landed on light or dark tree trunks.  And now we are told by the South Korean researchers that “evolution of morphological adaptations, such as colour pattern of moths, cannot be fully understood without taking into account a behavioural phenotype” – in other words, you cannot just play “Pin the Peppered Moth on the Tree Trunk.”  You have to watch what a living peppered moth does after it lands.  If Kettlewell had simply kept his grubby evolutionary hands off the moths, he might have found dark moths walking on a light-barked tree trunk looking for a better place to blend in, and vice versa.  More likely, the moths would be too smart to land on a high-contrast surface in the first place.Trying to invoke “coevolution” as a magic word is folly.  It means that evolutionists have to invoke a second miracle: first, the match between wing coloration and tree trunks, and second, the ability of the moth to actively search out and select a suitable spot for camouflage.  What causes that behavior?  The researchers have no idea.  As usual, they use the futureware escape trick: “more research is needed.”  The article said they are clueless: “How do they know how to become invisible?  The research team is now trying to answer this question as the next step.” Save a step: ask a creationist. 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Gallery: The road to freedom

first_imgClick on a thumbnail for a larger image. Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption CaptionREAD MORE:Part 1: The road to freedom August 1985 to December 1989Part 2: The road to freedom August 1985 to December 1989Part 3: The road to freedom August 1985 to December 1989last_img

Namibian president visits South Africa

first_img7 November 2012 Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba kicked off a two-day state visit to South Africa on Tuesday, holding talks with President Jacob Zuma, witnessing the signing of three agreements between the two countries, and addressing the National Assembly in Cape Town. The three agreements cover the establishment of a bi-national commission between the two countries, as well as cooperation on infrastructure and public works and meteorology.Bi-national commission Addressing the media following the signing of the agreements, Zuma said that Namibia and South Africa continued to enjoy close relations in various fields. “In this regard, we have noted with great appreciation the noticeable progress that has been achieved in strengthening the political, economic and social co-operation between the two countries,” Zuma said. The South Africa-Namibia bi-national commission commission will meet annually, alternating between Pretoria and Windhoek, and will include economic, defence and security, social and diplomatic sub-commissions.Meeting with Zuma Earlier, Pohamba and Zuma discussed issues of trade, infrastructure, education, energy, tourism, science and technology and security. The two presidents also discussed political developments in the region and more widely, and agreed to consult on political issues on an ongoing basis. Pohamba said he and Zuma had also talked about the urgent need to make international bodies such as the UN Security Council, World Bank and IMF more representative.Address to National Assembly On Tuesday afternoon, Pohamba received a rousing reception from MPs when he stood up to address South Africa’s National Assembly. Saluting the strong bonds between his country and South Africa, Pohamba congratulated former Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on her recent election as AU Commission chairperson, and said Namibia would extend its full support to her. Pohamba also commended South Africa for hosting the Pan-African Parliament, which he said was an important continental institution for African policymakers to promote and strengthen the ideals of Pan-Africanism and democratic governance. Good progress, he said, had been made in co-operation between the South Africa and Namibia in trade, capacity building, energy, infrastructure development, environmental conservation and sustainable socio-economic development. Pohamba said Namibia, like South Africa, backed the formation of a Free Trade Area bringing together the East African Community, Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. He urged Africans to further strengthen unity and work together to harness the vast human and natural resources on the continent for the benefit of all Africans. “We recognise that the task of developing our countries, our region and our continent has not been easy. However, we must remain steadfast in our resolve that we can overcome the challenges ahead.” Source: read more

Why Team India coach Greg Chappell had to be sacked

first_imgIn the hours after a telephone call was made to Sharad Pawar, an official in the BCCI tried to pin one reason down for why the Indian cricket coach Greg Chappell had to go. “Trust,” he said, “There was absolutely no trust in Greg.” India’s apocalyptic 2007 World Cup, was,In the hours after a telephone call was made to Sharad Pawar, an official in the BCCI tried to pin one reason down for why the Indian cricket coach Greg Chappell had to go. “Trust,” he said, “There was absolutely no trust in Greg.”India’s apocalyptic 2007 World Cup, was merely the tipping point. At the end, Chappell and India had no future together. The abiding principle of mutual confidence on which players and coaches function had eroded completely. The juggernaut that would crush Chappell’s own ambitions of being a successful international coach and the Indian team along with it, had been set in motion almost as soon as the aristocratic Australian took charge.It is no secret that Chappell had no time for the seniors and most of the players had no time for him.Greg ChappellThe very tools that Chappell had used as a coach eventually nailed him. Leaks, e-mails berating players, tales about their misdemeanours, text messages to the press expressing his opinion came in such a flood that eventually they drowned him. When a TV channel said a “source close to Chappell” had called the seniors in the team a “mafia”, nobody questioned the veracity of the source or the information. It was, sadly, just the kind of thing Chappell was expected to say and do.Contrary to what he maintained, Chappell not only coached the team, he tried to set his own agenda through the media. It would not be wrong to say he was far more successful with his offfield squad than his on-field team. Patrician and persuasive, within a few weeks of his arriving, it was evident that the 58-year-old former Australian captain was a man with a mask, a man with two faces. One, the high-minded cricket philosopher and entertaining raconteur. The other, a man who operated on the principle that man management and manipulation were just synonyms for each other.Through his time in India, Chappell polarized opinion: relieved that he had taken care of the thorny issue called Sourav Ganguly, the Indian Board did little to remind Chappell of his brief. In doing so, they upturned cricket’s basic principle: in any team, the captain is the boss and the coach his assistant. Chappell then showed a group of Kolkata hecklers his middle finger; it was an action that would have brought the roof over the heads of cricket coaches any where else in the world. In India, his “guts” were admired. A selector said admiringly, “If players don’t bend to Greg, they will break.” It sounded like he was talking about political prisoners and not a bunch of young, anxious athletes.There was no future together for Greg Chappell and India as the abiding principle of mutual confidence on which players and coaches function had gradually eroded completely over a period of time.  All that was in the open. Behind the scenes, Chappell worked as hard. He courted the English language press, its owners, its editors and its reporters and kept up a constant interface. Within months of arriving, he had accused players of “deliberately” playing badly, of not using his advice in one match but using it in another benefit game where there was money to be made, and sending a now famous e-mail in which he called four cricketers “cancerous”. It was claimed that a player had berated Rahul Dravid in the dressing room in an attempt to undermine his leadership, a story that was later denied as untrue.Rahul Dravid, Greg Chappell, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender SehwagWith the selectors overawed by his persona, and Dravid installed as captain, Chappell had six excellent months when India played high quality one-day cricket. They won ODI series against Sri Lanka, England and also in Pakistan. An excited young Indian player told a friend, “you just watch, no one will be able to beat us in six months.” Players responded to the new fielding drills, to having a relaxed, new voice in the dressing room and mostly to the drug that gives cricketers a high: victory.If was when defeat arrived, first on the tour of Pakistan and then later in the West Indies that started the team’s long slide, it became apparent that the coach had a problem handling failure. There was a distinct pattern with Chappell: the successful player was embraced and anointed as the next big thing. After his terrific run in limited overs cricket, Yuvraj Singh was privately touted as the future India captain. A few months later, that future captain became M.S. Dhoni. All failures were tossed aside.CHAPPELL’S JUGGERNAUT ROLLS TO A HALTMAY 2005 Greg Chappell is appointed the coach of the Indian team till the 2007 World Cup.SEPTEMBER 2005 Has a spat with Ganguly on the tour to Zimbabwe. OCTOBER 2005 Selectors drop Sourav Ganguly from the ODI team.NOVEMBER 2006 Ganguly proclaims that Chappell’s mantra of the ‘processes’ being moreimportant than the results won’t work in a country like India.FEBRUARY 2007 Takes credit for the revival of Ganguly’s form, saying the move to drop him helped.MARCH 2007 India is knocked out of the World Cup and Chappell faces the press in a volatile conference, saying the responsibility must be shared.APRIL 2007 News stories claiming that Chappell had criticised senior players and called them a ‘mafia’ shock India.APRIL 4, 2007 Reports claim Tendulkar hurt at Chappell doubting the attitude ofseniors. Later in the day, Chappell calls Sharad Pawar and calls itquits.There was never any doubting the man’s knowledge of batting or indeed the thought he gave to cricket. Chappell’s was the classic case of the maestro who could perform but was incapable of teaching his art in a sustained and meaningful way. Or indeed of accepting that there were a few things he could not do. There was little wrong with his principles of youth and regeneration, either-except in the matter of his choices and the manner in which he openly preferred some players to others. Australian, Paul Wilson, who had worked with Chappell when he was the coach of South Australia said Chappell was a “fantastic” individual skills and batting coach. “But he was poor when it came to looking after a group of people… A lot of guys fell by the wayside. Greg didn’t seem to worry himself with a lot of the guys and they didn’t feel led.”Dravid and Chappell, both selfstarters who had risen high in the game, vibed well intellectually. The men they were in charge of were not the same; it was in negotiating those differences that both the captain and the coach stumbled. In South Africa, a player admitted that most of the team had “switched off” from the coach. Dravid organised meetings without Chappell to draw the group closer together, older players were used to bring the younger men into the loop. The notion that seniors “hammered and abused” youngsters drew this terse response from a World Cupper. “Sack us, drop us, we deserve it, we played badly. But don’t tell lies.”Chappell’s is a muddied legacy. Sanjay Manjrekar said he held a mirror up to Indian cricket. Ian Chappell, usually forceful about the superfluousness of cricket coaches, said it was no use expecting his brother to “act like an Indian” when he had been hired because of his knowledge as an Australian cricketer. If Greg Chappell had been the first foreign cricket coach for India, in all probability the team wouldn’t have had a second. In a lot that he did, Chappell merely highlighted differences instead of strengthening similarities with his players.Pinning India’s failures on one man would be dishonest; rather like Chappell’s eager leaps to take credit whenever the players succeeded. “It starts with me,” Dravid had said after the Cup exit and every Indian cricketer would do well to accept the same. Chappell was the maestro who could perform, but was incapable of communicating his art. Chappell did not play those two utterly miserable Cup matches for India. But as he leaves, he is neither the sacrificial scapegoat nor the helpless Western victim of eastern intrigue, just the wrong man for the job who had to go. By the time the World Cup ended, Chappell had overdrawn his credit on the stature he enjoyed in cricket.There is plenty that is wrong with Indian cricket and indeed with India. It is shambolic, disorganised, chaotic, slothful, it does little by logic or method or a concrete plan.But India can do one thing with unerring accuracy. It knows how to strip a man of his mask.advertisementadvertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

All young persons should have a pathway to Higher Education

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Jamaica, October 3, 2017 – Montego Bay – Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says with the new imperative of the global economy, all young persons in the Caribbean should have a pathway to the highest level of education.Addressing the Fifth Caribbean Youth Leaders’ Summit at the Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort in St. Ann on September 30, Senator Reid said while he is cognizant of the financial constraints many countries in the region are facing, there is absolutely no substitute for a good education.“This is why as Minister I have been trumpeting free public education up to the age of 18.    I have also been an advocate for full public education up to Grade 13 for all our youth… not just a few.   Also, we have been championing training and involvement activities,” he said.Senator Reid emphasised the importance of structuring the education and training system in such a way that young people can find entrepreneurial opportunities as well as the jobs that are emerging in the new economic and technological paradigm.“There must be opportunities for participation, representation and advocacy.  We must also look at sustainable development and its impact on climate change, financial policies and their specific impact on youth and youth programmes, concerns about accountability and transparency in government and public life, and the financing of public tertiary education,” he said.The Minister said it should never be forgotten that for many years only two per cent of students in the English-speaking Caribbean went to a university.“With the new imperative of the global economy, despite the concerns over the financing of tertiary education, we have to ensure that all our students get the opportunity to achieve their goals,” he added.The Minister said the issue of how financing will be provided must be discussed, suggesting that student loans will have to be structured in an affordable way, so that paying back the loans will not be a strain on the pockets of the borrowers.Senator Reid added that the issue of brain drain must also be looked at seriously, arguing that many countries in the region are losing some of their best talents to countries that are offering better opportunities.Release: JISlast_img read more

18 arrested in Kolkata for running brothel

first_imgKolkata: Police busted a sex racket and arrested 18 persons including nine sex workers from Kolkata’s Park Street area, a senior officer said on Sunday. Acting on a tip off, officers of Beniapukur Police Station conducted a raid on the third floor of a building in 82 Park Street on Saturday evening and arrested the persons for allegedly running a brothel in the guise of a beauty parlour. “Nine sex workers, three customers and six other persons including the pimps and brothel manager Bikash Chakraborty were arrested,” Joint Commissioner of Kolkata Police (Crime) Nishad Parvez said.last_img