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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2010 Human Development Index rankings

first_imgSouth Africa has improved its position on the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP’s) Human Development Index released today in New York. South Africa is considered a medium development country and was ranked 110 (out of 169) in the latest report. This was a marginal improvement from 129 (out of 189) year-on-year.The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of “human development” and separates developed (high development), developing (middle development), and underdeveloped (low development) countries in three broad areas covering life expectancy, education and per-capita GDP (as an indicator of standard of living).“While Brand South Africa works to lift the profile of South Africa’s global competitiveness around the world, it is always mindful of the broader reputation drivers and the context these bring to a purely investment driven conversation by our stakeholders. Reports like the HDI are important in this light, not just because they inform reputation, but also because they inform perceptions of future investment potential for our country in terms of a healthy and educated work force capable of a high level of productivity,” said Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola.South Africa’s overall HDI score experienced gradual improvements between 1990 and 2005. Since 2005, its overall score has remained stable and continues to trend in line with the global average. “South Africa ranks eighth out of the broader Sub-Saharan region, behind that of Tunisia, Libya, Botswana, Algeria, Gabon and Namibia. However, South Africa performs well in the region when assessing the levels of multidimensional poverty, where it is scored the best,” he said.Multidimensional poverty is a measure of serious deprivations in the dimensions of health, education and living standards that combines the number of deprived with the intensity of their deprivation. In Sub-Saharan Africa South Africa has 3% of its population living in some form of deprivational poverty relative to a country like Niger which has 93%.Among emerging markets which make up the BRIC structures, South Africa performed ahead of India (ranked 119) and behind Brazil (73), Russia (65) and China (89).  “It is important to contextualize South Africa’s development alongside other emerging markets to ensure that not only our economic growth but our people dimensions are enhanced at a similar rate to other comparable nations,” said Miller Matola. Endslast_img read more

Brand South Africa welcomes South Africa’s improvement in IMD rankings

first_imgJohannesburg, Wednesday 1 June 2016 – Brand South Africa welcomes South Africa’s improvement in the Institute for Management Development’s (IMD) competitiveness index. South Africa now stands at number 52, up from number 53 in 2015.South Africa’s improvement in the rankings comes as a result of advancements in the areas of: energy infrastructure, future energy supply, stock market capitalisation, ICT service exports, maintenance and development, public finances, labour relations, ease of doing business, export concentration by partner, exchange rate stability, health infrastructure, funding for technological development, bureaucracy, workforce productivity and apprenticeships.Reflecting on South Africa’s performance in this the 2016 IMD, Brand South Africa’s CEO Mr Kingsley Makhubela said, “South Africa’s performance in this index shows that national efforts to strengthen the economy and improve our global competitiveness are yielding positive results for the country.“The nation brand and our global competitiveness is built by all citizens and improvements in our global competitiveness are a testament to the work that we are all doing to make South Africa a winning nation. We thank you for playing your part and encourage you to continue working to build the country’s reputation,” concluded Mr Makhubela.The IMD looks at the global competitiveness of 61 countries.Follow the conversation on #SANationBrandVisit the Institute for Management Development website for more information.last_img read more

Who Can You Learn From?

first_imgMy teenage son asked me who my heroes were when I was his age. I struggled to come up with any names. I never really had any heroes, and I still don’t. But I do have a list of people who have shaped my thinking and my work.In 1995, I read Howard Bloom’s book The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Journey Into the Forces of History. I wanted to understand memetics (memes, long before the word meme meant something gone viral on the Internet). So I emailed Bloom. He added me to a newsgroup that he was part of, and I dove in and started reading.Whenever I am in Brooklyn, I try to meet with Howard and buy him dinner or join him on his daily walk through the park, a walk that always entails stopping to interact with every canine between his flat and whatever coffee shop he will be working from. Howard’s work has had a tremendous influence on my work and my thinking.A few years later, I wanted to learn about John Boyd’s work, particularly OODA loops. Colonel Boyd had passed away long before I became familiar with his work. But in my studies, I came across the work of Chet Richards, one of the key people with whom Boyd worked. Chet had written a book called Certain to Win, in which he masterfully applied John Boyd’s work to business strategy.I emailed Chet, met him in Atlanta, bought him lunch (and maybe a couple nice beers), and he helped me to understand OODA Loops. Boyd and Richards both helped me think about strategy.I read every book and every blog post that Tom Peters has written. Tom was the first person to write about the importance of people in a business. And he doesn’t mince words about the obligation of leaders to empower their people; he really, really means it. Nor does he pull any punches when he speaks about the individual’s obligation to do their best work.Tom’s work helped me understand what business can—and should—be. I spent an hour on the phone with Tom interviewing him for this blog. I may not have any heroes, but I was thrilled beyond measure.Right now, I am studying everything Ken Wilber has written (which is a massive undertaking by itself). I am also listening to dozens of audio recordings to strengthen my understanding of his theories and their application to individuals and organizations (myself included). Wilber’s work provides a massive and complete framework for how people evolve and change, individually and in groups.I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours with Ken, and I have pages of notes. I’m working on the application of those ideas now.I am still a student. I still seek understanding. I still seek growth. I look for people who have something that I want to learn. Who can you learn from? Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Now From who have you learned the things that have shaped your thinking?Who has helped you develop your beliefs and your values?What are you reading and studying now that will help you live the life you want to live and make your contribution?Who should you be learning from now?last_img read more