What is the Name of This Fallacy?

April 10, 2007 psipsina

The Bug BitesTM Endangered Species chocolate I enjoyed after lunch came with a little picture of the Green Snout Moth enclosed.  On the back, it says, “It is interesting to ponder why moths that are primarily active at night would employ such varied coloration.”

Oh, really?  Why is it so interesting?  Why should the moth’s nocturnal habits have anything to do with its coloration?  Do we think it’s odd that it’s such a bright green because no one can see that at night when it’s active?  And if so, are we not assuming that critters have the pretty colors they have just so us diurnal critters can look at them?

I guess I’d call it the “man is the measure of all things” fallacy.

Really, you’d think an organization that’s trying to raise awareness about dwindling genetic diversity would understand something about natural selection.  That is to say, the features of an animal are not designed for our benefit; they are shaped over many generations of natural selection to fit themselves to an available environmental niche.

To redeem itself, the author of the little snippet does go on to say that a vivid green moth has this coloration because – surprise! – it’s gotta sleep somewhere, and it’s better if it can blend in with its surroundings so some hungry diurnal bird won’t snap it up.  That is to say, the coloring is useful to the animal; the fact we find it pretty is just a nifty little side effect.


Entry Filed under: biology, bugs, chocolate, moths, natural selection, Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to comments via RSS Feed

  • April 2007
    S M T W T F S
    « Mar   May »
  • Recent Posts

  • Subscribe

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Top Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 6,439 hits
    %d bloggers like this: