Have you finished reading East of Eden yet? No? Well, for those folks who have already read the first book featured in these posts, and those not quite interested in reading Steinbeck right now, here’s another great book.
This book is non-fiction, looking at the human stories and the science surrounding the ability of moths to mimic their surroundings for survival. Of Moths and Men offers a glimpse into how science develops, not as something done by wizards in lofty distant towers, but by humans like us, solving puzzles using tools we can all understand and use. Judith Hooper looks at Bernard Kettlewell’s experiments on the peppered moth, which are often referred to as experimental validation of evolution.
There are now many more experiments that validate the theory of evolution, so the question in this book is simply whether Kettlewell’s experiment was as successful as it was reported to be. Hooper’s book is probably nowhere near comprehensive as far as answering this question, but her work does show a bit of how science operates and why replication, careful record-keeping and open forums are necessary to counteract the many sources of error that are a part of real, working science.