As a companion piece to the last post, I recommend the sledgehammer vs. the fly exchange between Ken Miller and Casey Luskin. Miller is a biologist at Brown University, and is the author of Finding Darwin’s God and Only a Theory, two of the most important popular-level evolution books of recent memory. Luskin is the Discovery Institute’s lead blog hack. He has a law degree. Luskin tried to argue biology (blood clotting, to be exact) with Miller. Miller ate him.
Luskin served up three posts: Part One, Part Two and Part Three.
Here’s a representative sample:
Incidentally, Luskin suggests that the lack of Factor XII in dolphins is the result of a “functional constraint” associated with the design of vertebrates living in water. That, he presumes, is why dolphins and jawed fish both lack Factor XII. In his view, “Darwinists” (like me) may believe that “dolphins are supposedly descended from land-dwelling vertebrates,” but that issue “will require further research to sort out.” Really, Casey? As I pointed out in my testimony at the Dover trial, the key reason why evolution is science is that it is testable. If dolphins and other cetaceans are indeed descended from land-dwelling mammals, their ancestors should have had the genes for Factor XII in their genomes. During the transition to water, those genes should have been deleted or inactivated, perhaps as an adaptation to deep sea diving, and today their traces might still be present in the cetacean genome, if only we care to look.
Would you like to take a look and place a bet on the results of that “further research,” Casey? As much as I’d like to win a few bucks from my friends at the Discovery Institute, it wouldn’t be sporting, since such research was actually done more than a decade ago [Semba et al, 1998]. Whales possess a Factor XII pseudogene, an inactivated version of the very same gene carried by land-dwelling mammals. That pseudogene is a direct mark of their common ancestry with other mammals, and disproves any suggestion that constraints on cetacean “design” required the absence of Factor XII. Rather, ordinary genetic processes knocked out the gene, and today the pseudogene remains merely as evidence of their evolutionary ancestry.
Go read the whole thing. There are few things in life more satisfying than watching a creationist blowhard get his comeuppance.