Feb 122007
 

This has been a Darwinian red herring for a long time. As with any fairy tales, a cult following has been formed around some mythical characters — in this case, it is the Nested Hierarchy (NH). The Darwinian evolutionists claim that by arranging all the extant and extinct species with their fossils or partial fossils into some organizational system, this is suppose to be evidence that support the common ancestry for the diversity of life.

There is just a couple of problems with this Darwinian contrived myth. The classification methods the Darwinians use is circular i.e., they assume ancestral relationships for comparison and differentiation of similar and unique traits to build a tree. The Darwinists then go back and use the tree as evidence for common ancestry. That is not to say that this mythical system is without flaws, but why debate a system that has no basis on reality.

What actual science demands are that are there any real empirical evidence outside of this fabricated NH tree. Where is that direct lineage that we can trace this common ancestry? For every organism on that tree, what is its immediate progenitor? What were the genetic differences? How many genes are required to change from one ancestral form to the next? What were the selection factors and pressure and for how long?

Darwinists need to separate their fantasy from reality. Without know the details of reality there is no way of affirming or falsifying the tree. e.g. Take these 3 simplified tree scenarios and assume Darwinian descent.


Considering the organisms that we have, I can draw the tree as in scenario A or I can draw the tree as in scenario B & C using the same organisms. The Darwinists might argue that B&C are not as probable as A, but when does a Darwinist worry about probabilities.

The reality is that until the Darwinists can answer all those question above for every detailed linkage in the tree their entire NH is a farce. Until then debating the NH is about as much fun as debating how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin.

  60 Responses to “Nested Hieararchy”

  1. Teleologist: I’ve created a new thread, Nested Hieararchy, for Zachriel to post in. Although I doubt he will like the way I’ve structured the post. It would be nice if we all can direct any NH related issue to that thread.

    Hi Teleologist, I have no problem with the semantic structure of your post. We need to dispense with a few issues before discussing Common Descent.

    1. The nested hierarchy is an ordered set such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset. By this definition, each of your diagrams is a nested hierarchy.
    2. That we can classify organisms by independently derived traits. In biology, we use independently derived traits to group or classify organisms.
    3. And that when classifying organisms, the vast majority of taxa naturally form a nested hierarchy.

    Let me know if any of these represent a problem. (I would also mention again that humans did not evolve from mice, nor did fish evolve from modern bacteria.)

  2. Considering the organisms that we have, I can draw the tree as in scenario A or I can draw the tree as in scenario B & C using the same organisms. The Darwinists might argue that B&C are not as probable as A, but when does a Darwinist worry about probabilities.

    The reality is that until the Darwinists can answer all those question above for every detailed linkage in the tree their entire NH is a farce. Until then debating the NH is about as much fun as debating how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin.

    In Evolution and the myth of creationism, Darwinist Tim Berra wrote:

    If you compare a 1953 and a 1954 Corvette, side by side, then a 1954 and a 1955 model, and so on, the descent with modification is overwhelmingly obvious. This is what paleontologists do with fossils, and the evidence is so solid and comprehensive that it cannot be denied by reasonable people.

    How unreasonable of you, T, to even question the NH story. After all the “evidence is so solid and comprehensive that it cannnot be denied…”!!!

    But Berra goes on:

    Everything evolves, in the sense of “descent with modification,” whether it be government policy, religion, sports cars, or organisms. The revolutionary fiberglass Corvette evolved from more mundane automotive ancestors in 1953. Other high points in the Corvette’s evolutionary refinement included the 1962 model, in which the original 102-inch was shortened to 98 inches and the new closed-coupe Stingray model was introduced; the 1968 model, the forerunner of today’s Corvette morphology, which emerged with removable roof panels; and the 1978 silver anniversary model, with fastback styling. Today’s version continues the stepwise refinements that have been accumulating since 1953. The point is that the Corvette evolved through a selection process acting on variations that resulted in a series of transitional forms and an endpoint rather distinct from the starting point. A similar process shapes the evolution of organisms.

    The obvious flaw in Berra’s example did not escape the ever astute mind and eye of Phillip Johnson, however, who wrote in his book Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds

    Of course, every one of those Corvettes was designed by engineers. The Corvette sequence – like the sequence of Beethoven’s symphonies to the opinions of the United States Supreme Court – does not illustrate naturalistic evolution at all. It illustrates how intelligent designers will typically achieve their purposes by adding variations to a basic design plan. Above all, such sequences have no tendency whatever to support the claim that there is no need for a Creator, since blind natural forces can do the creating. On the contrary, they show that what biologists present as proof of “evolution” or “common ancestry” is just as likely to be evidence of common design.

    Johnson labeled this “Berra’s Blunder”. Jonathan Wells dealt with it in his book Icons of Evolution

    But Berra’s analogy actually spotlights the problem of using a sequence of similarites as evidence for Darwin’s theory. We all know that automobiles are manufactured according to archetypes (in this case, plans drawn up by engineers), so it is clear that there can be other explanations for a sequence of similarites besides descent with modification. In fact, most pre-Darwinian biologists would have explained such sequences by something akin to automobile manufacturing – that is, creation by design. So although Berra believed he was defending Darwinian evolution against creationist explanations, he unwittingly showed that the fossil evidence is compatible with either. … Berra’s blunder demonstrates that a mere succession of similar forms does not furnish its own explanation. Something more is needed – a mechanism.

    Precisely what that mechanism might be still seems to be elusive to Darwinists. As Cornelius G. Hunter pointed out in his book Darwin’s God, anyone can look at the fossils and come up with their favorite or “most likely” sequence. But there’s nothing in the data to tell us which sequence is correct or whether there is any sequence at all. Worse for Darwinists, is that this very same data set can just as likely be the result of common design.
    There’s no scientific merit to any argument that tries to claim that these NH’s would be the case if and only if they were the result of common ancestry and that the data would look far different if it were the result of common design.

  3. Your 3 points are irrelevant as far as I am concerned based on the explanation in the OP. I am sorry I have to bypass all these and go straight to the hard sciences but my view of any rhetorical argument for the NH is like the fairies example.

    Let me know if any of these represent a problem. (I would also mention again that humans did not evolve from mice, nor did fish evolve from modern bacteria.)

    I take your criticism but as I said before this is a rough illustration. Although your response does support my argument that common ancestry and NH is nothing more than a myth. Of course we know that fish did not evolved from modern bacteria, or humans from mice. The problem with Darwinists is that you are unable to clearly identify that elusive common ancestor.

    Do you think by pointing to a possible common ancestor like an unknown prokaryote as the UCA, or to a rat size Eomaia as the potential common ancestor to humans is the answer? I don’t think so. The labeling of my diagram is not accurate, but at least it is a definitive label to illustrate a point. That is, the problem Darwinian evolution has to address about common ancestor is not with contrived diagrams but with real hard empirical scientific facts.

  4. Teleologist

    As with any fairy tales, a cult following has been formed around some mythical characters

    Try as hard as I can, and I am unable to think of any fairytale that has a cult following for any of its characters. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Pied Piper of Hamlet, The Little Mermaid. I do not think the characters of any of these have a cult following. Seems a bizarre way to start your argument; make a statement that is not true.

    The classification methods the Darwinians use is circular i.e., they assume ancestral relationships for comparison and differentiation of similar and unique traits to build a tree. The Darwinists then go back and use the tree as evidence for common ancestry. That is not to say that this mythical system is without flaws, but why debate a system that has no basis on reality.

    They assume common ancestry, use that assumption to draw predictions (eg NH), test the predictions against what is actually seen. That is how science is done. To test relativity, you assume it is true, use that assumption to draw predictions (eg orbit of mercury), test the predictions against what is actually seen.

    What actual science demands are that are there any real empirical evidence outside of this fabricated NH tree. Where is that direct lineage that we can trace this common ancestry? For every organism on that tree, what is its immediate progenitor? What were the genetic differences? How many genes are required to change from one ancestral form to the next? What were the selection factors and pressure and for how long?

    And this is what scientists are doing; collecting genetic data, comparing to molecular and morphological data, and using statisical analysis to bring it all together, to produce a NH. Sure, there are plenty of organisms this has not been done for.

    Darwinists need to separate their fantasy from reality.

    I guess we need creationists to help us there. Not.

    Without know the details of reality there is no way of affirming or falsifying the tree. e.g. Take these 3 simplified tree scenarios and assume Darwinian descent.

    Considering the organisms that we have, I can draw the tree as in scenario A or I can draw the tree as in scenario B & C using the same organisms. The Darwinists might argue that B&C are not as probable as A, but when does a Darwinist worry about probabilities.

    Darwinists worry about probabilities when there is enough information to estimate them. What the Darwinist would do is note that fishes A and B being pretty similar to fishes C and D (for example, they are all fishes), and less similar to either bacterium, so the fishes should all be grouped closer together than the bacteria.

    The reality is that until the Darwinists can answer all those question above for every detailed linkage in the tree their entire NH is a farce.

    That’s right, ladiers and gentlemen. According to the IDists, only when Darwinists have the entire evolutionary history of the planet worked out for every species will it be accepted. Meanwhile, please donot ask them if life was designed 6000 years ago or 4 billion, as that question is irrelevant. Hmm, this would have gone well in the double standards thread.

  5. Seems a bizarre way to start your argument; make a statement that is not true.

    Have you ever seen people dressed up like their favorite characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck or play with Cinderella dolls. There are people who debate if Yosemite Sam is faster on the draw than Mickey Mouse. How about people debating who are the more powerful comic book characters? I guess I shouldn’t expect a Darwinist like you to recognize make believe from reality.

    They assume common ancestry, use that assumption to draw predictions (eg NH), test the predictions against what is actually seen. That is how science is done. To test relativity, you assume it is true, use that assumption to draw predictions (eg orbit of mercury), test the predictions against what is actually seen.

    Do you even know how ignorant this sounds?

    Meanwhile, please donot ask them if life was designed 6000 years ago or 4 billion, as that question is irrelevant. Hmm, this would have gone well in the double standards thread.

    Pixie the Insincere Debater

  6. Teleologist: Your 3 points are irrelevant as far as I am concerned based on the explanation in the OP.

    That’s a very odd position to take. Your original post is named and concerns the “Nested Hierarchy”. A clear understanding of this pattern is essential, as is the process by which scientists classify organisms. By refusing to discuss how scientists classify biological organisms, and the pattern they claim results from such a classification, you are merely ignoring the argument, rather than refuting it.

  7. The Pixie: They assume common ancestry, use that assumption to draw predictions (eg NH), test the predictions against what is actually seen. That is how science is done. To test relativity, you assume it is true, use that assumption to draw predictions (eg orbit of mercury), test the predictions against what is actually seen.

    Teleologist: Do you even know how ignorant this sounds?

    That’s precisely how the scientific method works. Hypothesis, a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences.

    The Scientific method: hypothesis, prediction, observation, validation, repeat.

  8. That’s a very odd position to take. Your original post is named and concerns the “Nested Hierarchy” . A clear understanding of this pattern is essential

    Not odd at all. The title is not meant as a summary of my OP. It merely opens the thread to convey my criticism of the NH. As far as I am concerned, I’ve expressed what I see as a clear understanding of NH.

    By refusing to discuss how scientists classify biological organisms

    But you missed my reason for refusing to discuss this topic, and that is until Darwinists can provide something other than rhetoric non-phenomenal diagrams there is nothing to talk about. As I’ve already indicated, we need hard physical evidence of direct ancestral links, otherwise it is just one fictitious scenario against another fictitious scenario.

    That’s precisely how the scientific method works. Hypothesis, a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences.

    I am actually disappointed that you would also take this argument. You do understand that when we apply Einstein’s theory to predict the perihelion advance for Mercury, we can actually look through the telescope and observe the advance. The difference between the “calculated/predicted” and the “observed” value is ±0.45 arcseconds. When you claim that common ancestry (CA) predicts NH. This is a joke. First CA does not predict anything. It is an assumption. At least with a Darwinian mechanism you can try to make some expected results, but an assumption has no mechanism to formulate a prediction. Second, what prediction has Darwinian evolution made? Did it predict the appearance of any animal form e.g. platypus, before it was discovered? No! Therefore the NH that you are talking about is a post de facto fit into a preexisting assumption. To even put the NH in the same league as the theory of relativity is ridiculous.

    What’s a Theory?

  9. Teleologist

    Do you even know how ignorant this sounds?

    Can you explain why it is ignorant? Because I doubt it.

    You do understand that when we apply Einstein’s theory to predict the perihelion advance for Mercury, we can actually look through the telescope and observe the advance. The difference between the “calculated/predicted” and the “observed” value is ±0.45 arcseconds.

    So what they must surely have done is to assume Einstein’s theory was right first, then they could do the calculation to predict the orbit, then they could test the prediction against the observation. This is how science is done! This is every bit as circular as the process you describe for Darwinism: “The classification methods the Darwinians use is circular i.e., they assume ancestral relationships for comparison and differentiation of similar and unique traits to build a tree. The Darwinists then go back and use the tree as evidence for common ancestry.” Assume the hypothesis is true, make predictions based on that assumptions, show that the predictions are right.

    What does common descent predict? It predicts a nested hierarchy. Sure, the nested hierarchy was already known before Darwin proposed common descent, but it is still a necessary consequence of common descent.* But then Mercury’s orbit was known before Einstein proposed relativity (perhaps not with the accuracy you describe, but sufficiently well to know Newtonian physics could not explain it). Both Einstein and Darwin proposed a hypothesis, drew predictions from that hypothesis, and showed how the predictions matched what had already been observed.

    The difference – I suspect – is that Einstein’s theory does not contradict your religious beliefs, but I would be interested to hear how you rationalise that.

    * If you doubt that, all you have to do is find a single example of common descent not giving a nested hierarchy. You will fail, as Inunisin and JoeG have. Sure, you might find situations where the hierarchy cannot be reconstructed, but it will still be there. And undoubtedly you will want to quote Denton making vague claims (and given he now accepts common descent it is not certain even he thinks those claims are valid now). But you will not find that one example that proves me wrong.

  10. Hi The Pixie,

    You still repeat your old mantra about examples? You were given examples and as predicted by Baloney Detector Theory you moved into denial mode putting on Dogma Shield(TM). Hence we suspect that scientific papers denying your claim are irrelevant to you because (using your own words), “Thankfully, I know it is impossible”.

  11. Teleologist: Not odd at all. The title is not meant as a summary of my OP. It merely opens the thread to convey my criticism of the NH.

    A valid “criticism of the NH” requires knowing what a nested or containment hierarchy is and how it is used in science. Returning to your original post, I don’t see a valid “criticism of the NH“. Rather I see only rejection.

    Teleologist: The Darwinian evolutionists claim that by arranging all the extant and extinct species with their fossils or partial fossils into some organizational system, this is suppose to be evidence that support the common ancestry for the diversity of life.

    We can classify organisms by independently derived traits, and it can be shown that such traits are strongly correlated and that organisms naturally fall into a specific pattern called a nested hierarchy. It can also be shown that motorized vehicles do not naturally fall into such a pattern (as suggested by DonaldM). But we have to have a clear understanding of the pattern and the process of classification first.

    Teleologist: The classification methods the Darwinians use is circular i.e., they assume ancestral relationships for comparison and differentiation of similar and unique traits to build a tree.

    This seems to be what you consider your “criticism“. In fact, we can determine the existence of the nested hierarchy independently of any such assumptions. Linnaeus did just that. But, you would have to understand how classification is done, and how to recognize the nested hierarchy.

    Teleologist: What actual science demands are that are there any real empirical evidence outside of this fabricated NH tree.

    The nested hierarchy is inherent in observed correlations. (Observed correlations is just another name for “empirical evidence“.)

    Teleologist: Where is that direct lineage that we can trace this common ancestry? For every organism on that tree, what is its immediate progenitor? What were the genetic differences? How many genes are required to change from one ancestral form to the next? What were the selection factors and pressure and for how long?

    These are all excellent questions. Some have clear answers. Some don’t. However, we are not completely in the dark. Can we classify organisms by some scientific criteria? Let’s try classifying organisms by their various traits and see what we can discover.

    We have a rabbit, a fish and a dog. Can we group two of these items based on observed traits?

    rabbit, fish — dog
    rabbit, dog — fish
    fish, dog — rabbit

    Which makes more sense, and how can you justify your answer?

    Teleologist: Take these 3 simplified tree scenarios and assume Darwinian descent.

    Humans did not descend from mice, nor are fish descended from modern bacteria. However, each of your diagrams represents a nested hierarchy.

    Teleologist: The reality is that until the Darwinists can answer all those question above for every detailed linkage in the tree their entire NH is a farce.

    Lack of omniscience does not preclude knowledge. Scientists point to specific empirical evidence. Classifying organisms results in a nested hierarchy pattern of traits. I would be happy to discuss this empirical evidence — as long as we understand the nature of this pattern, how to recognize it, and how organisms can be classifed.

    Do you deny that classifying organisms results in a nested hierarchy pattern of traits? If so, then perhaps you don’t understand what constitutes a nested hierarchy, or how organisms are classified. We can talk about that.

    If you accept that classifying organisms results in a nested hierarchy and have a reasonable understanding of the process of classification and the pattern of a nested hierarchy, but don’t believe that this implies common descent, then we can talk about that.

    But you can’t rightly claim to have refuted the scientific argument supporting common descent if you don’t want to talk about the nested hierarchy and how scientists classify organisms.

  12. Zachriel: That’s precisely how the scientific method works. Hypothesis, a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences.

    Teleologist: I am actually disappointed that you would also take this argument.

    It’s not an argument. It’s a definition. Hypothesis is an essential component of the scientific method. It can take the form of a conditional statement. ‘If Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is correct, then we should be able to calculate the curvature of light around the Sun.’ Then we can mount an expedition to test this prediction. If confirmed (it was), then it lends support to the Theory.

    Teleologist: When you claim that common ancestry (CA) predicts NH.

    We have to be careful with constructing such statements (which is why we need to take care of the preliminaries). Descent and divergence along uncrossed lines inevitably creates a nested hierarchy of descendent relationships. This is not an empirical statement, but a mathematical truism. The empirical question is to what degree can this nested hierarchy be discerned in traits of the descendent populations.

    Teleologist: what prediction has Darwinian evolution made?

    Keep in mind that we are only talking about Common Descent, not the possible mechanisms of evolutionary change. Specific predictions concern the plausible characteristics of new species, both extinct and extant, as well as the plausible geological strata extinct species will be found.

    More specifically, from the Theory of Common Descent and from known observations (organic and genomic), we can make many predictions of novel observations.

    Whales descended from land mammals about 40 million years ago. As whales have only vestigial hind limbs, we would predict that the common ancestor had hind limbs that were much reduced, as well as a number of other specific anatomical features that comport with the known nested hierarchy. To test this prediction, you ask a geologist where to find exposed 40 million year old strata of a coastal seabed, and go look. And Gingerich found not just some animal that swims, but an organism that has an array of correlated characteristics (the correlations you don’t want to talk about) that puts it squarely in the mammal clade. Just walked out into the desert, he did, and found an organism that fits the nested hierarchy of descent. Lucky guess? Could YOU have predicted where to look for such a creature? It’s an incredible discovery.

  13. Hi Zachriel,

    “The opportune appearance of mutations permitting animals and plants to meet their needs seems hard to believe. Yet the Darwinian theory is even more demanding: A single plant, a single animal would require thousands and thousands of lucky, appropriate events. Thus, miracles would become the rule: events with an infinitesimal probability could not fail to occur” There is no law against daydreaming, but science must not indulge in it.”

    When someone– like Philip Gingerich– picks up two bones, concludes that they very likely came from an organism like an antelope, and then assigns them to a “four-legged whale,” that is not homology at work. Nor is it good science at work. It is sheer imagination and wishful thinking! BTW when was the last time you saw a four-legged whale? Playing games again Zachriel, aren’t you?

    I can give you much better story:

    Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?
    Polonius: By the mass, and ’tis like a camel, indeed.
    Hamlet: Me thinks it is like a weasel.
    Polonius: It is backed like a weasel.
    Hamlet: Or like a whale?
    Polonius: Very like a whale.

  14. …and Zachriel, thank you for this very relevant case (whale evolution) that illustrates,

    “contrary to what most scientists write, the fossil record does not support the Darwinian theory of evolution because it is this theory (there are several) which we use to interpret the fossil record. By doing so we are guilty of circular reasoning if we then say the fossil record supports this theory.”

  15. inunisom (quoting): The opportune appearance of mutations permitting animals and plants to meet their needs seems hard to believe.

    We’re not discussing natural selection, mutation or other mechanisms of evolutionary change, but the nested hierarchy and Common Descent. We can only reasonably discuss the mechanisms of organic divergence when we agree that such divergence has occurred.

    inunison: When someone– like Philip Gingerich– picks up two bones, concludes that they very likely came from an organism like an antelope, and then assigns them to a “four-legged whale,” that is not homology at work.

    Well, that’s what’s really interesting, isn’t it. We can tell an organism is a mammal just from its jaw or skull. If you were to find a skull, you might yourself recognize it as a hominid rather than a bovine. You act as if no one ever studied these issues carefully.

    In any case, Gingerich found nearly complete fossil skeletons. And yes, the jaw, limbs, ribs, etc. fit the correlation of traits associated with the mammal clade, and more particularly, the cetaceans. I was asked for empirical evidence. Mounting an expedition to the wastelands of Egypt and pulling out a cetacean with hind limbs from specific strata IS empirical evidence. There are thousands of such cases concerning paleontological evidence that fill in branches of the phylogentic tree.

    But back to the basics to understand how these predictions are made.

    1. The nested hierarchy is an ordered set such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset. By this definition, each of your diagrams is a nested hierarchy.
    2. That we can classify organisms by independently derived traits.
    3. And that when classifying organisms, the vast majority of taxa naturally form a nested hierarchy.

    Let me know if any of these represent a problem so that we can proceed. The next step would be using a hypothetical line-of-descent to understand what we would expect to observe.

  16. Zachriel:
    The nested hierarchy is an ordered set such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset.

    Yes it is but NOT all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset will be a nested hierarchy.

    You have been told this many times and yet you continue to ignore basic logic.

    What yoiu are saying is that because all widgets are gadgets then all gadgets must be widgets. But I have a gadget that is not a widget.

    Zachriel:
    That we can classify organisms by independently derived traits.

    Traits that are NOT immutable. IOW traits that can be lost or gained therefore leaving in doubt any ancestral lineage.

    The ONLY way Common Descent can lead to NH is if traits were immutable and well placed extinction events wiped out any population with a blend of traits.

    That neither Zachriel nor the Pixie can understand such a basic and simple fact should tell everyone they are not interested in anything except to force their warped view of reality onto everyone else.

    Cladograms do NOT depict who arose from who. Common Descent is all about that.

    Zachriel:
    Whales descended from land mammals about 40 million years ago.

    Untestable assertion. There isn’t ANY biological or genetic data that shows such a transformation is even possible.

    Then there is the matter of the missing 50,000+ transitionals.

    Zachriel:
    As whales have only vestigial hind limbs,

    Are the “vestigial” from the original Created whales?

    Zachriel:
    The next step would be using a hypothetical line-of-descent to understand what we would expect to observe.

    Been there, done that. And guess what? Nested hierarchy was NOT observed. You lose- again! Go figure…

    the Pixie:
    What does common descent predict? It predicts a nested hierarchy.

    No it doesn’t for the MANY reasons already provided. IF we didn’t observe NH Common Descent would just accomodate that observation.

  17. Does anyone else find a little more than odd that both Zachriel and the Pixie REFUSE to abide by the Principles of Hierarchy Theory when discussing “nested hierarchy”?

    If there was ever a sure sign of dishonesty and deception that would be it. Or it could just be a case of “defend my position at all costs regardless of reality”. Both fit this scenario.

  18. Zachriel: The nested hierarchy is an ordered set such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset.

    JoeG: Yes it is but NOT all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset will be a nested hierarchy.

    That may be sufficient for our purposes. Let Pattern X be the class of all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset. You have just stated that a nested hierarchy is a member of the class Pattern X.

    Any problem with this? And can you provide a specific rule to distinguish members of the class Pattern X which are nested hierarchies from those which are not?

  19. Hi Zachriel,

    I was asked for empirical evidence.

    Yes and contrary to what you wrote,

    “…the fossil record does not support the Darwinian theory of evolution because it is this theory (there are several) which we use to interpret the fossil record. By doing so we are guilty of circular reasoning if we then say the fossil record supports this theory.”

    Using one fairy tale to prove another is not very helpful Zachriel. Re-digesting just-so evolutionary stories does not cut here. You gave us nice lecture on scientific method so try to use it in your examples.

    It is the repeatability of scientific observations that allows us to have confidence in our conclusions.

    Zachriel, does this sound familiar to you? BTW, I congratulate you on the very nice looking blog.

  20. Zachriel: I was asked for empirical evidence.

    inunison: Yes and contrary to what you wrote…

    It’s hard to get more empirical than predicting the placement and characteristics of fossils. Hard science? They’re rocks! That these mammals once swam in ancient seas is a scientific fact.

    Zachriel: It is the repeatability of scientific observations that allows us to have confidence in our conclusions.

    inunison: Zachriel, does this sound familiar to you?

    Yes, of course. Gingerich published his methods and findings for the benefit of his peers. The fossils are available for examination by other researchers. And other such specimens and related organisms have been found in similar strata. Nor have these intermediate organisms been found in the “wrong” strata or with characteristics that violate what would be expected from the nested hierarchy of common descent. Most importantly, this is only one of thousands of examples in paleontology. We could talk about how John Horner found baby dinosaurs. Or how genomic data led to the discovery of an Eocene ankle bone. Or how the Austrolopithecus, Lucy, was found. Or what about those Homo erectus.

    The very fact that such organisms once existed, and that we can predict where and when (geological epoch) to look for them, is a wonderful example of empirical and predictive science. They lived. And they were mammals.

  21. Zachriel: The nested hierarchy is an ordered set such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset.

    JoeG: Yes it is but NOT all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset will be a nested hierarchy.

    Zachriel:
    That may be sufficient for our purposes.

    Wrong. The posted principles of hierarchy are sufficient for our purposes.

    Anything less than that is dishonest deception.

    And that YOU want to perpetuate this dishonest deception says quite a bit about you.

    BTW when Gingerich can find someone to provide the biological and genetic data that such a transformation is possible, he will have a scientific finding pertaining to any alleged lineage.

    IOW a biological theory requires biological data first and foremost. Once we have that then all the other data can be used to support it. But what you have now is like putting the guy lines in place before we even have a tower.

  22. JoeG: Wrong. The posted principles of hierarchy are sufficient for our purposes.

    Look, JoeG. You just said that the nested hierarchy was a member of a specific class of set patterns. As such, it has the properties of that class.

    JoeG: IOW a biological theory requires biological data first and foremost.

    Fossils ARE biological data.

  23. Hi Zachriel,

    I was not questioning data, what I have a problem with, is a spin story used to interpret it. I suspect you know the difference.

    Your impressive confidence seems to be based in part on your inability to differentiate between “observing” an event and “interpreting evidence” to support a hypothesized event. Even so, the empirical data largely fails to support your claims. The fact is, evolution has NOT been observed, and its chief proponents don’t deny this. Furthermore, contrary to your assertion, evolution’s predictions regarding the fossil record, anatomy, genetics, and biogeography have NOT been verified with “overwhelming” support, contrary to your bold claims, but are more often challenged by the facts.

    A very serious indictment of evolutionary “spokespersons” thus arises, as under the guise of a “united front” they declare the matter of transitional fossils to be no problem, while in reality the hands-on practitioners of science continue to disagree with one another on matters both great and small as they attempt to construct the very same phylogenies which the “spokespersons” describe as firmly established and beyond dispute.

    As if that were not enough, while evolutionary literature may be replete with “just so” stories about how so many organisms evolved into their supposed descendants, there remains a conspicuous lack of credible accounting for empirically viable changes beyond that of bones and teeth.

    Substantial differences exist between such systems as breathing, vision, circulation, locomotion, etc., both in general configuration and in the critical details. Faced with the absence of empirical evidence for transitions in these systems, few evolutionists bother to speculate on how these systems could have successfully “transitioned” from one to the other, or how an intermediate version could possibly provide the needed functionality for either the “original” or the “descendant” system during the alleged transition.

    It would take a book to demonstrate the fallacy of your “spokespersons” type claims using exclusively evolutionary sources, hence I have no inclination to go into it. However I can always provide you with the list of papers and books that contradict your interpretation of “evidence”.

    Most importantly, this is only one of thousands of examples in paleontology

    I agree that there are thousands of evolutionary “just-so” stories. Again I am asking, will you please use what empirical science can tell us about reality.

    Zachriel: It is the repeatability of scientific observations that allows us to have confidence in our conclusions.

    That is more like it. Now lets see those examples.

  24. inunison: Your impressive confidence seems to be based in part on your inability to differentiate between “observing” an event and “interpreting evidence” to support a hypothesized event.

    I am more than willing to make my case based on the evidence.

    inunison: It would take a book to demonstrate the fallacy of your “spokespersons” type claims using exclusively evolutionary sources, hence I have no inclination to go into it.

    Yet, it is you who apparently doesn’t want to deal with the evidence. That’s your prerogative. But then you can’t rightly claim to have refuted the argument. And your appeal to authority (“books”) is faulty because the vast majority of biologists strongly support the Theory of Evolution.

    But if you want to look at the data, really look at it: We have a rabbit, a fish and a dog. Can we group two of these items based on observed traits? Can you justify your answer? In other words, is it possible to classify organisms based on independently derived characteristics?

  25. Zachriel:
    Fossils ARE biological data.

    Since when? You do realize that biology is the “study of LIVING organisms”, don’t you? And I hope you also realize that fossils are not living.

    IOW when those organisms were alive they could have been biological data. But as fossils they are not.

    Heck from fossils we couldn’t tell the difference between a lion and a tiger.

    Only if diagnostic character traits remain essentially immutable in all members of the group they define is it possible to conceive of a hierarchic pattern emerging as the result of an evolutionary process.— Michael Denton “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” page 135.

    Denton is a published scientist and a biologist.

    And this just further confirms that Zachriel doesn’t know what he is talking about- and it has been pointed out to him many times already:

    Zachriel:
    And your appeal to authority (” books” ) is faulty because the vast majority of biologists strongly support the Theory of Evolution.

    What that appeal does is to show that Common Descent can be accepted in the absence of a nested hierarchy. Also there isn’t any biologist who can support the grand claims of Common Descent.

    Zachriel:
    In other words, is it possible to classify organisms based on independently derived characteristics?

    Yes it is. But we also know that characteristics, regardless of how they are derived, are NOT immutable. And without immutability there wouldn’t be a nested hierarchy formed from Common Descent.

  26. One of the things that clouds discussion of NH’s is the confusion, or perhaps conflation, of the terms heirarchy and ancestry. NH’s are strongly dependent on observed homologies. However, homology does not equal ancestry. Placing organisms in a NH based on homologous relationships does not automatically imply ancestry. At that point the NH could just as well be due to common design as common descent. The ancestry part is imposed on the data in order to bolster the evolutionary story. That’s not to say that NH’s aren’t or couldn’t be the result of common ancestry, but apart from merely assuming evolution, there’s no scientific way to claim that these NH’s could only be the result of common ancestry and not common design. Thus NH’s could be taken as evidence for common descent, but they are not very strong evidence because it is just as likely that they are evidence of common design.
    If someone has a scientific way to show that NH’s eliminate or falsify common design as a live possibility, I’d sure like to see it.

  27. JoeG: Since when? You do realize that biology is the “study of LIVING organisms” , don’t you? And I hope you also realize that fossils are not living.

    Biology (Biology is the scientific discipline that studies life processes or characteristics of living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, distribution and evolution. The word Biology comes from the Greek word bios meaning “life”, and logy which basically means “the study of”.) is the study of life… Evolutionary biology is mainly based on paleontology.

    The Biological Sciences Collection

    The Biological Sciences Collection will include at least one hundred journals when completed at the end of 2007. Coverage in this collection offers greater depth in fields such as biodiversity, conservation, paleontology, and plant science, in addition to introducing new areas such as cell biology and zoology.

    In any case, a claim that we can learn nothing about organisms by studying their remains is clearly false.

    JoeG: Heck from fossils we couldn’t tell the difference between a lion and a tiger.

    That their fossils might strongly resemble one another is not unexpected due to their close evolutionary relationship. Even though they are clearly separate species, they can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Panthera.

    Zachriel: In other words, is it possible to classify organisms based on independently derived characteristics?

    JoeG: Yes it is.

    Good. Now, we’ve established to your satisfaction that

    1. A nested hierarchy is a member of the class Pattern X, the class of all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset. 2. That we can classify organisms by independently derived traits.

    Does anyone disagree with JoeG on these points?

    Next point. When we classify organisms in such a manner, do they form a nested hierarchy?

  28. I don’t see a valid “criticism of the NH”. Rather I see only rejection.

    It is your prerogative to determine what is valid, but nevertheless my complete rejection and criticism of NH still stands. Darwinists are unable to provide anything other than rhetorical and non-phenomenal diagrams for this NH. Your example of whale evolution is better but we will get to that later.

    In fact, we can determine the existence of the nested hierarchy independently of any such assumptions. Linnaeus did just that.

    Please don’t tell us that modern cladistic does not take phylogeny into account when it creates the hierarchy, that would be disingenuous. Linnaeus’s system does not support CA either and it is also just a organization chart not real physical evidence.

    The nested hierarchy is inherent in observed correlations. (Observed correlations is just another name for “empirical evidence”.)

    inunison tried to point this out to you also; you are just confused. The data is not the same as correlation nor necessarily support your hypothesis. You keep getting confuse with your observation of some fossils and its arrangement with the claim this correlates to physical reality. This is junk science. Why? Because you do not have any physical reality to correlate it with. Please read What’s a Theory? to understand how science works. In order to correlate the NH, you must have a demonstrable physical reality that one ancestral species produced an immediate chain of species that lead up to macroevolutionary changes.

    Let’s try classifying organisms by their various traits and see what we can discover.

    No let’s not indulge in fantasy anymore and let’s just stick to real empirical facts. Darwinism has indulged in this gluttonous fantasy for over 150 yrs; it is time to stop.

    Do you deny that classifying organisms results in a nested hierarchy pattern of traits?

    Please try to focus and understand this question is irrelevant because you have no physical reality to authenticate or correlate your mentally contrived idea of some fictitious patterns.

    Now let’s get to the more interesting claim that you’ve made about whale evolution.

    Whales descended from land mammals about 40 million years ago.

    This in itself is a presupposition before the facts, but I will not debate it at this point.

    As whales have only vestigial hind limbs, we would predict that the common ancestor had hind limbs that were much reduced, as well as a number of other specific anatomical features that comport with the known nested hierarchy.

    As others have pointed out, that which you claim to be vestigial are just that, your claim. There is no empirical evidence that they are in fact vestigial — please review What’s a Theory? if you don’t understand what empirical means.

    However, I am curious to know what is it that you think comport with the known nested hierarchy . Are you saying that there are features that are known in the NH before the fossils are found?

    To test this prediction, you ask a geologist where to find exposed 40 million year old strata of a coastal seabed, and go look. And Gingerich found not just some animal that swims, but an organism that has an array of correlated characteristics (the correlations you don’t want to talk about) that puts it squarely in the mammal clade. Just walked out into the desert, he did, and found an organism that fits the nested hierarchy of descent. Lucky guess? Could YOU have predicted where to look for such a creature? It’s an incredible discovery.

    The problem with Darwinian fairy tales is that it works best when speaking in generalities and don’t look at it in detail. We will have to get into those details but let’s just start with this general “prediction” . According to the Darwinian narrative, these land mammals walked into the water in this ancient seabed. So when Gingerich went and look, guess what he found, a set of creatures that showed different degrees of adaptation to water life. Incredible, Darwinian predictions verified, right? Could I have predicted where to look for such a creature? Actually YES! I predict if we go to a coastal area we would find animals that breath air and limited to terrestrial habitats. I also predict we should find some animals that have the ability to swim and breath air living close to the water. I also predict that we will find animals that make their habitat in the water but sometimes get on land. These animals are all designed with certain anatomical features that would allow them to survive in their own environmental niche. These are my design predictions. To test these predictions I go to a coastal area and what do I find? Exactly what I’ve predicted.

    It’s an incredible discovery and neither one of these animals evolved into the other.

  29. Zachriel: In fact, we can determine the existence of the nested hierarchy independently of any such assumptions. Linnaeus did just that.

    teleologist: Please don’t tell us that modern cladistic does not take phylogeny into account when it create their hierarchy, that would be disingenuous.

    I did not make that claim. Read what I wrote.

    teleologist: Linnaeus’s system does not support CA either and it is also just a organization chart not real physical evidence… You keep getting confuse with your observation of some fossils and arranging it is a certain pattern and claim this correlates to physical reality is junk science.

    The question is whether we can classify organisms and whether such a classification naturally results in a consistent nested hierarchy. Are you ok with JoeG’s agreement that 1. A nested hierarchy is a member of the class Pattern X, the class of all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset. 2. That we can classify organisms by independently derived traits.

    And then, 3. When we classify organisms in such a manner, do most form a nested hierarchy?

  30. Joe G

    Does anyone else find a little more than odd that both Zachriel and the Pixie REFUSE to abide by the Principles of Hierarchy Theory when discussing “nested hierarchy” ?
    If there was ever a sure sign of dishonesty and deception that would be it. Or it could just be a case of “defend my position at all costs regardless of reality” . Both fit this scenario.

    Does anyone find it more than a little odd that Joe makes this accusation and yet cannot state exactly which bit of the thoery he thinks we fail to abide by. Well, no, to be honest, I do not find it odd at all. It is pretty typical really.

    As far as I can make out the only bit Joe claims I do not abide by is his claim that each group requires “several” criteria. I have still seen nothing that tells me how many “several” actually means. What is the minimum number Joe? And why?

  31. the Pixie:
    Does anyone find it more than a little odd that Joe makes this accusation and yet cannot state exactly which bit of the thoery he thinks we fail to abide by.

    I take it you mean “not in the past 4 hours”. Because I most certainly have pointed out which bits you two cannot comprehend.

    the Pixie:
    I have still seen nothing that tells me how many “several” actually means.

    Gee the Pixie- why don’t you just start looking up taxonomy. Then you may find out how many characteristic traits it takes to lock an organism into a set. Ernst Mayr once said “preferably well over a hundred”.

    However it all depends on what you are trying to classify. And one way is to independently be able to take something from multiple sets and by using the definitions place them back into their proper sets.

    Only if diagnostic character traits remain essentially immutable in all members of the group they define is it possible to conceive of a hierarchic pattern emerging as the result of an evolutionary process.— Michael Denton “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” page 135.

    Denton is a published scientist and a biologist.

    And it just so happens we have a biological model that predicts immutable traits- But it isn’t Common Descent…

  32. With all these accusations of dishonesty, I want to set the record straight about what I am claim, and say where I believe others disagree with me.

    Common descent inevitably leads to a nested hierarchy

    I claim that any scheme of inheritance from a single ancestor, where each point in the scheme has a single parent, but can have zero, one or more children must give a nested hierarchy. This is not just in biological evolution, it will also be the case for the descendants of the brahminy blind snake or for the class striucture in the Java programming language. All brahminy blind snakes are female; they reproduce asexually, so each has a single parent. And I assume they are descended from the first brahminy blind snake, so they follow the rules of common descent (most vertebrates reproduce sexually, of course, so this is not true of them) . Java enforces single inheritance; each class has a single parent. Also, all classes are ultimately inherited from the Object class. Again, Java classes follow the rules of common descent (in contrast, C++ allows multiple inheritence, so does not follow the rules of comon descent).

    So let us forget about biology, and think in the abstract, about any scheme of common descent. We can pick out any node, N1, (if you are having trouble with abstract, that would be species for evolution, snake for thebrahminy blind snakes or class for Java) in that pattern, and say, if it is not the root:
    * N1 has a single immediate parent (from the rules above)
    * N1 is a direct descendant of the root node (common descent, from the rules above)
    * If N1 has any children nodes then the above must also be true of them
    * We can define a set, S, which comprises the node, N1, and all its descendants
    * If the node has a child, N2, then we can define a set, T, which comprises the child node and the descendants of the child node
    So far so good. Now look at any member of the set T, N3.
    * N3 must be a descendant of the child node, N2 (by the definition of T)
    * But if N3 is a descendant of N2, then it must also be a descendant of N1, as N1 is the parent of N2
    * Therefore it must be true that any member of the set T is a descendant of N1
    * Therefore it must be true that any member of the set T is also a member of S
    * Therefore it must be true that T is a subset of S
    Now consider another node, M, where M is not equal to N1, M is not a descendant of N1, and N1 is not a descendant of M.
    * We can define a set, U, which comprises the node, M, and all its descendants
    And then go back to that member of the set T, N3.
    * As stated before, N3 is a descendant of N1
    * Therefore there is a direct line of parents from N3 to N1
    * Given that M is not a descendant of N1, it must be true that M is not in that line of parents from N3 to N1
    * Given that N1 is not descended from M, it must further be true that N3 is not descended from M
    * Therefore N3 is not a member of the set U
    * Therefore it must be true that any member of the set T is not a descendant of M
    * Therefore it must be true that any member of the set T is not a member of U
    * Therefore it must be true that T is not only a subset of S, but that T is nested within S, i.e., T does not overlap with any other set U.
    I imagine the logic will be dismissed out of hand without any formal attempt to refute it, but there it is.

    Inunison: You still repeat your old mantra about examples? You were given examples and as predicted by Baloney Detector Theory you moved into denial mode putting on Dogma Shield(TM). Hence we suspect that scientific papers denying your claim are irrelevant to you because (using your own words), “Thankfully, I know it is impossible” .

    You see the reason I know that no counter examples exist is that I have reason to back up the claim. This is not a scientific argument, it is logic, so I feel comfortable saying “Thankfully, I know it is impossible”.

    So what of those examples? So far (and after so much prompting) the only examples have been by Joe showing that it may not be possible to reconstruct the nested hierarchy. So…

    It May Not Be Possible To Reconstruct The Nested Hierarchy

    Inunison’s objection seems to be that, while the above may be true (and he has not said either way on that), there is no reason to suppose that the underlying nested hierarchy can be reconstructed. Which is what I said on the other thread, well before those examples were presented.

    However, the nested hierarchy of species was already established before Darwin proposed common descent. It is like the orbit of mercury and relativity. It was already known that the orbit of mercury was anomalous. Einstein proposed relativity, and an inevitable consequence of relativity is that mercury would have the observed orbit. Darwin proposed common descent, and an inevitable consequence of common descent is that species would have the observed nested hierarchy.

    Several Criteria?

    Joe, on the other hand, seems to claim that a nested hierarchy is not an inevitable consequence of common descent. For example, in post 104 on the original thread, he says “That is false. The nested hierarchy is not there. It cannot be reconstructed because it isn’t there.” In defence of this position, he says in post 106; “The ordering of levels: there are several criteria whereby other levels reside above lower levels.” The relevant word here is “several”. He say later in the same post:

    In nested hierarchy each set and each level are specifically defined by several criteria. This is done such that a person can pick an item from one set, hand it to another person, and from the specifications be able to replace the item in its original set.

    So how many is several? After some prompting, we eventually get:

    Gee the Pixie- why don’t you just start looking up taxonomy. Then you may find out how many characteristic traits it takes to lock an organism into a set. Ernst Mayr once said “preferably well over a hundred” .

    But wait. Now he is talking about reconstructing the hierarchy. Sure, to accurately reconstruct the hierarchy biologists want a whole ton of characteristic traits. But the original claim was that the underlying hierarch could not be reconstructed because it does not necessarily exist. How strange!

    Quoting Denton

    One of the odd things about this debate is how you lot love to quote Denton. Surely you are aware that since writing that book, Denton has changed his position, and now accepts common descent. He originally argued against common descent, now he accepts it. Sounds to me like he has changed his mind about ome of the arguments against common descent in that first book. Are you confident you know which ones he now rejects?

    The Mantra

    So still the challenge is out there if anyone wants to take it up. Show a specific pattern of common descent that leads to something that is not a nested hierarchy. Note, I do not mean that the nested hierarchy could not be econstructed, we all agree that is possible, but where there is no underlying nested hierarchy at all.

  33. Pixie:

    So still the challenge is out there if anyone wants to take it up. Show a specific pattern of common descent that leads to something that is not a nested hierarchy. Note, I do not mean that the nested hierarchy could not be econstructed, we all agree that is possible, but where there is no underlying nested hierarchy at all.

    That nested heirarchies exist is not the issue. Even in the example you provided, all you’ve really demonstrated is that organisms have ancestors. But that fact is not in dispute. What is in dispute is how the existence of NH’s demonstrates that common ancestry and common ancestry alone is responsible for the full panoloply of life on planet earth and could not be the result of common design, even in principle. I state it that way to make clear that there is no scientific way to do that. Evolution is assumed and imposed on the data — in this case the existence of the NH.

    As to your example, when one can actually trace the family lineage, then such an example can be constructed. But when all one has is the physical remenants of some long dead organisms in the form of fossils, there is anything in the data to tell us which ancestral sequence is the correct one, or if there is any actual sequence at all. Further, there isn’t any scientific way to say that these NH’s could only be the result of common ancestry and not common design. Sure, if one accepts that Naturalism is true, then common ancestry is the only game in town. But if one rejects that Naturalism is true and that many aspects of nature provide evidence of actual design, especially in biological systems, there is nothing compelling in the evidence that would force one to reject common design as a live possibility. And that, in my view, is the crux of the issue.

  34. DonaldM: Further, there isn’t any scientific way to say that these NH’s could only be the result of common ancestry and not common design.

    DonaldM, do you accept that we can classify organisms by independently derived traits and that these traits fit a nested hierarchy for nearly all taxa? Also, do you accept that such a pattern is consistent with and expected from divergence along uncrossed lineages (with a few caveats)? Your question implies the affirmative, though it also suggests that it is not the only plausible explanation.

  35. DonaldM

    That nested heirarchies exist is not the issue.

    I think we all agree on that. There does seem to be an issue about whether common descent requires a nested hierarchy, which was the main point of my post.

    What is in dispute is how the existence of NH’s demonstrates that common ancestry and common ancestry alone is responsible for the full panoloply of life on planet earth and could not be the result of common design, even in principle.

    The existence of the NH offers support to the common descent claim. I believe it gives more support to common descent tha common design, because common descent requires the nested hierarchy and common design does not. However, I do not think anyone is saying that it proves common descent, or that it refutes common design.

    I state it that way to make clear that there is no scientific way to do that. Evolution is assumed and imposed on the data — in this case the existence of the NH.

    That is right. Just as relativity is assumed and imposed on the data (in that case, the orbit of mercury).

    As to your example, when one can actually trace the family lineage, then such an example can be constructed. But when all one has is the physical remenants of some long dead organisms in the form of fossils, there is anything in the data to tell us which ancestral sequence is the correct one, or if there is any actual sequence at all.

    There is also molecular evidence remember.

    To a limited degree I agree. It is difficult to construct a nested hierarchy with a high degree of accuracy and certainty. But broadly, the nested hierarchy is well established, and no one is about to decide that tigers are not felines or are not mammals, etc. Again, remember that the broad outline of the nested hierarchy predates Darwin. As you said, “That nested heirarchies exist is not the issue”.

    Further, there isn’t any scientific way to say that these NH’s could only be the result of common ancestry and not common design. Sure, if one accepts that Naturalism is true, then common ancestry is the only game in town. But if one rejects that Naturalism is true and that many aspects of nature provide evidence of actual design, especially in biological systems, there is nothing compelling in the evidence that would force one to reject common design as a live possibility. And that, in my view, is the crux of the issue.

    Of course there is no way to say the nested hierarchy of not the result of common design, common design is not falsifiable!

  36. the Pixie:
    I claim that any scheme of inheritance from a single ancestor, where each point in the scheme has a single parent, but can have zero, one or more children must give a nested hierarchy.

    Claim that all you want the only other person that will agree with you is Zachriel (or some other person who also doen’t understand NH). Ya the Pixie in order to qualify for NH the pattern in question first must conform to the principles of hierarchy theory. That is first and foremost.

    the Pixie:
    Joe, on the other hand, seems to claim that a nested hierarchy is not an inevitable consequence of common descent.

    Include evolutionary scientists (as well as Denton) on that list also. I have provided a peer-reviewed citation (as has inunison) which disagrees with you.

    Pattern pluralism and the Tree of Life hypothesis

    And if you don’t understand that then perhaps it is a waste of time trying to convince you of something evolutionary scientists are more than aware of.

    the Pixie:
    Surely you are aware that since writing that book, Denton has changed his position, and now accepts common descent.

    I would love to see the evidence he didn’t accept Common Descent. That isn’t clear in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”. In it all he seems to be saying is that the “evidence” for Common Descent really isn’t scientific.

    AND AGAIN- JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE ACCEPT COMMON DESCENT DOES NOT MEAN WE WILL OBSERVE A NESTED HIERARCHY. ALL IT SHOWS IS THAT PEOPLE CAN ACCEPT COMMON DESCENT ALL THE WHILE UNDERSTANDING THAT NH IS NOT AN EXPECTED OUTCOME.

    the Pixie:
    common design is not falsifiable!

    The MET is not falsifiable. You are confusing the two.

    Common Design would lead to NH- no doubt about it. However just any ole design may not. That is what is confusing you.

    the Pixie:
    So far (and after so much prompting) the only examples have been by Joe showing that it may not be possible to reconstruct the nested hierarchy.

    Umm if you can’t reconstruct it then there is no way of knowing that it ever existed. What is wrong with you?

    As for the “several” in the principles of hierarchy theory, just think of giving directions to your flat to someone unfamiliar with where you live. If those directions aren’t exact that person may not get there.

    “Biological classification is basically the identification of groups of organisms which share certain characteristics in common and its beginnings are therefore as old as man himself. It was Aristotle who first formulated the general logical principles of classification and founded the subject as science. His method employed many of the principles which are still used by biologists today. He was, for example, well aware of the importance of using more than one characteristic as a basis for identifying classes, and he was also aware of the difficult problem which has bedeviled taxonomy ever since: that of selecting the characteristics to be used and weighing their relative significance.” (bold added)

    More than one- got it!?

    BTW the Pixie- sequential arrangements will give us overlapping of derived traits. IOW sequential arrangements do not provide nested hierarchy. And your example is of a sequential arrangement.

    Yet, direct evidence for evolution only resides in the existence of unambiguous sequential arrangements, and these are never present in ordered hierarchic schemes.–Denton page 131

    The bottom line is NH requires INDEPENDENT evidence- that is other than direct observation.

    When asked to choose between a scientist and an anonymous internet chump, guess who wins?

    What is it about the following that neither Zachriel nor the Pixie understands?

    Only if diagnostic character traits remain essentially immutable in all members of the group they define is it possible to conceive of a hierarchic pattern emerging as the result of an evolutionary process.— Michael Denton “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” page 135.

    Even Darwin understood it wasn’t Common Descent that afforded NH. He knew that NH was formed due to some well placed extinction events:

    Extinction, as we have seen in the fourth chapter, has played an important part in defining and widening the intervals between the several groups in each class. We may thus account for the distinctness of whole classes from each other- for instance, of birds from all other vertebrate classes from each other- by the belief that many ancient forms of life have been utterly lost, through which the early progenitors of birds were formerly connected with the early progenitors of the other and at that time less differentiated vertebrate classes.- Charles in “On the Origins of Species…”

    Agassiz told us:

    What we call branches expresses, in fact, a purely ideal connection between animals, the intellectual conception which unites them in creative thought. It seems to me the more we examine the true significance of this kind of group, the more we shall be convinced that they are not founded upon material relations.

    Which is confirmed by today’s cladistics.

  37. And if it were left up to observation and real life testing then Common Descent shouldn’t even be considered:

    Sexuality has brought joy to the world, to the world of the wild beasts, and to the world of flowers, but it has brought an end to evolution. In the lineages of living beings, whenever absent-minded Venus has taken the upper hand, forms have forgotten to make progress. It is only the husbandman that has improved strains, and he has done so by bullying, enslaving, and segregating. All these methods, of course, have made for sad, alienated animals, but they have not resulted in new species. Left to themselves, domesticated breeds would either die out or revert to the wild state– scarcely a commendable model for nature’s progress.

    (snip a few paragraphs on peppered moths)

    Natural Selection, which indeed occurs in nature (as Bishop Wilberforce, too, was perfectly aware), mainly has the effect of maintaining equilibrium and stability. It eliminates all those that dare depart from the type– the eccentrics and the adventurers and the marginal sort. It is ever adjusting populations, but it does so in each case by bringing them back to the norm. We read in the textbooks that, when environmental conditions change, the selection process may produce a shift in a population’s mean values, by a process known as adaptation. If the climate turns very cold, the cold-adapted beings are favored relative to others.; if it becomes windy, the wind blows away those that are most exposed; if an illness breaks out, those in questionable health will be lost. But all these artful guiles serve their purpose only until the clouds blow away. The species, in fact, is an organic entity, a typical form, which may deviate only to return to the furrow of its destiny; it may wander from the band only to find its proper place by returning to the gang.

    Everything that disassembles, upsets proportions or becomes distorted in any way is sooner or later brought back to the type. There has been a tendency to confuse fleeting adjustments with grand destinies, minor shrewdness with signs of the times.

    It is true that species may lose something on the way– the mole its eyes, say, and the succulent plant its leaves, never to recover them again. But here we are dealing with unhappy, mutilated species, at the margins of their area of distribution– the extreme and the specialized. These are species with no future; they are not pioneers, but prisoners in nature’s penitentiary.

    The point being, that IF it were left to direct scientific observations, evolutionism and Common Descent fails miserably and all that is left is wishful thinking supported by speculation.

    And one more thing- In order for Common Descent to have ANY merit at all it must explain the differences observed. Grouping things in a nested hierarchy relies on SHARED traits- ie similarities, as well as differences. But those differences are NEVER explained! And after almost 150 years we still can’t explain them!

  38. JoeG, you’ve answer these two questions in the affirmative, but left other related questions unanswered that I posed in order to clarify your position.


    Zachriel: The nested hierarchy is an ordered set such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset.

    JoeG: Yes it is but NOT all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset will be a nested hierarchy.

    Zachriel: Let Pattern X be the class of all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset. You have just stated that a nested hierarchy is a member of the class Pattern X. Any problem with this? And can you provide a specific rule to distinguish members of the class Pattern X which are nested hierarchies from those which are not?

    Zachriel: In other words, is it possible to classify organisms based on independently derived characteristics?

    JoeG: Yes it is.

    When we classify organisms in such a manner, do the vast majority of taxa form a singular nested hierarchy?

  39. Zachriel:
    JoeG, you’ve answer these two questions in the affirmative, but left other related questions unanswered that I posed in order to clarify your position.

    Two points-

    1) If you think “Yes it is but NOT all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset will be a nested hierarchy.”, is an affirmative answer to “The nested hierarchy is an ordered set such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset.”, then you have issues you should deal with before we can discuss this any further.

    2) You have refused to answer any questions and therefore you have made any discussion virtually impossible. That is beacuse you can just keep picking up those goal-posts and moving them anywhere you please- that is as long as they are out of the way of my incoming attempt to score.

    So let’s look at what you just posted- “independently derived characteristics” (notice the PLURAL). Independent of what, exactly?

    We know about convergent evolution. IOW very similar characteristics can be derived independently of ancestry, ie in the absence of Common Descent. And that goes for morphological and molecular similarities.

    We also know that populations with an alleged shared common ancestor can vary in their characteristics. Some characteristics can be lost while others can be gained (that is in a Common Descent scenario).

    And then we have:

    Only if diagnostic character traits remain essentially immutable in all members of the group they define is it possible to conceive of a hierarchic pattern emerging as the result of an evolutionary process.— Michael Denton “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” page 135.

    You have NEVER answered the question pertaining to your issue/ lack of understanding with that fact.

    IOW it is obvious to ANYONE reading this that it is Zachriel who is prancing ariound afraid to face reality.

    And again I thank you for doing so. It more than justifies the position IDists have taken towards you.

  40. Just to clear up the Pixie’s confusion:

    We have populations A, B, C, D (possessing unique character traits 1 2 3 4 5 6 7)

    They are all nested under hypothetical population Z (acquired trait 1) with A & B being under hypothetical population X (acquired 2) and C & D being under hypothetical population Y (acquired 3). So draw Z diverging into X & Y with X diverging into A & B with Y diverging into C & D.

    A- 124
    B- 125
    C- 136
    D- 137

    (A acquired 4, B acquired 5, C acquired 6 and D acquired 7)

    Nice neat nested hierarchy.

    NH based on Common Descent depends on immutable characteristics. IOW there wasn’t anything preventing the following:

    A- 124
    B- 25
    C- 36
    D- 137
    (Oops B & C lost 1)

    What happened to the nested hierarchy?

    With the above the DESCENT would still be there in run 2 but that DESCENT cannot be reconstructed.

    Nested hierarchy doesn’t exist and that is why it cannot be constructed.

    Any questions?

  41. 1. That wasn’t the claim. You have already admitted that the nested hierarchy is a member of the class Pattern X, the class of all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset. But instead of retracting that statement, or affirming that statement, you avoid the implication. You also refuse to answer the question as to what distinguishes a nested hierarchy from other members of the class Pattern X.

    2. I am not avoiding your questions. However, this thread is about the nested hierarchy, and the evidence for Common Descent is found in the nested hierarchy. It behooves us to understand this pattern if we want to understand why the vast majority of biologists strongly support Common Descent as it applies to most taxa.

    JoeG: So let’s look at what you just posted- “independently derived characteristics” (notice the PLURAL). Independent of what, exactly?

    And again, you’ve already directly stated that we CAN so classify organisms. (A derived characteristic, a synapomorph, is a trait which sets apart a given subset from its superset.) Leave the semantics aside. Are there objective methods for classifying organisms? We have a rabbit, a fish and a dog. Can we group two of these items based on observed traits? Which makes more sense, and how can you justify your answer?

    JoeG: You have NEVER answered the question pertaining to your issue/ lack of understanding with that fact.

    I was quite clear that I would return to that issue once we dispensed with the background issues. Please note that I posted these important issues on my first comment on this thread. I have tried very hard to accomodate your peculiar understandings of these issues. You have admitted but evaded on #1 and #2.

    1. A nested hierarchy is a member of the class Pattern X, the class of all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset. 2. That we can classify organisms by observed traits.
    3. And that when classifying organisms, the vast majority of taxa naturally form a nested hierarchy.

  42. JoeG: With the above the DESCENT would still be there in run 2 but that DESCENT cannot be reconstructed.

    Precisely. The pattern of descent is an observation. We watched it happen. The pattern of descent (along uncrossed lines) inevitably forms Pattern X. However, if we mutate a third of the genome in each generation, it will not be long before the pattern of descendent features becomes decoupled from (randomized with respect to) the actual known pattern of descent.

    A somewhat more sophisticated simulation of neutral evolution is available with Zachriel’s Nest of Letters, “not just a mere similarity, but a family resemblance.”
    http://www.zachriel.com/nested/

    However, please note that it is quite possible that descent with modification and divergence can be reconstructed from the descendent populations — assuming you don’t mutate a third of the genome in each generation.

  43. this thread is about the nested hierarchy, and the evidence for Common Descent is found in the nested hierarchy.

    Zachriel, while you are welcome to make your case on CD&NH, my OP about the farce of NH. It has no real physical reality and is a delusion created by Darwinian evolution to mask the failure of Darwinian evolution. This is the reason why I have insisted on sticking with real physical testable evidence.

  44. Joe

    Claim that all you want the only other person that will agree with you is Zachriel (or some other person who also doen’t understand NH). Ya the Pixie in order to qualify for NH the pattern in question first must conform to the principles of hierarchy theory. That is first and foremost.

    Ah, well you se what happens was that I claimed why common descent gives a nested hierarchy, then went into some detail to explain why. In response, you claimed the pattern does (necessarily) conform to the principles of hierarchy theory, but cannot or will not tell us why not.

    Include evolutionary scientists (as well as Denton) on that list also. I have provided a peer-reviewed citation (as has inunison) which disagrees with you.

    No, you have provided references about the difficulties in reconstructing the hierarchy. I thought I made it clear that I accept the hierarchy need not be reconstructable. Hey, I titled a section of post 32 “It May Not Be Possible To Reconstruct The Nested Hierarchy”, so I am not too clear how you missed it. Maybe you could not be bothered to read it?

    And the “Pattern pluralism and the Tree of Life hypothesis” link s exactly that; it discusses the problems of reconstructing the hierarchy. It also says the prokaryotes may not have the say common ancestor. Maybe so. Maybe there are a few trees of life, it is going so far back in time we will never know. I do not think that that will sink MET, or save common design. I think Darwin based his claim on observation of plants, animals and fungi, and no mainstream scientist has claimed they are not related as far as I know.

    I would love to see the evidence he didn’t accept Common Descent. That isn’t clear in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” . In it all he seems to be saying is that the “evidence” for Common Descent really isn’t scientific.

    That is fine with me. As long as we are all clear that Denton now believes the evidence points to common descent.

    Common Design would lead to NH- no doubt about it. However just any ole design may not. That is what is confusing you.

    Maybe. But interestingly you make no attempt to cure the confusion. I went to somelengths to explain why common descent must give a nested hierarchy, and as yet no one has tried to refute that reasoning. In contrast, you make the claim common design must give a nested hierarchy, but give no support or explanation.

    I am sure people can join the dots.

    Umm if you can’t reconstruct it then there is no way of knowing that it ever existed. What is wrong with you?

    But we know it exists! DonaldM said: “That nested heirarchies exist is not the issue.” So what is wrong with you?

    As for the “several” in the principles of hierarchy theory, just think of giving directions to your flat to someone unfamiliar with where you live. If those directions aren’t exact that person may not get there.
    “Biological classification is basically the identification of groups of organisms which share certain characteristics in common and its beginnings are therefore as old as man himself. It was Aristotle who first formulated the general logical principles of classification and founded the subject as science. His method employed many of the principles which are still used by biologists today. He was, for example, well aware of the importance of using more than one characteristic as a basis for identifying classes, and he was also aware of the difficult problem which has bedeviled taxonomy ever since: that of selecting the characteristics to be used and weighing their relative significance.” (bold added)
    More than one- got it!?

    But of course they are talking about reconstructing the hierarchy. As I said in post 32 (did you read that at all): “Sure, to accurately reconstruct the hierarchy biologists want a whole ton of characteristic traits. But the original claim was that the underlying hierarch could not be reconstructed because it does not necessarily exist. How strange!”

    What is it about the following that neither Zachriel nor the Pixie understands?
    Only if diagnostic character traits remain essentially immutable in all members of the group they define is it possible to conceive of a hierarchic pattern emerging as the result of an evolutionary process.– Michael Denton “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” page 135.

    One thing I do not understand is why Denton now accepts common design. One thing you do not understand is that is was talking about reconstructing the hierarchy.

    Just to clear up the Pixie’s confusion:

    What happened to the nested hierarchy?
    With the above the DESCENT would still be there in run 2 but that DESCENT cannot be reconstructed.
    Nested hierarchy doesn’t exist and that is why it cannot be constructed.
    Any questions?

    The nested hierarchy DOES exist:

    ……Z
    …./..|
    …X….Y
    ../.|../.|
    .A..B.C..D

    It just canot be reconstructed (or drawn too well on this blog). I really do not understand how you can claim it does not exist. Kind of seems like circular reasoning: The descent cannot be reconstructed, therefore the nested hierarchy not exist, thereforte it cannot be reconstructed. Looking forward to your explaining that one.

  45. Teleologist: Zachriel, while you are welcome to make your case on CD&NH, my OP about the farce of NH. It has no real physical reality and is a delusion created by Darwinian evolution to mask the failure of Darwinian evolution.

    It’s not as if I haven’t already addresssed this issue. (And it does get tiresome repeating something that should have a simple answer.) Let’s start with classification. We have a rabbit, a fish and a dog. Can we group two of these items based on observed traits?

    rabbit, fish — dog
    rabbit, dog — fish
    fish, dog — rabbit

    Which makes more sense, and how can you justify your answer?

  46. It’s not as if I haven’t already addresssed this issue. (And it does get tiresome repeating something that should have a simple answer.) Let’s start with classification. We have a rabbit, a fish and a dog. Can we group two of these items based on observed traits?

    And”, what did I say? What you’ve described is FICTION. I am not going to get drawn into discussing the sensibility of a delusion. NH is irrelevant. I’ve repeatedly asked you to stick with physical realities. You’ve started doing something like it with the whale but fall short of proving anything resembling common descent.

  47. Zachriel: Let’s start with classification. We have a rabbit, a fish and a dog. Can we group two of these items based on observed traits?

    Teleologist: What you’ve described is FICTION.

    You offer no support for your position and merely reject the possibility of classifying organisms. Taxonomy is an important area of scientific research and requires careful study of the objects to be classified. I think almost all reasonable readers would agree that we can, indeed, use observed traits to group organisms.

    Teleologist: I’ve repeatedly asked you to stick with physical realities.

    That’s precisely what is required. To carefully observe and record. I again suggest you try a simple example. We have a rabbit, a fish and a dog. Can we group two of these items based on observed traits? How can you justify your answer?

    Are you really claiming there is no objective way to group these organisms based on observed traits?

  48. You offer no support for your position and merely reject the possibility of classifying organisms.

    What support am I suppose to give? I can’t debate about fiction. If you want to have a debate about NH then just provide some empirical evidence from an actual line of common descent with testable ancestry and progeny.

    Are you really claiming there is no objective way to group these organisms based on observed traits?

    Any imaginary groupings have no relevance to the reality of CD.

  49. Zachriel: Are you really claiming there is no objective way to group these organisms based on observed traits?

    Teleologist: Any imaginary groupings have no relevance to the reality of CD.

    That’s what I thought you said. I can’t make you look, but most people can see that it’s rabbit, dog — fish. I don’t think you will convince many people otherwise, especially as they can look for themselves. It’s not an imaginary grouping, but one based on observable traits.


    Let’s take a close look at our rabbit, fish and dog.

    They are all three composed of complex cells with organelles and a nucleus containing genetic material called DNA. They are collections of differentiated cells that ingest other organisms for nourishment. They have an alimentary canal that food passes through. They have bilateral symmetry. They have a bony skull at one end with a brain and an array of sensory organs. They have a backbone composed of vertebrae which enclose a nerve cord. They each have jaws. They each make eggs.

    But two of them have lungs instead of gills, four legs and a flexible neck. These same two have a sacral rib connecting the axial skeleton to the pelvic girdle. They have a layer of dead, horny cells that prevent evaporation, and a well-developed tongue with glands. Embryonic cells that make mineral-regulating glands in these two develop into mineral-regulating gills in the third. They are warm-blooded, The same two have hair, a lateral temporal fenestra, sebaceous glands, and heterodont dentition. There are vast similarities of many other bones, including in the limbs, vertebrae and jaw. They even share the same three ear-bones. The eggs are nourished interally by a placenta receiving nourishment from the mother’s own body. After a live-birth, the mother then nurses her young with special mammary glands during a prolonged infancy.

    All these features are correlated. And because of that, we can look just at the jaw and determine that the organism has mammary glands. We call look just at its hair and skin and know how many ear-bones it has.

  50. First, in my example in comment # 40, on run 2 neither B nor C would be nested below Z. To say otherwise is to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of NH.

    As for the Pixie’s example in comment #32 THAT is a sequential arrangement. It is NOT a nested hierarchy. Just because one can do a little fiddling and diddling to make it “look” like a hierarchial schemme does not make it one.

    Also scientists do NOR reconstruct a nested hierarchy, they CONSTRUCT one. And they construct it via derived characteristic traits. Traits that are NOT immutatble. And for Common Descent to be able to form a nested hierarchy those traits must be immutable.

    And one thing both the Pixie AND Zachriel need to understand is that scientitists do accept Common Descent all the while understanding the NH is not expected and is not evidence for it.

    Zachriel:
    However, this thread is about the nested hierarchy,

    Yes it is.

    Zachriel:
    … and the evidence for Common Descent is found in the nested hierarchy.

    Only to thosae who understand very little, if anything, about either.

    JoeG: With the above the DESCENT would still be there in run 2 but that DESCENT cannot be reconstructed.

    Zachriel
    Precisely. The pattern of descent is an observation. We watched it happen.

    Umm we did NOT watch it happen. All I did was to construct a hypothetical to demonstrate your position is nonsense.

    Zachriel:
    You also refuse to answer the question as to what distinguishes a nested hierarchy from other members of the class Pattern X.

    You are a LIAR! I have poted the principles of hierarchy theory many times. What distinguishes NH from others that resemble the pattern is clearly spelled out in those principles. That you refuse to read them or cannot understand them demonstrates this is a useless discussion.

    And yes we can classify populations. But that does NOT mean that said classification will form a nested hierarchy.

    JoeG: You have NEVER answered the question pertaining to your issue/ lack of understanding with that fact.

    Zachriel:
    I was quite clear that I would return to that issue once we dispensed with the background issues.

    This is a background issue. And until it is addressed there isn’t anything to discuss except for your continued misrepresentations of reality.

    Zachriel:
    Taxonomy is an important area of scientific research and requires careful study of the objects to be classified.

    Yes it is and yes it does. However cladograms do NOT convey “who descended from who”.

    BTW Zachriel, I would fully expect to see a nested hierarchy if living organsisms were the result of a Common Design.

  51. Joe

    First, in my example in comment # 40, on run 2 neither B nor C would be nested below Z. To say otherwise is to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of NH.

    Yes they would, because B and C are descendants of Z. It may not be possible to determine that fact if all you can see in A, B, C and D, but the nested hierarchy still exists, whether we can see it or not (kind of like the world still exists if you close your eyes)

    As for the Pixie’s example in comment #32 THAT is a sequential arrangement. It is NOT a nested hierarchy. Just because one can do a little fiddling and diddling to make it “look” like a hierarchial schemme does not make it one.

    Er, actually I did not give an example of a nested hierarchy. I did talk about nested hierarchies in the abstract – is that whatconfused you?

    A sequential arrangement is a special case of a nested hierarchy, by the way.

    Also scientists do NOR reconstruct a nested hierarchy, they CONSTRUCT one. And they construct it via derived characteristic traits. Traits that are NOT immutatble. And for Common Descent to be able to form a nested hierarchy those traits must be immutable.

    I think we have a fundamental difference here. With the nested hierarchy, I am talking about a feature in nature, something that exists (or not) whether mankind finds it or not. It is like the Boltzmann constant in thermodynamics. The Boltzmann constant has always existed, it is just that it was only discovered 80 (or whatever) years ago. Relativity has always been there, it just took Einstein to be able to work it out. Quantum mechanics has alays been there. Atoms have always been there. The nested hierarchy has been there longer than mankind.

    And one thing both the Pixie AND Zachriel need to understand is that scientitists do accept Common Descent all the while understanding the NH is not expected and is not evidence for it.

    The ususual unsupported claims again and again and again.

    I have poted the principles of hierarchy theory many times. What distinguishes NH from others that resemble the pattern is clearly spelled out in those principles. That you refuse to read them or cannot understand them demonstrates this is a useless discussion.

    But it is odd that you are incapable of explaining in your own words. Why is that? Do you not understand it yourself? Can anyone help Joe out here?

    BTW Zachriel, I would fully expect to see a nested hierarchy if living organsisms were the result of a Common Design.

    Of course you would. But you cannot explain why.

  52. First, in my example in comment # 40, on run 2 neither B nor C would be nested below Z. To say otherwise is to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of NH.

    the Pixie:
    Yes they would, because B and C are descendants of Z.

    Are you just dense, or what? Neither B nor C would be nested under Z because they do NOT have the defining characteristic that makes up Z and Z’s descendents.

    the Pixie:
    It may not be possible to determine that fact if all you can see in A, B, C and D, but the nested hierarchy still exists, whether we can see it or not (kind of like the world still exists if you close your eyes)

    That is wrong. The NH doesn’t exist. That is IF you knew anything about NH.

    the Pixie:
    A sequential arrangement is a special case of a nested hierarchy, by the way.

    Really? Then why isn’t that listed in the principles of hierarchy theory? IOW you have to provide a citation before anyone believes you.

    And one thing both the Pixie AND Zachriel need to understand is that scientitists do accept Common Descent all the while understanding the NH is not expected and is not evidence for it.

    the Pixie:
    The ususual unsupported claims again and again and again.

    Listen- YOUR lack of reading comprehension should never be confused with a rebuttal. I have provided direct quotes from scientists as well as peer-reviewed articles.

    I have poted the principles of hierarchy theory many times. What distinguishes NH from others that resemble the pattern is clearly spelled out in those principles. That you refuse to read them or cannot understand them demonstrates this is a useless discussion.

    the Pixie:
    But it is odd that you are incapable of explaining in your own words.

    I shouldn’t have to.

    BTW Zachriel, I would fully expect to see a nested hierarchy if living organsisms were the result of a Common Design.

    the Pixie:
    Of course you would. But you cannot explain why.

    Been there, done that.

  53. JoeG: And yes we can classify populations.

    You may want to take that up with Teleologist. Teleologist doesn’t believe we can classify organisms by objectively observed traits. This is clearly false to anyone willing to look, and is so fundamental that no further discussion of taxonomy can proceed until this issue is resolved.

    Meanwhile, JoeG wants to use his own interpretation of terminology to define his opponent’s arguments — a classic strawman that he embellishes with prolific handwaving spiced with a lack of respect to arguments that call into question his cherished beliefs.

    I am more than willing to listen to others and modify by views accordingly, but I really don’t think that you have made a convincing argument, certainly not sufficient to overturn the strongly supported position held by the vast majority of biologists and related specialists.

    NATIONAL ACADEMY of SCIENCES: “The theory of evolution has become the central unifying concept of biology and is a critical component of many related scientific disciplines. In contrast, the claims of creation science lack empirical support and cannot be meaningfully tested.”

  54. Let’s see how far this discussion has progressed.

    1. A nested hierarchy is a member of the class Pattern X, the class of all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset.
    2. That we can classify organisms by observed traits.

    1. Still waiting on JoeG to tell us what distinguishes a nested hierarchy from other members of the class Pattern X.
    2. Teleologist says that we can’t classify organisms by observed traits.

  55. Joe

    Are you just dense, or what? Neither B nor C would be nested under Z because they do NOT have the defining characteristic that makes up Z and Z’s descendents.

    Of course they do. They are descended from Z. How much more of a defining characteristic of “Z and Z’s descendents” can you have?

    Really? Then why isn’t that listed in the principles of hierarchy theory? IOW you have to provide a citation before anyone believes you.

    That must surely be one for the “Double standard” thread.

    Pix: But it is odd that you are incapable of explaining in your own words.
    Joe: I shouldn’t have to.

    Hey you do what you want. Just be aware that most of us out here either will not believe you or will not understand you.

    Been there, done that.

    But as usual, you cannot support the claim. All you had to do was tell us which post, but it was too much effort.

    I thought maybe you were here to promote ID. Sure, you are not going to convince Zachriel and me, but what about any one else who finds this site on Google, and is wondering about the nested hierarchy. I hope they will have noted that I do my best to explain and support my claims – I spent a lengthy post (#32) explaining why I believe common descent must give a nested hierarchy, for example. Hopefully any casual reader will also note your reluctance to explain. At the very least, we can be sure none of these casual readers will come away with any clue as to why common design might produce a nested hierarchy, because none of the IDists here have any interest in explaining it. And just may be those casual readers are wondering why that might be.

  56. the Pixie your comment #32 does NOT support a nested hierachy. Here is why:

    Nested and non-nested hierarchies: nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels. Non-nested hierarchies are more general in that the requirement of containment of lower levels is relaxed. For example, an army consists of a collection of soldiers and is made up of them. Thus an army is a nested hierarchy. On the other hand, the general at the top of a military command does not consist of his soldiers and so the military command is a non-nested hierarchy with regard to the soldiers in the army. Pecking orders and a food chains are also non-nested hierarchies.

    Hopefully the casual reader will take the time to ACTUALLY READ the references provided.

    “Who descended from who” is NOT a characteristic. I am sure the average reader of this entry has an IQ higher than the 75 you wear like a badge of honor.

    Zachriel:
    1. A nested hierarchy is a member of the class Pattern X, the class of all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset.

    Hierarchy: in mathematical terms, it is a partially ordered set. In less austere terms, a hierarchy is a collection of parts with ordered asymmetric relationships inside a whole. That is to say, upper levels are above lower levels, and the relationship upwards is asymmetric with the relationships downwards.

    Zachriel:
    Meanwhile, JoeG wants to use his own interpretation of terminology to define his opponent’s arguments

    Meanwhile Zachriel is still a LIAR. Or foolish enough to think that others will also refuse to read what scientists actually do say about the matter.

    Zachriel:
    I am more than willing to listen to others and modify by views accordingly, but I really don’t think that you have made a convincing argument, certainly not sufficient to overturn the strongly supported position held by the vast majority of biologists and related specialists.

    Two points:

    1) That vast majority can’t substantiate their position with scientific data. IOW their “support” is verbal and maybe financial.

    and

    2) That vast majority accept Common Descent and understand that Common Descent does not lead to nested hierarchy.

    And again:

    A Summary of the Principles of Hierarchy Theory for those who are REALLY interested in reality.

    And then we have:

    Only if diagnostic character traits remain essentially immutable in all members of the group they define is it possible to conceive of a hierarchic pattern emerging as the result of an evolutionary process.— Michael Denton “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” page 135.

    I can understand that the Pixie can’t grasp that simple concept but Zachriel at least has appeared to have advanced to discussing about characteristic traits and classification.

  57. Zachriel: 1. A nested hierarchy is a member of the class Pattern X, the class of all ordered sets such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset.

    JoeG (quoting): Hierarchy: in mathematical terms, it is a partially ordered set. In less austere terms, a hierarchy is a collection of parts with ordered asymmetric relationships inside a whole. That is to say, upper levels are above lower levels, and the relationship upwards is asymmetric with the relationships downwards.

    The Latin prefix “sub-” in subset means under, the Latin prefix “super-” in superset means over. Pattern X fits that definition. Pattern X is a hierarchical arrangement, ordered and assymmetric. As are the descendents of an uncrossed lineage. As are the soldiers of an archetypical army. As are the twigs of a typical tree as associated by branch and limb.

    The question remains, can you provide a specific rule to distinguish members of the class Pattern X which are nested hierarchies from those which are not?

  58. JoeG: “Who descended from who” is NOT a characteristic.

    It’s a definitional rule. From your cite,

    Level of organization: this type of level fits into its hierarchy by virtue of set of definitions that lock the level in question to those above and below.

    Mother-Daughter, Limb-Branch, Division-Regiment, these are all defined hierarchies. Your cite specifies an army as a nested hierarchy. There is a direct correspondence in the arrangement of soldiers in an army and twigs on a tree.

  59. JoeG: I can understand that the Pixie can’t grasp that simple concept but Zachriel at least has appeared to have advanced to discussing about characteristic traits and classification.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. And Denton is wrong. It is very easy to “conceive of a hierarchic pattern emerging as the result of an evolutionary process”. But it does require fidelity in the inheritance of observable traits, with the occasional change. Your example above mutated a third of the genome each generation. With such a scenario, the traits of the descendents become quickly decouples from (randomized with respect to) the ancestral relationships. You can test various scenarios here:

    Zachriel’s Nest of Letters, “not just a mere similarity, but a family resemblance.”
    http://www.zachriel.com/nested/

  60. the Pixie your comment #32 does NOT support a nested hierachy. Here is why:

    Oh, at last an explanation from Joe. Wonders will never cease…

    Nested and non-nested hierarchies: nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels. Non-nested hierarchies are more general in that the requirement of containment of lower levels is relaxed. For example, an army consists of a collection of soldiers and is made up of them. Thus an army is a nested hierarchy. On the other hand, the general at the top of a military command does not consist of his soldiers and so the military command is a non-nested hierarchy with regard to the soldiers in the army. Pecking orders and a food chains are also non-nested hierarchies.
    Hopefully the casual reader will take the time to ACTUALLY READ the references provided.
    “Who descended from who” is NOT a characteristic. I am sure the average reader of this entry has an IQ higher than the 75 you wear like a badge of honor.

    So, this supposed explanation consisted of the same stuff copy-and-pasted, with one bit in bold, followed by an unsupported. First the bit in bold from the quote. I assume this is supposed to be the salient point from the quote. Pecking orders and a food chains are also non-nested hierarchies. I have no idea how this is relevant, and I really cannot see Joe explaining. I am pretty sure we are not talking about pecking orders and food chains here.

    Then there is the claim: “Who descended from who” is NOT a characteristic. So you say, Joe, but why not? I keep reading that web page with the definition on it, and I see nothing there to support this claim. Sure, it is not a characteristic biologists can use when trying to determine what the nested hierarchy is, but only because they do not know.

    So as far as telling us why goes, I feel this fell a little short of the mark.

    Joe, last time around I asked what post it was where you showed that common design must give a nested hierarchy. Where you unable to find it?

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