Alternatives to Modern Evolutionary Theory


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #161

If the way God created is by modifying existing creatures, then this is what we would expect.

(John Harshman) #162

In other words, we expect a nested hierarchy if God works through common descent but not if he uses separate creation.


I don’t see how that follows. God could modify existing creatures by moving exact copies of genes from one end of the tree of life to the other. I don’t see how a nested hierarchy is a necessity.


so say were you see a problem here:


The first problem is that you don’t have any shared derived characteristics that defines your phylogeny. Again, it should look like this:


Notice how there are characteristics at each node? Also, it doesn’t say “bigger this” or “smaller that”. Instead, it lists characteristics that everything on that branch has and is not found in other branches.

(John Harshman) #166

Actually, it doesn’t. Birds, for example, do not have two post-orbital fenestrae, nor do most reptiles. Crocodiles and tuatara are in fact the only reptiles that retain both fenestrae. Nor do snakes and caecilians have four limbs. This is one of the problems with single-character taxonomy. I bet even scd could find a single character to support each branch of his little tree, with the possible exception of trucks + airplanes. The fact that he hasn’t done so is a problem, but it isn’t his main problem.

(Mikkel R.) #167

You have PUT the vehilces there, you haven’t shown that they naturally sort into that arrangement by their attributes. You need to derive that result without prejudice from a large ensemble of characters. So far you have merely forced it.


It is the pattern of shared similarities that matters, not the number of shared similarities.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #169

If God is copy genomes and making minimal modifications, then this would not happen.

He could be breaking continuity of physical descent as He does this. It would be indistinguishable from common descent from our point of view. It might even be happening right now out in the wild.

Of course, I personally see no theological reason to think that this is true. It is, however, plausible if God exists and is creating things in the world.


God wouldn’t be limited to making minimal modifications as you have described, so I don’t see how this would be a necessary outcome.

(John Harshman) #171

That way lies the deceptive God who is simulating common descent and deceiving us about the real situation. Doubtless for worthy though obscure purposes. I don’t think anyone wants to go in that direction. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we should probably not consider the hypothesis that it’s God in disguise.


yes they are. a bicycle is more similar to other bicycle then to a car. so they will group together.

(John Harshman) #173

Phylogeny isn’t about simple similarity. Haven’t you been following at all?


so show why the vehilces tree cant be done just by similalrity comparison.

(John Harshman) #175

But it can. It just doesn’t demonstrate nested hierarchy when you do, because nested hierarchy isn’t simple similarity. If you will recall, the evidence for common descent is nested hierarchy, and you were trying to show that vechicles show the same thing.

And once you get away from bicycles you’re going to have problems even assessing general similarity. Are motorcycles more like bicycles or cars?


so show why there is no nested hierarchy in this tree:


(John Harshman) #177

Nested hierarchy doesn’t lie in the tree but in the data used to construct the tree. Of course, your tree isn’t constructed from data; you just made it up. So there’s no nested hierarchy there.


We already have. We can find a car and a truck that share the same engine while two cars of the same make and model have two different engines.


actually it is. again: the data showes that a bicycle will group with other bicycle and a car will group with other car etc. eventually we will get a tree like this above.


again: we find it in biology too: convergent evolution/convergent loss. so again; no difference.