Evidences for Common Design- Evidence 2 Nested Hierarchy
As seen from the phylogeny in Figure 1, the predicted pattern of organisms at any given point in time can be described as "groups within groups", otherwise known as a nested hierarchy. The only known processes that specifically generate unique, nested, hierarchical patterns are specified design processes.
The US Army is structured as a nested hierarchy- by design.
Transportation can be structured as a nested hierarchy- land, air or sea- with the different types specified under each. Each set having specifically defined characteristics which also include the definitions of all the levels above it.
Designing agencies can anticipate functional requirements. They also understand one does not have to re-invent the wheel every time a new car is being designed.
Structural homology at a higher functional level, dictated by functional demands, may exist independently of its particular material substrate, because intelligent designers are not bound by the constraints of what might be called physical transmission or continuity. …
In precisely the same way, diverse vertebrates exhibiting the pentadactyl pattern in their forelimbs and hind limbs may possess that pattern not because they inherited it from a common ancestor- that is, not because of material continuity- but because there exists some functional requirement that the pattern satisfies.- J. Wells and P. Nelson, “Homology in Biology”, Design, Darwinism and Public Education, 319-20, 2003
And although it is true that designing agencies can violate any hierarchal scheme that would not be the case in a common design scenario.
Nested hierarchy was used as evidence for a common design before Darwin wrote his book.
“One would expect a priori that such a complete change of the philosophical bias of classification would result in a radical change of classification, but this was by no means the case. There was hardly and change in method before and after Darwin, except that "archetype" was replaced by the common ancestor.”-- Ernst Mayr
Simpson echoed those comments:
“From their classifications alone, it is practically impossible to tell whether zoologists of the middle decades of the nineteenth century were evolutionists or not. The common ancestor was at first, and in most cases, just as hypothetical as the archetype, and the methods of inference were much the same for both, so that classification continued to develop with no immediate evidence of the revolution in principles….the hierarchy looked the same as before even if it meant something totally different.”
Also Darwin didn’t use Common Descent to explain nested hierarchy, he used well-timed extinction events.
With Common Descent (descent with modification) traits can be gained and/ or lost. Biological classification is done via traits. There is no way to predict what traits will be gained or lost.
“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.” Denton in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” pg 122
“While hierarchic schemes correspond beautifully with the typological model of nature, the relationship between evolution and hierarchical systems is curiously ambiguous. Ever since 1859 it has been traditional for evolutionary biologists to claim that the hierarchic pattern of nature provides support for the idea of organics evolution. Yet, direct evidence for evolution only resides in the existence of unambiguous sequential arrangements, and these are never present in ordered hierarchic schemes.” pg 131
“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.” Pg 135
From the “Contemporary Discourse in the Field Of Biology” series I am reading Biological Evolution: An Anthology of Current Thought, edited by Katy Human:
Uncertainty, randomness, nonlinearity, and lack of hierarchy seem to rule existence, at least where evolution is concerned.- page10
Evolution does not have a direction and character traits are not immutable.
Most existing species can be organized rather easily in a nested hierarchical classification. This is evident in the use of the Linnaean classification scheme. Based on shared derived characters, closely related organisms can be placed in one group (such as a genus), several genera can be grouped together into one family, several families can be grouped together into an order, etc.
As a specific example (see Figure 1), plants can be classified as vascular and nonvascular (i.e. they have or lack xylem and phloem). Nested within the vascular group, there are two divisions, seed and non-seed plants. Further nested within the seed plants are two more groups, the angiosperms (which have enclosed, protected seeds) and the gymnosperms (having non-enclosed seeds). Within the angiosperm group are the monocotyledons and the dicotyledons.
It would be very problematic for common design if many species were found that combined characteristics of different nested groupings. Proceeding with the previous example, some nonvascular plants could have seeds or flowers, like vascular plants, but they do not. Gymnosperms (e.g. conifers or pines) occasionally could be found with flowers, but they never are. Non-seed plants, like ferns, could be found with woody stems; however, only some angiosperms have woody stems. Conceivably, some birds could have mammary glands or hair; some mammals could have feathers (they are an excellent means of insulation). Certain fish or amphibians could have differentiated or cusped teeth, but these are only characteristics of mammals. A mix and match of characters like this would make it extremely difficult to objectively organize species into nested hierarchies.
If it were impossible, or very problematic, to place species in an objective nested classification scheme, common design would be effectively disproven.
Thanks again to Dr. Theobald and Talk Origins. Dr Theobald's article can be read HERE. However once again I had to make some corrections.