Taxonomic nested hierarchies don’t support Darwinism or common descent, actually the opposite. Michael Denton convincingly argued that nested hierarchies can be used to argue against macro evolution. If the fish are always fish, then they will never be birds, reptiles, apes, or humans.
From a forgotten book called Catholics and the Theory of Evolution, there is a quote of Platnick and Nelson who were pioneers of transformed cladism:
‘Darwinism . . . is, in short, a theory that has been put to the test and found false’
Dawkins was clearly unhappy with the claims of Nelson and Platnick and the transformed cladists:
It isn’t that any transformed cladists are themselves fundamentalist creationists. My own interpretation is that they enjoy an exaggerated idea of the importance of taxonomy in biology. They have decided, perhaps rightly, that they can do taxonomy better if they forget about evolution
Indeed, we can see the nested hierarchy more clearly if we disregard evolution. Why? To illustrate, if we invoke Darwinian evolution we would have to say the nesting goes like this:
FISH are the common ancestors of humans, birds, and frogs. Ergo birds nest within fish, and so do humans, and so do frogs. That is what Theobald’s Markov chain would “predict” in terms of nesting. But the actual anatomical/taxonomic nesting tells a different story: fish are fish, humans are not fish, birds are not fish, frogs are not fish. Are you going to believe Theobald’s Markov chains that you are a fish or are you going to believe you’re a human and not a fish?
To try to nest humans with fish because we supposedly descended from them is at variance with the nested hierarchy we would build by simply looking and comparing traits instead of fabricating Darwinian stories.
One might argue that if Markov processes don’t support nested hierarchies at the anatomical level, Markov processes support nesting at the molecular level. But hierarchies at the molecular level create nasty problems of their own like having to invoke molecular clocks (which have been refuted). See: Zuck is out of luck
Nested hierarchies might be produced by Markov chains, but that is not the only reason nested hierarchies exist for functioning architectures. For example, in the world of man-made machines, there aren’t fully functioning vehicles with 2.3 wheels — there are 2-wheeled, 3-wheeled, 4-wheeled vehicles, etc… The notion of even a conceptual transitional (from 2-wheeled to 3-wheeled) via small steps makes little sense. There is no transition, but rather a leap, per saltum.
Further, intelligent agents create nested hierarchies, not only out of necessity but out of their sense of aesthetics. In the world of classical music there are somewhat well defined music forms: sonatas, minuets, concertos, symphonies, operas, variations, nocturnes, preludes, etudes, rhapsodies, etc. These forms create nested hierarchies and have little to do with Markov chains. So to claim that nesting is the result of common ancestry is only based on the presumption that mindless processes were at work — but that is no proof whatsoever, and worse, the nesting reinforces the notion transitionals never existed even in principle, and thus the missing links will remain missing, and thus the nesting in evidence today is actually anti-Darwinian.
One can, just by looking at traits, assemble creatures into nice nested hierarchies. They look at first like they descended conceptually from a common ancestor, but the problem is they all look like siblings with no real ancestor. In fact, many times a common ancestor doesn’t seem possible in principle.
For example, what is the common ancestor of vertebrates and invertebrates? Err, crash…hard to conceive of even in principle. It’s like looking for a square circle. Those gene sequence worshippers argue the genes show there was a common ancestor of vertebrates and invertebrates, but they seem to have problem describing anatomically what it would look like. Google “common ancestor of vertebrates and invertebrates” and try to find even a hypothetical description of what the common ancestor could look like even in principle. Maybe the lack of transitionals suggest there weren’t any.
In sum, the nested hierarchies in taxonomy don’t need Darwinism, in fact, Darwinism distorts the ability actually see the nested hierarchies, and finally nested hierachies based on taxonomy are evidence against Darwinism.
1. Paul Nelson and Marcus Ross have this article: PROBLEMS WITH CHARACTERIZING THE
PROTOSTOME-DEUTEROSTOME ANCESTOR. This shows why the nesting resists a common anscestor.
2. Or how about the transitionals between unicellular and multicellular. Denton pointed out Darwinists once hoped that we could demonstrate the notion of transitionals by finding living transitionals. The absence of living transitionals is also evidence that maybe they never existed, just like functioning 2.3-wheeled cars. It would appear functioning biological systems, like man-made machines, must make leaps per saltum rather than slow gradual steps. Biological systems tend to polarize and group, they don’t seem to like gradual transitions for certain major architectures or body plans. It’s not that the fossils can’t be found, they can’t exist even in principle.
The list is endless of problems of finding transitionals even in principle, the nesting and very distinct gaps in the nesting are evidence against Darwinian evolution and common ancestry.
Denton’s chapter: “Biochemical echo of typology” gives strong argument that humans aren’t descended from fish. At best one might argue humans and fish share a common ancestor, but well, where is that ancestor?