Common Design vs. Common Descent

I promised John Harshman for several months that I would start a discussion about common design vs. common descent, and I’d like to keep my word to him as best as possible.

Strictly the speaking common design and common descent aren’t mutually exclusive, but if one invokes the possibility of recent special creation of all life, the two being mutually exclusive would be inevitable.

If one believes in a young fossil record (YFR) and thus likely believes life is young and therefore recently created, then one is a Young Life Creationist (YLC). YEC (young earth creationists) are automatically YLCs but there are a few YLCs who believe the Earth is old. So evidence in favor of YFR is evidence in favor of common design over common descent.

One can assume for the sake of argument the mainstream geological timelines of billions of years on planet Earth. If that is the case, special creation would have to happen likely in a progressive manner. I believe Stephen Meyer and many of the original ID proponents like Walter Bradley were progressive creationists.

Since I think there is promising evidence for YFR, I don’t think too much about common design vs. common descent. If the Earth is old, but the fossil record is young, as far as I’m concerned the nested hierarchical patterns of similarity are due to common design.

That said, for the sake of this discussion I will assume the fossil record is old. But even under that assumption, I don’t see how phylogenetics solves the problem of orphan features found distributed in the nested hierarchical patterns of similarity. I should point out, there is an important distinction between taxonomic nested hierarchies and phylogenetic nested hierarchies. The nested hierarchies I refer to are taxonomic, not phylogenetic. Phylogeneticsits insist the phylogenetic trees are good explanations for the taxonomic “trees”, but it doesn’t look that way to me at all. I find it revolting to think giraffes, apes, birds and turtles are under the Sarcopterygii clade (which looks more like a coelacanth).

Phylogeny is a nice superficial explanation for the pattern of taxonomic nested hierarchy in sets of proteins, DNA, whatever so long as a feature is actually shared among the creatures. That all breaks down however when we have orphan features that are not shared by sets of creatures.

The orphan features most evident to me are those associated with Eukaryotes. Phylogeny doesn’t do a good job of accounting for those. In fact, to assume common ancestry in that case, “poof” or some unknown mechanism is indicated. If the mechanism is unknown, then why claim universal common ancestry is a fact? Wouldn’t “we don’t know for sure, but we believe” be a more accurate statement of the state of affairs rather than saying “universal common ancestry is fact.”

So whenever orphan features sort of poof into existence, that suggests to me the patterns of nested hierarchy are explained better by common design. In fact there are lots of orphan features that define major groups of creatures. Off the top of my head, eukaryotes are divided into unicellular and multicellular creatures. There are vetebrates and a variety of invertebrates. Mammals have the orphan feature of mammary glands. The list could go on and on for orphan features and the groups they define. Now I use the phrase “orphan features” because I’m not comfortable using formal terms like autapomorphy or whatever. I actually don’t know what would be a good phrase.

So whenever I see an orphan feature that isn’t readily evolvable (like say a nervous system), I presume God did it, and therefore the similarities among creatures that have different orphan features is a the result of miraculous common design not ordinary common descent.

2,421 thoughts on “Common Design vs. Common Descent

  1. I repeat:

    Sal:

    God did it, common descent didn’t because it couldn’t as demonstrated ad nauseam.

    Why did God choose an objective nested hierarchy — which is exactly what you’d expect from unguided evolution — when there were literally trillions of other options available to him?

    Stop dodging the question, Sal.

  2. keiths: If the process were not biased, there would be no cumulative change.

    Yes. I haven’t used the word “stochastic”. Are you saying my roulette analogy, where slot size varies as a niche might vary, is wrong? Or are you just picking an argument for the sake of it as usual?

  3. stcordova: Guidance usually means taking a system or object along a trajectory that isn’t natural toward a specific destination or goal.

    For example a sailing ship could be blown by the wind to all sorts of places, but guidance will help it toward a goal.

    Ocean currents are unnatural? good to know

  4. keiths: Mung is right on both counts. Cumulative change does not depend on selection, and stochastic processes can be biased.

    I am framing this.

  5. Rumraket: Now, those conditions do in fact hold. How do we know? Because we HAVE a nested hiarchy of life. If those conditions didn’t hold, then we WOULDN’T have the nested hiearchy. That’s how predictions work. The very fact that we have a nested hierarchy of life means the conditions obtained. The states of affairs were such that we got a nested hiearchy of life. Which means life evolved. Get over it.

    That’s circular reasoning. Get over it.

  6. keiths:
    The extra assumptions are unjustified.It’s dumb when you do it on behalf of the Rain Fairy, and it’s dumb when you do it on behalf of guided evolution.

    I don’t think the Rain Fairy analogy does what you think it does.

  7. Mung: That’s circular reasoning. Get over it.

    the nested hierarchy entails or predicts such conditions

    If a nested hierarchy of life requires certain conditions to be true, and the nested hierarchy is true, then the conditions are true.

    There’s nothing circular about that, actually it’s pretty basic stuff

  8. P = nested hierarchy
    Q = conditions to be met

    not Q ——–> not P = if conditions are not met, no nested hierarchy

    P ——> Q = if the nested hierarchy exists, the conditions must be true

  9. keiths:
    Why did God choose an objective nested hierarchy — which is exactly what you’d expect from unguided evolution — when there were literally trillions of other options available to him?

    Stop dodging the question, Sal.

    But Sal isn’t dodging your question. He’s dodging my question. Your question contrasts unguided common descent with separate creation, while my question contrasts common descent with separate creation. Sal is attempting to present evidence that unguided processes can’t produce the data we see, addressing your word “unguided” while ignoring my words “common descent”. You can’t have it both ways. Either “unguided” is superfluous or Sal isn’t dodging the question.

  10. Mung: That’s circular reasoning. Get over it.

    Actually it’s an affirming the consequent fallacy. 🙂

    What I should have added is that there is no other sensible account for Y(a nested hiearchy).

    This entire thread is a testament to the fact that there is no other sensible explanation for the nesting hiearchy of life. So the inference from the observation that Y, X must have obtained, is entirely reasonable.

  11. dazz: P = nested hierarchy
    Q = conditions to be met

    not Q ——–> not P = if conditions are not met, no nested hierarchy

    P ——> Q = if the nested hierarchy exists, the conditions must be true

    Yes this is valid, but my own statement was missing an equivalent to your 2nd to last sentence:
    “not Q ——–> not P = if conditions are not met, no nested hierarchy”
    Without it, it was technically an affirming the consequent-fallacy.

  12. Mung:
    Now, next question for you genii.

    Is natural selection stochastic or not. I say it is.

    If “stochastic” is synonymous with “random”, then no. Adaptation involves biased sampling (I refer you to my roulette wheel with varying slot sizes. A spin of the wheel and the pill will end up in a slot. It’s more likely to end up in a wider slot). Of course, when people talk of random genetic drift, where alleles may fix or be lost without any selective pressure, then that is a random process. It is not adaptive though.

  13. Well, I don’t see anything wrong with this, Rum (as quoted by Mungy)

    Rumraket: Now, those conditions do in fact hold. How do we know? Because we HAVE a nested hierarchy of life. If those conditions didn’t hold, then we WOULDN’T have the nested hierarchy. That’s how predictions work. The very fact that we have a nested hierarchy of life means the conditions obtained. The states of affairs were such that we got a nested hiearchy of life. Which means life evolved. Get over it.

  14. Rumraket: This entire thread is a testament to the fact that there is no other sensible explanation for the nesting hiearchy of life. So the inference from the observation that Y, X must have obtained, is entirely reasonable.

    Not if Y is obtained by cherry-picking only the data that forms a nested hierarchy.

  15. Alan Fox: If “stochastic” is synonymous with “random”, then no.

    Most people just don’t understand natural selection. That is really sad on a site like this.

    If you have a bag full of M&Ms and the number of M&Ms of each color is different then you have a bias. Now you draw at random from the bag. It’s a stochastic process. It’s random.

    It’s random sampling when there is no bias and it’s random sampling when there is a bias. Natural selection is random sampling. Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger.

  16. dazz,

    The problem is with this sentence:

    The very fact that we have a nested hierarchy of life means the conditions obtained.

    If the conditions obtained, we would get a nested hierarchy, but that doesn’t mean that since we have a nested hierarchy, the conditions must have obtained. There are other possible ways to get a nested hierarchy.

    The problem for creationists and IDers is that the other possibilities are ridiculous and contrived, just as the Rain Fairy is a ridiculous and contrived explanation for the weather.

  17. Mung,

    The word stochastic is an adjective in English that describes something that was randomly determined.

    Remind me again, is there such a thing as a fair dice? ;P

  18. Mung,
    Sure there’s a statistical element in making it through to reproduce. But it is the non-random element that biases outcomes and produces adaptive change. No non-random element, no adaptation.

  19. The word “random” has multiple meanings. When people say that selection is non-random, they are using “random” in the sense of unbiased. It is also correct to use “random” as Mung is doing.

    Alan’s mistake was to disagree with the following statement of Mung’s:

    Mung:

    Natural selection is a stochastic process. Random.

    Alan:

    Oh no. If the process were not biased, there would be no cumulative change.

  20. keiths,

    I still don’t see it

    keiths: If the conditions obtained, we would get a nested hierarchy

    Now that would be affirming the consequent

    If I got Rum right:

    The very fact that we have a nested hierarchy of life means the conditions obtained.

    I read this as “The fact that there’s good evidence of a nested hierarchy means it’s implied conditions obtain”

  21. keiths:

    Why did God choose an objective nested hierarchy — which is exactly what you’d expect from unguided evolution — when there were literally trillions of other options available to him?

    Stop dodging the question, Sal.

    John:

    But Sal isn’t dodging your question.

    Sure he is. If he weren’t dodging it, then you’d be able to point to an answer.

    Where does Sal tell us why God chose an ONH out of the trillions of options open to him?

    He doesn’t.

  22. keiths: Where does Sal tell us why God chose an ONH out of the trillions of options open to him?

    He doesn’t.

    Yes, but he answers your question by rejecting your premise, that what we see could be produced by unguided evolution. If you would just abandon the word “unguided”, the argument he keeps making would be irrelevant, as it should be. You are cooperating with his attempts to distract from the actual question.

  23. dazz,

    The very fact that we have a nested hierarchy of life means the conditions obtained.

    I read this as “The fact that there’s good evidence of a nested hierarchy means it’s implied conditions obtain”

    The “conditions” Rumraket is talking about are evolutionary conditions. The problem is that ther are are other ways to get an inferable ONH, such as “God separately created the ‘kinds’ in such a way as to give the appearance of common descent.”

    We reject those other possibilities not because they can’t explain the evidence, but simply because they are ridiculous and depend on unwarranted assumptions.

    That’s why Rumraket wrote this:

    What I should have added is that there is no other sensible account for Y(a nested hiearchy).

    With the emphasis on ‘sensible’.

  24. keiths: When people say that selection is non-random, they are using “random” in the sense of unbiased.

    But if you look up synonyms of “unbiased” you don’t find “random” among them.

    http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/unbiased

    ETA: And if you look up synonyms of “random” you don’t find “unbiased” among them.

    http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/random

    It is also correct to use “random” as Mung is doing.

    I was right twice in one day, but that could be said of a stopped clock. But three times in one day? Is the world about to end?

    Would it be fair to say that natural selection is a random (stochastic) process in which some outcomes are more probable than others?

  25. Mung: It’s random sampling when there is no bias and it’s random sampling when there is a bias. Natural selection is random sampling. Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger.

    If a lion eliminates the slowest gazelle,did he randomly sample the whole herd? Did each member of the herd have a equal chance of being caught like each MM has an equal chance of being picked in a bag?

  26. John,

    Yes, but he answers your question by rejecting your premise, that what we see could be produced by unguided evolution. If you would just abandon the word “unguided”, the argument he keeps making would be irrelevant, as it should be. You are cooperating with his attempts to distract from the actual question.

    I don’t let Sal’s behavior dictate my arguments, and you shouldn’t either.

    What I’m saying is true. The ONH we observe is overwhelming evidence not only against creationism, but also against guided evolution.

    Your statement is false:

    Guided evolution predicts a nested hierarchy as long as it occurs within a context of common descent.

    Let’s speak the truth without worrying about whether Sal will try to twist it to his advantage. If he does, we can simply point out his errors.

  27. keiths:
    dazz,

    The “conditions”Rumraket is talking about are evolutionary conditions. The problem is that ther are are other ways to get an inferable ONH, such as “God separately created the ‘kinds’ in such a way as to give the appearance of common descent.”

    We reject those other possibilities not because they can’t explain the evidence, but simply because they are ridiculous and depend on unwarranted assumptions.

    That’s why Rumraket wrote this:

    With the emphasis on ‘sensible’.

    understood, thanks

  28. keiths:
    I don’t let Sal’s behavior dictate my arguments, and you shouldn’t either.

    I don’t. But your arguments are enabling Sal when there’s no reason you have to. You are conflating two separate arguments we could be having. It would be better if you didn’t.

    What I’m saying is true. The ONH we observe is overwhelming evidence not only against creationism, but also against guided evolution.

    Yes, but not apparently in the way you think it is. Anyway, the question here is common descent vs. common design as explanation for the nested hierarchy. Guided evolution is common descent just as unguided evolution so there’s no reason to introduce the difference into this discussion. That would be a different discussion.

    Your statement is false

    In what way?

    Let’s speak the truth without worrying about whether Sal will try to twist it to his advantage.If he does, we can simply point out his errors.

    That too would be a distraction from the subject. Your conflation of two different questions gives him that license. Please stop. It won’t help, because he has never been willing to discuss nested hierarchy at all, but at least you won’t be encouraging him.

  29. Mung:

    Would it be fair to say that natural selection is a random (stochastic) process in which some outcomes are more probable than others?

    Yes.

    keiths:

    When people say that selection is non-random, they are using “random” in the sense of unbiased.

    Mung:

    But if you look up synonyms of “unbiased” you don’t find “random” among them.

    ETA: And if you look up synonyms of “random” you don’t find “unbiased” among them.

    Christ, Mung. You’re helpless.

    From Merriam-Webster:

    Definition of random

    2 a :relating to, having, or being elements or events with definite probability of occurrence · random processes
    b :being or relating to a set or to an element of a set each of whose elements has equal probability of occurrence · a random sample; also : characterized by procedures designed to obtain such sets or elements · random sampling

    “equal probability of occurrence” = unbiased.

  30. John,

    But your arguments are enabling Sal when there’s no reason you have to.

    Again, I don’t let Sal’s behavior — or worries over whether I am “enabling” him — dictate my arguments.

    You are conflating two separate arguments we could be having.

    I’m not conflating them. I’m simply pointing out that the same eternally unanswered question — why God the Designer would choose an ONH out of the trillions of options available to him — needs to be answered both by creationists and by guided evolutionists.

    Neither group can answer the question sensibly, so we’re entitled to reject both creationism and guided evolution.

    keiths:

    Your statement is false:

    Guided evolution predicts a nested hierarchy as long as it occurs within a context of common descent.

    John:

    In what way?

    In the sense of being untrue. 🙂

    As I explained earlier:

    There is no canonical definition of “guided evolution”, and the assumptions you are tacking on are indeed unjustified and arbitrary. For example, you write:

    And he [the Designer/Guide] doesn’t add the same set of mutations in multiple places.

    Says who? And if he does, are you going to argue that it isn’t guided evolution?

    Same thing with Bill Cole’s bugaboo, the gene that disappears and reappears. If the designer/guide chooses to do that, will you argue that it’s no longer guided evolution? That makes no sense.

    keiths:

    Let’s speak the truth without worrying about whether Sal will try to twist it to his advantage. If he does, we can simply point out his errors.

    John:

    That too would be a distraction from the subject. Your conflation of two different questions gives him that license. Please stop. It won’t help, because he has never been willing to discuss nested hierarchy at all, but at least you won’t be encouraging him.

    Again, I’m not conflating them, and again, I don’t let Sal’s behavior dictate my arguments. You shouldn’t either.

    The Jebus Effect is likely to prevent Sal and Bill from ever seeing the light. We’re not going to de-addle their religiously addled brains. Let’s just speak the truth and let the chips fall where they may.

    Any rational observer can see that they are unable to answer the key question about God the Designer and the ONH. Their creationism is fully as ridiculous as Rain Fairyism.

  31. keiths,
    I don’t expect you will be able to accept this, but the only assumption that John has to make in order to claim that guided evolution will produce an ONH is that the guider does not deliberately erase all phylogenetic signal.
    This is a pretty warranted assumption; the contrary assumption is the-devil-placed-the-fossils-to-deceive-us silly.
    The Rain Fairy is a poor analogy. Let’s try a different one.
    A text that has been copied over generations with changes will form an ONH.
    Even if most of the changes have been “guided” by scribes seeking to make the text funnier, or more poetic, it will still show an ONH so long as the scribes are not deliberately conspiring to obscure any phylogenetic signal. Considerable amounts of convergence or even lateral transfer can be tolerated, so long as a decent fraction of the changes are independent.
    You may even have noticed that DNA sequences show can show both convergence and lateral transfer, which partially obscures the signal.
    But the signal is still there. Verticality, with a sufficient proportion of independent mutations, is all that is required for an ONH.
    Demanding that evolution be “unguided” is overstating your case.

  32. keiths,

    Again, you don’t know what you’re talking about, Bill. Compatibility can easily be achieved with computers that do not conform to an objective nested hierarchy.

    You are missing the point here. Yes, some compatibility can be achieved but a design like transcription translation and alternative splicing allows for compatible processes across species.

    Same with the mac there is compatibility across the board. With this design objective a nested hierarchy may result. The nested hierarchy that you attribute to common descent may be nothing more then the design result based on how life is architected.

  33. colewd:
    keiths,

    You are missing the point here.Yes, some compatibility can be achieved but a design like transcription translation and alternative splicing allows for compatible processes across species.

    Same with the mac there is compatibility across the board.With this design objective a nested hierarchy may result.The nested hierarchy that you attribute to common descent may be nothing more then the design result based on how life is architected.

    Bill, this is yet more evidence, if any was needed, that you have no clear idea of what a nested hierarchy is or what sort of data would demonstrate one. Please stop.

  34. colewd: With this design objective a nested hierarchy may result.

    May result? (Or may not).

    Darn near any pattern may result. Whereas with evolving lineages that are splitting, a hierarchical pattern is expected.

  35. keiths:

    Again, you don’t know what you’re talking about, Bill. Compatibility can easily be achieved with computers that do not conform to an objective nested hierarchy.

    colewd:

    You are missing the point here. Yes, some compatibility can be achieved but a design like transcription translation and alternative splicing allows for compatible processes across species.

    No, Bill you are missing the point. The kind of compatibility you are talking about does not require an objective nested hierarchy. Period. You are completely wrong about that.

    You don’t know what you are talking about, and due to the Jebus Effect, it appears that you have no desire to learn.

    Human designs routinely achieve compatibility, and they do so without conforming to an ONH. Take USB-C compatibility, for instance. When the USB-C spec came out, nothing prevented manufacturers from taking their existing designs and adding USB-C compatibility to them. A manufacturer could have taken its entire line of devices and added a USB-C port to each of them, leaving the remainder of the design unchanged. All of the resulting devices would have been USB-C compatible, and the ONH would have been hugely violated by the parallel introduction of this functionality across the product line.

    If you don’t understand why the ONH would be disrupted by this, then you don’t understand the ONH.

    The question remains unanswered:

    Why did God choose an objective nested hierarchy — which is exactly what you’d expect from unguided evolution — when there were literally trillions of other options available to him?

  36. DNA_Jock,

    I don’t expect you will be able to accept this, but the only assumption that John has to make…

    It isn’t the number of assumptions that matters, but whether they are warranted. Guided evolution and the Rain Fairy hypothesis can each be “supported” by a single assumption: Whatever we observe, that’s how the Guider / the Rain Fairy did it.

    The fact that there’s only one assumption hardly makes these hypotheses reasonable.

    …the only assumption that John has to make in order to claim that guided evolution will produce an ONH is that the guider does not deliberately erase all phylogenetic signal.

    No, you would have to assume that the guider doesn’t deliberately or inadvertently erase any of the phylogenetic signal that we actually see when we look at nature. That’s an enormous assumption, and it boils down to what I stated above: Whatever we observe, that’s how the Guider did it, and it just happens to match what we would expect to see if evolution were unguided.

    It’s a huge constraint on how the Guider operates, with no justification whatsoever. Why is the Guider so determined, with the trillions of possibilities open to him, to conform so obsessively to an ONH? Human designers don’t care at all whether their designs fall into an ONH. Why does the Guider, and why is he willing to forgo so many design options in service of this silly and arbitrary constraint? Why is he trying to cover up the evidence of guidance?

    This is a pretty warranted assumption; the contrary assumption is the-devil-placed-the-fossils-to-deceive-us silly.

    It’s exactly the opposite. Your hypothesis is the one that requires a designer who is obsessed with making evolution appear to be unguided. What justifies that assumption?

    Or alternatively, if it’s a question of ability, and not intent, then what justifies the assumption that the Guider has precisely the (limited) abilities that would lead to the ONH we see?

    The Rain Fairy is a poor analogy.

    You and John have both made that claim, but why? The Rain Fairy analogy does its job. It takes the poor logic of creationism and ID and presents it in a different context where the irrationality is obvious.

  37. Mung: Not if Y is obtained by cherry-picking only the data that forms a nested hierarchy.

    Oh my goodness, please don’t tell me you’ve fallen for this one too. I really thought you were the one that got this.

    Just to check, when you mention the possibility of cherry-picking data, are you talking about Theobald’s 2010 Test of universal descent-paper?

  38. DNA_Jock: keiths,
    I don’t expect you will be able to accept this, but the only assumption that John has to make in order to claim that guided evolution will produce an ONH is that the guider does not deliberately erase all phylogenetic signal.
    This is a pretty warranted assumption; the contrary assumption is the-devil-placed-the-fossils-to-deceive-us silly.

    Yes I agree with this and just to pick an example, we know of cases where guided evolution took place. Guided by humans using artifical selection. These cases did not erase phylogenetic signal.
    For example the artificial selection of certain specific functions for enzymes is guided evolution. The scientists are deliberately selecting the enzymes with what appear to them the best compromise between catalysis and stability of the enzyme.

    Or even better, the artificial selection of all sorts of livestock, dog and cat-breeds, other pets, and domesticated plants. Despite all this guided evolution, some times even consciously and deliberately goal-oriented, the phylogenetic signal isn’t lost.

    It is simply not true that we would expect guided evolution to erase phylogentic signal. It is theoretically (and I would argue very remotely) possible, but we don’t have any a priori reasons to expect it unless we really know that the guider is trying to achieve such an effect.

  39. Mung: The terms “usually” and “most likely” are just hanging out there in thin air.

    I am sorry, but that’s the most certainty you are going to get. That’s science baby.

    Mung: And if we talk only of single-celled organisms does that still hold?

    We now it works for metazoans, where HGT is negligible. Why are you suddenly using special pleading for microbes? You are like an upside-down creationist; most only get excited when dealing with humans and ignore bacteria.

    Mung: I’m only challenging the claim that an objective nested hierarchy is predicted by evolution. I say it is not.

    You are wrong. For clarity, not by evolution as defined as a change in allele frequency, but as defined by phylogenesis, the combined action of anagenesis and cladogenesis.

  40. Mung: Would it be fair to say that natural selection is a random (stochastic) process in which some outcomes are more probable than others?

    Usually it is. Most likely you are right.

  41. And may I add that I see great irony in the fact that the pro-IDers here are talking about integrated systems, digital codes, and hardware compatibility yet it is the evolutionists that get accused of having a materialist cog-and-gear view of nature.

  42. keiths: No, you would have to assume that the guider doesn’t deliberately or inadvertently erase any of the phylogenetic signal that we actually see when we look at nature. That’s an enormous assumption

    No, it actually isn’t. It is statistically speaking unfathomably unlikely that the evolution-guider would inadvertently happen to select for mutations or traits that confuse and erase phylogenetic signal.

    The guider/designer would have to be deliberately selecting for homoplasy at every locus and at the phenotypic level simultaneously.

    Putting outselves in the shoes of a theistic evolutionist here, why would the designer do this, if the designer simply wants to create a functional coherent biosphere and have intelligent moral agents, like humans, evolve? There’s no reason to think this would require the deliberate selection of genome-wide and morphological convergence (or result in massive levels of incongruence between independent phylogenies).

  43. Mung,

    If you have a bag full of M&Ms and the number of M&Ms of each color is different then you have a bias.

    Agh. You were right, but then you got wrong. NS is stochastic, and biased, but bias isn’t represented by unequal frequencies in the population. Most populations have unequal frequencies of the things you are sampling. It’s different likelihoods of being sampled that introduces bias. Of course a bag with 99% reds means that one is more likely to pick a red on a given draw, but that’s not sampling bias.

  44. colewd: The nested hierarchy that you attribute to common descent may be nothing more then the design result based on how life is architected.

    A few comments upthread, you rejected the nested hierarchy of life. Why are you trying to concoct explanations for something you don’t believe exists?

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