Re Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy - by wuyunyi


									                                  Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy


      • From: Seanpit <seanpitnospam@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
      • Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2008 15:30:34 −0800 (PST)

On Mar 2, 8:26 am, John Harshman <jharshman.diespam...@xxxxxxxxxxx>

                Of course, this article fails to mention the platypus. The platypus is
                classified as a mammal − the "monotreme" version. The monotremes are
                the only order of mammals to lay eggs; in this, the platypus is
                similar to reptiles. Also like reptiles, platypus produce vitamin C in
                the liver and has poisonous spurs on its feet. Yet, because the
                platypus produces milk to feed its young (like all mammals) and has
                fur (also like mammals) it is classified as a mammal − even though it
                has a few traits of reptiles and a bill like a duck. Given this, I'm
                not so sure if Pegasus would actually be thought of as violating
                "nested hierarchy" like this Wiki article indicates.

        That's because you are, at bottom, ignorant of biology and of the nested
        hierarchy of life. The platypus doesn't violate the nested hierarchy
        at all. The characters you mention are either primitive (egg−laying) or
        unique to the platypus (poisonous spurs).

Egg−laying is "primitive" because you define it that way. The same
thing would be true of winged horses with feathers − i.e. Pegasus.
Such a beast would be said to have "primitive" features. Also, other
creatures, like the stingray, have poisonous spines besides the
platypus and many reptiles, but not many mammals, have poison−
secreting glands.

Without this notion of some particular feature being "primitive" a
number of features would indeed be considered "mix and match".

        (Whatever allowed you to make
        the claim that poisonous spurs on the feet are a reptilian

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                      1
                                  Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy
It is somewhat reptilian since poison−secreting glands are common in
reptiles (i.e., usually the mouth), but distinctly uncommon in
mammals. It seems like it is just the location of these poisonous
glands that is unique to the platypus, no the poison−secreting glands
or method of inserting the poison that is all that unique.

        As for the bill like a duck, that's just nonsense. A
        platypus has a flattened, fleshy, toothless snout. It's similar to a
        duck's bill about as much as a fiddlehead fern looks like the end of a

I'm just saying that originally, when the platypus was first
discovered and brought to Europe (stuffed of course), it was thought
to be a fake because it just didn't seem to fit anywhere in any
classification system. It was thought to be a conglomeration of
parts. I didn't say that the bill was the same as a ducks, but it
certainly does share certain gross features that are rather unique
when it comes to mammals.

        You haven't taken this tack for some time. For quite a while you have
        agreed that the nested hierarchy of life actually exists. Now you're
        back to denying it. Back and forth, back and forth.

I'm not denying the overall nested pattern. I'm just pointing out the
ToE and ToCD can accommodate anything − even seemingly mix−and−match
features. Another example is the earliest roots of the Tree of Life
which do not show a NHP at all. Yet, the ToCD is still used to
explain this particular non−nested pattern as well.

                The Wiki article goes on to suggest that "Life, however, shows a
                clear nested hierarchy, at least with regards to multicellular
                organisms. An animal that produces milk (Mammals), will also have
                hair, have four limbs, be endothermic (warmblooded) plus possess many
                other characteristics. Why should this be? Why do no other animals or
                plants produce milk? Why do no mammals have four limbs plus a pair of
                wings, like the Pegasus or angels? This fits easily with the idea of
                common descent, but is not what would be expected from special
                creation (although it isn't completely at odds with creation either,
                as the creator(s) could create life in any configuration

                What is interesting here is that other creatures, besides mammals, do
                produce milk to feed their young. Some species of cockroach, for
                example, produce milk to feed their young in utero and deliver their

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                    2
                                  Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy
                young live. Also, the platypus produces milk while having features
                that are usually associated with other non−mammalian species.

        Nonsense. It's not milk, unless by "milk" you mean any fluid produced in
        the body and used to feed young. Which is stupid. All this fits
        perfectly into the nested hierarchy.

What is your definition of "milk"? Mammalian milk is comprise of
various proteins, fats and sugars. The same thing is true of
cockroach milk.

                Of course, the overall similarities of various groups do nest fairly
                well. Again though, this is a classification based on shared
                similarities without taking into account the unique differences that
                are not shared or that may be shared with other vastly different "non−
                mammalian" creatures.

        This is nonsense. It's the distribution of characters that determines
        the hierarchy, both similarities and differences. A difference at one
        level is a similarity at another. Mammals are different from each other
        in various ways, but these differences are similarities of various
        groups within mammals.

The overall similarities are considered first, then the differences.
What are thought to be key shared similarities are given prime
importance (like hair and milk production for mammals). It is only
then that the various unique differences within the overall mammalian
group are considered − like wings, fins, hooves, opposable thumbs,
tails, egg−laying, poison glands, etc.

        Yes, there is homoplasy. But much less than your mention of "cockroach
        milk" would imply.

I'm just saying that homoplastic or "convergent" features are not
beyond the ToCD.

                Again, common descent is only a fairly perfect expectation given a NHP
                of the type that can be produced by a non−deliberate process. A
                highly symmetrical Menger Sponge carved into the material of, say,
                granite would be an example of a NHP that could only have been the
                result of ID and is unlikely to have required the use of common
                descent in the development of the NHP in this particular situation.

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                     3
                                  Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy

        A highly symmetrical Menger Sponge isn't an example of nested hierarchy
        at all.

Yes, it is. By definition, "nested hierarchies involve levels which
consist of, and contain, lower levels." Fractals, like the Menger
Sponge, "are fabricated by the repetition of some geometric act over a
nested succession of hierarchical scale. And the result is self−
similarity, or the emergence of an axis of scale symmetry." So, the
Menger Sponge, like other such fractals, does indeed meet the
definition for a nested hierarchical pattern. It is just that the
fractal−type pattern of life is not quite the same as the NHP of a
Menger Sponge.

        Since we agree that life is capable of common descent and could
        easily acquire its nested hierarchy that way, I don't see the point
        you're trying to make.

Life is capable of common descent and can indeed acquire a NHP along
the way all by itself − without any other input. Except . . . except
when it comes to unique key functional elements that were not already
in the original gene pool to begin with. These elements require the
input of ID and ID is not required to use CD as its only viable method
of producing NHPs.

You yourself admit that without the additional evidence of the fossil
record and your interpretation of geology, CD would not necessarily be
viable as a theory for life − despite the NHP of life. For example,
given that my catastrophic interpretation of the geologic column and
fossil record is correct, even you would admit that the CD theory
would hold little water for most scientists.

So, your notion that a NHP is in itself enough evidence to support the
theory of common descent is simply not true − by your own admission.
You need additional evidence beyond the pattern. For example, if you
have good evidence that all the features of the NHP in question could
be produced without the requirement of ID, CD is a perfectly valid
conclusion since non−deliberate processes do not seem to be able to
produce NHPs without the use of CD as mechanism. However, given the
ID was required for many of the key features of the pattern in
question, the theory of CD requires additional evidence to make it
tenable − to include evidence that enough time was available for CD to
act in producing the pattern. If the evidence suggests that the time
available time was too limited for CD to be viable, it would then be
most likely that ID chose to bypass many if not most of the CD steps
in the production of the NHP in question.

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                              4
                                  Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy

                So, you see, a NHP, by itself, is not enough to assume common
                descent. Some NHPs require the extensive input of ID for most if not
                all of their key features. Such NHPs do not require the use of CD −
                the laborious steps of which are often bypassed in real life.

        You still haven't presented an example of a nested hierarchy of the sort
        life makes −− in which the hierarchy is determined by the elements
        themselves, and is unique −− produced by methods other than common descent.

Fractals − like the work of M. C. Escher (see links) which show nested
hierarchical patterns, some of which are of the same types as that
produced in the patterns of life (where one part cannot replace
another the same emergent level:−Escher,_Metamorphosis_II.jpg

Also various information systems qualify: like computer codes and
other language systems, the military power and functional differential
structure, etc.

                                You're the one who suggested that a
                                designer who incorporates any
                                aspect of what can happen naturally into a
                                particular work is being
                                "deceptive". You did use that word,
                                "deceptive" − did you not?

                        Yes, but not in quite the way that your strawman above does

                What is the key difference in your use of the term "deceptive"?

        Simply that not every imitation is an attempt to deceive.

And how can you tell what the motive was based on the imitation
itself? For example, not all human−made diamonds are made with the

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                            5
                                   Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy
intent to deceive − even when it comes to jewelry quality artifactual

                                  I think that the minute detail required to
                                  produce the differences
                                  between living things, and the overall beauty
                                  of their shared
                                  interaction, took a great deal of care and
                                  creative genius. Whoever
                                  created vast range of different interacting
                                  creatures in an overall
                                  system that works and interacts with itself
                                  very closely, was very
                                  interested in every aspect of this creation.

                         Though not, apparently, in its geology. I wonder why that
                         would be.

                 Geology does not *require* ID. You don't seem to understand the
                 concept of the ID−only hypothesis. The requirement for ID is
                 different than the potential for ID. The key differences of all
                 living things require ID while the key differences in geology do not.

        Wait. You're claiming that the formation of the earth was purely natural?

When it comes to stratigraphy − nature−only is very much a
possibility. ID was not *required* for this particular feature.

        Nor does nested hierarchy require ID.

Some NHP do require ID or they simply couldn't exist. That's the
whole point. Not all NHPs are the same. Life is one example. The
NHP exhibited in life could not exist at all without the input of ID.
If ID wasn't there, life and its NHP wouldn't be there either. This
is not true of stratigraphy were it would be there even if ID was
never involved.

        Only by conflating nested
        hierarchy with other, separate aspects
        of life and rolling them up into
        a big ball can you make your claim.
        It's a bait−and−switch. You say that
        some of the differences among

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                     6
                                  Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy
        organisms require ID, and assume that
        means that the nested hierarchy
        does too. But you offer no reason why
        that should be true.

Think about it this way, a pattern does not exist independent of the
object. Without the object, there is no pattern. The patterns
existence is dependent upon the object's existence. The objects
existence is not dependent upon the pattern's existence. Life could
exist without a NHP. However, the NHP of life could not exist
without the existence of living things.

Therefore, in this sense, if life requires ID, so does the NHP of
life. Does this requirement for ID exclude the use of CD as the
chosen mechanism? No. It doesn't. However, it also doesn't
necessitate the use of CD either. Once it can be shown that ID is
required for the phenomenon in question, the theory of CD must have
additional support beyond the pattern itself.

                                 I do not see it as being
                                 very likely that such obvious interest in
                                 minute detail and vast
                                 creative genius would dilly dally around to
                                 figure things out as it
                                 went along.

                         So you are placing limits on god's creative process.

                Not at all. God could have dilly dallied around all he wanted. I
                just don't see that as likely given that we are the way we are and he
                created us. I wouldn't like dilly dallying around too much if I was
                actually interested in the final product of my interactive creation −
                would you?

        So you're placing probabilities on what god would or wouldn't do. Why
        isn't that a limit?

It isn't a limitation because I'm not saying that God could not have
used CD. I'm saying that he could have reasonable chosen to skip most
of the CD steps. You are the one arguing that God would have to have
used CD to produce a NHP − that there is, essentially, no other
possible option besides CD. Do you not see that your argument,
compared to mine, is the one putting limits on ID?

< snip >

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                    7
                                   Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy

                 One doesn't usually put a great deal of creative effort into something
                 one doesn't care a lick about.

        What makes you think that an omnipotent being is capable of "effort".
        Isn't everything as easy as everything else to him? (This assumes
        omnipotence of course. If you want to deny that the creator is
        omnipotent, do so now and we'll modify the discussion.) The other
        counterargument here is that of course that what the creator appears to
        care most about is beetles, if we're going by what he put effort into.

This discussion really isn't about the actual identity of the creator
beyond the obvious fact that God was/is very intelligent and
creatively powerful. The notion of "omnipotence" really isn't at
issue here. The only issue at hand is if ID is required to use CD to
produce a NHP to a near certainty as you are proposing.

< snip >

                 I'm showing
                 you reasons why an intelligent designer could use a different process
                 besides common descent − reasons why an designer wouldn't necessarily
                 be as limited as you suggest.

        I have suggested no limits. You are the one suggesting limits. Your
        limits, however, make no sense.

How can you say this? You are the one saying that CD is the only
logical conclusion given a NHP − even given that ID was required to
produce all the key aspects of the pattern in question. How then can
you say that you are making no claims about the potential or limits of
the intelligent agent here?

                 You're the one suggesting limitations
                 here. I'm the one suggesting that not only can CD be used by ID,
                 other processes can and indeed are often used by ID to produce NHPs.

        Yet you still have not given a single example.

I've given you many examples. You have yet to produce a valid reason
why ID would have to choose CD to produce a NHP to a level of almost
absolute certainty?

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                      8
                                   Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy

                Your notion is that the odds an intelligent designer would use any
                other process besides CD are "essentially nil" are not backed up by
                what we know of ID. Intelligent agents, even human ones, are not
                limited by what limits non−deliberate processes of nature. Even we
                humans can go beyond the restricted us of CD to produce NHP − and we
                often do. Why? Because, obviously, it's quicker and less wasteful of
                resources. From the perspective of God, it seems reasonable that it
                would also be less wasteful of unnecessary pain and suffering of the
                sentient creatures he had spent a great deal of creative effort

        To repeat:

        1. This assumes that the creator is capable of creative effort, and so
        is not omnipotent. If you want to make that claim explicitly, do so.

This discussion is only about ID − not the actual identity or
capabilities or resources of the ID agent beyond the fact that this
agent was very intelligent.

        2. This is the creator who, in order to punish sinful humanity, caused a
        worldwide flood that killed every living thing not on the ark. And
        you're talking about waste?

If you want to get Biblical here, this act is presented, not as a
punishment as much as a salvation to humanity. Humanity, according to
the Biblical account, was about to self−destruct in total self−
annihilation. "The thoughts of the hearts of man were only evil
continually and the Earth was filled with pain". If you have a
situation on your hands were you have a colony of liars, murders,
rapists and all manner of those who love doing the most cruel and
heartless things that they can think of to each other, what is the
most loving thing to do in such a situation? What would you do?

        3. Who are you to say what god would or would not do, or what would be
        reasonable for him to do?

There's a difference in presenting what an intelligent agent could do
vs. what they would have to do. I'm presenting what God could have
done while you are presenting what you think he would have to have
done. There seems to me to be a difference here.

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                   9
                                   Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy
        4. What evidence do you have that the creator's interest lies in
        avoiding pain and suffering?

Actually, to be honest, I think there is more than one very
intelligent creator at work in this world − to include humanity
itself. Some creators are good while others are very evil. Some
creators deliberately set out to produce pain and suffering while
others work against it. Clear evidence for both is evident in this

The Bible, in particular, refers to this dichotomy of motive as the
great controversy between good and evil (Christ and Satan if you want
to personify those concepts).

        Life, in fact, seems admirably designed to
        demonstrate pain and suffering. How
        do you know that's not a major
        purpose? Remember the caterpillar?

I personally do not believe that was the original intent of at least
the primary designer of life. I think that pain and suffering that
now exists is due largely to degenerative and parasitic effects as
well as the deliberate "survival of the fittest" mentality of many
evil people in this world.

                                  Why should he not care about
                                  how he created sentient creatures?

                         Why should he? What evidence is there that he would? I
                         thought your
                         designer was an unspecified entity or entities, possibly even
                         space aliens.

                 Could be − but not very likely given the degree of effort that went
                 into producing the vast array of life that exists and has existed on
                 this planet.

        You didn't answer the question. What if he produced all these sentient
        creatures exactly so he could observe their pain and suffering as well
        as their other behavior, for example?

I did answer this question. The answer is that this is certainly a

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                     10
                                   Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy
possibility. ID can be used for evil as well as for good. There is
evidence for both in this world.

< snip >

                                  Common descent doesn't "just happen".
                                  That's the problem. All of the
                                  key differences of every living thing require

                         You really can't separate the two in your mind, even for an
                         instant, can
                         you? Key differences are not common descent. Common
                         descent is the tree.

                 No. Common descent is a mechanism. It isn't the tree.

        Yes it is. Let's separate the tree from the hierarchy, which is a
        pattern in the data. The tree (which is a history of branching descent)
        does indeed produce the pattern.

This is just semantics. I call it the mechanism of CD while you call
it the "tree" or history of CD. They both mean the same thing.

        Now what "the two" are really should be clear by now. There is the
        nested hierarchical pattern made by characters, and there is the
        characters themselves. You are confusing those two. You say that if the
        characters are created, that is very good evidence that the hierarchy
        was created too.

That's not quite what I said. What I said was that if each emergent
branch in the tree required the input of ID, then it is quite possible
that CD was not required, contrary to your suggestion, to produce the
NHP. I did not say that it CD could not be used or was not used − it
is just possible that it was not used. Additional evidence beyond the
pattern itself is now required given that ID is known to have been

        But you have no reason for this claim. It's quite
        possible to have a system in which every single character was created
        but the hierarchy evolved naturally, on a branching tree. This is
        exactly what Michael Behe claims, for instance.

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                   11
                                  Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy

That's right. It is indeed quite possible − it just isn't required
like you suggest. If I believed in the interpretation for the fossil
record and geologic column that you and Behe believe in, I'd also
believe in the theory of common descent. The problem here isn't with
the pattern itself. CD is not a requirement or overwhelming
conclusion based on the pattern alone. The reason why you and Behe
believe so strongly in the theory of common descent is based primarily
on your interpretation of the fossil record and geologic column − not
just the NHP of life.

                                         I agree that we can't say
                                         what god would or would
                                         not do. So why are you
                                         so sure he didn't use
                                         common descent?

                                 Why are you so sure that he did?

                        Simply because that's the simplest interpretation of the
                        notably that nested hierarchy.

                That is indeed the overwhelming interpretation of the evidence only
                from a non−intelligent perspective − not from an ID perspective.

        ID makes no difference, which is why you have never been able to justify
        your claim.

ID makes a big difference. ID opens the door to the possibility of
skipping CD steps. Without ID, this isn't a feasible possibility.
Adding in this possibility is a big difference that requires
additional evidence to adequately counter.

                You are talking about the evidence of the pattern alone here − not any
                additional evidence of apparent time. Given the pattern of a NHP
                alone, Last Thursdayism doesn't apply.

        That made no sense. I'm merely saying that an intelligent designer
        wouldn't feel obligated to use the natural "time passes" method in
        creating a world that looks more than a week old. If appearances have no
        value as evidence (which is what you're saying whether you realize it or
        not), anything can be true.

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                     12
                                   Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy

You make an erroneous conclusion that one feature is enough to make
conclusions regarding the origin of the entire object or phenomenon.
That's just not a very intuitive or even scientific way of thinking.
Given your rational here, the statue of David, because it looks like a
human male, is a human male and had similar origins to human males.
Forget the fact that it is made out of marble! Hello! One feature of
an object or phenomenon does not discount the other features that also
play a part in determining its origins.

                         But we don't
                         have to go all the way along that path. It's enough to note
                         again that
                         this applies equally to stratigraphy; why should an intelligent
                         feel obligated to go through all that tedious erosion,
                         deposition, etc.
                         when producing the otherwise "natural" pattern of layered

                 Because, as I've explained several times before now, no aspect of the
                 layered rocks requires ID − unlike the key differences in the pattern
                 of life.

        This is only because you feel free to define for yourself the boundaries
        of any given system, as convenient. You say that the key differences and
        the nested hierarchy are all part of a single entity, indivisible, which
        must therefore share the feature of having been designed. But I say they
        aren't. I say they're separable, which should be obvious. I have
        explained, over and over, how they're separable. There are people who
        actually hold the theory that key differences were created but the
        hierarchy was not, e.g. Michael Behe. Is Behe's position logically
        inconsistent? If not, you can't make the claim you do.

Behe's position is logically consistent, because his position is not
based on the pattern alone − but on his interpretation of the geologic
column and fossil record in addition to the NHP of life.

        Now you feel free to suppose that the earth was created, but
        stratigraphy was not. Why? Formally, earth/stratigraphy is identical to
        life/hierarchy. The only difference is that you want to believe one but
        not the other.

One requires the input of ID for all of its key features while the

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                       13
                                  Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy
other does not. How on Earth can you say that these two phenomena are
identical? They aren't. They are fundamentally different.

        By the way, what about those differences that aren't "key"? You agree
        that they could have been evolved. But according to your beliefs, they
        must have been directly created too. Is that correct?

That's not correct − as you should know by now. As I've stated many
times in this forum, and to you directly many times (starting several
years ago), novel functional and non−functional genetic differences
can and do evolve all the time. These differences can be explained
completely by common descent given the pattern alone because ID is not
*required* to explain any aspect of their existence.

< snip repetitive >

                The thing is, you can't build a circle until you have a point and you
                can't build a column until you have a line (geometrically). In other
                words, you can't go 2D before you have 1D and you can't go 3D before
                you have the right 2D shape. You might be able to build a bunch of 2D
                circles before you build the columns, but this is just one step that
                happens to be interchangeable with another step. And, you can't build
                on top of the columns with other columns in horizontal or vertical
                arrangement until you have the first layer columns in place.

                The same thing is true in representing the Tree of Life. Some things
                have to come before others, but not everything.

        I have no idea what you think you are saying about the tree of life.
        It's not a matter of procedural necessity, merely a matter of the order
        in which things happen to have happened. Fish appear in the tree before
        mammals, which appear before whales. You can't rearrange the tree so
        that mammals are a subgroup of whales. It just doesn't fit that way.

It could be if the fossil record was thought to show that fish evolved
into whales, which then evolved into land−dwelling creatures. It is
all based on the fossil record and geologic column − not necessarily
the pattern itself.

< snip >

                The NHP of military command or other forms of government or political
                organization, fractals like Sierpinski's Gasket or the Menger Sponge,

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                    14
                                   Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy
                and yes, colonnades, the Parthenon, and other geometrically based
                architectural designs, paintings, and even musical compositions. Even
                language systems are build on a NHP and can be produced without the
                use of CD. Sure, most language systems have elements of CD. However,
                language can be developed without the use of CD. For example, twin
                infants have been known to develop their own language system de novo,
                without the need for the slow evolution of meaning for words and
                phrases over time. It is done by arbitrary definition. Sounds are
                used to build words which are used to build phrases which are used to
                build sentences − all in a NHP which doesn't need CD to achieve.

        None of these are nested hierarchies of the sort we see in life. They
        are all arbitrary hierarchies. As the passages you quoted at the
        beginning (and apparently have not read) say, "You just can't mix and
        match the branches or twigs of the tree of life without really screwing
        things up".

I didn't quote that passage − I wrote that myself.

You see, you are now putting qualifications on the NHP. A tree where
the branches and twigs can be interchanged does meet the definition of
a NHP. It just isn't the type of NHP that is seen in the "Tree of
Life". A military hierarchy is however, and so is a language/
information system. Not all "brigades" in the army do the same job
and neither do all "captains" or "lieutenants". There are unique
"branches" in the military hierarchy that are on the same level −
branches and twigs that cannot be interchanged without being way out
of place.

                I have never disclaimed analogies to human processes. I used such
                analogies all the time myself since it is the most at−hand example of
                ID that we have. Also, you don't seem to mind when elements are
                borrowed and combined between creatures in evolutionary story
                telling. You don't seem to mind the story of reptiles gaining
                feathers. You wouldn't mind if some "mammals" had feathers either.

        Move to strike. Assumes a conclusion not in evidence.

Are you telling me that if mammals did have feathers that you think
that the CD theory would vanish on that one feature alone? Give me a
break! The overall pattern would still be the same and some story−
telling explanation that it is a "primitive" feature would be
presented − the same as egg−laying mammals do not overturn the CD

< snip repetitive >

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                    15
                                  Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy

                The stratigraphic layering is not a feature of the Earth that
                *requires* ID. Life is a feature of this Earth that does *require* ID
                at every emergent step.

        See how you have conflated the nested hierarchy with life itself?

Again, the NHP of life wouldn't exist without life existing. Life can
exist without the NHP, but the NHP of life cannot exist without life.
Patterns are not entities to themselves. They depend on the existence
of something else that creates them.

< snip >

                        This is a digression. Motives are sinister if they are sinister.
                        If, for
                        example, you make a diamond in the lab and try to sell it as a
                        diamond, that's a sinister motive. A god who creates a pattern
                        that is
                        most easily interpreted as being natural is hiding his
                        existence; if
                        acceptance of that existence is important to us, that's sinister

                LOL − Was Michelangelo hiding his existence by carving the statue of

        No. It was obviously a statue.

So is the pattern of life an obvious imitation of a natural pattern.
One is no more "sinister" than the other − aside from those who are
somehow fooled into thinking that something as obvious as a marble
statue is somehow an attempt pass off a fake as the real thing.

                Or is a painter who paints a natural scene "hiding" his/her

        No. It's obviously a painting.

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                                      Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy

And life is just as "obviously" designed.

                   Please! That's a bizarre argument. God's existence is
                   clear in his creation, especially of life, because of those elements
                   of life that cannot be explained or "copied" by nature − which are

           I agree, if we accept your assumption. I misspoke. What I should have
           said is not that he's hiding his existence, but that he's hiding his
           method of creation.

He is not hiding the fact that his method required ID.

                   Looking at just one aspect of a creation and saying that
                   the entire creation is obviously natural is unreasonable.

           I agree. Sorry for the error.

Ok . . .

                   Do SETI
                   scientists only look at one aspect
                   of radiosignals in their search for
                   ETI? Of course not.

           Actually, my understanding is that they do. But never mind.

Natural processes can make radiowaves − all of which share the
property of being "radiowaves". So, a different property of
radiowaves besides that which is common to all must be considered if
ID is going to be found producing a radiosignal.

                                     Also, where on Earth do you get this idea of
                                     some sort of "penalty" of
                                     "eternal damnation" for believing in
                                     common descent or any other
                                     aspect of evolutionary thought? That's also
                                     nonsense. No God that is
                                     actually worth worshiping would be so petty.

Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                      17
                                       Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy
                             I agree. But creationists generally don't. I'm pleasantly
                             surprised that
                             you don't believe in Hell.

                    I do believe in Hell. I don't believe in Hell like many who call
                    themselves Christians believe in Hell, but I do believe in a final
                    judgment of evil people. I just don't believe that being honestly
                    wrong is evil.

            Really? So I'll go to heaven despite my atheism?

Yep . . .

            (Assuming for the sake
            of argument that I'm not evil.) Isn't that heresy?

Not in my book. If you are a good honest person as an atheist, I hope
you live close to me in heaven. We could be neighbors! ; )

                                     No one is going to be
                                     lost for being honestly tricked into believing
                                     the wrong thing. The
                                     only evil that someone can be truly accused
                                     of is the evil of knowing
                                     what is right and deliberately doing the
                                     opposite. For example, say
                                     that you know it is wrong to murder, but you
                                     decide that your wife's
                                     life insurance is just too tempting so you do
                                     it anyway. Now that, my
                                     friend, is evil by anyone's definition of the
                                     It is for true evil, not for honestly believing
                                     the wrong thing, that
                                     we will be judged.

                             That seems like heresy to me. I thought that nobody who
                             didn't believe
                             in Jesus as his own personal savior could go to heaven,
                             regardless of
                             good works. But this is a digression.

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                                  Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy
                I believe there will be a lot of very surprised atheists in heaven −
                don't you?

        No. Of course not. I believe there will be a lot of unsurprised
        Christians who no longer exist, anywhere. Just like the rest of us, when
        we're dead.

I'm talking about if I'm right and you're wrong − about the existence
of God and of heaven. If, for argument's sake, there was a God and a
heaven, how would you like it set up? Would you think it at all
reasonable to exclude the honest atheist from eternal life and
happiness just for a honest mistake?

                St. Paul says as much himself when he says that "when
                Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the
                law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the
                law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on
                their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their
                thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. This will take place
                on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as
                my gospel declares."

                Of course, "the law" spoken of here by Paul is the "Law of Love" − to
                which Jesus referred. This is the law "which is written upon the
                heart" and upon which "all will be judged"; not any sort of
                understanding or misunderstanding of the origin of life or even of the
                existence of Jesus or a God of any kind. Jesus said, "Many sheep have
                I that are not of this fold". That means, to me anyway, that many who
                have never even heard the name of Jesus or of God will be saved simply
                because they lived according to the law of love which is written on
                the hearts of every human being. Only by going contrary to that law
                of love, by countering the "Golden Rule" will one be turning toward
                the course of evil and be excluded from heaven with all those who love
                hatred or indifference toward one's neighbor and what it leads to −
                murder, theft, deliberate ruin of ones associates and the helpless,
                etc. There simply is no excuse for such a life. But, there is a very
                good excuse for the one who honestly never knew this or that piece of
                information or lacked knowledge about "the Bible", "God", or his
                work. This lack of knowledge is irrelevant to the question of if
                someone lived as best as they knew how according to the "Golden

                The *only* question that will be asked in the Final Judgment is: Did
                you love your neighbor as yourself?

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                                 Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy

                And, who is your neighbor? Read the chapter on the "Good Samaritan"
                to find out.

        We can continue discussing theology, but perhaps another thread. Hell,
        even for evil people, seems to me a bit excessive. Infinite punishment
        for finite sin, with no possibility of redemption? Does anyone, no
        matter what they've done, deserve that? Now *that's* evil.

I agree. I don't believe in an eternal Hell or infinite punishment.
That's heresy where I come from − an invention of the Church during
the middle ages. It is not Biblical that's for sure.

The Bible describes the eternal loss of the wicked, but not anything
like "eternal hell". The Bible says that the final end of the wicked
will reduce them to "ashes underfoot" and "never will they be any
more". They will be dead and gone − forever. This will be of their
own choice since they will hate God with such a passion for
interfering with their murderous desires that they will desire
anything but to exist in his presence or with anyone who opposes their
hateful lifestyle. If they could be redeemed or changed in character,
they will be saved. Only those who have made a permanent choice will
be permanently lost. And, no one will be lost without who actually
wants to be in heaven with God and the other's who want to live non−
hateful lives. It's going to be a freewill choice for all − even the
wicked. If any additional time would help anyone change his/her mind,
it will be given.

Again, which is more merciful, to keep those alive whose only goal is
to cause suffering and pain to others (and really themselves as well)
or to offer these souls the option of non−existence as a free choice?

Sean Pitman


Re: Sean Pitman and nested hierarchy                                                  20

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