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David A. DeWitt in Defense of Himself: via Tip Killingsworth!

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  • rlbaty50
    As I recall, shortly before my membership in the Human-NonModerated list was terminated by Paul W. Harrison, there was a flap between some members regarding
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 2, 2012
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      As I recall, shortly before my membership in the Human-NonModerated list was terminated by Paul W. Harrison, there was a flap between some members regarding David A. DeWitt's short-lived membership there and why he may have left that list.

      David A. DeWitt is a Liberty University science professor.

      Here's a note from DeWitt, as provided by Tip Killingsworth, that might have something to do with the context of that matter. It appears to be copied from the Human-NonModerated list operated by Paul W. Harrison [Human].

      ----------------------------------------------------------

      (Look for DeWitt's faulty logic in his closing comments wherein he attempts to be logical.-RLBaty)


      http://www.ntskeptics.org/2010/2010april/DeWitt.txt

      [Letter from DeWitt below:]
      Released for public domain by Rev. Tip Killingsworth.

      From: David A. DeWitt (Faculty Biology/Chemistry)
      To: Tip Killingsworth
      Date: Sunday, December 20, 2009

      Subject: Re: [Fwd: [Human] Dishonest David Dewitt]

      Thanks for the opportunity for a defense.

      I saw this soon after it was posted over a year ago.

      My first response is that it is quite ironic.

      Ironic because the author essentially quote mined
      my book in order to accuse me of quote mining.

      Notice there are only 3 sentences of mine which are
      in this blog article. The rest are quotes or partial
      sentences.

      My second response is that my book must be quite good
      if this is the best criticism he can muster against it.

      Generally speaking, quote mining refers to quoting out
      of context or quoting in a way to distort the intended
      meaning.

      An example that is frequently brought up are some of
      Stephen J. Gould's quotes about the fossil record. A
      sentence or two could be pulled out that would make it
      seem like Gould didn't believe in evolution at all when
      what he really was critical of was the uniform
      gradualness of evolution.

      This blog is referring to Chapter 5 of my book titled
      "Not So Natural Selection". After a brief historical
      information about Charles Darwin, I begin a section on
      the nuts and bolts of biological evolution and the title
      heading is "Principles of Evolution."

      The section begins:

      > "According to Ernst Mayr, who was
      > described as one of the greatest
      > evolutionary scientists that ever
      > lived, there are five separate components
      > to Darwin's theory of evolution. 3
      >
      >> 1. The non-constancy of species
      >> 2. The descent of all organisms from common ancestors
      >> 3. The gradualness of evolution
      >> 4. The multiplication of species
      >> 5. Natural selection"

      The rest of the chapter explains both the common evolutionary definitions, explanations and arguments supplemented with criticisms.

      I relied on Mayr for the evolution perspective.

      This is why at the start, footnote 3 I cite Mayr and state:

      > "While the list of five components of
      > Darwinism is from Mayr, the descriptions
      > and explanations given here are the work
      > of the author of this book. The author's
      > work should not be confused with that of
      > Dr. Mayr who was a firm and committed
      > evolutionist."

      I wanted to make sure that it was quite clear that
      I was not saying that Mayr doubted evolution.

      This is also why when I quoted Gould I say in the
      text:

      > "To his dying day, Gould did not express
      > doubts about evolution and the quote used
      > here should not suggest otherwise. He
      > argued strongly against gradualism-the
      > slow steady change of organisms through
      > time-not against evolution per se.
      >
      > Since creationists used this quote so much
      > against him and against evolution, the usual
      > charge is that creationists are taking the
      > quote out of context.
      >
      > Therefore, I want to go out of my way to say
      > that in context:
      >
      >> Gould argued against gradualism
      >> and not evolution itself."

      And

      > "Again, for clarity, Gould is arguing against
      > gradualism not evolution itself. Further,
      > Gould did not say that transitional forms are
      > completely absent only that they are rare.
      > Gould used this information to argue in favor
      > of what he and fellow paleontologist Niles
      > Eldridge called punctuated equilibrium."

      So it cannot be said that I was quoting them out of
      context in order to support my argument.

      Here is more of the actual material from my book instead
      of just what is in the blog. The subheading is
      "nonconstancy of species":

      > When creationists criticize evolution, it
      > is this aspect of the theory that they
      > typically disagree with. While change
      > through time per se does not conflict with
      > the Bible the common ancestry of all organisms
      > most certainly does. In Genesis, God made
      > different kinds of creatures and they reproduced
      > "according to their kinds."

      Importantly, the variation in organisms is directly
      observable, whereas common ancestry between diverse types
      of organisms must be assumed. Therefore, this aspect of
      Darwin's theory is not supported by direct observation.

      > Often the evidence that is used to support
      > common ancestry is the similarities between
      > organisms.
      >
      > Mayr explained:
      >
      >> "Since all members of a taxon must consist
      >> of the descendants of the nearest common
      >> ancestor, this common descent can be
      >> inferred only by the study of their
      >> homologous characters. But how do we
      >> determine whether or not the characters
      >> of two species are homologous? We say
      >> that they are if they conform to the
      >> definition of homologous: A feature in
      >> two or more taxa is homologous when it is
      >> derived from the same (or a corresponding)
      >> feature of their nearest common ancestor."
      >> (Emphasis in original)

      Or consider this from a recent biology textbook:

      > "Similar structures in two or more species are
      > called homologous structures if the structures
      > are similar because they evolved from the same
      > ancestral structure."

      Notice the circular reasoning that is being applied here.

      Common ancestry is inferred by studying homologous (similar) characters and yet homologous characters are defined as being
      derived from a common ancestor. This becomes extremely
      problematic and only works if you assume that common ancestry
      is true. The similarity between very different types of
      organisms (i.e. frogs, dogs and people which all have four
      limbs) does not really provide evidence that they are related
      to the same ancestors.

      In the same way, the similarities in physiology, metabolism,
      or even DNA sequences do not really prove common ancestry for different types of organisms. All it does is demonstrate that
      the DNA is similar.

      The next obvious question is:

      > What is the reason for the similarity?

      Creationists maintain that the similarities in organisms
      are the result of a common Creator. Since all living
      things were made by God, and made to be in relationship
      with each other in the same world, there should be
      similarities.

      Evolutionists on the other hand insist that it is evidence
      of common ancestry. It is only evidence of common ancestry
      if you assume that there was no Creator.

      In the absence of creation, common ancestry is a reasonable explanation for the similarities.

      However, the data does not rule out or disprove creation
      and therefore common ancestry remains an unproven assumption.

      End quote

      So, in the broader context of the chapter, the point that
      is being made is that similarity is only evidence for common
      ancestry if you assume common ancestry in the first place.

      Ultimately it may be some of the weakest evidence that can
      be used for evolution although it is some of the most common.

      Evolutionists will argue that evolution predicts similarity.

      Oh really?
      How much?

      Specifically what will be similar and to what degree?

      How much difference does evolution predict?

      Specifically what differences and to what degree?

      Similarity is very weak evidence because it is the
      logical fallacy of affirming the consequent.

      It is the same as

      1 Broccoli makes me sick.
      2 I am sick.
      3 Therefore I ate broccoli.

      Obviously I could be sick because I caught a virus.

      Common ancestry would be like this:

      1. Similar organisms are derived from common ancestors.
      2. Organisms are similar.
      3. Therefore all organisms come from common ancestors.

      Tip, thanks for the opportunity to provide a defense.

      I went out of my way to write the book in such a way that an evolutionist would disagree with my arguments but would also
      admit that I presented their side accurately.

      David A. DeWitt

      --------------------------------------
      --------------------------------------
    • rlbaty50
      ... http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/message/26221 ... That illustrates, in part, why I have tried to insist on resolving the validity issue
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 2, 2012
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        --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com,
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/message/26221
        David A. DeWitt, Ph.D., is reported to have written, in part:

        > Similarity is very weak evidence because it is
        > the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent.
        >
        > It is the same as
        >
        >> 1 Broccoli makes me sick.
        >> 2 I am sick.
        >> 3 Therefore I ate broccoli.
        >
        > Obviously I could be sick because I caught a virus.

        That illustrates, in part, why I have tried to insist on resolving the "validity" issue regarding my "Goliath of GRAS" before attempting to complete the "Goliath of GRAS" exercise.

        What is the "fallacy of affirming the consequent"?

        Consider how Wickapedia reports it:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirming_the_consequent

        > Affirming the consequent, sometimes called
        > converse error, is a formal fallacy, committed
        > by reasoning in the form:
        >
        >> If P, then Q.
        >> Q.
        >> Therefore, P.
        >
        > An argument of this form is invalid, i.e., the
        > conclusion can be false even when statements 1
        > and 2 are true.
        >
        > Since P was never asserted as the only sufficient
        > condition for Q, other factors could account for
        > Q (while P was false).
        >
        > The name affirming the consequent derives from the
        > premise Q, which affirms the "then" clause of the
        > conditional premise.

        David A. DeWitt "misrepresented" the matter!

        Maybe we'll have more to say about DeWitt's faulty logic later.

        Todd, what was that we were discussing about "misrepresentations"!

        Sincerely,
        Robert Baty














        >
        > Common ancestry would be like this:
        >
        > 1. Similar organisms are derived from common ancestors.
        > 2. Organisms are similar.
        > 3. Therefore all organisms come from common ancestors.
        >
        > Tip, thanks for the opportunity to provide a defense.
        >
        > I went out of my way to write the book in such a way that an evolutionist would disagree with my arguments but would also
        > admit that I presented their side accurately.
        >
        > David A. DeWitt
        >
        > --------------------------------------
        > --------------------------------------
        >
      • Todd Greene
        From the Answers in Genesis site: [David DeWitt s] primary research efforts have been to understand the mechanisms causing cellular damage in Alzheimer s
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 3, 2012
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          From the "Answers in Genesis" site:

          "[David DeWitt's] primary research efforts have been to understand the mechanisms causing cellular damage in Alzheimer's disease. He has authored and co-authored articles that have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Brain Research and Experimental Neurology."

          http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/d_dewitt.asp

          In other words, he's never published even a single scientific research article that supports young earth creationism. This is, not just typical, but true about young earth creationist "scientists" across the board, proving the blatant fallacy of the young earth creationist argument that young earth creationism is "scientific" because there are scientists who believe in young earth creationism.

          Sure there are, BUT THEY CAN'T BACK IT UP DOING ACTUAL SCIENCE. And that's the only thing that's relevant.

          Now, since a leading young earth creationist, Ken Ham, points out that "[Misrepresentation]...is not a proper debating procedure - especially for Christians", that "it is important for us to strive to accurately represent" matters, and that the tactics of misrepresentation "are neither biblically nor logically sound", we look forward to them ceasing from misrepresenting young earth creationism as being "scientific" based on the false argument that it's scientific merely because some people who do scientific research on things that are irrelevant to supporting their ideas about astronomy and geology believe in the religious doctrine of young earth creationism.

          But since we know such remarks are nothing more than a deceitful facade, we know they're going to keep right on using such false arguments.

          - Todd Greene
        • rlbaty50
          ... http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/message/26227 ... http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/message/26201 rlbaty50
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 3, 2012
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            --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com,
            http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/message/26227
            "Todd Greene" wrote somewhat sarcastically, in part:

            > ...we look forward to them (Ken Ham/AIG, et al)
            > ceasing from misrepresenting young earth creationism
            > as being "scientific"...

            Maybe we'll get an explicit statement of that if Ken Ham openly, honestly responds to my inquiry regarding his position on my "Goliath of GRAS" (I just checked and it wasn't posted to his website this morning):

            --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com,
            http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/message/26201
            "rlbaty50" <rlbaty@...> wrote:

            (1) Confirmation:

            From: Ken Ham/AIG via website contact page
            To: Robert Baty
            Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2012
            Time: 4:00 PM MT

            Thank you

            Thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis.

            Your message has been sent to the appropriate
            person.

            If your message requires a response, we will
            reply as soon as possible.

            (2) The Message:

            To: Ken Ham via AIG website contact email
            From: Robert Baty
            Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2012
            Time: 4:00 PM MT

            Subject: "Goliath of GRAS" argument

            I have encountered many of your supporters
            over the years and they all have been unable
            to logically and scientifically rebut the
            soundness of my "Goliath of GRAS" argument.

            One such supporter of yours wrote today,
            in relevant part:

            > "Ken Ham doesn't know Baty exists."

            and

            > "Ken Ham couldn't care less about
            > Baty's argument."

            There's basically three simple issues involved
            in the evaluation of my argument:

            1.

            > Is the argument so constructed that
            > if its premises are true its conclusion
            > will follow as true therefrom?

            I think so.

            2.

            > Is the major premise of the argument,
            > given the stipulations and the force
            > and effect of sound, biblical, common
            > sense reasoning, true?

            I think so.

            3.

            > Why do young-earth creation-science
            > promoters reject the truth of the minor
            > premise?

            I propose that the minor premise is rejected
            by young-earth creation-science promoters because,
            as AIG makes clear in its faith statement, they
            consider that no evidence of age can be properly
            interpreted to mean anything is more than a few
            thousand years old contrary to the young-earth
            interpretation of Scripture.

            I thank you for your serious consideration of this
            important public issue.

            Sincerely,
            Robert Baty

            ----- The "Goliath of GRAS" argument by Robert Baty -----

            MAJOR PREMISE:

            > IF (A) God's word (the text) says
            > everything began over a period
            > of six days, and
            >
            > IF (B) God's word (the text) is
            > interpreted by some to mean it
            > was six 24-hour days occurring
            > a few thousand years ago, and
            >
            > IF (C) there is empirical
            > evidence that some thing is
            > actually much older than a
            > few thousand years,
            >
            > THEN (D) the interpretation of
            > the text by some is wrong.

            MINOR PREMISE:

            > (A) God's word (the text) says
            > everything began over a period
            > of six days, and
            >
            > (B) God's word (the text) is
            > interpreted by some to mean it
            > was six 24-hour days occurring
            > a few thousand years ago, and
            >
            > (C) there is empirical evidence
            > that some thing is actually much
            > older than a few thousand years.
            >
            > CONCLUSION:
            >
            > (D) The interpretation of the
            > text by some is wrong.

            Basic Stipulations:

            > "God's word" - communication from God
            > in words that are not wrong.

            > "Interpreted by some" - what some folks
            > think it means and what thinking might
            > be wrong.

            > "Empirical evidence that..." - some
            > thing(s) is more than a few thousand
            > years old and we can so determine
            > from evidence and its interpretation
            > independent of "the text".

            > "Few thousand" - 100,000 or less.

            -----------------------------------
            -----------------------------------
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