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Kent Hovind is a Kwazy Kweationist

By Scott
Posted on: 1/18/2003

All correspondence received by Skeptic Friends Network or its staff becomes the property of Skeptic Friends Network, and may be printed without the consent of the author.

Anyone interested in a run-down on the wackiness of Hovind, keep reading.

[Note on the letter below: Tommy Huxley received a few messages from “Scott,” and responded in typical style until Scott decided to send Tommy huge e-mails containing writings by wacky creationist Kent Hovind. What you’ll find below is Tommy’s last response to Scott.]

To:   Scott
From: Tommy Huxley
Date: 1999
I’m sorry it’s taken so long to respond to your recent e-mails, but I was on vacation during the week of the Fourth.

I don’t mind corresponding with creationists, but I’ve discovered that we often talk past each other. And after you sent me your bulk e-mail enclosures compiled by Kent Hovind, I shook my head in disbelief. The quality of creationist arguments differs among specific individuals, but Hovind is the worst creationist on Earth. If you accept his credibility, any further discussion between us is futile.

First, Hovind’s credentials are phony. His “doctorate” comes from Patriot University, a well-known diploma mill run from a private residence. Here’s a current picture of Patriot University. Hovind wriggles around this ignominious fact by claiming that he attended Patriot at a different location from its current dwelling, but that doesn’t change the fact that PU always sold bogus degrees for cash.

Second, I don’t have patience with people who believe the universe is only 6,000 years old. Young-Earth creationists not only reject evolution — they reject all the natural sciences! Worse, young-Earth creationism isn’t Biblical to begin with! Why do Christians hold to a doctrine that’s both scientifically and scripturally bankrupt?

Third, Hovind is a hypocrite that doesn’t follow his own advice. For example, here’s what he says in response to his critics:
Critics can be a man’s best friend if they don’t distract you from the main job. God knows that I want to be accurate and would never purposely tell a lie to promote my point. I may not always be right, but if I am saying it in my seminar I don’t know it to be false. I work hard and research a lot to try to be right. I am certainly willing to be corrected by friend or foe.
Despite this humble concession, Hovind repeats pseudoscientific errors for years after they’ve been debunked. Dave Matson once wrote a book-length rebuttal to Hovind’s young-Earth “proofs,” but observe Hovind’s slippery response:
When answering the problem about the short period comets, Matson said they are being replenished from the Oort Cloud or the Kuiper Belt! No one has ever seen this happen, of course, but he believes it to be so. That is an answer based not on science but faith, and he should admit it. The entire answer is filled with typical evolutionist hallucinations. He is always using words like “computer simulations,” and “theoretical calculations,” “would likely,” “statistical calculations,” “some astronomers estimate,” etc. His intention is to show it “could have” happened… There is no Oort cloud!
If Hovind were the least bit informed, he’d know that short-period comets do not originate from the Oort Cloud. Instead, they originate from the Kuiper Belt! And this comet reservoir isn’t hypothetical, either. Astronomers have plotted the orbits of more than 300 Kuiper Belt objects since 1992!

Here’s a list of Kuiper Belt objects, and a map of them plotted both here and here.

Only long-period comets are thought to originate from the Oort Cloud (or interstellar space) because they enter the solar system far outside the Sun’s ecliptic plane. Of course, we can’t see these comet fragments directly because they’re too far away, but the Oort Cloud’s existence is a valid premise since astronomers have photographs of other stars with enormous disks encircling them.

For example, here’s a picture of an “Oort-type” cloud orbiting Beta Pictoris. And here’s another picture of Beta Pictoris from the Hubble Space Telescope that shows our solar system drawn to scale. And here’s a picture of four individual proto-planetary disks orbiting newborn stars in the Orion Nebulae.

If Hovind still claims that the Kuiper Belt “is only hypothetical,” then he’s an incompetent scientist. Real scientists don’t cling to obsolete, discredited proofs!

And despite his feigned “outrage” at Matson’s use of qualifications, Hovind uses them too. For example, his website says the following:
The Bible teaches that before the flood, the water was gathered into one place (Genesis 1:9). There was PROBABLY one ocean and much more landmass. Also, IF the climate was more temperate, animals COULD live in all types of places which means Noah did not HAVE to go gather animals from all over the world. (Emphasis mine.)
Hovind also says this about those who disagree with him:
I have read carefully the criticisms of each of these scoffers. Rest assured that my offer to publicly debate any evolutionist (even two or three at a time against just me, if that will help) is always open.
Hovind’s being disingenuous. He only participates in debates that let him dictate all the ground rules. Ed Brayton, a Talk.Origins Archive editor, responded in this September, 1998 feedback to somebody that dared him to accept Hovind’s ten-thousand-dollar challenge.
I have had the unfortunate experience of trying to arrange a debate with Mr. Hovind, one that he initially challenged me to participate in, and then found several reasons to back out himself. Let’s deal with one claim at a time.

First, to the issue of Mr. Hovind’s $10,000 challenge for anyone who can “give any empirical evidence (scientific proof) for evolution.” There are many such challenges that circulate among creationists; all are cleverly worded so as to avoid any possibility of having the challenge met. Of all of the monetary challenges of this sort I have seen, Hovind’s is the most blatantly unattainable. To begin with, he defines “empirical” as “relying or based solely on experiment and observation rather than theory.”

And rather than defining evolution as biologists define it, he adds several superfluous and even irrelevant statements to the definition. He ends up with the following definition of evolution:
  • Time, space, and matter came into existence by themselves.
  • Matter created life by itself.
  • Early life forms learned to reproduce themselves.
  • Major changes occurred between these diverse life forms
It is clearly impossible to offer empirical evidence — that is an experiment or observation — that shows that “time, space and matter came into existence by themselves” or that “matter created itself out of nothing.” The event is over and cannot be observed, nor can the creation of matter be reproduced in a laboratory experiment. Historical science rests on inference, not direct observation.

To make things worse, Hovind sets up an incredibly absurd standard by which to judge such evidence even if it could be offered. He says that in order to collect the $10,000, one must “prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the process of evolution (option 3 below) is the ONLY possible way the observed phenomena could have come into existence.” He reinforces this in his challenge when he states, “As in any fair court of law, the accuser must also rule out any other possible explanations.” So not only must one show evidence for this invalid definition of evolution, one must prove that this is the
only possible way it could have happened.

I would suggest that there is no statement that could be made about any historical event whatsoever that could even hypothetically meet such an inflated and nonsensical standard of proof. Gravity cannot be shown to be the
only possible way that the planets stay in their orbits — it is of course possible that they are held in their orbits by angels, devils or invisible orange leprechauns. There is always a hypothetical alternative that can be offered to any proposition.

Lastly, he provides no details on who the “committee of trained scientists” are that would judge this pointless effort should someone be foolish enough to take him up on it. In short, Hovind’s money is quite safe — he designed the challenge to ensure that this would be the case. I would gladly make a one-million-dollar challenge to Mr. Hovind if he could prove
any historical claim within the boundaries of his criteria.

Now, as to your claim that Hovind has a “doctrine degree in archeology.” I assume you mean a doctorate degree. In point of fact, Mr. Hovind holds a D. Min. in education from Patriot University, a school in Colorado with no faculty and no real academic standards. The American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions accredits it, an accreditation mill that will accredit any school for $100. The Christian Distance Learning Directory lists Patriot as a diploma mill.

Frankly, Hovind’s degree is a fraud. It isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. It should also be noted that if Mr. Hovind held the degree that you believe he holds, it would not make his claims regarding the age of the Earth or evolution any more credible. Even Nobel Prize winners must still support their claims. The fact would still remain that Hovind’s claims, especially in the area of archaeology, are absurd and unsupportable.

You thirdly claim that Mr. Hovind has had 27 debates against “highly respected scientists” and has lost none. I am curious to know on what basis you could make such a claim, since it is unlikely that you have seen more than one or two of these debates yourself. Mr. Hovind claims not to have lost any of them, of course, but then Mr. Hovind also claims that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built by either Adam and Enoch or Noah and Shem, and that AIDS was invented in a laboratory in Maryland.

The fact that Hovind claims something to be true does not exactly fill one with confidence in the claim. I myself had the experience of trying to arrange a debate with Hovind last year. I had initially contacted him via e-mail, asking some questions about several of his proofs that the Earth is only a few thousand years old and his defense of flood geology. He replied that he did not participate in written exchanges, but would be glad to debate me in public on the subject.
I accepted his offer and proposed a time, place and format for the debate. He agreed to all three, but wanted me to defend the statements “There is convincing scientific evidence that matter can create itself from nothing,” and “life can come from non-living material.” Since these statements do not reflect my position on the matter, I refused to defend them.

[Note: Both these statements are completely irrelevant to biological evolution, the age of the Earth, or Flood geology.]

I then offered to have the debate formatted in such a way that both of us would have positive statements to defend, thereby providing an equal burden of proof, and I insisted on sticking to the narrow subjects of the age of the Earth and Flood geology, the subjects on which I had originally questioned him and he had originally challenged me to debate. We then held several phone conversations, during which he came up with a list of various reasons not to hold the debate.

The first was that he should not debate against me because I do not hold an advanced degree in a scientific field; I reminded him that neither did he. I finally got fed up and sent him one last message outlining a place, format and two proposed times (both when he would be in my home state). I even offered to pay his expenses. He responded that our debate didn’t fit into his schedule, but he would be willing to send someone else from his office in his place.
Frankly, I don’t know why he did so. He had initially
agreed to either the last week of June or the last week of September, as he would be in my home state both those times. Suddenly, it didn’t fit into his schedule.

For the record, I would still be very interested in holding a debate with Mr. Hovind on the subjects that he initially challenged me to debate: the age of the Earth and Flood geology. Mr. Hovind is a good speaker and is very polished in his presentation, but his positions, especially regarding the two areas on which I initially questioned him, simply cannot be defended.
And here’s a note in response from Kenneth Fair:
By the way, don’t take Hovind’s advice on the IRS, either. There are decades of Supreme Court and Tax Court rulings that paying one’s income taxes is not voluntary. (The American system of tax assessment and collection is voluntary, meaning that citizens compute their own taxes, rather than having government agents do the computation for everyone.) In short, if you follow his advice, you will go to jail for income tax evasion.
In May, 1999, a friend of mine attended one of Kent Hovind’s lectures at Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia and later e-mailed his copious notes to me. His lecture notes prove that Hovind wallows in pseudoscience and right-wing paranoia. For examples, Hovind claims that:
  • Astronomy and geology aren’t real sciences because they’re based on inference. Real science requires repeatable experiments!
  • The U.S. Supreme Court said public schools could teach Bible courses! (True, but Hovind conveniently omits the nonsectarian part.)
  • Hovind can’t spell Berkeley. He regularly calls it Berkley [sic] College instead of the University of California Berkeley.
  • Adam and Eve lived over 900 years because they were vegetarians! (Why can’t all vegetarians live for nine centuries?)
  • If comets are only thousands of years old, then the universe is only thousands of years old. Likewise, if the Sahara Desert and the Earth’s oldest trees are thousands of years old, then the Earth itself must be only thousands of years old. (What the Hell is he talking about? If the oldest man on Earth were 108 years old, would Hovind claim that humanity must be only centuries old?)
  • Satan invented the Big Bang theory. Hovind says it means, “In the Beginning, Dirt!” (If the Big Bang never happened, can Hovind explain why all the galaxies in the cosmos accelerate away from each other? Can he explain the source of the cosmic background radiation detected by the COBE satellite? Ironically, old-Earth creationists claim the Big Bang theory validates Scriptural authority. Are Hovind’s fellow creationists collaborating with Satan?)
  • Life couldn’t develop from single-celled microorganisms unless they were already male and female! (As a “scientist,” shouldn’t Hovind be familiar with asexual reproduction in nature?)
  • Bible versions other than the King James promote false teachings.
  • Continental drift never happened! Plate tectonics is accepted on religious faith! (What, then, triggers earthquakes?)
  • Combined dosages of vitamin B-17 with vitamin C cures cancer! See and (The FDA warns consumers to shun quacky medical sites.)
  • Noah’s Ark was equipped with a big “moon hole,” and required 12 anchors to secure it. The ark rests in the Durupinar site in Turkey. Just ask Ron Wyatt, who has some of its iron rivets. (Iron rivets? Genesis 6:14 says the ark was constructed of gopher wood and pitch! What’s this about twelve anchors and a moon hole? Is any of this Biblical?)
  • Dragon myths of yore describe actual dinosaur encounters! In medieval times, people killed tyrannosaurs by tearing off their puny arms, thus bleeding them to death! (Maybe Hovind could demonstrate that technique by tearing a limb off a live crocodile?)
  • People use only ten percent of their brains! (That’s actually a myth, but I suspect Hovind uses less than ten percent of his brain.)
  • Dinosaurs are still alive! One eyewitness saw a yellow dinosaur with a beard!
  • Dinosaurs inhabit the world’s rivers and lakes! Hovind has photographs to prove it! (Marine reptiles aren’t dinosaurs, but don’t confuse Hovind with the facts.)
  • The Leviathan described in Job 41 was a fire-breathing dragon! (Leviathan was actually a seven-headed sea monster from Caananite myth. Hovind should consult the original Ugaritic text.)
  • Pterodactyls were spotted in Papua, New Guinea! Just ask the Reverend Carl Baugh. He saw one that glowed in the dark! That’s right… I said, glowed in the dark!
  • A fisherman caught a small dinosaur in Lake Erie near Lakewood, Ohio. The Reverend Carl Baugh has it on display in his creation science museum near Glen Rose, Texas. (Alongside his petrified finger and Ordovician hammer?)
  • Adam and Eve’s kids copulated together. So did Noah’s grandkids. But inbreeding didn’t induce birth defects until God forbade it in the Torah.
  • Adam and Noah’s dad were acquaintances.
  • Watch the skies! Satan is flying around in a UFO!
  • When God formed Eve from Adam’s rib, she became Adam’s genetically identical clone! (Even though she’s a woman?)
  • Human giants walked on Earth before The Flood because the prediluvian vapor canopy doubled Earth’s oxygen and atmospheric pressure! Hovind says the pre-flood Earth was an enormous hyperbaric chamber that granted “healing powers!”
  • Noah was twelve feet tall!
  • The speed of light is slowing down! Hovind proved Einstein wrong! (Last year, I wrote an essay that debunked this hoax.)
  • Fossil hunters uncovered an Allosaurus skeleton eating a fossilized man! Federal agents in New Mexico swooped in and seized all the evidence, but a few photographs escaped confiscation! See! (Oops! Hovind fell for an April Fool’s prank! He should visit that site now!)
  • Ted Turner, his Communist News Network (CNN), his wife Hanoi Jane, the American Communist Lawyers Union (ACLU), the IRS, Prince Charles, Planned Parenthood, the Freemasons, and National “Pornographic” Magazine (with their nude photos of Amazon tribes) make up the New World Order.
And this New World Order will deplete the Earth’s population to only a half billion people by May 5, 2000!
That’s right! Hovind says ninety-percent of the Earth’s population will perish next year! He singled out May 5th because it’s Karl Marx’s birthday and the anniversary of Israel’s statehood.

(Hmmm. Hovind should heed God’s warning to false prophets in Deuteronomy 18:20-22. If May 5, 2000 comes and goes with more than half a billion people still breathing, God says we can stone Kent Hovind to death!)

[Editor’s note: oops.]

Scott, in your first e-mail to me, you said that I “could do better.” What about you, Scott? Can you do better?

Kent Hovind is not a scientist. He’s a self-promoting huckster who concocts sensational stories. If Hovind is a scientist, then Billy Graham is an atheist. Perhaps Hovind is a “plant” to make Christians look stupid.

I beg you to reconsider your scientific sources. Kent Hovind is not a reliable source!

“You can do better!”

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