Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kent Hovind's "Doctoral Thesis"

I just finished reading the entire 102-page doctoral thesis of Mr. Kent Hovind (note that I won't be referring to him as "Dr."), from the prestigious, non-accredited Patriot Bible University. If you don't know, Hovind is one of the dumbest, but most popular, creationism proponents in the USA. He is currently serving a 10-year sentence in prison for tax fraud. The dissertation has been highly sought-after for years by people attempting to see what exactly qualifies Mr. Hovind as a Ph.D., but was never made available until it leaked onto the internet just a few days ago. Now the secret is out! I have some thoughts on it:

1. It contains numerous spelling and grammatical errors. The errors sharply increase in frequency and severity in the second half of the paper, telling me that the finish was seriously rushed. The second half was clearly never proofread, not even while it was being typed.

2. Many of the pages are hand-numbered in messy writing, even though the rest is typed.

3. He brags quite often that he was a high school science teacher. He apparently thinks that should be impressive. To the rubes, it probably is impressive. They don't know that you don't even need a university-level science degree to teach high school science. I don't think Hovind has any scientific education beyond high school. (Verification, anybody?)

4. It contains numerous personal anecdotes and opinions which are not backed up with any facts, and even a poem which he wrote.

5. It contains no references at all to any of the supposed facts it contains, something which would be demanded for all stated facts in a real dissertation.

6. It contains at least one quote which seems to be completely fabricated. This quote is used twice, in different parts of the paper.

7. In one part he argues that religions should not be in schools, then later he writes that his religion should be.

8. It begins with, "Hello, my name is Kent Hovind." This is not at all acceptable for a doctoral dissertation at a real university, nor even for a grade-school paper on polar bears.

9. It contains an ironic discussion about people's faith in their beliefs being so strong that it can hinder scientific progress.

10. It discusses countries in which people are not allowed to practice religion, saying they are contrary to freedom, but ignores countries in which one must practice the state religion and may not be an atheist (at least publicly).

11. It contains an anecdote about how fat Charles Darwin's grandfather was. Is this appropriate for a doctoral dissertation?

12. When he wonders why no trees are more than a few thousand years old, the words "forest fires" never occur to him.

13. It ignores modern scientific knowledge.

14. It contains no original research.

15. Most of the chapters which are discussed in the introduction are not actually contained in the thesis. He planned to write 16 chapters, but only the first 4 are included. He didn't even adjust the introduction to recognise this. The content promised in those chapters is not found anywhere else in the paper, indicating that it wasn't just several chapters combined into one. More evidence for my point #1 above.

16. In 2 places in which he attempts to quote a book (who knows if the quote is even legit), the title is missing, with a note to himself to add the title later.


If you're interested in reading it, check it out here. It's a fairly fast read, as it contains nothing scholarly or difficult on the intellect.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hovind should get another ten years in the slammer for writing that.

rex minor said...

I think my 8th grade research paper (which I wrote in 3 hours using wikipedia as my main source) was better written than that thing....I couldn't finish ten pages of it.

Laura said...

HAHA, the comment I was going to write flew out of my head when I saw Anonymous'! PERFECT response, I can do no better! :D

Eillix said...

Ah yes. Kent Hovind.

A lot of Christians don't agree with his approach including me.

It's ironic that he tries to show that Jesus is loving by being sarcastic, humiliating others, and talking down to those he debates against. It's ironic because looking at Hovind, there's plenty of things to criticize.

The "us VS. them" mentality is wrong but it's a mentality that people on both sides have. Christians as a whole don't seem to get it. Just because you've silenced someone doesn't mean you've converted them. As a Christian I cringe every time I hear unasked for advice spewing from a Christian's mouth.

I'll just bet people are thinking:
"Great. You've won the argument. I still don't care."

There's a wonderful axiom from Dale Carnegie that comes to mind: A Man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. Clearly this is something we Christians need to be reminded of frequently (including me). :)

The only one that can change anyone's mind is God Himself and even He doesn't do it by force. So why are so many Christians beating people over the head? Probably because they don't actually know Him. I didn't and I didn't even know it until a few years ago.

Feki said...

Eillix, with all due respect it's become annoying to hear over and over that only true christians "actually know" their god. It is sort of a cliche, you know?

Well, your post made me feel compelled to remind you that gods cannot be proven scientifically. That of course unless you've found a way to demonstrate the altogether existence of Krishna, Mithra, Quetzalcoatl, Horus and Jesus, to name few.

Based on the above, for me it is perfectly safe to assume that there is ZERO risk of a supernatural entity suddenly choosing to mess around with people's minds.

In other words: no god to brainwash you by force or by extremely subtle changes in our intrinsicately complex world.

Hope you take no offense for any implicit sarcasm.

We are now left with Hovind, a poorly educated, delusional and despicable liar. He has deceived people and tricked them into believing a number of absurd supernatural claims... not unlike Benedict and endless generations of preachers from a variety of faiths.

The need for religion and pastoral roles is over: both are known to be plagued by fraud and bigotry. Hovind's case is a remarkably clear example of this.


Best,
F


ps - yes, unfortunately it comes down to "reason vs fantasy". I chose reason and hope that people's fantasies will some day stop causing war, poverty and ignorance.

Eillix said...

Feki,

"Hope you take no offense for any implicit sarcasm."
None taken. Thanks for helping me to understand your perspective. I appreciate your willingness to be open with me.


I didn't say that only true Christians know God. I'm not exactly sure what a "true Christian" looks like and how to know that it's true. I understand how these cliche's can be irritating.

Cliche or not I've spent time testing this for myself to identify whether knowing God has made a difference or not. It has for me - in personally observable & practical ways.

You're right I can't prove God's existence scientifically. However there are 20 centuries of data from Jewish, Christian, Roman, and pagan data that can be used to authenticate Jesus and the New Testament. We have less to authenticate Shakespeare, Aristotle and Plato's existence.

I Agree with you that...
• The need for religion is over. Relationship is what matters most.
• Kent Hovind was poorly educated, ungracious, and dishonest.

What it comes down to is this: I believe. You do not.
That's okay with me. I hope we can agree to disagree and still continue to learn from each other.

My Questions
• Governments, Corporations, Wall Street and the like struggle with fraud and bigotry as well. Is it time for these to end as well? How do you decide when these concepts are no longer needed?

Feki said...

Mmmmm all right: there are a few more centuries of data from romans that demonstrate Zeus existence. And several more centuries of data that demonstrate Vishnu's existence. I guess that settles it: they all exist :)

Now, Santa Claus has been around for quite some time now, could it be that he is also real?

Come on Eillix, you seem like a somewhat rational christian, ask yourself the following:

Historically there has been thousands of gods, what makes yours stand out from the rest?

why this "true god" decided to show himself only in Palestine and not in Bolivia or Greenland or Australia?

why native people in Bolivia, Greenland and Australia didn't even flinch when Jesus was born?

why is the Palestinian god more authentic than other gods in Bolivia or Greenland or Australia?

Assuming that Palestine tribes were apt at recognizing "authentic gods", then which one is the right one: yhve or allah?

Please tell me that you see the absurdity in declaring a god (any god) universal. Had you been born deep in the Amazon you'd argue that a monkey-like god had made a difference for you - in personally observable & practical ways.

Western religions has represented a bigger threat than any corrupt goverment/corporation. Ask native people in Bolivia, Greenland and Australia.

Eillix said...

Feki,

I'm talking about accounts from people that can authenticate Jesus as a real person based on 1st 2nd, 3rd hand accounts, etc. Some of these people actually had incentive to avoid admitting that He existed but did it anyway.

I'm not asking you or anyone reading to believe anything I've said so why should I change my beliefs and stop talking about Him the way that I do because you disbelieve & feel it's cliche?

You said:
Historically there has been thousands of gods, what makes yours stand out from the rest?

His love, character, & the concept of grace.

You said:
why this "true god" decided to show himself only in Palestine and not in Bolivia or Greenland or Australia?

I don't know that He hasn't shown Himself there. Do you?

You said:
why native people in Bolivia, Greenland and Australia didn't even flinch when Jesus was born?

I don't know. That's like asking why the natives in Africa don't flinch when it's George Clooney's birthday. I'm not really sure why that would have the slighest bearing on Jesus and what He came to do.

You said:
why is the Palestinian god more authentic than other gods in Bolivia or Greenland or Australia?

I wasn't aware of a competition -or- that God was confined to a specific locale. Never heard that before.

You said:
Assuming that Palestine tribes were apt at recognizing "authentic gods", then which one is the right one: yhve or allah?

I wasn't sure when a competition began between the two. Wonder if people are trying to take "ownership" of the same entity. In any event why would that have the slightest bearing on God and who He is?

You Said:
Please tell me that you see the absurdity in declaring a god (any god) universal. Had you been born deep in the Amazon you'd argue that a monkey-like god had made a difference for you - in personally observable & practical ways.

Nice. I see what you did there.
I think that God's capable of making Himself known. There are examples of that in the bible (I know, I know, you don't believe that).

You said:
Western religions has represented a bigger threat than any corrupt goverment/corporation. Ask native people in Bolivia, Greenland and Australia.

Ask anyone? Seriously, that might not be such a great idea.


Overall it sounds like you're saying that religion is the primary cause of all that's wrong in the world because it's plagued by fraud and bigotry. If that's what you're saying that sounds like an Ad Hominem argument and a Glittering Generality all at once. If i misunderstood your position I apologize.

Please help me understand.

Fireheart22 said...

Are we sure that Kent Hovind's even finish the 9th grade,beacuse i have never read anything so poorly written in all of my life.

Feki said...

Historically there has been thousands of gods…
His love, character, & the concept of grace.
FK > Did you just admit the existence of thousands of gods besides yours? Just kidding, I am sure a fire-breathing, winged god does not turn your crank.<<

why this "true god" …
I don't know that He hasn't shown Himself there. Do you?
FK> I do, I am absolutely certain. From archeological evidence it is clear that natives in Bolivia, Greenland and Australia were not lucky enough to see the light of yhve or sweet jesus, at least not until after conquest and subsequent humiliation and brainwashing by hordes of catholic priests. <<

why native people in Bolivia, Greenland and Australia …
I don't know. That's like asking why the natives in Africa don't flinch when it's George Clooney's birthday. I'm not really sure why that would have the slightest bearing on Jesus and what He came to do.
FK> Is George Clooney one of yhve multiple personalities? Please don’t side step the issue here: had jesus been an all loving supernatural being he could have cared enough to appear simultaneously in all continents and introduced himself. An omnipotent, omnipresent god needed not to wait until catholic priests used the whip on indigenous populations to learn from its existence. <<

why is the Palestinian god more authentic than …
I wasn't aware of a competition -or- that God was confined to a specific locale. Never heard that before.
FK> Yes it is confined to a specific locale: the Palestinian god was invented by the Palestinians, as well as Thor was created by Nordic tribes and Huitzilopochtli was invented by the Aztecs. Now, no side stepping: according to you why is yhve the authentic god? Everybody came up with gods. Ancient civilizations acknowledged that other regions had other gods. You just have to tell me why you think yours is the top dog.<<

Assuming that Palestine tribes were apt at …
I wasn't sure when a competition began between the two. Wonder if people are trying to take "ownership" of the same entity. In any event why would that have the slightest bearing on God and who He is?
FK> News flash: Competition between the two has being going on for centuries. Now to the objective part: two “supreme gods” were created by (essentially) the same tribes, wandering through the same desert. If I believed in any of them, I would be curious about what the other has to say, since they seem to have different messages. For example: one offers 72 virgins in the afterlife, the other gives you a harp. Remember, no side stepping Eillix.<<

Please tell me that you see the absurdity in …
Nice. I see what you did there.
I think that God's capable of making Himself known. There are examples of that in the bible (I know, I know, you don't believe that).
FK> You are saying that your god has the amazing power of making itself known in the form of a monkey deity, ganesh, horus, mithra, dead cat, odin, jupiter, xango, walrus deity, apollo, burning bush, govinda, etc. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that your god decided to take so many confusing and contradicting forms? Could it be that all these beings were just imagined by people to explain supernatural phenomena back in the day when we treated illnesses with dung? It is difficult to read you with so much sidestepping, please try and be objective.<<

Western religions has represented a bigger threat …
Ask anyone? Seriously, that might not be such a great idea.
FK> Your background is probably European and thus you cannot relate to what living in a country conquered by swords and crucifixes is like. Christian religion was imposed by force, not by choice. Indigenous populations were decimated (as gay Ugandans might be) thanks to christianity. The few unconverted have little land and live marginalized in extreme poverty. And worst of all, they are the main target of christian missionaries. I think I made my point clear.<<

Eillix said...

Feki,

You said:
FK > Did you just admit the existence of thousands of gods besides yours? Just kidding, I am sure a fire-breathing, winged god does not turn your crank.
I say:
Classy :)

You said:
FK> I do, I am absolutely certain. From archeological evidence it is clear that natives in Bolivia, Greenland and Australia were not lucky enough to see the light of yhve or sweet jesus, at least not until after conquest and subsequent humiliation and brainwashing by hordes of catholic priests.
I say:
I agree that Jesus probably wasn't on the radar with the natives in boliva, greenland, or argentina - it's interesting that you added the part about "conquest and humiliation". Good save. Your original question didn't say anything about the time frame. :)

You said:
FK> Is George Clooney one of yhve multiple personalities? Please don’t side step the issue here: had jesus been an all loving supernatural being he could have cared enough to appear simultaneously in all continents and introduced himself. An omnipotent, omnipresent god needed not to wait until catholic priests used the whip on indigenous populations to learn from its existence.
I say:
I don't think that He would qualify as being perfect if He had a mental disorder. Good thoughts though. Its funny it sounds like you're inferring that He wasn't loving because He didn't show up and do things the way you thought He should. Nice.

You said:
FK> Yes it is confined to a specific locale: the Palestinian god was invented by the Palestinians, as well as Thor was created by Nordic tribes and Huitzilopochtli was invented by the Aztecs. Now, no side stepping: according to you why is yhve the authentic god? Everybody came up with gods. Ancient civilizations acknowledged that other regions had other gods. You just have to tell me why you think yours is the top dog.<<

I say:
Heh. Actually I think I'll pass on telling you what I think about God. Didn't you mention that you found my cliches annoying?

Your comment about the "Palestinian God" (as you call Him) is interesting because He has history in Egypt, Syria, Italy, Greece, Asia Minor (including Modern Day Turkey Albania, Bosnia, & Iraq). He has history in Palestine before it was Palestine. Obviously other cultures have their beliefs. I'm just not sure why I should care (it's not like the Hindu's in India, the Buddhists in China, or the atheists in America, are even remotely interested in my beliefs). Are you trying to trap me here? :)


You said:
FK> News flash: Competition between the two has being going on for centuries. Now to the objective part: two “supreme gods” were created by (essentially) the same tribes, wandering through the same desert. If I believed in any of them, I would be curious about what the other has to say, since they seem to have different messages. For example: one offers 72 virgins in the afterlife, the other gives you a harp. Remember, no side stepping Eillix.

I say:
Heh, Are you admitting now that God exists? :) I'm sorry I just couldn't resist - you mentioned that the two were fighting. We were talking about alleged competition between gods.

I haven't studied Islam in-depth so my understanding is limited (I'm still studying my way through the many forms of Christianity). There are similarities between Christianity & Islam and I plan on studying this soon. I've heard theories that this could be sibling rivalry between Abraham's sons Isaac & Ishmael. I don't know whether this is true or not.

Eillix said...

You said:
FK> You are saying that your god has the amazing power of making itself known in the form of a monkey deity, ganesh, horus, mithra, dead cat, odin, jupiter, xango, walrus deity, apollo, burning bush, govinda, etc. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that your god decided to take so many confusing and contradicting forms? Could it be that all these beings were just imagined by people to explain supernatural phenomena back in the day when we treated illnesses with dung? It is difficult to read you with so much sidestepping, please try and be objective.
I say:
I didn't say that God has made Himself known as the deities that you've listed. You said that. However, as a Christian I believe in God and I also believe that satan exists - playing the primary role of discrediting & separating people from God (satan means "the accuser" in Hebrew. (I know, I know, you don't believe that.)

You said:
FK> Your background is probably European and thus you cannot relate to what living in a country conquered by swords and crucifixes is like. Christian religion was imposed by force, not by choice. Indigenous populations were decimated (as gay Ugandans might be) thanks to Christianity. The few unconverted have little land and live marginalized in extreme poverty. And worst of all, they are the main target of christian missionaries. I think I made my point clear.
I say:
Surprise! My background is not European. Actually my background is rooted in a country where people had to flee because of a looming communist takeover.

You still haven't answered my questions about life, meaning, purpose or morality. You said this: "Morality is a product of reasoning, not a product of divine inspiration. Ethics has been a field of study way before Christianity appeared." Who's reasoning? Who was studying ethics, what gives them to right to establish their reasoning as LAW? Why should I obey?

It's also interesting because it seems like your attitude is that corruption wouldn't exist if it wasn't for religion, but you still haven't shown me anything to back that assertion up (If you have it I'd love to see it).

DM said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim said...

Atheism is dead? Does that mean I've found God?