Pharyngula

A challenge!

Here’s a request from gnosos:

“Dr” Hovind is giving a speech on my campus tomorrow night in a 450 seat auditorium. Usually, questioners only get 15 seconds at the mic at these kinds of things, and I’m trying to think of a question that approaches one of his many glaring errors in thought in a novel way. Do you (or your readers) have any ideas about what you (or they) would say to Kent Hovind given 15 seconds?

I’m cynical: I think the rapid-fire limitation is intended to prevent deep, thoughtful questions or any kind of considered rebuttal, and I also think he’ll just reply to anything with more empty-headed, rote creationist jingo, so I think it’s all an exercise in futility. But maybe someone here can come up with a simple stumper of a question.

Comments

  1. #1 Guitar Eddie
    February 27, 2006

    I have a question for Mr. Hovind.

    If we are intelligently designed, why do men have nipples and why do they secrete “witches milk” sometimes?

    GE

  2. #2 Kristine
    February 27, 2006

    If there is an intelligent designer, why does She/He/It (abbreviation S.H.%T.) act just as randomly as does a universe without an intelligent designer?

  3. #3 wamba
    February 27, 2006

    If dinosaurs still exist, why are there pygmies and dwarves?

  4. #4 Mark Paris
    February 27, 2006

    “If there is an intelligent designer, why have my knees worn out before I was finished using them? And my eyes? And just what was the intelligent designer thinking of when he put the prostate where it is? And why did the intelligent designer make it so that most humans can’t go out unprotected under our native sun without risking dying from cancer? What what’s the deal with cancer anyway?”

  5. #5 Mike
    February 27, 2006

    Hovind had a 2 hour debate with Massimo Pigliucci (on http://www.infidelguy.com).

    Men’s nipples?… Men have nipples because it joins different types of skin at that point.

    Wisdom teeth?… People were bigger back then, so there was less crowding the jaw. Now that we’re smaller, our teeth don’t fit.

    The problem is that you can’t stump Hovind because his answers don’t have to make any kind of sense at all.

  6. #6 Ray
    February 27, 2006

    You could ask him why he keeps repeating the same lies over and over again, even after they’re debunked, and since he’s so good at lying, does it mean that he’s really an agent of Satan?

  7. #7 Shygetz
    February 27, 2006

    I have a question for Mr. Hovind…If there is an intelligent designer, how is it there are PYGMIES + DWARFS??

  8. #8 Rick
    February 27, 2006

    Why did the designer make things so complicated? Why not just create dolls with souls? The more simplex something is, the less chance for error.

  9. #9 bmurray
    February 27, 2006

    You can’t invent questions that will stump someone like this. He’s preaching largely to his own choir and is not bound by rules of reason — even the most thought provoking question can always be met with “the intent of the Designer is not known to us and perhaps can’t be known by us”. Attacking him in that setting is a losing proposition.

  10. #10 Steve
    February 27, 2006

    Ask him why does the ID love beetles so?

  11. #11 Kieran
    February 27, 2006

    Is there any specific piece of evidence that would convince you that an intelligent designer does not exist?

  12. #12 T_U_T
    February 27, 2006

    just 4 fun,
    what about “If earth is just few thousand years old, why do we see supernovae in galaxies hundreds of thousands of light-years away, expanding with the same speed of light as today” ?

  13. #13 Steve
    February 27, 2006

    or if the ID designed us to talk out of our mouths, why is he using is arsehole?

  14. #14 Kieran
    February 27, 2006

    (As others have pointed out, you’re not going to stump someone who is basically working from a different rulebook. The best you can do is make it clear that he’s precommitted to the conclusion, and that’s not scientific.)

  15. #15 polliwog
    February 27, 2006

    1.Why are human beings sometimes born with tails?

    2. What about diseases that outsmart the ID immune system- are they intelligently designed?

    Have examples handy. He might deny 1. He might say the devil did 2.

  16. #16 CCP
    February 27, 2006

    Yayus, brethren, the designer works in mysterious ways…
    Actually, I’ve been doing a little homework in preparation for a visit to my campus by Dembski next month. You know, you can’t get him with the obviously-poor-design argument any more; he actually has an essay posted called ‘Intelligent design is not optimal design’ which basically sez: “Hey, we never said the designer was any good at it, just that it’s obviously design, good, bad or ugly.” So does that imply that the Designer is not, perhaps, omnipotent…?
    No; the designer works in mysterious ways…
    (but, really, it’s Science! No, really!)

  17. #17 darukaru
    February 27, 2006

    If there is an intelligent designer, why have my knees worn out before I was finished using them? And my eyes? And just what was the intelligent designer thinking of when he put the prostate where it is? And why did the intelligent designer make it so that most humans can’t go out unprotected under our native sun without risking dying from cancer? What what’s the deal with cancer anyway?

    Sin cursed world, duh.

  18. #18 Jeff
    February 27, 2006

    I think the “if we’re intelligently designed, why arn’t we perfect” strategy is a bad one. A creationist is just going to give some bs about how we’re not in a position to question why jebuz created us the way he did.

    I think Kristine wins.

  19. #19 Magnum
    February 27, 2006

    If we didn’t descend from animals, then why does it hurt your tail-bone when you fall flat on your arse, MONKEY-BOY?

  20. #20 wamba
    February 27, 2006

    You can’t invent questions that will stump someone like this.

    Good point. I guess the best to hope for is a question that would make him look foolish answering, on the long shot that there might be a rational person in the audience who was able to perceive his foolishness.

  21. #21 dbpitt
    February 27, 2006

    IDrs claim that if evolution were viable scientific theory, it would be disprovable, which it is. But how can ID be disprovable if it completely lacks methods or means, or even reason more than “he did it because thatís what he wanted.”?
    Actually, just occasionally blurt out, “Men have nipples!” from the audience.

  22. #22 Jim
    February 27, 2006

    How’s this for a stumper?

    Why should these good people here tonight give you more money, when you’ve been perpetrating income taxe fraud for years?

  23. #23 Lya Kahlo
    February 27, 2006

    Just say “Isn’t there a commandment against lying?” He probably won’t get it, and that would be very satisfying humilation.

  24. #24 Rob Thornton
    February 27, 2006

    Dr. Hovind, when you say that a creature’s design is “irreducibly complex” and thus demonstrates the existence of a creator, aren’t you making a leap of faith instead of a reasoned argument?

  25. #25 Joe Shelby
    February 27, 2006

    Hovnid’s “YEC”, right? He’s one claimimg the flood killed off the dinosaurs (including the small ones), right?

    So, if “Noah did all that the LORD commanded him” (Genesis 7:5), meaning he took “seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.” (Genesis 7:2-3), then he *had* to have taken dinosaurs with him on the arc.

    So what happened to them since?

    For that matter, were the shoal fossils found in China in the past 5-10 years be “birds” or “animals”?

  26. #26 Jake
    February 27, 2006

    Given the vast number of books that claim to have been written through divine inspiration, how do you (Hovind) know that the one you rely on is, in fact, the right one?

  27. #27 idlemind
    February 27, 2006

    “Does a dog possess the Buddha-nature, or not?”

  28. #28 polliwog
    February 27, 2006

    If you could win a soul to Christ by misrepresenting science in your talks, would that be all right with the Lord?

  29. #29 lovable liberal
    February 27, 2006

    The point of asking a question is not to stump him but to provoke the rare thought in a member of his audience. Thus the question is what’s important, not the predictable stupid answer.

    Oh, and don’t call him “Dr.” Stick to “Mr.” Respect for his person is good and politic; respect for his “credentials” only helps him.

    So, use the whole 15 seconds to give as many examples of unintelligent design as you can. Then, finish with something like, “Can you explain why an intelligent designer would make so many mistakes?”

  30. #30 Kristine
    February 27, 2006

    Hey, I’ve got another one: “You don’t like the concept of mathematical chance. But if the intelligent designer exists simply because the intelligent designer has always existed, couldn’t you say that the intelligent designer happens to be the intelligent designer only by CHANCE?” (My previous question restated, actually.)

  31. #31 Nate
    February 27, 2006

    How about “could you please detail an example of a repeatable biology EXPERIMENT using the SCIENTIFIC METHOD, the conclusion of which strongly points toward a designer?”

  32. #32 John
    February 27, 2006

    Jon Stewart’s question to Dembski, about why he has a scrotum with his testicles hanging out in a vulnerable place. You’ll at least get him to blush.

  33. #33 Nate
    February 27, 2006

    Or maybe even, “can you outline the steps of the scientific method, and explain how they are consistently used by those favoring intelligent design, and perhaps how this use differs from the way godless biologists use them?”

  34. #34 fwiffo
    February 27, 2006

    “Mr. Hovind, are you on crack?”

  35. #35 Space_Monkey
    February 27, 2006

    Many of the suggested questions for the guy are too logical. Hovind obviously doesn’t care about making good arguments; his technique is to make emotional appeals to the audience of believers, cloaked in scientific sounding words. Any question you ask should be designed not to rebut his argument but to ruin his calm, to destroy his hold on the audience, and to cause him to become emotional and flustered. If you achieve this, he will be less charismatic, less authoritative & more insecure, and ultimately less appealing for the audience.

  36. #36 Frank Sullivan
    February 27, 2006

    We now know that the human embryo has approimately 10 tail vertebrea that extend beyond the anus. This tail is identical to other primate tails at this stage of development, as it includes a spinal chord, notochord, and mesenchyme (which is a precursor to connective tissue, bone tissue, and circulatory tissue).

    After about 2 weeks, most of this tail regresses. The cells that form about 6 of the vertebrea die along with the other complex tisues that accompany them. These dead cells are then comsumed by the embryo’s digestive system. A few vertebrea remain, however they are reduced further and they eventually become the coccyx.

    Why would a intelligent designer, specifically an omnipotent and omniscient one, design humans so that they have real tails during embryonic development, only to take them away a few weeks later? Why not just remove the tail genes altogether?

  37. #37 Chuck
    February 27, 2006

    Just say “Isn’t there a commandment against lying?”

    The commandment is against bearing false witness against one’s neighbor. There is not a commandment against lying generally.

  38. #38 Frank Sullivan
    February 27, 2006

    “Oh, and don’t call him “Dr.” Stick to “Mr.””

    Does “Mr.” stand for “Mocktor”?

  39. #39 Mark Paris
    February 27, 2006

    Since the defence now against pointing out poor design is that the designer doesn’t have to be good, why not ask him this: Given the many instances of poor design, is it really correct to refer to an “intelligent” designer? Isn’t there a better term for a designer that does such a bad job? Like “bad designer”? Or “incompetent designer”? What about “half-assed designer”?

  40. #40 Calladus
    February 27, 2006

    Mr. Hovind, Would you be willing to participate in a written, formal debate with a recognized authority of evolution, with the results published on the Internet? Why or why not?

    Or perhaps

    Mr. Hovind, Is it true that you won’t participate in a written, formal debate with a recognized authority of evolution because a spoken debate format allows you to list a lot of unsupported claims without fear of having them all rebutted?

    Let’s see him try the “Hovind Gallup” in a written debate, and have each of his points slaughtered.

    The point of the question would be to show the students that Hovind is not acting in good faith – that he is actually using a spoken debate and some fast talking to ‘snow’ the listener with a lot of claims that can’t be debunked quickly, or on the spot.

  41. #41 Martin Brazeau
    February 27, 2006

    Just ask him to explain how we would discover that there had been a global flood if never had the Bible’s account.

  42. #42 Zeteo Eurisko
    February 27, 2006

    Lots of good ideas here. Please recall that Kent Hovind is a YEC, not an IDist. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/12/31/8219/5938 summarizes his position.

  43. #43 Shygetz
    February 27, 2006

    I actually like the “What evidence would convince you that the world was not made 6,000 years ago in just 6 days?” Although one of the “PYGMIES + DWARFS” ones would probably be better at making him lose his composure. Or, rant about some mysterious, advanced technology that he uses during his talk (microphones, projector, etc.), point at him and yell “Witch!”

  44. #44 Mark Paris
    February 27, 2006

    So Hovind does not talk about an intelligent designer? He actually believes in YEC? In that case, there is no point in trying to ask him a question and expect a rational answer. He has given himself over totally to delusion. Save all those questions for the IDers who pretend to science.

  45. #45 steve s
    February 27, 2006

    My question would be brief.

    Since you lie about having a Ph.D, why should be trust you?

  46. #46 Desruc
    February 27, 2006

    I’ve actually put some thought into what one question I would ask to Hovind if given the opportunity. So far I’ve come up with this: shared broken genes and shared retro virus insertions (an explainer on the latter can be found here).

    This is the greatest proof for common ancestry that I’m aware of and its a completely fair thing to ask because Hovind is certainly aware of it. During his radio show a guy named Jared Hoag called up and asked him why humans share broken genes with apes. Unfortunately, it seems that the audio file from the segment is no longer available at this site. But, his response was something to this effect: “This could be evidence for a common catastrophe; if you found a whole bunch of animals with concussions you would assume a hail storm, not common ancestry”. This shortly before he announced that he had just ran out of time.

  47. #47 steve s
    February 27, 2006

    Another route is, you could get him to start with the conspiracy talk.

    “There are 100 biologists who believe in evolution, for every one who believes in creationism. Are you saying those biologists are stupid and decieved, or cowardly and lying?”

  48. #48 Hank Fox
    February 27, 2006

    I’d ask “Do you yourself go to doctors trained in intelligent design? Or do you prefer doctors who have degrees from institutions in which intelligent design is considered laughable quackery? When your followers ask for advice on medical care for themselves and their children, which type of doctor do you urge them to go to?”

    Or maybe “Why do you go to all the trouble to travel around and tell these lies to people? Is it for the money? The fame? Do you have any idea how predatory you seem to the people who actually see clearly what you’re doing? Are you capable of understanding what you’re doing to our nation by destroying young Americans’ ability to understand science?”

    Just FYI: EVERY question you ask that presupposes an intelligent designer, such as “Why did the designer do …?” places you at a disadvantage.

    Merely by phrasing the question that way, you buy into his field of argument.

    You’re essentially saying “Okay, I’ll agree there’s a designer. Now I want to ask you a question about what He intended.”

    You may not think so, but that’s what almost every listener will hear.

    It really is a subliminal suggestion to the listener that a designer exists.

  49. #49 Brian
    February 27, 2006

    Were the Sumerians before or after the Flood?

    If he says before, ask how is it that they wrote about the flood then?

    if after, well they existed 5000 or more years ago, so much for a 6000 year old earth.

  50. #50 ceejayoz
    February 27, 2006

    I like the “Are you on crack?” one, mainly because any truly serious question is going to either get ignored or handwaved away.

    Have some fun with it.

  51. #51 Jeff Hebert
    February 27, 2006

    I think this is the best one so far:

    polliwog:
    If you could win a soul to Christ by misrepresenting science in your talks, would that be all right with the Lord?

    I think it would have the greatest impact on the audience, and that’s really the important thing. I would think he’d answer something like “There’s no need to lie, the evidence doesn’t need to be misrepresented to lead souls to Christ” but the seed will have been planted in the audience to question his motives.

  52. #52 Bored Huge Krill
    February 27, 2006

    Mr. Hovind, Is it true that you won’t participate in a written, formal debate with a recognized authority of evolution because a spoken debate format allows you to list a lot of unsupported claims without fear of having them all rebutted?

    I think this is exactly right.

    The fact is, you can’t ask a question in the 15 seconds which can stump him, because his system doesn’t work like that. The whole setup is designed to allow him to use his system, which involves throwing vast quantities of arguments at any dissenter so quickly that they can’t possibly rebut all of them in whatever time they have – and there is no check on him changing the subject so as to conceal his failure to actually respond to any question put.

    His modus operandi isn’t about having a rational discussion – and there is simply no point in attempting to engage in one – in doing so, you’re simply feeding his system.

    Your only hope is to point out that this is what is happening – that this is simply a demonstration of his system – and that he won’t engage in a discussion outside of that format. Maybe somebody in the audience will see what is happening.

  53. #53 Phila
    February 27, 2006

    If you could win a soul to Christ by misrepresenting science in your talks, would that be all right with the Lord?

    Posted by: polliwog

    The winner, hands down.

  54. #54 Andrew
    February 27, 2006

    “Mr. Hovind, I’m a Christian, but I’m troubled by the obviously poor science being peddled by the ID and YEC crowd. No, I don’t have time to go into it in 15 seconds. My question is: is believing in creationism a salvation issue? Do I have to agree with you to be a Christian?”

  55. #55 ochreous
    February 27, 2006

    I second Kieran’s proposed question. The only points you could resonably make in that venue are ones that establish his level of intellectual honesty and scientific rigour. Asking him to tell the audience what evidence would falsify ID is the perfect question for testing both such things.

  56. #56 Sastra
    February 27, 2006

    “Mr. Hovind, as you realize, in science new evidence sometimes means we change our theory. If eventually new discoveries make it absolutely clear that evolution happened after all, do you advise everyone here to be honest and renounce Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? In other words — is evolution your test for God?”

    Give the religious folk in the auditorium something to mull over.

  57. #57 shooboo
    February 27, 2006

    Could God have used evolution to create new species?

    If the response is “no”, then say “I thought God was omnipotent. Who are you to say what God can’t and can do? If you’re denying that God could have used evolution, you’re denying His omnipotence, and thus denying God Himself.”

  58. #58 Alan
    February 27, 2006

    Yes, Mr. Hovind, one of the things you constantly harp on is that God created kinds, and species are variations of these kinds. For example, all dogs, and, presumably, wolves, hyenas, foxes, and such are all the same kind. Since the only way you’ve ever given for determining what a kind is is to “step back and look at it”, how can you justify saying that apes, monkeys, and humans aren’t the same kind? After all, if you step back and look at them, aren’t they pretty much the same basic design with some variations here and there?

  59. #59 Zeteo Eurisko
    February 27, 2006

    I’m considering asking one that is general enough for the audience and gets at his method without directly asking. Tell me what you think of:

    “There are many branches of science that provide evidences of an old earth. Among these are geology, biology, cosmology, and physics. Does a branch of science exist of which you are willing to concede that a millions-of-years-believing scientist may have a better understanding than you?”

  60. #60 DouglasG
    February 27, 2006

    For a person like Hovind, you cannot beat him at his own game. What you can do is make him look bad in front of his flock.

    Who would be more likely to use false claims and trickery to make their point – Satan or God?

    Why have you spent all this time with false claims and trickery in God’s name when you obviously must be doing Satan’s work?

  61. #61 Joe
    February 27, 2006

    Maybe this is over the line, but did anyone see that ALI G episode with Kent Hovind on?

    I laughed so hard at Ali G’s insistence that Kent Hovind “Left a floater” in the green room toilet.

    I guess with that in mind, I’d ask Kent “Did you REALLY leave a floater?”

  62. #62 Mike
    February 27, 2006

    What about a simple double negative question like: Can god create a rock so big he cannot lift? or can god create a universe so big he cannot control it?

  63. #63 aiabx
    February 27, 2006

    If God loves truth, why would he deceive us by filling rocks with fossils and space with starlight from distant galaxies?

  64. #64 Marc Connor
    February 27, 2006

    Here’s a quick one:
    Mr. Hovind, have you had a flu shot this year? Why?

  65. #65 Alan
    February 27, 2006

    To help out, Hovind definitely would not have gotten a flu shot, since he thinks innoculations are part of a government conspiracy.

    He’ll also use the ole’ “variable speed of light” explanation for the distant stars/galaxies.

    He also wouldn’t go for any of the ID questions because he “believe(s) the Bible cover to cover” and is quite the literalist. You know, when it suits his purpose.

    I’ll vote also for the question about converting souls by lying about/misrepresenting science.

  66. #66 BJHokanson
    February 27, 2006

    If the scrotum question is out, I’d go with simply, “As a highly respected scientist, you know that any reputable theory must have a means by which it could hypothetically be disproved. How could intelligent design [better: the existence of God] be disproved?”

    Then be sure to record the flailing.

  67. #67 gbusch
    February 27, 2006

    Mr. Hovind..Please if you may….explain why I am not the intelligent designer of which you speak.

  68. #68 Siamang
    February 27, 2006

    Ask him why plesiosaurs, trilobytes, icktheosaurs, ammonites, and all the prehistoric sea animals died in the flood and their bones turned into rocks but whales, dolphins, sealions, and fish all survived? If it was because whales were stronger, why did fish survive? If it was because there was a difference in climate, isn’t that proof of Darwin’s Natural Selection?

    Naah, too technical.

    I’d probably ask, “When did you stop beating your wife?”

  69. #69 Jake
    February 27, 2006

    Or better yet:

    Mr. Hovind, please prove that I am not God.

  70. #70 Zeteo Eurisko
    February 27, 2006

    I appreciate several of the questions posted. Desruc, your discussion of retrovirus insertions is one of the most compelling and comprehensible evidences of evolution I could mention, but I fear I would lose the audience. Any comments on my previous idea:

    There are many branches of science that provide evidences of an old earth. Among these are geology, biology, cosmology, and physics. Does a branch of science exist about which you are willing to concede that a millions-of-years-believing scientist may have a better understanding than you?

    I may follow up with:

    If so, can you give me an example of when you have deferred to their better understanding?

    If he says no to the first question, he betrays his intellectual dishonesty. If he says yes, there is a chink in his armor, and I doubt he could provide an example for the follow-up question. This is much like the lady who asked Bush in the ’04 race, “Can you give me an example of three mistakes you made as president?”

    Dr. Myers – any thoughts from experience?

  71. #71 BL
    February 27, 2006

    I would simply ask: “Mr. Hovind, can you please articulate your definition of science?”

  72. #72 Zeteo Eurisko
    February 27, 2006

    Perhaps I should ask, “Can you give me three examples of when you have abandon a creation-based theory or concept as a result of testing by evidence?”

  73. #73 Martha
    February 27, 2006

    If all he gives are meaningless answers, ask meaningless questions and see if he gives you a real answer…

    What’s the difference between a duck?

    The expected non-sensical answer:
    One of its legs are both the same.

  74. #74 LilLeaguer
    February 27, 2006

    If God created man (and woman) on the sixth day, why are there still monkeys?

  75. #75 katie
    February 27, 2006

    there must be a newspaper at your campus. could you audiotape the lecture, or just take notes, then submit an article with some of the most glaring inconsistencies countered with factual rebuttal? and maybe preface the whole thing with exactly the question suggested above: why is this guy willing to stand and speak uninterrupted in front of us, only allowing a few seconds to ask questions, but he doesn’t want to share the stage with someone who claims as much expertise as he has, but in a different field?

  76. #76 David Mazel
    February 27, 2006

    I love the suggestion someone made above: “Since you lie about having a Ph.D, why should be trust you?” That’s at least good for snarky entertainment purposes.

    I like this one even more: “If you could win a soul to Christ by misrepresenting science in your talks, would that be all right with the Lord?” This one is great not only because it might make Hovind flinch but also because it would appeal to the values of the Christians in the audience.

    Every now and then I teach a Bible as Lit course. When I speak to students about this stuff at the beginning of the course, I begin by referring to the passage in the gospels where Jesus tells the disciples, “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees.” The disciples respond by saying (loosely translated) “Huh? Did someone forget to bring the bread?” Jesus (no doubt shaking his head in disgust) then tells the disciples he was speaking metaphorically about the doctrine of the Pharisees, not literally about bread.

    Among other things, this passage suggests that the Bible’s language is at least sometimes meant to be understood as figurative rather than literal. Jesus himself says so! Also, if we can trust the gospels, it tells us that biblical language is sometimes misunderstood, even by people who were “there,” when people mistake the figurative for the literal.

    I then ask my students: When you’re reading your Bibles, how do you decide whether to read a given passage–say, the opening verses of Genesis–literally or figuratively? Please explain the criteria you use to make that crucial decision. They typically wind up admitting they’ve never even considered this question.

    Other questions: Do you think you’re better at understanding this stuff than Peter and the other disciples were? Isn’t it possible that you’re making the same mistake that the gospels say they made?

    I really try to stress that, with the single exception of the “leaven of the Pharisees” passage, the Bible doesn’t engage in the sort of “metacommentary” that would tell us how we are supposed to read it. Of course, all Bible readers constantly (and usually unconsciously) make interpretive decisions about whether to read literally or metaphorically–but those decisions obviously cannot be said to be based in the Bible itself, for they must be made before one even knows what the Bible means. For my fundie students, the point is that their beliefs are not, as they like to claim, “based on the Bible.” Their beliefs are instead based on interpretive decisions that precede their Bible-reading and that they’ve never even thought examine.

  77. #77 pough
    February 27, 2006

    All the ID stuff is wasted on Kent; he’s the nuttiest of the YEC crowd; created “kinds” and floods and lifespan-lengthening cloud covers. The deal with him is that he’s very charming and that’s why he insists on public debates. He can “win” by trotting out mounds of shit with a confident smile and end it with a cheesy zinger that makes you smile along with him.

    The only achilles heel he really has is that he’s a complete liar. And the only way to really expose it properly is in print, which he adamantly refuses to do. He’s in-person personable. The funny thing is that he refuses to debate in print format because he claims he has “no time” for it. Oh sure, he’ll drive or fly around the country to debate for a few hours, but using those same hours to write down what he has to say? No way.

    Let him know that debating, long the domain of people with things to hide (*cough* politicians and lawyers *cough*), is a terrible way to debate science which typically takes decades just to LEARN and has taken centuries (millenia?) to BUILD. If he won’t debate in a format that allows for time to research (for both the debaters AND the audience), then he remains outside the realm of the respectable. Anyone who will only debate science in person is pretty obviously a charlatan. Why get science (or even religion, for that matter) from a charlatan?

  78. #78 Troublesome Frog
    February 27, 2006

    I like the idea of the “Why don’t you do a written debate?” question, but what about just giving him a chance to expound on one of his other crackpot opinions that may not play as well as his religious ramblings? I suggest trying to get him started on vaccinations. Or taxes. Anything else is just giving him a chance to preach to the choir.

  79. #79 wamba
    February 27, 2006

    Maybe something totally stupid:
    .
    If we’re not descended from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

  80. #80 Kymeia
    February 27, 2006

    Tell him the dinosaurs are stomping all over his website for using their name to defraud the public:

    http://www.netdisaster.com/go.php?mode=dino&url=http://www.drdino.com/

  81. #81 Space_Monkey
    February 27, 2006

    I agree that this is the best so far:

    polliwog:
    “If you could win a soul to Christ by misrepresenting science in your talks, would that be all right with the Lord?”

    Hovind could duck the question like this: “There is no need to misrepresent science…. I am doing real science. So neither I nor God have to worry about the question.”

    IMO, you should try to think of *ALL* of the possible responses to any question you ask *before* you ask it, and think of you own replies, so that you are in a position to respond quickly and authoritatively.

    ——–

    Perhaps something like this could work too: “You seem like a good scientist, and an honest man, so I’m sure you can answer this for me. [Said with a sincere tone of voice.] So if you woke up one morning, and found that you and your theory had been completely discredited, what would you do? [Said with a more and more commanding tone of voice, as if you are *telling* him what to do, not asking a question.]”

    The point of this is that at first you are disarming him by ingratiating yourself to him, and then quickly becoming dominant over him and placing him under the pressure of that situation.

    The key is to be utterly confident, using your tone of voice to maximum effect, with the hope that it gets to him emotionally.

    If he keeps his cool, how could he respond?

  82. #82 Mark Paris
    February 27, 2006

    If he’s a YEC and a fundamentalist, none of the questions above, except perhaps the “would you lie for Jesus” one, would make a dimple. Fundamentalists are not scientists; they are not even rational. They don’t believe in reason or science unless it confirms their prejudices. They behave exactly as satan is said to behave, weaving their attractive lies to lure people in. There is simply no point in talking to or about him unless you want to set out intentionally to embarrass him. Not that I’m against that.

  83. #83 carlie
    February 27, 2006

    In the vein of just having fun with it, I’d suggest

    “Can I tell you about my friend Hank? He’d love to give you a million dollars…”

  84. #84 natural cynic
    February 27, 2006

    Although this will go over the heads of the vast majority of students:

    “Why do you remind me so much of ‘Professor’ Harold Hill?”

    We’ve got trouble right here in River City –
    and it starts with E …

  85. #85 Corkscrew
    February 27, 2006

    What exactly is the definition of a kind?

  86. #86 pndmnm
    February 27, 2006

    “Explain, if you are able, the scientific method.”

  87. #87 CC
    February 27, 2006

    “Mr. Hovind, how many dogs were on the Ark?”

  88. #88 Zeteo Eurisko
    February 27, 2006

    I have been doing some reading. Clearly the best page rebutting Kent Hovind specifically is http://www.kent-hovind.com/ — I highly recommend it.

    From their page, http://www.kent-hovind.com/puzzling.htm , I borrow the following questions:

    * Why are “99%” of the public figures, speakers, evangelists of the Young Earth Movement white males? Where are the women? Where are the Asians, African Americans, etc?

    * Why do all Biblical Literalists with science training testify they became a Literalist before their “science” confirmed their position? For example, why are no Young Earth geologists stating, “I came to believe in a young Earth because my data kept returning an age of less than 10,000 years but I didn’t change my religious position until later”? In other words, why does the religious conversion always occur before the “science”?

    * Why don’t Young Earth Creationist websites (eg AIG, ICR) provide links to mainstream museums, science publications or general science knowledge?

    * Why are the major Young Earth Creationist organizations (ICR, AIG) based in the United States of America?

    * Why is there no attempt at discovering the actual process of Creation by followers of Creation Science? Does this reluctance make the phrase Creation Science an oxymoron?

    * Why do those Young Earth Creationist organizations which claim to be applying science (ICR, AIG) demand members sign contracts with the clauses like, “By definition, no apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.”

    * Why are there no companies listed on a stock exchange which use Young Earth geology to explore for oil and gas?

  89. #89 Ashley Moore
    February 27, 2006

    Since the universe ‘appears’ to be much older than 6000 years and there ‘appears’ to be many examples of poor design in both humans and animals, are you saying that the Designer is imcompetent or a liar, or both?

  90. #90 Kristine
    February 27, 2006

    Why, he does remind me of “Professor” Hill!

    “Mr. Hovind, when a woman’s got a brain, and you’ve got none, why should she take advice from you? Even if you can quote Genesis and Leviticus and all them other high-falutin’ Revelations.” –Marion the Librarian

  91. #91 MJS
    February 27, 2006

    Late to the party, but this is a chestnut I haul out every year or so:

    Why did the Intelligent Designer create Male Pattern Baldness, only to have it passed along by the female of the species in their DNA? All jokes aside, if this is just part of “the mystery” then why such an arbitrarily enforced inheritance? Is Mr. ID bald?

    +++

  92. #92 EmilyFinn
    February 27, 2006

    “In the New Testament the Devil tempts Jesus. One of the ways he does this is by taking him to the top of a high mountian, showing him all the kingdoms of the world, and promisng these to Jesus. This shows that the world is flat, right? If not, why should we take Genesis literally and not the New Testament?”

  93. #93 Greg Peterson
    February 27, 2006

    Presumably the Creator didn’t create any more demons after the rebellion in heaven that caused one third of all the angels to get kicked out. So when Adam and Eve were the only humans on earth, there must have been legions of demons per person, whereas now, with about 6 billion people on earth, the demons would be spread much, much thinner…maybe only one demon per 10, or 100, or 1,000 people? So given that likelihood, why have people not gotten better, morally? We can’t be under as much temptation now as when there were many more demons per person, can we?

    I know it has nothing to do with science or evolution, but sometimes it’s fun to wack them on their own turf–and so far, I haven’t heard a fundamentalist give a satisfactory response to that one.

  94. #94 Paul W.
    February 27, 2006

    Ask him why does the ID love beetles so?

    I think “parasites” works better than “beetles,” although it loses the classic reference.

    Organisms generally have parasites, and most biological things are parasites, with parasites on parasites, all the way down to viruses.

  95. #95 Greg Peterson
    February 27, 2006

    Presumably the Creator didn’t create any more demons after the rebellion in heaven that caused one third of all the angels to get kicked out. So when Adam and Eve were the only humans on earth, there must have been legions of demons per person, whereas now, with about 6 billion people on earth, the demons would be spread much, much thinner…maybe only one demon per 10, or 100, or 1,000 people? So given that likelihood, why have people not gotten better, morally? We can’t be under as much temptation now as when there were many more demons per person, can we?

    I know it has nothing to do with science or evolution, but sometimes it’s fun to wack them on their own turf–and so far, I haven’t heard a fundamentalist give a satisfactory response to that one.

  96. #96 Desruc
    February 27, 2006

    Yes, I can see that a 15 second question might not give something like retro viral insertion justice. But here’s an idea that might work:

    “Dr. Hovind, if you had two books that were 95% identical in terms of words and sentences, would you think it reasonable to believe that they were not created independently of each other? And if these two books shared spelling errors or even remnants printer glitches in the exact same locations would you think it reasonable to assume that they were not even independently created by a common flawless designer? If so, then why is it unreasonable to ascertain that apes which have a 95% identical genome and also share broken genes (and retro viral insertions) in identical chromosomal locations share a common ancestry?”

    I recommend that you don’t stop with the first question because I have heard him previously remark that 95% genome similarity could be evidence for a common designer rather than common ancestry.

  97. #97 Zeteo Eurisko
    February 27, 2006

    Desruc: Very well stated.

  98. #98 Destiny
    February 27, 2006

    There is an episode of Ali G in the USA where he talks with some scientists and Kent Hovind and he really has him stumped with this question:

    “Do you like banana’s?”

    When he responds with “yes”, tell him it proves that he’s descended from a monkey.

  99. #99 Ron Tolle
    February 27, 2006

    How about this one: “Please explain the scientific evidence that documents that women are descended from the rib of the first man.”

  100. #100 Bachalon
    February 27, 2006

    I like Ron’s one personally.

    Perhaps something about the multitude of bibles? If the NIV is a better translation of the KJV, why is it still being used?

  101. #101 Ron Tolle
    February 27, 2006

    Of course, this one is nice, too: “Since you claim to have disproved evolution, please explain why you were not called as an expert witness for the defense in the Dover trial?”

  102. #102 Ian B Gibson
    February 27, 2006

    Tay-Sachs disease?
    Childhood Leukemia?
    Neonatal Meningitis?
    Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome?
    HIV/AIDS (in the innocent babies you love so much. Obviously excludes sexual deviants & drug addicts who deserve it)
    Genetic/Chromosomal diseases in general?

  103. #103 Michael "Sotek" Ralston
    February 27, 2006

    I like the vaccination one, mainly because it can prompt him to reveal just how nutty he is to people who aren’t as likely to agree on that one.

    “Given that you don’t believe in evolution, would you suggest people get flu shots this year?” and let him foam at the mouth for all to see.

  104. #104 Desruc
    February 27, 2006

    Personally, I feel that the best question would be about an actual hard-hitting evidence for evolution. As I’ve alluded to before, this is sometimes hard to do given the situation and time frame, but I sometimes find that points of these sorts are seriously underused.

  105. #105 lindsay
    February 27, 2006

    I can tell you what NOT to ask. Well, unless you want him to look good. I sat down for a 30 minute interview with him in early February, and this is what it taught me:

    This man is a professional; he lives, eats, sleeps, breathes, and pisses YEC. He is very well read on the subject and WILL be prepared to give a perfectly rehearsed response to anything that has been asked before and is intelligent enough to ad lib. He is exceedingly well spoken and charismatic as well; something he knows how to use this to his advantage.

    So if you are going to ask him a question, make it as unique as you can. Because he will be ready (and waiting) for everything else.

    He may peddle crap, but by god, he knows his stuff as well as any scientist and can get the point across. And that is something I can respect.

  106. #106 Dustin
    February 27, 2006

    I’d like to point out to everyone who has posted here that Kent Hovind is not a part of the “ID” movement. He is an unabashed Young Earth Creationist. Also, he cheats. Here’s how he does it: He contacts a local evangelical group on campus. It’s usually the Campus Crusade for Christ. The Campus Crusade fishes around until they find a professor willing to debate Hovind. He has the Campus Crusade inform the professor that the debate is to be done without any visual aids. Then, once fight night rolls around, The Campus Crusade will amend the rules 10 minutes or so before the debate to allow Hovind to use his slides and cartoons. If you debate Hovind, PREPARE A PRESENTATION ANYWAY! And the first slide of your presentation should be the e-mail you got from Campus Crusade informing you that nobody was going to be allowed to use slides.

    In comparison the the Morris clan, Ham, and Ross, Hovind brings a weak-ass game (and that bar was already low to begin with). He will not attempt to use any but the most simplistic arguments for a young earth. His favorites are the orbit of the moon, the salinity of the oceans, and the population of humans on the earth. Sometimes he claims that the sun is not powered by fusion, though when he’s debating a physicist he’s always sure to say that the sun *is* powered by fusion.

    Instead, Hovind tries to blame evolution for all kinds of moral atrocities. The Campus Crusade, if you rather stupidly allow them to moderate, will pander to this with loaded questions that go to the tune of “Margret Sanger said…” and “I found a paper/book that says evolution justifies rape…” and so on. Just be prepared to point out that attempting to draw moral conclusions from scientific theories is fairly nonsensical OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

    As for the 15 second rapid fire thing, that’s just more Hovind weaseling, and I don’t even see a reason to go to that. Go for a full blown debate, or nothing at all.

  107. #107 Dustin
    February 27, 2006

    Oh yeah… get some stuff on those remains of the Neanderthal infant too. He likes to say that Neanderthal wasn’t a different species of human, but that they were, instead possessing of thick bones because, in biblical times, people lived for centuries and bones get thicker as we get old.

    In that vein, I can’t wait until Hovind gets old and then develops osteoperosis. What a jackass.

  108. #108 No More Mr. Nice Guy!
    February 27, 2006

    If the universe is so complex that it could only have been designed by an even more complex designer, who designed the designer? Is it intelligent designers all the way down?

  109. #109 Desruc
    February 27, 2006

    I would highly recommend that you download Hovind’s lectures from DrDino.com and also the audio files of Kent Hovind’s radio debates with Jared Hoag which are still available for a price at infidelguy.com. Eight dollars and fifty cents well spent if you’re can really get an opportunity to nail him.

  110. #110 Dustin
    February 27, 2006

    There is an episode of Ali G in the USA where he talks with some scientists and Kent Hovind and he really has him stumped with this question:

    “Do you like banana’s?”

    When he responds with “yes”, tell him it proves that he’s descended from a monkey.

    YOU! TORRENT! NOW! … I must possess this thing.

  111. #111 386sx
    February 27, 2006

    Ask him if Jesus ever charged money for anything. If he says yes, then ask him if he ever paid the devil for a ride on the Satan flying UFO-mobile. If he says no, then ask him how Jesus got his pogo stick. Either way, you’ll pretty much have him cornered. Good luck!

  112. #112 Mike Fox
    February 27, 2006

    No one has suggest yet: What do you feel is the best evidence contradicting the hypothesis you’ve presented to us tonight?

  113. #113 Raindog
    February 28, 2006

    How much are you being paid for this lecture and how much money did you make last year spreading the word of creationism?

  114. #114 Brian
    February 28, 2006

    Ask why he uses arguments that even other creationists at AIG have rejected?

    Seriously, even other creationists debunk his nonsense. AIG wrote a list of arguments they should no longer use.. most of them Hovind uses regularly.. he wrote a rebuttle to it that you can see on the AIG website.

  115. #115 Steve
    February 28, 2006

    Always remember that Hovind is a Young Earth Creationist. That’s the key to understanding everything that he says. He believes that you must, repeat, must believe that the world is six thousand years old. Therefore, it is impossible that evidence exists to the contrary. Doesn’t matter what you say, doesn’t matter what you show him. Anyone who says the earth is old must be wrong. Period. The man has absolute truth and nothing is going to change that.

    I would like to reinforce what “lindsay” said (except the part about “respect”); Hovind has been playing this game for a long, long time and he’s very, very good at it. The game has nothing to do with science, nothing to do with reason and nothing to do with the actual physical evidence, but that doesn’t matter to Hovind or to most of his audience. He’s a nut, in fact, even many young earthers like the AIG crowd are not at all fond of him. But he’s a very slick, clever and well-rehearsed nut.

    He wins, because he has no problem simply making up the “facts” on the fly. He can literally create any answer out of thin air that fits, spit it out, and walk away. And in a debate setting with a relatively uninformed audience, there is no time to present or discuss the scientific papers that show that he is lying. He wins by the sheer weight of personality combined with his audiences desperate desire to believe. Remember fellow science geeks, he’s not talking to us.

    So, is there anything that anyone can do about this? Here’s my suggestion, although I don’t have much confidence that it will make any difference.

    To echo “Zeteo Eurisko:, http://www.kent-hovind.com/ is the site to visit. In particular, I would suggest going to the three links entitled “Attack on Evolution I – III”. These links detail specific lies that Hovind has used in the past. Here’s what you do.

    Print these out, and wait for Hovind to use one of these lies in his presentation. Or if he doesn’t use any of them, read one out loud from the list at the start of your question, as in “you once said…”. Ideally, the lie in question will be a “factual lie” as opposed to a “straw man” argument. Then ask Hovind why he made the specific statement in question. Ask if he’s simply ignorant of facts or just a liar. Ask if it’s a sin to lie for Jesus. Perhaps this will have the effect of damaging his credibility just a smidge.

    But don’t expect to gain much. Unfortunately, it is not a crime to peddle pure, unadulterated BS.

  116. #116 Corey
    February 28, 2006

    I would ask “Dr.” Hovind why his stats dealing with increase in violence, STDS and premartial sex are not up-to-date.

  117. #117 Gav
    February 28, 2006

    There’s no mileage in asking a sensible question. This is showbiz, not science. And just as any comedian worth their salt can slap down a heckler, so “Dr” H should be more than capable of dealing with any of the kinds of question listed above.

    So, no point in piping up at all unless you’re just after a bit of quiet fun. One way to have a laugh might be to push him just a shade further than he might want to go, eg:

    “Does Dr H agree that there is EYE-WITNESS EVIDENCE that people and DINOSAURS co-exist!!! [Pause] …. the PENARTH PTERODACTYL!!!! [flourish print-out of http://archive.thisispenarth.co.uk/2005/11/4/4120.html ] …. does the DOCTOR agree that these reports are POSITIVE PROOF [raise voice, but not too much] that EVOLUTION is a LIE????????”

    Needs a bit more work but you get the idea.

    For those of you who don’t read the Penarth Times regularly, the cat-like creature turned out to be a cat. The pterodactyl-like creature … well it’s not been seen since.

  118. #118 Corey
    February 28, 2006

    Another question I would ask do rabbits chew cud and grasshoppers have four legs.
    If he says yes, then evolution has happened.
    If he says no, then the Bible is fallible since it states in Letivicus 11 that rabbits chew cud and grasshoppers have four legs.

  119. #119 leah
    February 28, 2006

    Could you explain how the scientific method works?

  120. #120 Zeteo Eurisko
    March 1, 2006

    I detail my encounter with Kent Hovind in two blog postings on my website:

    http://gnosos.blogspot.com/

  121. #121 cancuk
    March 1, 2006

    Maybe engineering a head-on collision between two ideologies would cause enough cognitive dissonance to get some of the audience to think a little bit? It strikes me that lots of Americans are rather nationalist folk (no offense). Maybe pointing out how much harm ID and similar anti-science bullshit is doing to the future capacity of the USA to compete in the global marketplace would do the trick? How many Indians, Europeans or Chinese do you think are having second thoughts about taking science classes because of Bronze-age theological scrupules? Just a thought. Peace.

  122. #122 BronzeDog
    March 1, 2006

    Maybe engineering a head-on collision between two ideologies would cause…

    Stop right there! Remember what happens when two completely uncompromising faith systems bump into each other?

  123. #123 Dave D.
    March 1, 2006

    My vote is for:

    If you could win a soul to Christ by misrepresenting science in your talks, would that be all right with the Lord?

  124. #124 canuck
    March 1, 2006

    Maybe you can ask him what he thinks of Lysenko’s work?

  125. #125 melior (in Austin)
    March 1, 2006

    I would ask whether Hovind believes it was actually God who was speaking through the Pope when he praised the theory of evolution, or was it Satan?

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