Kent Hovind: Reliable Source?

Last night, Christopher L. Colegrove left a comment after a post I wrote last week about the Worldnutdaily pimping a book that claims that the pyramids around the world were built by the Nephilim, the demonic giants mentioned in Genesis. Here is his comment in full:

I think the book gets at something I've been researching for a couple of years. As to the dimensions of these "giants". Try the Book of Enoch (non-biblical, but an interesting Hebrew read from antiquity), which--I believe--says they were "9 ells" in height. Bones have been unearthed of giants with human genetic makeup over 7 feet from thousands of years ago, so why not? Also, I do think Kent Hovind is a semi-reputable source for science information, and World Net Daily has always been one of my top three news sources for, well, a long time, and It's paid off. I have yet to read this book, but I look forward to it. As to this evil gene business... I am curious. I don't believe that gene's make someone evil. I do believe we all have a selfish, sin-stained anture and none of us are perfect, (ON OUR OWN), but this business about alien/demonic dna, even if it is true, doesn't mean that we are evil because of that. Also, If the Nephilim passed this to the rest of mankind, wouldn't Jesus, according to his human nature, likewise have this gene? Hmm... I guess since I'm just hearing comments I should go read this book before making judgments.

At first I wondered if this might be a clever parody, but since it appears that Mr. Colegrove is actually serious in thinking that Kent Hovind is a "semi-reputable source for science information", I could not resist taking that notion apart. Some of you may wonder who Kent Hovind is. Let me introduce you to him.

Kent Hovind, aka Dr. Dino, is the founder of Creation Science Evangelism in Pensacola, Florida. He is a tireless crusader against evolution and for young earth creationism, the most absurd type of creationism. He travels constantly, giving his creationism seminar in churches all over the country, and how has his son doing the same seminar all over the country as well. I first saw Hovind's act in a church in Michigan in the late 80s, where I was taken by a co-worker who couldn't believe that I thought evolution was true and he was going to prove to me that it wasn't. Hovind's seminar is a very slick powerpoint presentation, and Hovind is as smooth as any used car salesman you've ever seen. It's also mind-numbingly idiotic, jam-packed with one astonishing claim after another that will leave your jaw agape that there are actually people in this world credulous enough to buy into such nonsense. Let me give you just a few examples.

He claims that the Great Pyramid of Giza was not built by the Egyptians, but by either Adam and Enoch before the flood or by Noah and Shem after the flood. Patently absurd in either case, for numerous reasons. It could not have been built before the flood because the Giza plateau sits on top of a mile of sedimentary rock (where do you think they got the limestone from?) that, according to YEC flood geology, could only have been deposited BY the flood. And if it was built after the flood, it would have taken hundreds of years for the limestone to become hard enough to quarry, and there would only have been a few people alive to build them (remember that the flood allegedly left alive only Noah's family).

Hovind also loves to blame evolution for everything, including things that happened before there was a theory of evolution. For instance, he claims that the trail of tears, the forced relocation of the American Indians that killed so many, took place because they believed, based on evolution, that the Indians were an inferior race of people. Utter bullshit. The Trail of Tears took place two decades before Darwin wrote Origin of Species, much less Descent of Man, and was perpetrated almost entirely by Christian men. He even makes this bizarre claim:

Evolution was Theodore Roosevelt's problem. Theodore Roosevelt believed in evolution. Roosevelt said, "We have an inferior species on this continent." In America? Who were the inferior species in America, Theodore? Ah, he thought the Indians were inferior. Have you ever wandered [sic] why we broke all the treaties with the Indians? We made treaties with the Indians and then broke them. Why? Many of our leaders were strong evolutionists, and they thought that the Indians were savages, inferior species, and that it wasn't their right to have any land. They thought that the white man and the superior Europeans ought to have the land. In 1871, Congress scrapped all treaties with the Indians and moved them out to the worst property that they could find.

Hovind seems to have quite a timing problem. Roosevelt didn't become president until 1901. Then there are just bizarre claims like this:

"The Earth is billions of years old. The geologic column is the way to interpret it, and Charles Darwin's evolution is right." That is what they teach in order to be a good communist. Did you know that Russian teachers come to America to study education because the American educational system is considered the best in the world for teaching students these three principals. This prepares them to be good communists and to doubt the word of God.

How could you possibly parody something this idiotic? And how on earth do people listen to such nonsense without laughing? Well for one thing, he presents himself as "Dr" Kent Hovind, despite the fact that his "doctorate" isn't worth the paper it's printed on. He got his doctorate from Patriot University, a fraudulent diploma mill in Colorado that accepts "love offerings" as payment for their services. His dissertation is truly one of the funniest things you will ever read. A few years ago, my friend Skip Evans requested a copy of Hovind's thesis from Patriot University and they sent it to him. The original, in fact, as there are pictures from Time magazine held into it with scotch tape. No, I'm not making that up.

Hovind also gets a great deal of mileage out of his $250,000 challenge to anyone who can prove evolution. He claims he will gladly give $250,000 to "anyone who can give any empirical evidence (scientific proof) for evolution." But when you look at the offer, it quickly becomes apparent that this challenge is a fraud. The evidence is to be presented to a panel of "trained scientists" of his choosing - and it almost goes without saying that he won't reveal their identities to anyone, doesn't it? He also defines "evolution" as virtually every theory in modern science, including big bang cosmology, and even goes further and says that you have to prove that everything that has happened since the beginning of time itself "took place without God" - something no scientific theory says, of course. And just to top it off, his standard for "proof" is that you have to prove that it's the "only possible way the observed phenomena could have come into existence." Every time I answer the letters we get about this challenge, I make the following challenge: I'll offer Kent Hovind One Million Dollars if he can prove ANY empirical claim using the same criteria he sets out for his offer - I get to pick the judges, I keep their identities secret, you have to prove all alternative explanations to be false, and I'll tell you what the judges decide. To date, despite the offer having been made numerous times in writing, Hovind has yet to respond.

Hovind's arguments are so lacking in credibility that even his fellow young earth creationists have taken to distancing themselves from him. Answers in Genesis published a scathing critique of Hovind for playing fast and loose with the facts. More than one creationist has expressed to me that they wish he would shut up. He is still using the Paluxy prints and the moon dust argument some two decades after they were debunked by his fellow creationists, for crying out loud. I could literally go on all day with the loony ideas that Hovind has thrown out in his decades of evangelism. This is a guy who, with a straight face, has suggested to his followers that their televisions could be watching them and that UFOs are really used to transport Satan from place to place because, unlike God, he can't be in all places at all times. You can't make this stuff up.

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Mr. Colegrove is a nut. He is also ignorant of a simple fact but wants to imply knowledge were he has none.

Mr. Colegrove says, "Try the Book of Enoch (non-biblical, but an interesting Hebrew read from antiquity)." Well exactly were did he read it in Hebrew? As far as I know, the only Aramaic, not Hebrew, portions of the Book(s) of Enoch are from fragments found at Qumran. Many scholars believe it was originally written in Aramaic or Hebrew but there are no early versions in Hebrew and only those few Aramaic fragments. The most complete ancient versions are in Ethiopic and Greek. My guess is that Mr. Colegrove read it, if he did read it, in English.

"How could you possibly parody something this idiotic?"

John Sladek's short story "Stop Evolution in Its Tracks!" (1988) is a good example. An excerpt:

"Atheistic Darwinizers may try to claim that the giraffe went around stretching its neck up to eat leaves from the trees for a few generations, and this made its neck grow longer. The real truth is, giraffes didn't need to stretch at all, because their necks were already so long. Besides, what about dolphins? They live in the depths of the oceans where there are no trees at all."

Yeah, you're right. That sounds more like the ICR guys than Hovind.

Communists requiring Darwin? Again, Hovind's memory, library, and fact checkers fail him.

Stalin banned Darwin. Darwinists were told not to practice, some were shipped off to Siberia, and a few were executed. Hovind, of course, claims never to have heard of Lysenko.

Odd that in his bizarre scramble to avoid learning science, Hovind advocates the policies of Joseph Stalin, while excoriating Soviet communism.

$1 million to prove anything? Heck, we might want to get an actual pool together to offer to Hovind to see if he could pass a sanity test. The man is a walking demand for psycho-active pharmaceuticals.

By Ed Darrell (not verified) on 13 Feb 2005 #permalink

I would like to respond to some comments regarding a post I made to a book review a few months back. At the time, I was simply voicing thoughts about what people had put and what came to my mind, not realizing it would be scrutinized. I don't claim to have researched anything personally in relation to that posting or this one. The following is simply thing that are on my mind today. I hope that doesn't qualify me as a "nut".

First off, some have questioned the fact that I mentioned that Kent Hovind, founder of Creation Science Evangelism and host of "Dr. Dino Live", as a "semi-reputable source for scientific information". I still hold that view. I do not believe that Mr. Hovind does much of his own hands-on investigations. I do believe however that he has done his research and can quote his sources when need be. He bases most of his information off of others research, so he is just relaying that information. That is along the same lines as many high school teachers and some professors. They haven't proved themselves everything they teach, but use the research and textbooks and present the information they learned to their students: which isn't necessarily a bad thing. That is why I did not say Mr. Hovind is a "genius" like some say. Nor do I say he was a totally sound source. I said "semi-reputable". He just presents his view of information to people in an interesting original mix of facts, theories, and his own Hovind brand of humor to get his points across. He presents arguments that at times challenge the way many have been taught. Basically he challenges a view that in his opinion (and mine) is a major cause of societal and governmental problems of the last 140 years or so. He claims that Marxism and Evolution are some of those problems. On one of his seminars he speaks of major questions to the meaning of life. Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? How do we get there? Evolutionary thinking will answer those questions a lot differently than if we follow Intelligent Design thinking. Following one train of thinking or another will ultimately have a different view on life: hope or hopelessness. I find him to be a little too frank with little pity to his opposition and a little too likely to go on extreme theory tangents, but generally speaking, he does present some interesting scientific arguments for his claims.

I do want to also address some of the things said about Mr. Hovind. Hovind has made mention of atrocities and forced relocation caused by settlers on Native Americans in reference to evolutionary thinking. Someone wisely points that the "Trail of Tears" took place decades before Darwin's ideas bloomed. However, I think it's obvious that he is referring to the kind of thinking in general. That has always been around, just given more subtle credibility with the scientific world with the implications of Darwinian inspired train of thought.

As to the reference I made about the Book of Enoch: I agree, I have not read the Hebrew version of the text. I am not fluent in Hebrew at all. However I was referring to the notion that it was most likely written in Hebrew. I have read two English translations of it. One of them comes in a two volume set, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch by Michael A. Knibb, Oxford University Press, 1978. This version contains many notes on the languages, scholarly footnotes, and the like. The phrase in his version speaks in terms of cubits. The height of the giants in this version cannot be taken literally, no matter what the atmospheric conditions of the earth was before the flood, a height so high is not to be taken literally. Joe Taylor in his book, Fossils Facts and Fantasy, cites several accounts of giant human skeletons or depictions discovered in Egypt, Italy, Patagonia in Argentina, and the western US.

I would like to write more but I am going away for the weekend and am not sure when I will be able to reply.

Chris Colegrove

By Christopher L… (not verified) on 13 Oct 2005 #permalink