Monday, September 25, 2017



"Hi, I'm Kent Hovind" (p.4/102) [1]

Yeah, that's how it starts.


Kent Hovind, love him or hate him, has been a polarizing figure in the creation/evolution debate. An ardent Neo-Ussherian leads people to be very interested in the scholarly nature of his doctoral dissertation.

Hovind maintains his controversial status in the Christian community as well. He has followers for sure, but many Christians, of the Old Earth Creationist or Theistic Evolution variety, heavily critique Hovind's ideas. This is to be expected, however, even fellow Neo-Ussherians (Young-Earth Creationists) are distancing themselves from Hovind as of late.

Without any further ado, let's analyze some select portions of Hovind's dissertation.

Hovind has an interesting origin story for the theory of Evolution. He states:

"Satan, in the form of a serpent, brought the doctrine of Evolution into the garden of Eden." (p.15/102)

Contextually, he is referring to Satan's statement "ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5)

Needless to say, this is not a helpful comparison. Hovind has to imagine that evolution in some way or another teaches that we shall become gods. This is nonsensical, sure you can say perhaps atheists use evolution as a reason not to believe in God, but to attribute the origin of a scientific theory or the seeds of it to such a specific area is hyperbole and/or rhetoric at best, fear-mongering at worst.

When talking about Augustine, Hovind states:

"He would be the equivalent of a theistic evolutionist today"(p.28/102) 

There really is no way to determine that as developments in evolutionary theory were not exactly as they were today. We can speculate what Augustine would believe, but to just straight out say "Augustine is basically a theistic evolutionist lol xd" is shoddy scholarship.


He consistently refers to Evolution as a religion, again, anyone can treat any idea with religious devotion but his use of terms only confuses the reader instead of elucidating the points in a succinct way.

"Bring me a Mars rock or a Jupiter Rock, I'll eat it or lick it"(p.74/102) 

Contextually, he is referring to the idea that there is no life on any other planets, therefore there wouldn't be any harmful bacteria on the rocks. However, you can still be harmed by substances that aren't living, so it's still probably not a good idea to lick or eat something from another planet that hasn't been tested. Also, to point out the obvious, there are no rocks on Jupiter, it's a gas giant.

 "Jesus would be a liar if Evolution is true" (p.102/102) 

This is an unhelpful false dichotomy. We need not put immediate stumbling blocks in front of unbelievers. I have no problem with someone really studying objections to evolution, in fact, scientific dialogue is a good thing and we should encourage it.

However, when you just come out an say, It's either Jesus lied and Evolution is true, or Jesus was right and Evolution is not true you're giving a false dichotomy. There are a wide range of beliefs about how science and the Bible reconcile, to limit ourselves to only one seems unnecessary. There simply is not enough from the text of scripture to be this dogmatic about it. You think evolution is wrong? Fine, no problem. But do not insinuate the intentions of your brothers and sisters in Christ, that they're just a bunch of compromising Christians, but not like you who stands firm on Ussher's chronolo....I mean the Bible. 





Conclusion 

I think you should read Hovind's doctoral dissertation, it is worth reading. Not for intellectual pursuit, but for a laugh and as a reminder that anti-intellectualism in the Christian culture needs to stop. Listen to the words of Augustine.
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience.“Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although “they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion [1 Timothy 1.7].”  [2]


[1] The PDF form of Kent Hovind's Doctoral Dissertation, released by Wikileaks.

[2] Augustine: The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Book 1 Chapter 19 Paragraph 39


7 comments

Xd. Life is hard it's harder when you are stupid

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“...a man is not in any difficulty in making a reply according to his faith ... to those who try to defame our Holy Scripture. ... when they produce from any of their books a theory contrary to Scripture ... either we shall have some ability to demonstrate that it is absolutely false, or at least we ourselves will hold it so without any shadow of a doubt. ...let us choose [the doctrine] which appears as certainly the meaning intended by the author. ... For it is one thing to fail to recognize the primary meaning of the writer, and another to depart from the norms of religious belief.”
― Augustine of Hippo, On Genesis (Fathers of the Church)

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I have no difficulty in believing the man is a complete ass. But selectively quoting such minor rhetorical flourishes to represent a dissertation isn't very scholarly or compelling, either.

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I read his whole dissertation. There wasn't much to go on. I picked the best things out of there, except the Jupiter comment, that one was for fun.

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I affirm that quote. Thanks for sharing.

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My favorite Christian virtue is charity. Especially charitably making fun of other Christians to give the certainty of hopeless sectarianism. Nothing proves that "I've got the truth" like making fun of people.

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