Setting a new standard for creationist historical scholarship


Young earth creationist Kent Hovind received a “Ph.D.” in 1991 from Patriot Bible University, a diploma mill in Colorado (photo above). Unlike the situation with dissertations originating from accredited universities, Hovind has consistently refused to release his dissertation for public scrutiny. WikiLeaks has, however, obtained a copy and even the briefest perusal will show that the work doesn’t meet the standard for doctoral research … heck, I’ve failed undergraduates for writing like this!

Witness Hovind on Galileo:

In the early 1600’s, Galileo invented the telescope. He looked at the moon and noticed the rugged surface of the moon. He then said that the moon was not smooth like Aristotle said it was. Aristotle had said back in 400 B.C. that the moon was like a perfect smooth sphere, a crystal ball to reflect the sunlight. Galileo even published a book that stated that the moon was not smooth. Aristotle was also contradicted by Galileo on his theory of gravity. Aristotle had said that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects. Galileo proved that to be wrong. In the mid 1600’s, Galileo, under penalty of death by the Catholic church, had to recant his awful heresy of teaching that the moon was not smooth. He had dared to suggest that the doctrine of Aristotle as taught by the church could be wrong! He wrote a second book to say that he was wrong and that the moon was perfectly smooth. The priests even refused to look through Galileo’s telescope because they said it was demon possessed. The hold to Aristotle’s philosophy on the minds of the people of that time was so strong that scientific progress was hindered. We face the same thing today. The faulty teaching of evolution is hindering scientific progress.

Bear in mind that this is being written by a 38 year old who had been teaching high school for fifteen years by this point. Note the extensive documentation, sophisticated sentence structure, and higher-order analysis that you see in doctoral dissertations.

Hovind on Darwin (chapter 1 of the dissertation is a history of evolution from Satan to modern times):

The next man we come to in tracing the history of evolution is a man by the name of Charles Darwin. Darwin was born in 1809 and died in 1882. He most famous for two books that he authored. The second on was The Descent of Man. The frost one, and most famous, is The Origin of Species my Means of Natural Selection. This book also had a subtitle called “The Preservation of the Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.” He took a five year voyage in the 1830’s on the HMS Beagle. During that voyage, he read extensively Lyell’s book. This greatly influenced him to think that the earth was millions of years old. When he returned from his voyage, he was encouraged by Lyell to publish a book. Darwin wrote for many years, but never published the book. Lyell realized that a man named Wallace was going to beat Darwin to the punch in publishing such a book on evolution. Lyell encouraged Darwin to go ahead and publish his book. Darwin published it in 1859. The Industrial Revolution was well under way and people were looking for some way to justify the cruelty that accompanied this revolution. (Child labor, sweat houses, etc.) Darwin’s book was just what the world needed to justify the cruel ruthless tactics of the industrial revolution. Darwin had a theology degree. He became a deist, and later, very proudly an atheist. There are many stories of him repenting on his death bed, but there still is much confusion on the issue.

And that is everything you need to know about Darwin.

Random fact from the dissertation: Auguste Comte was an ardent “Darwinist” who “strongly promoted Darwin’s teachings”. This is all the more remarkable given the fact that Comte died two years before the publication of Origin.

Random fact from the dissertation: “Because of Wallace’s spiritist [sic], pantheist, and occultist teaching of evolution, he could  really be considered the father of the New Age movement. He lived in Malaysia for about eight years, and watched the spiritist rituals that those people performed. He developed many of his theories in that setting.” At least Hovind’s not claiming that Wallace was an ID proponent.

Random fact from the dissertation: “Racism started, or was very much enhanced by Darwin and Thomas Huxley.” *head explodes*

If you know even a small amount about the history of ideas, do read Hovind’s first chapter and stand in awe at his writings on Satan, the ancient Greeks, the Church fathers, Voltair (sic), Lamarck, Thomas Payne (sic), Erasmus Darwin, Lyell, Marx, Huxley, Haeckel, Freud, Rockefeller (sic) and Henry Fairfield Osbourne (sic). I’d love to have my undergraduate students produce an “Annotated Hovind” just to illustrate how creationists mangle history (and writing).

Update: Here is Karen Bartelt’s review of the thesis from 2000. It gives you a further flavor of the epicness of Hovind’s fail.

Update (01/07/10): PBU has issued a denial claiming that the leaked document is a “rough draft” of a dissertation “project” and not the final, completed dissertation. PBU also notes that “Patriot issues Bible degrees for the purpose of equipping students for ministry; Patriot is not a research institution.” Never has a truer word been spoken!


10 thoughts on “Setting a new standard for creationist historical scholarship

  1. Wow–I think I’ll use excerpts to teach how NOT to construct an argument. Aside from demonstrating that he is seriously impaired with regards to the basics of English grammar, his general ignorance displayed throughout is astounding.

    One of my favorite moments demonstrating Hovind’s intellectual vacuity is from page 26 on the PDF copy when he posits: “I think it is not a coincidence that people who are atheists or evolutionists frequently have a wicked lifestyle or at least a lifestyle against the plain teachings of the Bible. Therefore, evolution is an easy way for them to justify their lifestyle [sic]. The problem is one of philosophy, not one of science. They don’t want there to be a God because of their wicked lifestyle [sic]. That is their real problem.”

    So, evolution is basically a scheme concocted to justify a “wicked lifestyle.” How could we have missed that fact for so long?

  2. Another “profound” quotation: “America is rapidly losing ground in the world market in our science students. We are turning out students that many other countries are able to beat in academic scores and academic knowledge because we waste so much class time and textbook time on this dumb idea of evolution.”

    “Dr. Dino” tells it like it is, folks!

  3. An how could Wallace, a contemporary of Darwin have been in Malaysia when that country did not exists until 1963? Wallace spend time in the Malay archipelagos,specifically the Malaya Peninsula and the South western part of the island of Borneo, Sarawak. Sarawak became a state in the Federation of Malaysia in 1963.

  4. “Taking only evidence that supports a preconceived idea and rejecting all other evidence is not very intelligent or scientific.”

    You said it, Mr. Hovind…

    One finger points and three point back.

  5. Pingback: The Hovind dissertation « Playing Chess with Pigeons

  6. I’ve failed undergraduates for writing like this!

    I’m pretty sure there are eighth grade teachers who have failed students for writing like that.

  7. Wait, you’re telling me that I can just write 200 pages of barely literate drivel, not provide any evidence for my cockamamie conclusions, and get my PhD? Screw Yale, I’m off to Patriot Bible!

  8. Presumably, the revisionist-history account of Galileo is to get around the fact that the real reason-Galileo’s attack on biblical geocentrism-would be an unconscionable admission that the Bible is wrong. The “Voltair” section deserves equal mockery-Voltaire allegedly tried to create a 10-day week during the French Revolution. Voltaire died in 1778, 11 years before said revolution, so he must have returned as a zombie.

    Any high school student would fail this assignment for lack of citations. Any college student would fail the class and risk expulsion for the same.

    Unfortunately, exposing the sham dissertation does nothing. Patriot has never been accredited so the government has no recourse. You’d probably need something more blatant, like getting a pet or dead person a diploma, to get it closed for fraud. Even then, getting a DA or the state attorney general’s office involved isn’t a guarantee. The only recourse, criminalize or restrict the use of degrees from non-accredited schools, is nothing new. Not that the 18-year old ravings of an obscure, imprisoned kook will make it a priority.

    Now that we’ve seen this, I’d love to see the Master’s thesis from Patriot-Hovind claims an MA in Christian Education from Patriot University, so he should have had a thesis for the degree. Maybe he’ll go after the evil atheistic dogma that 1+1=2.

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