Reader Shep called my attention to the fact that Wikileaks released, of all things, Kent Hovind’s doctoral dissertation, which, according to Shep, “has been kept under lock and key by Patriot University since 1991.” According to RationalWiki, though, the dissertation has actually been available since 2009.
Most of you have probably heard of Kent Hovind, who was a prominent young-earth creationist , a Baptist, and founder of the organization Creation Science Evangelism. But at the end of 2006 he was convicted of tax malfeasance, sentenced to ten years in a Florida pen, and is scheduled to be released in 2015. His son Eric now runs the creationist organization, and Eric and Chad, Kent’s other son, also run a God-will-make-you-rich scam called “Godonomics”, on which I’ve posted before.
Kent Hovind’s thesis has a spotty history. First of all, it’s from a dubious school: Patriot Bible University in Del Norte, Colorado. It’s been called a “diploma mill,” selling degrees earned in only a few months. This photo shows the entire university:
Pretty impressive, eh? The Harvard of Del Norte!
As for Hovind’s degree, Wikipedia notes
In 1988 and 1991 respectively, Hovind was awarded a master’s degree and doctorate in Christian Education through correspondence from the non-accredited Patriot University in Colorado Springs, Colorado (now Patriot Bible University in Del Norte, Colorado, which no longer offers this program). Having a website called “Dr. Dino” has provoked some academics to look closely at how Hovind presents his education and credentials. Barbara Forrest, a professor of philosophy, expert on the history of creationism and activist in the creation-evolution controversy, wrote that Hovind’s lack of academic training makes it impossible to engage him on a professional level.
Patriot Bible University is a diploma mill, as it has unreasonably low graduation requirements, lack of sufficient faculty or educational standards, and a suspicious tuition scheme. The school’s current policies allow students to attain bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and Doctor of Ministry degrees in months, rather than years, for as little as $37 per credit.
Bartelt has stated that Hovind’s doctoral dissertation is evidence of the poor requirements at Patriot and that Hovind lacks knowledge of basic science. She noted that Hovind’s dissertation is incomplete (it contains four chapters totaling 101 pages, but Hovind’s introduction claims the work is 250 pages with 16 chapters), of low academic quality, with poor writing, poor spelling, and poor grammatical style. Bartelt asserts that pages are repeated, references are absent, and it is not an original work with original ideas.
Here’s the title page and the beginning of the introduction. Never in my life have I seen an introduction begin in this way!
Hello, Kent! How are you?
At any rate, in the introduction Hovind says there will be sixteen chapters, but I count only four (they’re not numbered):
It’s standard boilerplate creationism, with the usual accusations that evolution is a religion (a false one), that the only kind of “evolution” is microevolution, as well as a tedious introductory history of creationism and a lot of Biblical exegesis. While claiming that evolution is a religion, he says stuff like this:
I wonder what Ken Miller would think of that! And, speaking of errors, here’s one:
It is indeed 110 pages long, and here’s the last one:
On this basis Hovind calls himself “Doctor Hovind,” and even listed himself that way in the telephone book! While his school is not accredited, claiming a Ph.D from it is still a travesty.
Christopher Hitchens said, in his famous “obiturary” of Jerry Falwell on CNN:
“The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing: that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you can just get yourself called ‘reverend.'”
Hovind’s life shows that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to truth and to science if you can just get yourself called “doctor.”