Wikileaks released Kent Hovind’s doctoral thesis

June 23, 2014 • 8:16 am

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:

PatriotUniv1

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.

I wouldn’t waste a lot of time looking at the thesis, but you can find it at the Wikileaks page here, and download the pdf here.

Here’s the title page and the beginning of the introduction. Never in my life have I seen an introduction begin in this way!

Intro page Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 6.52.42 AM

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):

Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 6.59.22 AM

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:

Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 7.01.53 AM

I wonder what Ken Miller would think of that! And, speaking of errors, here’s one:

Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 6.56.02 AM

It is indeed 110 pages long, and here’s the last one:

Hovind

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.”

 

96 thoughts on “Wikileaks released Kent Hovind’s doctoral thesis

  1. I think I ran across a copy of this online some time ago. I also recall having seen a picture of the “university” in Del Norte. I think it’s a sad commentary on our society that anyone–let alone hundreds or thousands–would take Hovind seriously or at least give him a bye on the basis that his intentions are honorable.

    1. P.S. He blames Satan for spreading the lie of evolution. But one could say with equal justification that Satan invented Jesus in order to fool people that they would be saved!

      1. The thing about Satan, as he is depicted in the Bible, is that he always tells the truth. God, on the other hand, tells lots of fibs.

    2. It’s a good proof for the power of confirmation bias. It’s the same reason indoctrination works so bloody well – if you firmly believe something and don’t question your own belief having “experts” around who agree with your shit makes life easier and it’s easy to believe them.

    3. Be careful with honorable intentions. With a little bit of delusion it can lead to much cruelty and stupidity.

        1. Several hours?!? That’s impressive!

          I don’t think we should be too disparaging of small-ish Universities, though. I think the great Professor Peter Schickele matriculated from a similarly-sized institution: the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople. (looking south across the campus)

          Now that I think of it, we have a few “Universities” just ten miles or so from where I sit – out in eastern El Paso County, that make Patriot Bible University look like U Chicago.

          1. Hovind’s alma mater should have a crescent moon cut into the door – and no, I don’t mean that he’s a secret Muslim.
            😉

  2. Hitchens also said about Falwell: If you gave [Jerry] Falwell an enema he could be buried in a matchbox.

    Which is quite applicable to Hovind as well.

    1. Beat me to it. Perhaps my favorite quote of Hitchens. Especially when viewed so that you can see the other parties’ responses, and see / hear Hitchens’ delivery.

      The passage Jerry quoted is right up there too. That whole discussion was very entertaining.

    1. I don’t think they offer any BS degrees there. Probably delivering more B.Th. degrees.

      The bulk price is about the same as that of gravel, as it turns out. Pretty good racket, considering the markup!

      b&

  3. That is the most hilarious introduction in the history of introductions. He must’ve thought “introduction” means to introduce yourself. I can see how this misconception would come about, given that he has probably only read the one book and therefore hasn’t been exposed to introductions before.

      1. I remember the days, sittin’ on the porch with my family, singin’ and dancin’ down in Mississippi…

        1. I thought preachers weren’t supposed to do that sort of thing.

          But, there’s penicillin to cure it. Wait a minute; the bugs have developed resistance to penicillin. No, can’t be, that would be evolution.

          I’m so confused…

    1. Oh, that must be it. I first placed him as a first grader.

      But reading further I wouldn’t place him much higher after all. :-/

      1. In the rationalwiki entry about Hovind’s dissertation (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Kent_Hovind%27s_doctoral_dissertations), you could find this about its readibilty:
        “According to the Wikipedia page on Flesch Reading Ease, a Flesch Reading Ease score of 69.44 would correspond to being “easily understandable to 13- to 15-year old students.”[11] The lower the index, the harder the piece is to read. The Wikipedia page states that the average 11-year-old student’s written assignment has a “Reading Ease” of 60-70, which would indicate that the writing style of Kent’s supposed PhD-level paper is on par with that of a pre-pubescent student.

        Similarly, the “Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level” indicates the approximate number of years of education needed to understand a piece of writing. According to these metrics, a student in the 7th grade should be able to fully understand Kent’s “doctoral research”.”

        I find weird to have a title page without a title, and a doctoral dissetation presented as a “project submitted to [a teacher]”.

        Desnes

    2. “I can see how this misconception would come about, given that he has probably only read the one book and therefore hasn’t been exposed to introductions before.”

      If only the Bible began, “Hi, I’m God.”

      1. “If only the Bible began, “Hi, I’m God.””

        The long-lost first page of the Bible has finally been found! The translated text reads:
        This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places, or things is purely coincidental.

      2. Hi, I’m god. I like killing all my creations for petty reasons. I’m into murder, rape, genocide – you know, the regular stuff all gods are into. I am omniscient, omnipotent, pretty much all omni’s really. Oh, except omnibus. I’m not that one. I’m then, now and forever so spoilers, I’m going to be a real asshole for a while then and my son who is me, to suffer for y’all and take on your sins. It is sort of all bullshit because why would I, the omni guy, need to do all this stuff. Yeah, I don’t know why you worship me at all. I’m sort of evil. And imaginary.

        Well that’s it for my introduction, hope you like the rest but you probably will want to forget about all the bad parts and remember just the good parts, especially when you divide into sects, who interpret me all differently, and kill each other.

        1. “Hi, I’m god. I like killing all my creations for petty reasons. I’m into murder, rape, genocide – you know, the regular stuff all gods are into…”

          *Unfriend*

      1. Damn straight. After all, those evil mathematicians all think that pi is a bit more than 3.14, when the bible clearly teaches that pi = 3.

  4. This is an absolutely gorgeous part of the country, BTW (fairly near where I sit). A bit sparse in this particular stretch, but excellent hot springs dot the area – breathtaking dunes (tallest in North America)… river rafting, hiking, biking, etc. Alligator ranching…

    Also provided a lot of the backdrop for Trey Parker’s “Cannibal the Musical”.

    Too bad about the evangelical f%$#wits, though.

  5. Hm, that looks like output from an ImageWriter.

    Also, isn’t it usual to have a *committee*of 2-4 people (like I did for my graduate degrees), not just a single person signing off? (Another possible failure of academic standards.)

    1. ImageWriters had higher resolution and could use arbitrary fonts, and most Mac word processing applications of that era would use variable-width fonts. This one is monospaced. Even the Apple ][ word processors that I remember weren’t quite this ugly.

      To me, it looks much more like one of the generic “programmable typewriters” of the day. They were true miracle machines in the mid- to late-80s, but a real bitch to work with regardless, especially by modern standards. You could generally only see a few dozen characters in the display at most. Storing an entire dissertation would be almost miraculous and an act of true skill and courage, even assuming the typewriter had that much memory. Much more likely, it was done a page at a time.

      It could also have been done on one of the early DOS computers with a truly sucky printer, or perhaps even a dedicated “word processor” machine.

      Regardless, by 1991, technology had already moved significantly past whatever Kent used for his “dissertation.” Any decent university computing lab would be jammed to the gills with students working on various iterations of the Mac SE and the Mac II, the latter with full-color displays. All would be printing on networked LaserWriters. I don’t remember what the DOS world was like then. It was behind the Mac, but nowhere near as sucky as Kent’s paper.

      b&

      1. I think I recognize that font as the typical sans serif of the 9-pin Epson FX series, set on fancy, hi-res mode. I’m guessing their budget was commensurate with the budget of our health department, at the time.

      2. The original Imagewriter (not the II, which was much more popular) was often used to output from “text mode” on an Apple II, and had a resembling font. Which looks a lot like this output …

        1. You may be right…I never did have much experience with the original ImageWriter, only the II.

          Then again, that sort of generic very low resolution font was common on all sorts of low resolution devices then….

          b&

      1. I was thinking more of Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park:

        Dennis Nedry: [waving] Hovind!
        Kent Hovind: [sitting down] You shouldn’t use my name.
        Dennis Nedry: [loudly] Hovind, Hovind, we’ve got Hovind here! Nobody cares. Nice hat. What are you trying to look like, a secret agent?
        Kent Hovind: Okay, I’ve got my dissertation and the rather large check you asked for.
        Dennis Nedry: Here’s your doctorate. Just make sure WikiLeaks doesn’t get a hold of your dissertation.
        Kent Hovind: I’ll keep it in my bible, no one looks in those things.

  6. The organization that “accredited” Hovind’s “school” is itself unaccredited by the US Dept. Education. They claim that they don’t accept USDE accreditation because the US government has no control over them – separation of church and State.
    Another scam in the name of Christianity…!

  7. By the way, who is Wayne Knight, Hovind’s “major professor?” I am concerned, sharing the same last name as we do…

  8. Credentials in America, especially PhD, continue to be anchored to a battalion of half witted, self-appointed, reviewless, charlatans. The institutional machinery for these baseless diplomas is only getting bigger.

    1. Absolutely. And that is just the tip of the iceberg, as they say. At a time when it has become more and more necessary to have a degree for just about any kind of job above flipping burgers, the more worthless the education received. (speaking of the US)

    2. you can’t make sparkling wine and whiskey in north america and call it Champagne and Scotch. There should be similar restrictions on allowing people to claim the title of Doctor.

      Religion – dishonest to the core as always.

    1. I got my phd at Home Depot and for $30 it was the best investment I ever made. I’ve replaced over 20 fence posts around my yard and nothing beats it for digging post holes in soil that is mostly clay, shale and limestone (that plus a 6 foot wrecking bar for the more recalcitrant rocks).

      1. That would be a ‘shovel’ they sold you, Steve. It has in common with a PhD that it has no ‘q’ in it.

      2. Thanks, Steve, for reminding me of Doc Blakely, one of my favorite humor speakers, who says his Ph. D. stands for exactly that: Post Hole Digger (in case your reference flew over the top of skim readers.

    1. A typical user of crayon is a young child, who might be excused (for a while) for not knowing any better about the matters under discussion. But an adult should know better.

  9. Btw, I note all ‘doctor’ Hovind’s evidences fails.

    – There never were a world-wide flood. (Or a 6 000 year old Earth.)

    – Sequencing predicts the population size differently. (And puts X and Y ancestors 10’s or 100’s of thousands year back. Modern man is not as old as Hovind claims.)

    – We _have_ people writing of kings that lived fifty thousand years ago. Myth against myth.

    And why would the younger abrahamic myth have precedence? Obviously they weren’t there… =D

    Note this gap in the list:

    “Ubara-Tutu 5 sars and 1 ner (18,600 years)
    “Then the flood swept over.”

    Excavations in Iraq have revealed evidence of localized flooding at Shuruppak (modern Tell Fara, Iraq) and various other Sumerian cities. A layer of riverine sediments, radiocarbon dated to ca. 2900 BC, interrupts the continuity of settlement, extending as far north as the city of Kish. Polychrome pottery from the Jemdet Nasr period (3000-2900 BC) was discovered immediately below the Shuruppak flood stratum.[19]

    First Dynasty of Kish[edit]
    Ruler Epithet Length of reign Approx. dates Comments

    “After the flood had swept over, and the kingship had descended from heaven, the kingship was in Kish.”

    Jushur 1200 years historicity uncertain names before Etana do not appear in any other known source, and their existence is archaeologically unverified”

    My bold re “tell of a world-wide flood in the last five or six thousand years”, which is about what the rest of the suddenly much shortened reigns of the Sumerian King list sums to.

    – The arguably oldest recorded writings are carbon dated to 8 000 years ago. Else writings 5-6 000 years old have been found. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writing ]

  10. Just that you mentioned the Romanian patriarch oiling a high resolution LCD screen, it can be worse. Because this guy is quite obvious a fake.

    In Romania, the anti-vaccine campaign is lead by one Pavel Chirilă. A former generalist who found more money in homeopathy. With the fall of Communism new opportunity arose and now he’s practicing christian medicine, whatever that means. Theresa of Calcutta with a medical diploma. He even got a Phd in theology to sign as dr. Chirilă, Phd. Later moved to professor of bioethics so now he presents himself as prof. Chirilă Phd, in a country ripe with coruption where the university rank simply means a higher bill. This guy is one of the main reasons why the HPV vaccination campaign failed in Romania with a combination of 1. «only a promiscuous woman would need that» and 2. «that is a jewish conspiration to sterilise your young christian women». Phd in bioethics, right?

  11. I remember this thing. There are some good bits in there.

    “The god of Mohammedism is not the God of the Bible by any stretch of the imagination. It is a little pantheistic god of nature. Because of this, the Islam religion accepts evolution very readily as a scientific fact because it fits so well with their teaching.”

    Not only does Hovind fail science and law, oddly enough also religion.

    “One of the astronauts offered to eat some of the moon dust on the way back to prove that there was no life on it and that it was perfectly sterile. Bring back a Mars rock or a Jupiter rock, I’ll eat it or lick it. Life doesn’t evolve.”

    You heard Kent. He wants to eat his Jupiter rock!

    I’m sad to learn that the man who obtained Hovind’s dissertation passed away back in 2012. My favorite thing about Hovind’s “dissertation” was Evans receiving it:

    “he requested a copy of Hovind’s “dissertation” from Patriot University, only to receive the original document, complete with a taped-in clipping from a magazine, to his surprise and delight.”

    Not enough dissertations have taped-in pictures from magazines.

    1. Also forgot about this great quote:

      [i]”Evolution is a religious faith…. What I am upset about is the fact that their faith is being taught as science in the public school system [b]at my expense as a taxpayer[/b]. That upsets me greatly!”[/i]

      Liar!

      1. Err…lemme try that again:

        “Evolution is a religious faith…. What I am upset about is the fact that their faith is being taught as science in the public school system at my expense as a taxpayer. That upsets me greatly!”

  12. “with the usual accusations that evolution is a religion (a false one)”

    Indeed, it is easy to refute the accusation that evolution is a religion, and then what you are left with is the fact that the religionist used this accusation of being a religion disparagingly.

    I’m shocked how often that comes up in theistic arguments … or its brother the “it takes too much faith to be atheist / evolutionist” one.

    Is it not obvious to a religious person who values faith that disparaging any idea by accusing it of being a religion or that it takes faith, is implying that religions are bad and faith is not a virtue?

  13. From the Patriot website: “It is often said that one can measure the credibility of a school by its faculty. It is recommended that a prospective student make inquiry into the school’s faculty and their qualifications. We agree, this is very good advice, if you are planning to attend a traditional college.

    However, Patriot’s courses are self-directed correspondence studies and as such do not employ professors.”

    Pretty much says it all.

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