Is Kent Hovind a Liar too?
First of all let me make it clear that I am not a scientist and neither do I have academic qualifications of any sort. I believe the strength of my particular position comes from this very lack of credentials. For example, in over two years of posting debate challenges (aimed at creationists) in various Internet news groups (such as alt.atheism and alt.religion.christian) I have never yet found a creationist who is willing to debate me on the Internet. I have directly challenged Kent Hovind, Henry Morris, and Duane Gish. If these people, two of whom are arguably the leading creationist debaters, are not willing to debate someone like me in an environment that allows their claims to be properly dissected, what does it say about the strength of their position?
I forget how it was that I first came across Kent Hovind, but about two years ago I downloaded his seminar material (I believe from 1995) which is accessible at Kent Hovind's Creation Seminars and it sat on my hard drive for a couple of months before I read it. When I began to read it I found it so laughable even to my (then) limited science reading that I immediately backtracked and started to research and add my responses between Hovind's quoted portions, intending to post it on the web.
Little did I know that it would take me six months and fifty posted episodes before it was done! I ended up with over a megabyte of total material. During this time I occasionally emailed Hovind with comments. His responses from the very first were routinely patronizing and insulting. Never at any time has he ever attempted to address any of the serious problems that have been exposed in his material.
Deciding the original posting series was too long to really impact on people, I went back over it again, from scratch, intending to list only what I called lies (which included outright lies, distortions, misquotes and misleading statements). I ended up with a sixteen part posting series which I called "300 Creationist Lies" although there were slightly over 300 numbered items. I emailed every part to Hovind and challenged him to refute my accusations. A year later, I am still waiting. I tried tackling him with individual items, but he has never made any attempt to answer a single one of my charges. These lies are now on line at: 300 Creationist Lies Index.
I noticed during a recent visit to that page, that there is a link to a so-called response from Hovind which actually responds to nothing! Once again he wheedles his way out of a direct confrontation with vague references to so-called answers. It is my intention to get a transcript of his videos #4 & #7 if I can, to see just what they do say. My guess is that they say nothing more than his original seminar did. If I have learned one thing about creationists, it is that they create nothing and have nothing newer to say today than they did 100 years ago.
At some point during this refutation work and the email exchanges with Hovind, I challenged him to an Internet debate on his material. Initially, he claimed he did not have time; that his evangelical work was too important to waste time on this. When I removed this objection by pointing out to him what an impact a victory for him in a world-wide international forum would make, and how many souls he could reach by this means in one fell swoop, he ceased using that objection and resorted to my anonymity as an excuse.
All of my posting on the web is done under my AOL handle, which is Budikka@AOL.com. Hovind used this as an excuse in his responses. He insisted on knowing who I was and where I lived, basically wanting my entire personal life to be revealed. This was in a era when abortion clinics were routinely being bombed and abortion doctors shot to death at their breakfast table by fundamentalists equally as committed to their cause as Hovind and his ilk are to theirs. When I would not play his game, he retreated into infantile chants of "Cowardice!"
I patiently explained that, since he was the one refusing to debate, it was not I who was the coward. I also explained that I was not anonymous in any meaningful sense of the word, since I have been reachable at, and posting via, my AOL handle for some significant time (particularly by flighty Internet standards). Hovind obviously is not looking to the technological future, nor is he interested in a cool, sedate, and detached electronic debate when he is so addicted to the adoration he soaks up from sycophantic audiences by following the obsolete evangelistic route and his machine-gun presentations.
In order to break the impasse, I sent to Hovind ten lies from my posted collection. I told him that, if he would answer only five of these charges to my satisfaction, I would meet him in person, anywhere he chose under any conditions, in front of any audience, to debate any topic. He refused my challenge, again chanting cowardice and anonymity.
I reduced my challenge to one question and one question only, repeating my offer to meet him for a debate under any rules and conditions, in person, if he could answer this one question. I have challenged him at least twice with this and I am still waiting for any kind of intelligent answer. The question I asked? It is the question that no creationist has ever answered, nor can answer, and it gives the lie completely to the farcical pretence of creation science.
The question is:
Can you explain scientifically what is the biological or genetic mechanism which permits all manner of "variation" within a "kind" but somehow slams the door shut at the "kind barrier", preventing one "kind" from "varying" into another "kind".
The corollary to this is, of course, that no creationist has ever defined what a "kind" is to the best of my knowledge. I have posted this question on the Internet at least twice and have never had anyone make any attempt to answer it.
As far as Hovind's evolution challenge goes, I made a couple of simple passes at him to gauge his response. I was convinced he would never pay, so rather than get heavily into research to no result, I borrowed a couple of instances of speciation from the Talk.Origins Archive, told Hovind where they were from, and demanded the (then) $10,000 he offered. Hovind laughed off the proofs without making any attempt to respond to them in any sensible manner whatsoever.
I emailed him and pointed out that his offer makes it plain that he will submit the proofs to a panel, not judge them himself. I asked him to so submit them. He wrote back that he had lost the proofs! I submitted more to him from the same source together with a reference to a web article from the BBC (UK) site that mentioned evolution in mosquitoes existing in the London underground railway. I told Hovind that these were to be submitted to his panel, and that I needed to know the names of the panel so that I could judge their impartiality and qualifications for myself. A year later, I am still waiting for even one name from his purported "panel." The only response I got other than Hovind's snide and childish comments was from some guy who completely ignored the proofs, preached incessantly to me, and rambled on inanely about his own plant breeding experiments.
Clearly, there is no panel. Hovind judges the proofs himself, and his idea of judging is to deride all submissions and dismiss them out of hand. He cannot pay the money (assuming he even has it), since the humiliation would be too much to bear. Hovind has put himself in the immutable position of the absolute self-conviction of his own righteousness, and therefore cannot back down and will assume the most bizarre contortions imaginable to weasel his way out of any corner he is backed into. My intention is to keep on going after him (and any other creationists) until he is so pinned down by the truth that he cannot escape.