Skeptics Society --- SHAME ON YOU! (My Response to Kent Hovind)

SKEPTICS SOCIETY—SHAME ON YOU!
http://www.creationtoday.org/skeptics-society%E2%80%94shame-on-you/

I discoverd this blog by Kent Hovind through a status update on Facebook, posted by Michael Shermer. Don't ask me how an unabashed tax dodger jailed since 2007 managed to post a blog on the internet. Maybe our prisons are becoming more European? (Yeah, right.) Anyhow, it never ceases to amaze me the balls on these Creationists in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence. And by balls, I mean their bold claim to rationality they dress their arguments with before laying on their brand of science.

In the article Kent (who I am going to assume wrote the blog, and not his son or other proxy) responds to a fund-raising pamphlet distributed by the Skeptics Society titled "Top 10 Myths about Evolution", with the intent of defending the myths.

He begins by claiming Michael's 10 "evidences", as he puts it, for Evolution have been discredited and disproved long ago (In many debates against him, no less). He aims to cover 3 of the 10 "evidences" and refers to his seminar series and debates for further reference. A seminar series link, that if you follow, leads to a page with a DVD set costing $89.95 before shipping and handling.

Oh, Kent, you just can't resist trying to make more money to not pay taxes on, can't you?

Anyhow, let's see how his defense of the myths hold up...

The first myth: Why aren't apes evolving into humans?

In this he responds the the Common Ancestor argument, saying it's a feeble attempt to draw attention away from the bigger issue.

And what would the bigger issue be?

Why, that animals produce nothing other than that of their own "kind". Such as, a dog only produces a dog and a gerbil only produces a gerbil.

He further tries to rationalize this argument by pointing out that farmers depend on this very fact in order to grow crops!

What a reasonable argument!

I guess he supposes if Evolution works the way he thinks it does, a kernel of corn would end up producing a cow or a reindeer. How unfortunate that would be for the farmer!

All that Kent accomplishes in this defense is the demonstration he does not understand Evolution. It is an argument that only works on people who share that ignorance. And this is probably one of the reasons Creationists don't want Evolution taught in school. If people knew the truth then how could you sell them DVD's on this very subject that cost 89.95 before shipping and handling?

The second myth: Too many gaps in the fossil record.

He tells Michael to be ashamed for using the "fossil record" argument. I am guessing he is expecting there to be a neatly annotated account of every life form that ever existed. He also claims no further information can be gathered from these old bones because they aren't dated and they certainly can't talk to us to let us know how old they are! They are simply bones in the dirt! So he says. And what evidence can this be other than evidence for a global flood!

He also tries to refute the claim about Archaeopteryx being a missing link, which Michael Shermer had pointed to for that very reason. As Kent explained earlier, an Archaeopteryx cannot be a missing link because an Archaeopteryx can only produce another Archaeopteryx. Again, Kent Hovind demonstrates his complete lack of a science education.

And additionally a lack of awareness of current and historical events. There are a significant amount of fossils recovered throughout the world and not a month goes by where you don't hear about something new. Why, just a week before Valentine's day a Mammoth Tusk was recovered in the central downtown of my lovely city, Seattle, while construction crews were excavating to lay the foundation for a building. And anyone with a basic science education knows finding any fossil is pretty impressive considering the conditions that create them.

Ken does point out at least one thing true.

The Archaeopteryx has been found in a single quarry in Germany. But he is wrong when he says only six have been recovered. And it isn't the only ancient bird-like creature discovered in the world.

What gets me again about his argument is that Kent Hovind continues to demonstrate a lack of science education, and what is becoming more apparent, a lack for a consideration of facts. He doesn't understand what the fossil record is, and completely overlooks the methods of dating fossils known as carbon dating.

Which I find as odd.

You'd think he would at least try refuting that considering all the other tired arguments he's used. Maybe he fears people have developed too much respect for carbon dating that it's no longer a plausible target?

The third myth: Fossil record does not show gradual change.

In defending this myth Kent tries to ridicule Michael's argument about "punctuated equilibrium", wherein instead of Evolution happening gradually over time it "happens so fast that no evidence is preserved." He then goes on to ridicule him saying if it were used in a court of law: "Your honor, we don't have the evidence so that proves it happened!"

Oh, the irony of that statement.

And once again Kent Hovind demonstrates his unwillingness to consider all of the facts and understand the theories being presented. I think in this argument he is trying to suggest evolution happened so quickly that a Tyrannosaurus Rex evolved into a pack mule or kangaroo in just a few generations! If only Kent had opened up a Wikipedia article in his jail cell how easily educated he could become on the subject!

After he has covered the three myths he goes on to preach his religious garble and further nonsense, using Bible quotes to justify his arguments.

He even ends on a friendly note, by warning Michael about eternal damnation if he doesn't repent.

Isn't that nice? What a thoughtful man.

Those myths. They are quite something.

I can understand why Creationists wish to keep our future generations in the dark about Science. Without that combined ignorance there is nothing to capitalize on. You no longer have a flock of sheep. They scatter and desire to spend their Sundays doing other things. In order to attract them again and make some money you have to do something hard. Like create something. Like an iPhone or a trendy web application! And that normally requires critical thinking and... *gasp* ...SCIENCE!

I guess it only pays to be an unimaginative scoundrel and snake oil salesman when you keep people dumb and ignorant as you.

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Comment by Easton Le on February 22, 2014 at 5:39pm

@Michael Penn: You also have to consider we have molded ourselves a better environment to live in. So it may be true we are taller and more intelligent (or a number of other traits you can number) than people in the 1950's or the 1800's. But this is probably due to better nutrition being available, as well as more rational memes, such as the allegory of the cave or Ocham's Razor, populating the minds of everyday westerners. The better nutrition availability is obvious. You can refer the the Flynn Effect concerning intelligence.

I know from firsthand experience family and friends who have immigrated from Vietnam to the United States are taller and more educated than their east Asian counterparts. This is beginning to change now that Vietnam is beginning to improve itself socioeconomically, but when I was a teenager there was a far larger contrast.

@Craigart14: You are correct. I made an error. Carbon dating is good up to ~58,000/~62,000 years. Dating of dinosaur fossils primarily come from radiometric dating, which relies on isotopes, and is done in the manner you pointed out.

Comment by Craigart14 on February 22, 2014 at 10:29am

Kent Hovind's alma mater, Patriot Bible University.  Impressive, no?

Comment by Craigart14 on February 22, 2014 at 9:38am

I don't think fossils can be directly carbon dated, can they?  Carbon has a relatively short half life (thousands of years), and the process of fossilization replaces the carbon with minerals, right?  Aren't they dated according to the rock layers under which they are found, using other radiometrics?

Comment by Michael Penn on February 22, 2014 at 8:27am

It may be possible that I don't understand evolution even today! What I do see is many changes in my lifetime to where I don't believe that a 1950's person is like us. Certainly not an 1800's person. There are small but noticeable differences. Even if you want to claim that modern dentistry is a "stand out" for modern man, I'll tell you that something even this small is changeing us through evolution. People speak of "survival of the fittest" but you might as well speak of "survival through adaptation." It doesn't take trillions upon trillions of dead sperm to determine that a model simply will not work, so we are not likely to see anything similar in fossil records. Compareing mankind to a hammer (for example) we are not likely to find remnants of hammer heads and various hammer handles all in different states of completion until the right hammer came along. What we are likely to find is various shapes, kinds, and types all able to do their job as they came along. Then times changed and so too would your species. Evolution of the species is determined by time and evolution of the Earth itself.

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