Young Earth Creationists are not exactly the brightest lights on the tree, as we all know. And the dimmest bulbs among them have to be Kent Hovind’s dwindling fan club.
In the way creationists in general think that facts will change to conform to beliefs, Hovind supporters have whipped up one of these stupid online petitions in the hopes of getting him pardoned and released. If there has ever been a case in the history of the internet where an online petition has impacted or changed — well — anything, I haven’t heard about it. But to think the Florida criminal justice system would actually reverse a felony conviction and prison sentence on the basis of a handful of people signing an online petition is a particularly pitiful brand of stupidity. I mean, you’d have to be stupid enough to believe the earth is only 6000 years old or something to believe that!
Naturally, the atheist and science blogosphere has been having some fun at these poor fools’ expense, just as they did with that numbskulled Christianity Today poll a few days back. A few people have posted phony signatures to the “Free Hovind” petition, but I, like PZ, would discourage this. Hell, it’s just mean, like taking candy from a baby. The better choice for a mocking response has been the “Keep Hovind in Jail!” counter-petition, which, as of this morning, has 843 signatures to the pro-Hovind poll’s 53 (and some of those 53, as I indicated, are pranks). The YEC’s who started the “Free Kent” petition are aware of the counter-petition, and have gone into full “Mommy mommy, the monsters under the bed are trying to eat me!” mode.
Now of course, a key difference is that the people who started the “Keep Hovind in Jail!” petition know online petitions are bogus. The reason for the counter-petition is to give the poor deluded dimwits who still have the wool pulled over their eyes where Hovind is concerned a blunt reality check. The man was a liar and a con artist, a schemer and a deliberate crook. And those fine Christians who think he actually told them the truth about dinosaurs and the age of the earth are the victims of his most egregious and inexcusable con, and their views are not in the mainstream here.
Yes, sometimes it seems mean to pound on the religiously deluded and uneducated. But sometimes a little “tough love” is needed. Signing your name to “Keep Hovind in Jail!” isn’t really like participating in an “iPetition.” Think of it more as an “iIntervention”.