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May 11 2009

Over two years later, people still blame us for Kent Hovind

Well well well, what do you know. Yesterday on the show, I brought up this two year old post because Kent Hovind’s devotees still whine about his unjust incarceration. And then at the wee hours of two in the morning, someone else comes along and does precisely that. Since the linked post is more or less off the radar of most other commenters, I thought I’d bring it back to the top with a new post.

Andrew writes:

Wow.. I bet if creationists did something like this to Richard Dawkins the atheists would be in tears.

Okay, a few points of order here. First: Richard Dawkins is not an American citizen. I suppose he could get picked up for not paying taxes in Britain, but as far as I know, the completely wacky notion that you can live as a fairly affluent citizen in a first world country without paying your way is mostly local to the United States. Especially since the arguments I see all appear to hinge on misunderstood obscure points of American law, American history, and the US Constitution.

Second: if Richard Dawkins committed a felony, we would not be upset at the people who tried and convicted him. We would much more likely be pissed off at Richard Dawkins for doing something so stupid without thinking through the implications. Unlike religious figures, neither Dawkins nor any other atheist “celebrity” is considered infallible and beyond criticism.

Third: Where the hell is the analogy to “creationists doing something like this”? Atheists didn’t put him in jail. Hovind was put in jail by a judge and jury of his peers by the laws of the country that you probably claim to love. All we’ve done is make fun of him for it. :)

As I was saying on the show yesterday: people like Andrew see the world in terms of absolute good and evil, regardless of facts and evidence. It rarely crosses their mind that someone they believe is “on the side of right” might actually deserve to go to jail due to crimes that they committed. In the Christian mythos, of course, everyone deserves nothing less than eternal torture, but they get to avoid it by saying an incantation about accepting Jesus in their hearts. Hovind, being a Christian, shouldn’t be subject to any punishment, and therefore it must be wicked unjust infidels who are persecuting him.

Fact of the matter is that the tax code is too complex and unpredictable to avoid some error. Depending on how much money you’ve made, you could somehow be classified as much a criminal as a mugger on the street.

Oh yeah, it’s true that people can and do get in trouble for honest mistakes in computing the taxes they owe. Here’s something that doesn’t fall in that category: refusing to pay taxes for years, flaunting your claim that you don’t have to, and not bothering to run this obviously mistaken belief by a qualified lawyer who has a clue what the hell they’re talking about. That’s beyond stupid, it’s criminally stupid.

Another point: If a prominent Darwinist were taken in for something like this (it’s not possible since all these organizations are tax-funded in the first place) everybody would be screaming “The sky is falling! We’re going back to the Dark Ages of science!”

I’m afraid I will need some evidence of this extraordinary claim that “everybody” would be doing this. When a prominent scientist is convicted for breaking the law, few people assume that it reflects in any way on science in general. Well, creationists probably do, because ad hominems are so much fun.

There is alot of corruption within our government and a few key organizations get all the benefits in the world. This hasn’t changed since Obama rolmao. (WE WANT CHANGE!!) And those who supported McCAin were just as blind.

Right now we neither have a free market or socialist country. Right now we have a corporate and government alliance. It’s because of mergers that the government forces or creates that true monopolies are born.

Creationist or not, Kent Hovind was just another blind victim of the IRS. An organization which we do not need. (They’re not even productive.)

But just remember boys and girls,

“Don’t Steal! The Government Hates Competition!”

Corruption within our government there certainly may be. Convicting and imprisoning a fraud is not an example of that; it is an example of the system doing what it is meant to do. While you do bring up legitimate concerns, not every conviction is a conspiracy. So far, you have yet to demonstrate that this one is.

Also, what’s up with the weirdly sardonic tone of the sentence in quotes? Even assuming that we grant that the government is, by and large, a criminal organization, is Andrew saying that this means nobody should be convicted for stealing? Ah, the squishy nature of absolute morality…

Andrew then writes a second post, in which he starts trying to come to grips with the fact that maybe Hovind was convicted with good cause by a fair jury. Then he tries to rationalize it away. Needless to say, he finds another way to blame atheism.

Who knows. Maybe he’s in jail because he started to become too self-absorbed or took his mind off of spiritual things. Next thing you know, Kent Hovind gets greedy and poof!

Eh? Eh? You see what Andrew just did there? Prominent Christian apologist Kent Hovind broke the law because he took his mind off of spiritual things. You see, his only real crime was acting too much like an atheist.

He’s in jail! My advice to Hovind: Just go with it. Don’t try to fight the system. If you want to spread your message as soon as possible just play by the rules.

Good advice. It would have been even more valuable before Kent decided not to play by the rules that pertain to US tax law. But still good, in general.

Kent Hovind has his flaws. He’s a human being just like us all. Of course some people would say “Well does he desrve to go to Heaven?” Nope.

Neither would I. Neither would you. That is assuming, of course, that Heaven exists. Which I do every time.

Atheists, of course, would not bother asking whether Kent deserves to go to heaven, because we don’t believe in your happy land. But you see, it’s exactly how I was explaining it yesterday. Heaven never entered this question in the first place until you brought it up. We were discussing man-made laws and the evil conspiracy to enforce them.

Christians often claim that it must be a very dangerous thing to become an atheist, since true morality must come from God, and there is no other force preventing people from murdering and stealing. Yet in the fundamentalist mindset, there are no crimes other than angering God, and those crimes can be washed away by saying an incantation. Andrew was implying earlier that Kent Hovind deserves special dispensation to be forgiven for his crimes due to the fact that he said the words. Now he backs it up by invoking his belief that all humans have sinned equally, whether or not they made off with nearly half a million dollars in legally owed finances.

In other words, the moral check and balance of Christianity is phony. Christians and atheists alike may follow the law out of a sense of societal obligation or fear of earthly punishment. But becoming a Christian does not noticably improve the likelihood that you will do so, because it’s a moral blank check.

Kent Hovind may very well have been in the wrong her
e. I currently see it as more than likely (considering our current, flawed laws…. laws nonetheless. However unconstitutional, invasive, counterproductive, or dumb they might be.)

Hey, admitting he has a problem is the first step to recovery. You should maybe drop Kent a line to let him know he should start thinking about what he done wrong.

Warning: Assumptions about Heaven and God being real coming ahead.

I thought you might appreciate that warning. God might have put him there so that he could learn some humility.

But, hey. That’s the extent of my knowledge. Whatever God could have planned is beyond me :S.

Oh, and Kent Hovind’s point all along has been: “Evolution is not science because it cannot be observed beyond changes within certain kinds of animals.” It’s a good theory and all and very well-thought out. And it can make alot of logical sense.

But it can be very illogical as well. I think Kent Hovind misses some points about evolution, but he does make SOME good cases in favor of creation and a Young Earth.

I believe in the Young Earth myself and I will continue to believe in it until God himself tells me I was wrong.

And now we observe the impact of fundamentalism on scientific discourse as well as legal and ethical standards. Andrew has a belief which is in no way informed by scientific research, observation, or evidence. How will this belief ever change to one that is more accurate? By learning more about reality? No, Andrew will only change his mind if his invisible friend personally notifies him that it is okay to do so.

And I just bet THAT’S going to happen.

And, please. I BEG you to set aside your flame-throwers and spare me from major flammage.

Everybody likes to play pin the tail of the creationist lol.

Your request was denied. But hey, that tail is very becoming.

22 comments

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  1. 1
    Warren Grubb

    It seems like this person was coming around quite a bit, until they hit the brick wall of faith. At least they were able to eventually admit to Hovind’s wrongdoing, but then, when you think they might come to a logical conclusion, they veer into the ridiculous with a faith-based stance on a young earth.

  2. 2
    Stephan

    Just for clarification, the judge that sentenced the Hovinds, U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers, was appointed by George W. Bush (http://www.floridajusticeassociation.org/images/uploads/1077719108WCjan04.pdf)…a sure sign of an atheist conspiracy! =PThen again, it appears that this same judge ruled that school lead prayer is, yes, still illegal. (http://newsblaze.com/story/20090113081221reye.nb/topstory.html)So maybe crazy creationists can use this as the evidence for a atheist conspiracy that they seem to need…?

  3. 3
    Robert

    “Fact of the matter is that the tax code is too complex and unpredictable to avoid some error. Depending on how much money you’ve made, you could somehow be classified as much a criminal as a mugger on the street.”He is right, the tax code is complex, and people can make honest mistakes. But the IRS is not some evil organization that runs around and is only concerned with taking your money. Lies spread by the right who want to get rid of the IRS. No, you will have to pay a fine for the mistake, but the IRS is going to be willing to work with you so you can pay your taxes if you made a mistake, and it is only after multiple warnings and blatant refusal to pay your taxes that criminal charges are pressed. If you make a mistake on your taxes, police are not going to show up unannounced at your door and throw you in jail. So, no, you are not treated like the common mugger.

  4. 4
    PersonalFailure

    If you want to see what a tax free society looks like, go visit Somalia. A few weeks there, you’ll be begging to join Mr. Hovind in a US prison.Asshat.

  5. 5
    cipher

    Just for clarification, the judge that sentenced the Hovinds, U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers, was appointed by George W. BushAs was Judge Jones, who ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v. Dover. But they couldn’t have been real conservatives; real conservative judges only hand down rulings fundies like.It seems like this person was coming around quite a bit, until they hit the brick wall of faith. I don’t think he was coming around; I think he was trying to rationalize how a “man of God” like Kent could be bested by Satan’s minions (i.e. liberals, atheists, Democrats, etc.)Damn, this country is filled to the brim with morons.

  6. 6
    Ing

    I love how he fails to see that he looped himself inside a catch 22′When will you consider that God isn’t real’”When God tells me so”It’s like a mobious strip of stupid.

  7. 7
    Warren Grubb

    re: my comment that he was coming around- i was mostly joking, tho it is rare that you even see someone make even such basic concessions as he, haha.re: the catch 22- i have seen theists who see statements like that as some sort of iron-clad reasoning. the simplest form i guess being the “the bible is true because it says so” argument. so, yes, a mobious strip of stupid.

  8. 8
    Ing

    I really don’t get where this tax thing shows up. I notice it seems to follow the same patern as creatonism. “THERE IS NO (Proof/LAW)”"actually there’s (citation of physical evidence or the laws on record)”NUUUUGHUUUUUUUUGH!”Misunderstand the topic then argue like you’re an expert.

  9. 9
    cipher

    a mobious strip of stupidNow that’s a great line!

  10. 10
    Dorkman

    Russell, I don’t think you were NEARLY as inflammatory as you could have been. And good on ya for it, I’m just saying. I’m not sure you actually did refuse his request to put down the flamethrowers — after all, you did address his points.

  11. 11
    Ing

    “And good on ya for it, I’m just saying. I’m not sure you actually did refuse his request to put down the flamethrowers — after all, you did address his points.”Well that might be good, I suspect that the poster was about 11 or so…but honestly it’s hard to tell (not meaning to be mean or jokering but they often sound very childish)

  12. 12
    jem

    I don’t get the idea that God placed him there so he could learn humility. Don’t Christians believe in free-will? Didn’t Hovind choose to avoid paying taxes, and didn’t the IRS workers choose to prosecute him? Where did God meddle along the way to screw over Kent?

  13. 13
    Supernaut

    We get blamed for Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, and now we’re being blamed when a Christian does something wrong!?!?!?!?!?! When does this insanity end?

  14. 14
    Ing

    We get blamed for Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, and now we’re being blamed when a Christian does something wrong!?!?!?!?!?! When does this insanity end?”If people accept that his “taxes are illegal” bullshit was on unfounded grounds and was him using dishonest intellectual hogwash…they’d have to concede that his argument for creationism is the same thing.

  15. 15
    RomanGirl

    1) I don’t respect people on an intellectual level when they don’t know that “a lot” is two words. 2) He says “I believe in the Young Earth.” Like I believe in Santa or I believe in you? When something is scientifically proven, you don’t have to “believe in” anything. You can either accept or refute the evidence and conclusions.

  16. 16
    Ing

    1) I don’t respect people on an intellectual level when they don’t know that “a lot” is two words. “To be honest that one always catches me up. I have a mental block because ‘a’ implies singular but a lot is inferring a surplus of plural. Can we get T-shirts that say “Kent Hovind died for your sins?”

  17. 17
    Luis

    Whenever a creationist throws an ad hominem, throw Hovind back at ‘em.

  18. 18
    Jeremy

    I don’t get the idea that God placed him there so he could learn humility. Don’t Christians believe in free-will?Christians do but, if you read the bible, their god apparently doesn’t. Jonah and Pharaoh come to mind.

  19. 19
    Tom Foss

    Just one more reason the Christian God is so lame. A decent god wouldn’t teach someone humility by throwing his ass in jail for breaking a law that he doesn’t think he has to follow and let him spread his persecution complex from his jail cell, ultimately feeding his ego even more. No, a decent god would cripple him and take away his special abilities.

  20. 20
    Ing

    a decent god would cripple him and take away his special abilities."As a sign of my geekdome, my first thought was the Paladin class. Comics or D&D which trumps in the game of dorkism?

  21. 21
    The Minstrel

    “I believe in the Young Earth myself and I will continue to believe in it until God himself tells me I was wrong.”Oh my, what a perfect example of malfunctioned reasoning. The only thing that could possibly beat this is if the statement would have read “I will continue to believe in God until God himself tells me I’m wrong to do so”.Guess this guy positions himself as a “1″ on Dawkins theist/atheist-scale. He aknowledged he could be mistaken with regards to the age of the earth, but apparently, the possibility that God might not exist couldn’t so much as cross his mind.

  22. 22
    Chris

    Maybe this guy ought to try a little experiment. He could try believing that the majority of scientists are right about the age of the earth and the diversity of life until such time as god tells him otherwise.After all, if young earth creationism is correct god’ll set him straight, right?

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