Okay, so now that we’re all agreed we don’t play nice…

Via PZ and WikiLeaks, in case you hadn’t seen this bit of timeless comedy gold, you can now download Kent Hovind’s entire “doctoral dissertation” for “Patriot Bible University,” a farcical Christian outfit housed in a doublewide offering correspondence courses. If the above is an example of what “Patriot Bible University” considers an acceptable lead-in to a dissertation, then let’s just say the whole preposterous charade that is fundamentalist “education” is even more hilarious than you think.

While we’re on Hovind (and it’s worth noting that this remains one of our most trafficked posts ever), I’d like to add a rider to remarks that Kazim and several commenters made in the preceding post. I agree it’s most important to attack ideas and not the people expressing them — but only to a point. Yes, the ad hominem attack is a fallacy, and is most commonly used simply to score cheap shots (and yes, I’ve been guilty of that one), or when the arguer has run out of intellectual steam and can’t muster rebuttals to strong points made by his opponent.

But this is a very different thing from attacking people when they have demonstrated, by their statements or actions, that they are not merely wrong but bad and foolish people. Kent Hovind is a case in point. First off, I don’t see anything unacceptable about calling a person who is convinced to the core of his being that dinosaurs walked the earth alongside humans an “idiot.” This is not name calling, but merely descriptive, in the same way I have pointed out that Richard Dawkins’ referring to Ray Comfort, the World’s Stupidest Christian™, as an “ignorant fool” and my referring to him by his unofficial title of World’s Stupidest Christian™ are not insults but descriptors*. Listen to Ray talk and read his writings, and his stupidity is on raw display. It cannot be denied any more than you could deny getting wet while standing in a thunderstorm. There is simply no way to refer to him other than to call him what he is: a stupid, ignorant fool.

Hovind is a man who is not merely ignorant but arrogant and entitled. He is convinced he is above the law, and remains unrepentant even when a ten-year jail sentence served to show him he was wrong on that point. Moreover, he has had an impact on a number of sycophantic followers, whom he has taught to lie and prevaricate just as he does. Read the comments from Hovind’s defenders in that old post of ours, and you’ll see them spouting the usual run of tortured, self-serving falsehoods to claim Hovind’s conviction on rather blatant tax fraud was Christian persecution at the hands of a Satanic government. So, QED, Kent Hovind has significantly damaged not merely the intellectual but the moral development of hundreds if not thousands of people. He has caused demonstrable harm.

He is also, in his self absorption, utterly cold and heartless to those who really do care about him. Listen to the audio clip between Hovind and his wife Jo. Listen to her try to express her feelings to him, her concern over the rightness and wrongness of the situation they find themselves in, and then listen to him shut her down with icy finality. He’s right, he’s always right. Because he’s God’s wingman. He doesn’t need to change, he’s perfect. It’s she who needs to “advance.” You have to wonder if we witness, in that exchange, the entire dynamic of fundamentalist Christian marriage in microcosm. Is this really a world in which unfeeling, authoritarian men are simply deaf to any of their wives’ emotional and moral concerns? Sure seems that way.

So, yes, I will always concentrate on attacking arguments first. But I will not refrain from condemning people worthy of condemnation. So go laugh at Kent Hovind’s “dissertation,” and then laugh at Kent. Because he’s an ignorant, arrogant, entitled, cold-blooded, self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing, felonious piece of shit. Quote me.


*Speaking scientifically, I know I cannot prove that Ray is necessarily the world’s stupidest Christian. There may well be many who are much much stupider. But if so, then they — unlike Ray, who proudly flies his stupid flag in public at every opportunity he gets, many of which he instigates himself for the attention — have the sense to stay out of the spotlight about it. Which, in turn, would make them smarter than Ray by just that much. So perhaps it can be proved that Ray’s the stupidest after all.

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.

Celebrate the new year by beating up on some religious wankers!

What better way to get 2009 off to a positive start?

Wanker A: Kent Hovind.

The 11th Circuit Court of appeals has upheld Hovind’s conviction. Too bad, so sad. One thing I’ve always been amused by is the way that, nearly two years later, this post has become AE’s zombie thread, with the occasional Hovindite still popping up like a gopher after finding the thing via Google, and posting some petulant comment about how we’re mean and evil and a bunch of heartless bullies and they hope we find the grace of Jebus in our hearts and all that. And oh yeah, Kent’s innocent and the tax laws are unfair/illegal/evil/whatever, too. There is no breaking the delusions of fundies, and there’s no overestimating just how profoundly disconnected from reality they are. After all, Kent still indulges in his laugh-a-minute “dialogues with God,” which you just have to read. (HT: PZ)

Wanker B: Ben Stein.

What fun! You can vote for Ben Stein to receive the Malkin Award, handed out by Andrew Sullivan over at the Daily Dish. The Malkin Award is, in his words, “for shrill, hyperbolic, divisive and intemperate right-wing rhetoric. Ann Coulter is ineligible – to give others a chance.” Hat tip on this one to Jim Emerson, editor of RogerEbert.com, where the venerable movie critic already beat Stein bloody a few weeks ago. Emerson has his own flogging to deliver unto Stein at his own Chicago Sun Times blog, too.

Addendum — Wanker C: Casey Luskin

The Discovery Institute’s official punching bag gets his ass handed to him by Ken Miller, for getting everything wrong about Miller’s testimony in Dover…let alone the pathetic foolishness of still trying to win a case his side lost decisively three years ago. ID is deader than dead, Casey. Deal.

Jo Hovind sentenced

One year and a day for Mrs. Hovind, whose charming husband — who’s now holding comical not-quite-Socratic dialogues with God, it would seem — once told her she needed to “advance” because she was actually starting to feel twinges of guilt and remorse over their dishonest and criminal activities. I’m not adding the “schadenfreude” tag to this one, because I actually feel a little sorry for Jo. It’s evident she’s played the role of quiet submissive Christian wife putting up with all manner of verbal bullying from an arrogant and self-righteous husband much too long. I hope when she gets out, she will advance — right down the road to the divorce court, to start over in a new life.

Hovind’s descent into insanity is complete

Going, going, going….gone. Such is the state of Kent Hovind’s mind behind bars. His latest missive on the CSE blog is a bizarre script in which he imagines himself to be in a dialogue with God. This is perhaps the most detailed and explicit first-hand evidence we’ll ever get of the extent to which fundamentalist beliefs lead inexorably to actual, irreversible mental illness. Read this one little excerpt, and imagine blustery Terry Jones in the role of God, and a hapless Michael Palin as Kent. Remember, you gotta do the voices.

KH: Lord, I’m outside enjoying Your glorious sunshine on a gorgeous day in South Carolina. I really need the sunshine for my health. Thank you, Lord! What is my next assignment while I’m here?

GOD: One step at a time, son. I’ll guide you. What happened after lunch today?

KH: I was sitting in the sun writing to you and Don came over and sat down to talk. He sure was eager to learn about the Bible. He gladly asked You to forgive his sins and trusted You as Savior.

GOD: Yes, I was there with you. Don is twenty-seven years old. His life will do a complete 1800 turn during the next twenty months in prison. I have big plans for him, son. Thanks for being obedient to my leading, son. Sometimes, I have a hard time getting you to listen to me.

KH: I know, Lord. Sorry about that. I have another question, Lord. Why did you let them more me five hundred miles away from my family?

GOD: I know this is hard for you. How many men in there are away from their families?

KH: Nearly all of them, Lord. Some only see their family once a year—and some not at all. I know what you are going to say, Lord, that now I know how they feel and can be a better witness to them, right?

GOD: Very good, son. You are starting to get the picture!

KH: But, Lord, five hundred miles away?

GOD: You are still in America, son. Would you prefer…Siberia?

KH: Oh, no, South Carolina is just fine! Hey, Lord, why did you let me slip on those steps in Atlanta and bruise my ankle so badly?

GOD: I needed you to see the new prison doctor that just came from India. He knows almost nothing about Me, son. I know you didn’t have much time with him, but you did tell him about your Website. He will look at it and read the “How To Be Saved” article. That will start him on the road to salvation later this year.

I’m sorry about the bruise, but you can’t see the doctor in there unless you are hurt. Would you rather I break it next time—or bruise your head?

KH: No, Lord! The ankle was a great idea.

I guess it was obvious to God that Kent’s head has already taken a little too much damage!

Hovind’s mind is beginning to crumble

There are signs emerging that Kent Hovind is starting to deteriorate between the ears (“Whaddaya mean, starting to?” you’re saying, I know) as a result of his incarceration. His latest letter from the pen posted on the Creation Science Evangelism blog is a bizarre, self-pitying bit of blather in which he refers to God as the “master,” Jesus as the “woodsman,” evolution as a “big oak” and himself as the “ax”. He then goes off in a profoundly weird rant, following a “why hast thou forsaken me” motif.

I mean, get a load of this (spelling errors included):

Dear Woodsman,

Why have you done this? We were doing so well felling tress for the Master’s house and you quit chopping with me in the middle of cutting that big oak. Why? I was doing my best. I never flew off the handle. I cut as deep as I could every swing. What did I do wrong?

Why do you have me clamped in this vice? I can’t move! I can’t chop wood here. I was designed for chopping wood. I love it! Please don’t leave me clamped in this vice. I feel pressure on my sides that I’ve never felt before. I can handle the pressure on my cutting edge. Go ahead. Chop with me all day long. I can take it. Actually, I love it!

Now what? No! Wait! Why are you grinding and filing off part of me? Why would you take away pieces of the most effective part of me—my cutting edge?

Woodsman, the Master needs the trees cut! This delay is holding up the job we were doing for Him! Please stop grinding on me and get me out of this vice. I want to go back to work. I love cutting wood. Ouch! You are hurting me!

Woodsman, are you listening to me? Do you know what you are doing?

The Ax

This is the kind of thing you read, and then sit there quietly for a second, before exhaling and thinking “…Wow!”

Hovind is disintegrating. When he’s released, it is likely he will have to undergo treatment of some kind in a mental health facility. He may even have to be remanded to such a facility before his release. I don’t feel sorry for him in the least for who he’s been and what he’s done. But it’s a reassuring sign, I suppose, that his influence has considerably waned, and may even be considered negligible. In the “deuling polls” matter discussed a few days ago, the “Free Hovind” petition still has fewer than 100 signatures, many of which are pranks, while the “Keep Him Locked Up” counter-petition has over 1100. He’s lost his fan base except for all but the stupidest and most deluded, and now he’s losing his marbles.

Hovind in the hole

Word is getting around the blogosphere that creationist Kent Hovind, currently doing time for violating numerous tax laws, has been thrown into solitary confinement, though reasons for this are obscure. One explanation is that Hovind has been trying to run his own prison ministry without approval, though to what degree that is true is up in the air.

Given Hovind’s penchant for portraying himself as an innocent martyr to the faith who’s being victimized by an evil government trying to silence him for preaching “the truth” about evolution, and the brainless eagerness of Hovind’s wide-eyed followers to parrot this self-serving delusion (seriously, check the comments in the link above, as well as some of those that have turned up even here), it’s likely any story that comes along as to why Hovind has been so incarcerated — if he even has — will have been thoroughly run through CSE’s distortion machine.

Naturally, I feel about as much sympathy for Hovind, let alone his claims of martyrdom, as I do for Paris Hilton. Neither an imaginary deity nor spoiled-brat celebutard status puts anyone above the law.

Hovind loses appeal; wife will now be charged

Okay, I know this news is a couple of days old. But I’m hoping its repeated posting here is enough to convince the small army of Hovindites who’ve descended upon this comment thread that the game is over, the jig is up, your boy is toast, and any further attempts to defend Kent by trotting out innuendos about government conspiracies or wondering whether the jail tapes are legal (they’re still up on YouTube; they are) isn’t going to change reality any more than Hovind’s “Dinosaur Adventure Land” dog park and its chintzy displays changed the reality that Earth is 4.5 billion years old and all its living things are descendents of a common ancestor. Go watch the video about the martial arts “qi” master again, getting pwned by someone who seems to be a thoroughly run-of-the-mill black belt. When fantasy meets reality, it’s like a squirrel on the highway meeting a semi.

I do feel sorry for Jo, though.

Kent Hovind’s bizarre phone calls from jail

Definition of delusional: A guy who has cheated on his taxes and considers himself above the law, pontificating that his legal opponents should “obey the law!” I guess Dr. Dipshit doesn’t know that jails record phone calls. Let the world see what pathetic scum he truly is. He’s clearly living in his own dream world.

Prior to his conviction: The whining, the victim complex, the never ending mantra of “lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits!” This guy sure does love listening to his own bluster. In the first clip you will find yourself actually feeling sorry for his wife, listening to her say, with a notable tone of despair, that “I’m just hearing things [from you] that sound all the same.” Hovind’s cold reply, “Well, maybe I need to change…or maybe you need to change and accept it…Your hope is always that I will change. Maybe the hope ought to be that you will advance.”

Prick!

One wonders, how does someone this dishonest and deluded get this way in the first place? I guess it’s that when someone is this slick a bullshit artist, and he can convince himself of his own bullshit, then it becomes easy as pie to say literally any self-serving nonsense you can come up with, with unassailable confidence. Take note of the last thing Hovind says in the final clip, if you’re ready for a true Irony Meter-Breaker.

PS: Since Hovind wants to know what laws he’s broken, according to one source I’ve found, here they are: 26 U.S.C. § 7202, 31 U.S.C. § 5313(a), 31 U.S.C. § 5324, 18 U.S.C. § 2 and 31 C.F.R. sec. 103.11, 26 U.S.C. § 7212.

Facing 10 years as Bubba’s Bitch, Hovind loses mind

This is just too funny. Hovind’s latest too-good-to-pass-up offer for the government: let me go and I’ll stop suing you. Oooo! Got ‘em on the ropes there, Kent baby.

This editorial lays the smackdown on this cretin.

“You dishonor your fellow Americans” by dodging a fair share of taxes, [Judge Casey] Rodgers said.

She sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Even then he resisted reality.

“I sure would like to go home,” he told Rodgers.

Oooh man. I almost feel sorry for the guy.

Wait! — what the hell am I saying? No I don’t!