Eric Hovind is not a biology teacher

Eric Hovind is offering an online biology course. He has no qualifications in the subject, is demonstrably ignorant of biology, and the online materials look pathetic. Here’s his promotional video, in which we learn that teaching biology somehow involves popping balloons with a blow gun and learning how to cook crack cocaine.

The list of topics given is incoherent and superficial. Subjects that would require a full semester at the college level are given a 5 minute video. I’d love to see the quizzes and tests, but to get a look at any of it you have to shell out $30, which is dirt cheap for a biology course, but waaaaay overpriced for a creationist Adam Sandler look-alike babbling at me.

You know, if you come to the University of Minnesota Morris and have this “course” on your transcript, expecting to get some credits for it, we’d probably have to give you negative credits — you’re going to need extensive remedial work to correct the bad education you got in your youth.


  1. microraptor says

    Here’s his promotional video, in which we learn that teaching biology somehow involves popping balloons with a blow gun and learning how to cook crack cocaine.

    Maybe he’s trying to demonstrate that smoking crack is evidence of intelligent design?

  2. komarov says

    Well, his cocaine looks a lot like sugar to me although my experience is limited to the latter. I suppose since christian rock became a thing christian crack would seem to be the next logical step. And of course it could never stand up to the original product.
    At least it would fit with the approach the makers of this clip have taken. Firm believers in the bible and the notion that clothes make people, they picked a wardrobe that is supposed to suggest, nay, scream “educator”. Unfortunately for them it’s not the clothes that make a good teacher but the teaching that does.

  3. twas brillig (stevem) says

    You know, his dad taught him all about biology; that it is just a boondoggle by BigBio (Gawd did everything and acts to keep it going, donchano). So even Eric can teach a course in that shallow subject, and to do so he’ll just charge a pittance (to cover shipping and handling). [ugh, can’t go on …]
    Seriously, I can only rationalize this as Hovinds thinking Biology is a fake, and he’ll prove it by teaching all of it, at high speed (see what I did there?), and low cost. I hope no one takes this pffft seriously; like PZ postulated: if some one announces this as a fulfilled prerequisite; negative credits is very mild as a response.

  4. Ichthyic says

    yeah, I really cannot possibly fathom what particular aspect of general biology one could hope to demonstrate by heating a crystal substance in a spoon.

    my guess is it actually is supposed to demonstrate something false about standard biology instruction, which of course ISN’T biology instruction, nor likely is it accurate… whatever it is.

    current guess:

    it’s supposed to be a spoof on the Miller/Urey experiment.

  5. Al Dente says

    The only courses where I remember heating substances in a spoon were chemistry and home economics. In biology we looked at itty-bitty critters through microscopes and dissected worms and amphibians.

  6. anteprepro says

    What the activities teach you:

    Popping balloons with a blow gun: How to ruin simple, peaceful things with the power of being a blowhard with a lot of hot air.
    Heating crystals in a spoon: How to apply intense heat to situations in your life in order to make bonds dissolve and leave you with nothing but a mess left behind.
    Paying thirty dollars to a man with no credentials who has no idea what he is talking about: How to tithe properly.

    All invaluable information for an evangelical creationist.

    I am glad I was able to teach you all of this valuable information regarding the subject of Eric Hovind’s Online Biology Course. You now owe me $10. Cash sales only.

  7. jaybee says

    I know about the creationist attacks on biology and geology, because the science undermines their Bible, at least how they interpret it.

    Does this willful ignorance extended into other disciplines? Do they have half-baked stories about economics, mathematics, chemistry, electronics and physics?

  8. latveriandiplomat says

    Haven’t watched the video, and I doubt this is what he’s getting at, but crystals are an interesting case study when you are trying to define what life is.

    They grow, “ingest”, reproduce through “seed crystals”, and have an orderly, regular internal structure.

  9. mildlymagnificent says

    Economics, physics? Don’t know.

    But they’d certainly make a monumental dog’s breakfast of geology or astronomy.

    I like potholer54’s debunking of his dad’s “science”. Carbon dating “There’s no fkn carbon in it!” is one of my favourite sayings.

  10. komarov says

    You will learn about:

    Plant, Animal, & Human Life
    The Classification System
    The Importance of Plants
    The Different Kinds of Animals
    And the Basic Systems of the Human Body

    This is their curriculum, such as it is. Some of the headings are rather broad but in all fairness, I can see how some of them could include general demonstrations with a chemistry set at least if you are trying to get across a basic level understanding of the subject and get students interested in further study.

    But then there are the target groups:

    Upper Elementary
    Middle Schoolers
    And Early High Schoolers

    I’m no educator but this strikes me as a very broad audience. Combined with this being just about 6 hours long it would have to be very basic indeed and I’m not sure if you could reasonably make this appealing for all age groups at once. But I guess that’s what you get when you believe everything taught in science class is a demonic lie, meaning you have to start all over again teaching them the right godly stuff instead.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    jaybee @ # 9: Do they have half-baked stories about economics…?

    No – half-baked is way more developed than the monetary theories for which Eric’s daddy is still doing time (and bodes fair to do much more).

  12. says

    If you click through you can see a more detailed curriculum, including “The sugar experiment.” It’s part of the plant biology unit.

    I looked at some homeschool sites to see if I could figure out what the point of melting sugar would be but found nothing. I suspect it’s some variation of “life never forms in peanut butter.”

  13. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I could teach Hovind’s course in ten seconds. *thump the bible, and say “goddidit”*
    Saves a whole lot of time and stupidity.

  14. Janine the Jackbooted Emotion Queen says

    Five minutes videos? What the problem? It is good enough for Prager University and Christina Hoff Summers.

    (Yeah. It’s a cheap shot.)

  15. Owlmirror says

    Here is an old thread where Erichovind ran a dishonest poll, then came by himself and tried to argue with . . . mostly Kel, but Sastra, Wowbagger, KG, ‘Tis Himself, (me), etc, tried to argue back (and were mostly ignored)

    And, I once again want to point out:

    EH @#393 (in that thread), in response to #353 (in that thread) by Kel:

    If it’s wrong to bear false witness, do you think it’s wrong to misrepresent scientific theories in order to preach the word of God?

    3. Yes, it is wrong to misrepresent scientific theories to preach the word of God

    (emph mine)

    I am pretty sure that for the past 5 years (at least; probably more), Eric Hovind has been doing what he has acknowledged is wrong, and in the foreseeable future will continue to do so.

  16. Ichthyic says

    I can see how some of them could include general demonstrations with a chemistry set at least

    funny, none of my chemistry sets, as a child or an adult, included a metal spoon and a blowtorch.

    again… there is literally nothing he could demonstrate with such an apparatus that would impart any significant lesson in biology.

    either he’s teaching kids how to shoot up (really, I wouldn’t put it past him), or it’s something really, really stupid like the moron’s version of the Miller-Urey experiment, where they claim that life did not spring from a teaspoon of blowtorched sugar!

  17. grumpyoldfart says

    The poor kids will have dreams of becoming scientists and they’ll finish up as fruit pickers.

  18. Ichthyic says

    to be sure, ^^THAT could happen even if you get a PhD from a highly regarded university.

    such is the way things are any more.

  19. felicis says

    “Students will marvel…”

    They shouldn’t have panned during that shot, because those kids were not ‘marvelling’ – they looked bored out of their minds, the poor things.

  20. Becca Stareyes says

    6 hours isn’t a course that can cover a broad area of knowledge. More of a seminar series. I’ve been to conferences that have had more than six hours of talks. I’ve been to conferences specifically devoted to planetary rings that lasted longer than 6 hours of talks.

    (I mean, I’m teaching Intro to the Solar System, and I could easily turn each unit into a general class, and each week of lessons into a upperclassman class. Possibly even some of the daily lectures into a graduate seminar. But the point of the class is a general overview. If I had 6 hours, it would probably be ‘Selected Topics in What Dr. Stareyes Thinks is Neat*’, because I don’t even think I could do an overview.)

    6 hours of videos might be useful as a supplemental resource for teachers, but I’d want someone who knew something about both biology and some form of K-12 education making them. Or at least one.

    * I suspect the curriculum review wouldn’t let me call it this. Even if I had tenure.

  21. caseloweraz says

    Eric Hovind a veteran teacher? How old is he, 25? Hard approaching impossible to see how he could fairly be called a veteran teacher at that age.

    (I know, he might have taught some veterans at one point, but I don’t think that’s the sense in which the video uses the phrase.)

  22. says

    Having poked around a little more, I find possible explanations for the sugar.

    Creationists have an odd tendency to use sugar beets as an example of a “kind.” Sugar beets used to be about 8% sugar and now they’re around 20% sugar. But no more! Any more and they’d have to be some other “kind” of vegetable. Supposedly a pure sugar root would be beneficial to mankind, but I think it would just dissolve in the mud and not be harvestable.

    Plants can make sugar, and plants have RNA. But you need sugar to make RNA. Irreducible complexity!

    If you mix yeast, water, and sugar, you can blow up a balloon and make it float, then pop it with a blowgun. Not sure how this would disprove evolution. Probably some more irreducible complexity–what did yeast eat before their were plants? (Probably whatever kept them alive before God made the sun to keep them warm.)

    I can’t account for the blowtorch in these scenarios though. Maybe he was making candy.

  23. Ichthyic says

    Supposedly a pure sugar root would be beneficial to mankind, but I think it would just dissolve in the mud and not be harvestable.

    amongst other fairly obvious issues, mostly for the plant.

  24. says

    Biology teacher here. I’m not surprised those poor kids look bored out of their minds. Hovind has made the major error of confusing preacher with teacher. The best lessons are udually the ones where you say as little as possible. Having the boring git at the front drone on and on is the worst way to engage students. No interaction, no practical, not even a paper based activity? Just sit silent and listen. I know education isn’t the point but surely he should be a bit more creative in trying. Quite apart from the content his pedagogy sucked!

  25. blf says

    In order to believe the Earth was magically poofed into existence c.6000 years ago (which, as I recall, both Hovinds believe), you have to seriously misrepresent, ignore, or otherwise not-understand a great deal of physics, as that forms the basis for (theory behind) the dating measurements. So you can add physics to the list, leaving only(?) mathematics as a discipline Hovind might not mangle.

    It would not surprise me if either Hovind does mangle maths (and I don’t mean in the criminal way the father did with taxes). As an analogy, Andrew Schlafly does not believe in complex numbers (despite being educated as an EEng and having worked in sold state physics, both fields which routinely use complex numbers). That says nothing directly about either Hovind, but does show it is possible he has bizarre maths beliefs. (A fruitful area might be logic, something neither Hovind seems to grasp?)