Category Archives: Atheist

For a Good Laugh: Kent Hovind’s Doctoral Dissertation

Kent Hovind: creationist, owner of Dinosaur Adventure Land, so-called “Dr. Dino”, claimant of four “PhDs” from Patriot Bible University, and currently serving ten years for tax fraud. But you really need to care about the first and the fourth parts.

Patriot Bible University is essentially a diploma mill, and for some reason they won’t release their doctoral students’ dissertations. By contrast, most (if not all) (accredited) universities allow the public to access their students’ dissertations, often times in the university library. And given the fact that Hovid’s a creationist and utterly ignorant on how the theory of evolution (or science in general it seems) works, people have been curious about exactly WHAT said dissertation contains.

So, I finally found a copy of Kent Hovind’s doctoral dissertation for his “PhD” in Christian Education (which, for some reason, somehow qualifies him to teach about evolution? The mind boggles.). It was leaked on WikiLeaks a few years ago, to the horror of Patriot Bible University (and probably Hovind himself), but the last time I tried to access it the URL was down. Today, said link finally worked, and now I’m free to share said document to the world.

This is the dissertation in question. It’s hosted on my blog, so it should be accessible for all eternity (or until WordPress breaks down, or if WordPress decides to suspend my blog without a reason again, whichever comes first),

Anyways, I just want to highlight my favorite parts.

Introduction

My name is Kevin Hovind. I am a creation/science evangelist. I live in Pensacola, Florida. I have been a high school science teacher since 1976. I’ve been very active in the creation/evolution controversy for some time.

As someone once said, “That’s not a thesis, that’s a letter to Santa.”

All seriousness though. who actually starts off a dissertation saying “My name is <nym> and I am a <career/title>. I have been <career> since <year>.”? Are you writing a serious dissertation or are you sitting on Santa’s lap asking for a PhD for Christmas under the tree?

It is my burning desire to help Christians get back to a simple faith in God’s Word. Satan’s method has always been to instill doubt in God’s Word. The first sentence that came from Satan that is recorded for us in the Bible is: “Yea, hath God said?” He started by questioning God’s Word in the Garden of Eden. It worked there so he has used it ever since.

I’m a undergrad college student, and I can write better sentences then that, complete with complicated sentence structures, Oxford commas, advanced vocabulary, and the like. Seriously, the most complicated word in that passage is “questioning”, with three syllables.

Of course, then there’s the “where’s the evidence that the Garden of Eden exists?”, “where’s the evidence that Satan is an actual being?”, “where’s the evidence that the Bible speaks the literal truth?”, and the like. Then again, this IS a dissertation for a PhD in Christian Education, so it does make sense. You’d think Hovind would have cited his work however, even if it IS from the Bible.

Also, I should note that the Jews didn’t believe that Satan was even speaking in Genesis 3:1. In fact, it’s specifically stated to be a serpent (NIV version, KJV version). I’m aware that Christian tradition presumes that the snake IS Satan, but that’s not what it says in the text itself.

In the twentieth century the major attack Satan has launched has been against the first eleven chapters of Genesis. […] I believe that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant, inspired, perfect Word of God.

So from “God made the earth in 6 days, with plants before man” to “God made the earth, with man before plants” to “serpent convinced Eve to eat forbidden fruit who convinced Adam to eat forbidden fruit” to “kicked out of Eden” to “Cain kills Abel out of jealousy and Abel’s blood calls out to God” to “Noah’s ark and global flood because man is EBIL” to “rainbow covenant” to “lots more babies and names and descendants” to “tower of Babel”?

I mean, they’re nice stories and all, but seriously, they’re just stories. We have absolutely NO evidence that any of this stuff happened. In addition, the story contradicts itself. If God’s word is totally infallible and perfect and whatnot, why does the story contradict itself in it’s FIRST book? Doesn’t God have the power to NOT have the freaking creation story riddled with contradictions and errors?

Also, science is Satan now? Let me go fetch my pitchfork.

I believe that God’s Word is infallible and flawless in every detail.

See above.

If the Bible says that something was created in a certain way, then that is just the way it happened. Now, as a science teacher, I want to keep an open mind […]

> Bible is utterly infallible and that’s final, no questions asked.
> Science: “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”

Choose one.

I will be quick to point out that “there is nothing new under the sun.”

Okay, first off, WHERE IS THE SOURCE FOR THAT QUOTE? GAHHH

Second of all, what is the point of writing this then? A dissertation is meant to advance our body of knowledge with new ideas, not restate it. If I wanted Genesis restated to me, I’ll go read Genesis myself.

There’s apparently supposed to be sixteen chapters in this dissertation. As someone else noted, there’s only four chapters. And none of the chapters really advance any knowledge at all — instead, it just explains what Hovind has come to learn “through many years of studying both science and the Bible”.

If I wanted to read an interpolation essay, I’ll read Montaigne. At least Montaigne is at a higher reading level AND is more interesting to read than this.

I didn’t go over the entire document (since it’s 102 pages long, and time is short), but RationalWiki did an amusing article on this dissertation here. I recommend you save a copy; I personally use it to make myself laugh.

Oh My Gawds, Atheists are READING THE BIBLE!!11!! And They’re Using it to Point out CONTRADICTIONS! OH NOESSSSSSSSSSS!!!11!

</LOTSOFSARCASM>

First off, the obligatory “I really, really, reallllllyyyyyyyyy hate homework” rant. Also, I spent Thanksgiving hanging out with my brother, and honestly, I don’t get to see him that much, since I go to college. So there’s that.

Anyways, apparently the worst thing in the world, according to Ken Ham, is atheists reading the Bible and critiquing its contradictions.

Cue: FREE THINKING IS A CRIME! KNOWLEDGE IS SIN! IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH! And the rest of the whole shebang.

Now, there’s a few things I despise in the world: bigotry, ignorance, and the willful spread of ignorance. So, I’m going to do what I do best: MOCK!

It seems like atheists will go to pretty extreme lengths to combat the words of a God they don’t even believe exists.

Well, yeah, this is kind of understandable, given the fact that the best way to combat ignorance is to learn about the subject you’re talking about and educating others about said subject. Otherwise you sound like a dumbass.

And given that a good number of Christians have NEVER read the Bible (see: using Leviticus 18:22 as DA REASON why homosexuality is DA IMMORALZ when Paul states that Gentiles are free from following Jewish law; it’s in numerous passages in the Bible, e.g. Acts 15:7-11), it makes sense to read it, especially if your goal is to educate people on its contradictions and maybe get said people to rethink their blind faith.

So seriously. If your goal is to dissuade people from Christianity, it makes sense to KNOW what the Bible says. That’s how debate works.

recent article from the Religion News Service reports, “Atheists use a popular Bible app to evangelize about unbelief.” The article contains interviews with a number of young atheists who have chosen to use YouVersion, one of the most popular apps around, as a way of trying to shake the faith of Christians.

And this is a bad thing, how? Are Bibles just for Christians now?

I have to admit, I have several copies of the Bible (an ebook, that YouVersion app, and a physical copy for class). And I’ve read the Bible—the Gospel in its entirety, plus 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans, and over half of the Old Testament. (I need to find time to finish reading it.) I read it not because I wanted to disprove Christians, but because it helps me to understand classical literature, given that much of it has allusions to Biblical texts.

But apparently, since I’m an atheist, it’s totally a bad thing to read it, because apparently the only reason atheists read the Bible is because they want to prove TRU BELIEVERS wrong.

santana_rolling_her_eyes

This is totally deserving of an eye roll.

That and what’s wrong with educating people?

And, unsurprisingly, these atheists are focusing on supposed contradictions in the Bible to make their points. Lauren, the atheist quoted above, states, “Reading the full story with all its contradictions and violence and sexism, it should make you think, ‘Is this really what I believe in?’”

Have you even read the Bible, Mr. Ham? There’s a LOAD of contradictions in there, beginning with Genesis 1:1-3 and Genesis 1:14-19. This is not to mention the fact that Genesis 1 states that plants came before man, and then Genesis 2 states that man came before plants.

If the beginning of what you consider to be your Holy Text written by your Infallible God is full of contradictions, what does that say about God?

Sadly, atheists like Lauren haven’t approached Scripture with the desire to have these problems resolved by believers who are equipped to answer such claims. No, instead they have come with a bias against God and His Word, and they desire to damage the faith that others have in God. These skeptics are intentionally searching for supposed problems in Scripture—so they can spread more disbelief.

For example, Lauren explains that marriage is a “pet issue,” so she intentionally targets people who post on social media sites that marriage is between one man and one woman. Lauren attempts to use instances of polygamy in the Bible to somehow prove that the Bible is contradictory on the issue of marriage. But she can only do this by taking Scripture out of context.

Out of context? Of what? What kind of context do you need to see that the Old Testament was okay with polygamy (see: Abraham and Sarah, Leah and Rachel and Jacob) whereas Jesus wasn’t?

And what kind of context do you need to see that the meaning of “traditional marriage” has changed over time? Just the fact that the Old Testament had no qualms with polygamy whereas the New Testament does is a pretty damn big hint that the meaning of “traditional marriage” changes over time.

Other atheists try to use the many translations on YouVersion to show that there are supposedly many variations of the biblical text: “The biggest thing for me is seeing how much the version will change the meaning of passage [sic]. It can make a pretty big difference in how you interpret it.” While it’s true that there are many different translations of the Bible, there’s a big difference between a literal translation and a paraphrase of Scripture. A literal translation provides the same meaning today that people would have understood when the Bible was written, whereas a paraphrase is someone else’s rewording of Scripture into everyday English. Bible scholars typically look for literal translations, not paraphrases.

Let me check my notes from my humanities class.

(On the earliest text of the Book of John): “200000 different copies available, many of them are fragments.”

(On mistakes in the New Testament, why?): “The handwriting […] No standard abbreviations […] Eyes often play tricks on you […] you can skip entire swaths of text in copying books […] we don’t know what the original said.”

(On the Corinthians text): “Corinthians was possibly a composite of several letters written by Paul.”

(On the altering of text—oh yes, this happened. A lot.): “Someone hunted for early manuscripts – 3rd or 4th century, full manuscripts and not fragments – to make a critical edition. He produced the first critical edition, and found out that the idea of the Holy Trinity (father, ghost, and son) was added, since older text didn’t have it.”

(On the additional, non canonical Biblical texts—oh yes, they exist.): “We found many other documents which could have been part of the New Testament […] The Gospel of Mary, The Secret Gospel of Mark, The Gospel of Judas, etc. […] accepted in some communities but not others.”

(You can Google this stuff if you don’t believe me.)

Yeahhhhhhhh, I’m going to say that Ham has NO idea what the freak he’s talking about. Like, at all.

One well-known atheist was quoted as saying that one of the “beautiful side effects” of free Bible apps is that “nothing makes you an atheist faster than reading the Bible.” But really, Romans chapter 1 teaches that they know there is a God, and that their disbelief is a willful suppression of the truth.

Because obviously you can totally Biblesplain what an atheist really thinks.

Also, Romans 1 presumes that there is a God, which something that there’s ABSOLUTELY no (scientifically verifiable) evidence for. Because we’re supposed to take it at face value that there is a God, this is a logical fallacy. Begging the question much, Mr. Ham?

I urge you to pray for these atheists that they would read and believe the gospel of Christ today, and pray for those Christians that these atheists interact with, that they would be strengthened in their faith and would be emboldened to share the gospel.

Thanks for praying for me, but praying doesn’t erase contradictions in the Bible, nor does it actually show evidence that there is a supreme deity (and that yours is the right one, of course).