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psychoceramics: May 1996 Newsletter

And while we're on the topic of kooky fundamentalists, here's 
something from the Internet Infidels (atheist/agnostic) newsletter,
describing some creationist arguments.

  -- acb


> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Ron Patterson
> On Saturday night, April 20, I debated Dr. Kent Hovind, a young earth
> creationists and dinosaur hunter. Dr. Hovind freely admits that
> creationism is not science but is instead, religion. Dr. Hovind does
> not strive to get creationism in schools, he just wants evolution out
> of public schools. That was the topic of our debate, "Evolution Should
> not be Taught in Alabama Public Schools."
> Dr. Hovind had nothing new other than a few weird claims that any
> intelligent being would reject. Then he rehashed the same old
> arguments that have failed many times before. Like most other
> creationists, he seems to think that evolutionists claim that
> evolution is driven by macro mutations in a single animal. Of course,
> no evolutionist since Richard Goldschmidt, in the early part of this
> century, has ever advocated such a thing.
> He kept hammering on the difference between "micro evolution", which
> he believes in, and "macro evolution" which he does not. Like other
> creationists he cannot understand that macro evolution is nothing more
> than a lot of micro evolution over the entire population of a species.
> One is at a loss to explain why creationists cannot understand that
> enough "micro changes" equals "macro change". That is, if there are
> enough small changes, you would have an entirely different species.
> It is ironic that in one sense, Hovind and his followers are stronger
> evolutionists than the evolutionists. According to Hovind, all several
> hundred thousand species living today evolved from just a few hundred
> "kinds" that were aboard the Ark. All of this happened in about four
> thousand years. No self respecting evolutionist would claim that so
> much evolution could possibly happen in such a short period of time.
> It must be asked, what was the driving force behind the creationists
> "super swift evolution"? If it was not survival of the fittest, then
> what? Also, they are always bad mouthing "mutations". How did they
> have evolution without mutations?
> The most remarkable thing about Kent Hovind and his followers, is
> their extreme gullibility. It seems that they will believe anything,
> absolutely anything, as long as it fits their make-believe model.
> Among the many absurd things that Hovind expressed in this debate and
> previous seminars and debates were:
>    * Noah was probably twelve feet tall and probably had an IQ of
>      about four hundred.
>    * Six or seven twelve foot human skeletons were found in a coal
>      mine in West Virginia.
>    * A ninety foot plumb tree, complete with fruit was found frozen in
>      the ice, north of the Arctic Circle.
>    * A man was swallowed by a whale and lived in his stomach for two
>      days before the whale's stomach was cut open to free the man.
>      Hovind says the man completely recovered in about two weeks.
>    * The leg bones of the Australopithecine "Lucy" were found a mile
>      and a half from the head bones, in strata 200 feet deeper.
>    * Living dinosaurs can be found in many places on the earth. Hovind
>      admits however, that he has never found any.
>    * Living sea monsters can be found in many lakes through the world.
>    * Twelve pharaohs, listed in chronological order by the Egyptian
>      calendar, were all pharaohs at the same time and ruled over
>      different parts of Egypt.
>    * Modern evolutionists say "no missing links can be found", they
>      say "maybe a reptile laid an egg and a bird hatched out."
>    * The geological column does not exist.
>    * NASA says that the earth's magnetic field has a half life of
>      eight hundred and thirty five years.
>    * Ice becomes magnetic at three to four hundred degrees below zero
>      and the ice ages were probably caused by a comet that blew apart
>      when it approached the earth. The earth's magnetic field pulled
>      the ice to the poles.
>    * Ice at the South pole is fourteen thousand feet deep but it never
>      snows there.
>    * Thomas H. Huxley said: "The reason we have chosen evolution is
>      because of our sexual freedoms we get with this lifestyle." In
>      other words, this devoted family man, Thomas Huxley who argued
>      the "evidence" of evolution at every opportunity, publicly
>      stated, during the height of Victorian times, that the real
>      reason he believed in evolution was that it allowed him to be
>      sexually promiscuous.
>    * The story of Jacob placing striped, speckled and spotted sticks
>      before animals when they mated and therefore causing them to have
>      striped, speckled and spotted offspring, (Gen. 30:37-39) is just
>      an example of "artificial insemination." (Yes, believe it or not,
>      he actually said that and I have it on tape to prove it.)
> All the above claims are pure fiction, yet Hovind's audience seemed to
> believe his every absurd proclamation. Hovind has stopped telling the
> story of Lucy's bones and the story of the ninety foot plumb tree. Not
> that he has admitted that they were bogus, but in his own words, he no
> longer advocates these things. The rest however, are still part of his
> fantasy world.
> In summary, I thought the debate went very well. Hovind claiming the
> most absurd things, the audience, which were mostly creationists, were
> lapping it up like it was the inspired word of God. His major claim
> was that evolution was a religion and should be removed from all
> schools and textbooks. Most rationalists at the debate felt that I won
> and most of the creationists felt that Hovind won. But isn't that the
> way it always goes, the scientifically illiterate cheers every
> absurdity while the scientifically literate shake their heads in
> disbelief.
> I pointed out that evolution is part of virtually every field of
> science, astronomy, geology, and nuclear physics as well as biology. I
> pointed out that Hovind even wished to alter history to show that no
> civilization could have existed before 4000 BCE. This was his whole
> motivation behind the "twelve pharaohs" story. The audience did not
> seem to care if Hovind was successful in changing all history books,
> just as long as he made it fit the Bible story.
> In the words of Stephen J. Gould, "Human gullibility has cash value,
> and enormous amounts of money can be made by any skilled
> manipulator.... When people learn no tools of judgment and merely
> follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown."
> Kent Hovind is a skilled manipulator and can readily sway any audience
> as long as they are extremely scientifically illiterate. I do mean
> EXTREMELY scientifically illiterate for anyone even moderately
> literate in science would laugh at Hovind's absurdities.
> Kent Hovind has not proven that evolution is religion but he has shown
> that creationism is religion, pure religion. Without religion, the
> creationists would be a laughing stock. Hovind is doing his best to
> make them a laughing stock, even with their religion.
>      "Creationism is wrong; totally, utterly, and absolutely
>      wrong. I would go further. There are degrees of being wrong.
>      The creationists are at the bottom of the scale. They pull
>      every trick in the book to justify their position. Indeed,
>      at times they verge right over into the downright dishonest.
>      Scientific Creationism in not just wrong, it is ludicrously
>      implausible. It is a grotesque parody of human thought, and
>      a downright misuse of human intelligence. In short, to the
>      believer, it is an insult to God."
>      Michael Ruse: Darwinism Defended.
> Ron Patterson
> Ron.O.P--@m--.nasa.gov
> 277 Stephens Rd.
> Hazel Green, AL 35750
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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  a--@c--.monash.edu.au    acb@dev.null.org    http://www.zikzak.net/~acb
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