Hoveo, Hoveo, wherefore art thou Hoveo?

| 16 Comments

Since U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers refused to lift a travel ban on Kent Hovind, I’ve been wondering when the itinerary on his web site would change to list “The Hoosegow” for up-coming events. However, ol’ Doc Dino must still be floating in the ether, because he still lists an appearance in my neck of the woods, Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, for October 21.

Coeur d’ Alene is a beautiful lake resort area just a few hours from where I now live in Butte, Montana, so I figured I’d rent one of those kick ass Mustangs again, make another wheel-spinning road trip of it, and sit through another three hours of my favorite criminally insane creationist.

I emailed Compass, the organizers of the event, to ask them if Hovind was still going to appear. Apparently some people are finally getting in touch with reality, even if Kent is not. They told me that since his arrest they “have been scheduling other speakers for Kent Hovind’s sessions at our conferences for the next few months,” and closed with “[o]ur prayers are with him and his ministry!”

Interestingly, it looks like they’ve replaced him with Mike Riddle of Answers in Genesis. Interesting because of the well-known dust-up between Hovind and AiG a while back. (For more information on this “Battle of the Creationist Titans,” see the post at Creation on the Web.)

So while Hovind is benched with his legal problems, and perhaps even ministering from the place Anthony Burgess calls “the stripey hole,” he can’t be too thrilled about being replaced by the cranks who called him a crank.

Final note: Someone here at my office pointed out that my bastardization of Shakespeare is not quite accurate, since “wherefore” actually means “why” in the original text, but I just couldn’t resist the pun.

16 Comments

I don’t know, I think “Why Hovind?” is the more appropriate question.

Okay, I know correlation isn’t causation, but… is Couer d’Alene still Aryan Nations territory?

Okay, I know correlation isn’t causation, but… is Couer d’Alene still Aryan Nations territory?

I’ve never heard Couer d’Alene itself singled out, but I’m not that familiar with the local sentiments around this part of the country.

That being said, I will say since being in this part of the country I’ve heard more bigoted speech here than any place else I’ve lived.

Not much Aryan Nation left in Northern Idaho anymore. Probably still plenty of ignorance and bigotry.

Re “he can’t be too thrilled about being replaced by the cranks who called him a crank.”

Now that’s irony for ya, huh?

Henry

The Aryan Nation was never big in northern Idaho. They had a compound that was empty most of the year except during their world congress. In 2001, they lost a lawsuit to a local couple and were forced to forfeit the compound along with other materials in restitution.

The aryan nation of northern Idaho (Hayden Lake is near Couer ‘d Alene) is dead.

Hey Skip, what brought you to Butte? The St. Patrick’s Day festivities compel me to make the drive over from Bozeman every few years, but for most people, if they know anything about Butte, it’s from the Daily Show’s expose of Butte’s tourism potential.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YQBam42j[…]ch=bad%20pit

I still think he could get a job at AIG’s creation museum when he wriggles out of this. He’s got plenty of experience (he could put this on his CV) and now that AIG seems to have patched things up surely he’d be quite a catch for them ?

…my bastardization of Shakespeare is not quite accurate, since “wherefore” actually means “why” in the original text…

Actually, it still means “why” in current usage.

It might be interesting to go down to the Pensacola courthouse on Sept. 5, 2006, to witness the Hovind trial. We can no longer hear his tirades of nonsense at “debates” and church gatherings. But, we could get a few laughs from watching him (or his tax-supported public defender) try to invent an excuse for his greedy, money-hording, tax-evading behavior. Justice can be very satisfying.

I am not a Science major, but frankly find the theory of evolution way out there. I would not mind it being taught if the person teaching explains what the word theory means. As for K. Hovind, I do not know who he is but apparently he has IRS problems. You seem to discount whatever he has to say because of this? did you lose a debate to him or what? I had a college professor who taught evolution and got a DUI that did not make his arguments more or less believable.

I am not a Science major, but frankly find the theory of evolution way out there.

Perhaps your thinking it to be way out there is directly a result of your lack of knowledge about it.

I would not mind it being taught if the person teaching explains what the word theory means.

How big of you. That’s usually done – but it doesn’t mean what you probably think it means.

As for K. Hovind, I do not know who he is but apparently he has IRS problems. You seem to discount whatever he has to say because of this?

Uh, no. You’re not any relation to Larry Fafarman, are you?

Richard Greene Wrote:

I am not a Science major, but frankly find the theory of evolution way out there.

Quantum mechanics seems way out there, but I don’t go around telling physicists that it’s wrong because I can’t wrap my brain around it.

And evolution isn’t way out there. It’s as simple as can be. Different organisms have different features. Some work better than others and pass down more efficiently. What’s out there about it?

Richard Greene Wrote:

I would not mind it being taught if the person teaching explains what the word theory means.

A theory is a scientific explanation supported incredibly well. It is the gold standard of science, the best supported idea possible. Examples include the Germ theory of disease (just a theory, to listen to the creationists).

Richard Greene Wrote:

As for K. Hovind, I do not know who he is but apparently he has IRS problems. You seem to discount whatever he has to say because of this?

You’ve got the cart before the horse. We were discounting what he had to say years before he had tax problems. We discounted what he has to say because everything he says is idiotic. What else can you say about a man who’s FAQ has questions like “Does Bigfoot disprove evolution?” (Yes, supposedly) and “Is the government watching me through my television?” (They could be!)

Hovind’s arguments are derisible. As just one example, he claims that since Niagra falls is receeding at a certain rate, if the Earth were billions of years old, the falls would have wrapped around the Earth several times! Therefore, it isn’t! Dumb, just dumb. Next, I’ll point to a mole on Hovind’s arm and say, “Since that moles is 2 years old, YOU are two years old!” It makes as much sense.

Richard Greene Wrote:

did you lose a debate to him or what?

Is that physically possible? I mean, Hovind is dumb. REALLY dumb. The others I could understand, some of them are slippery, but losing to Hovind seems difficult.

Richard:

“I am not a Science major, but frankly find the theory of evolution way out there.”

The fact of evolution (common descent with modification) is easily observed. Phylogenetic trees is seen in fossils and in DNA. I see them in my own family - downstream relatives are alike me but not identical. It is easier to observe than much of the rest of established science.

The variation+selection part of the theory of evolution is easily understood. Alike but not identical features, those organisms that works best are most likely to pass on downstream. It is easier to understand than much of the rest of established science. It also trivially makes a first order explanation of the general observations above. (But it doesn’t explain all - which is why evolution is so much more.)

“I would not mind it being taught if the person teaching explains what the word theory means.”

A theory is an interconnected weave of related explanations. It makes predictions about observations that can debunk or justify the theory, in principle beyond reasonable doubt by testing repeatedly against a firm limit typical for the science in case. You don’t want to raise unreasonable doubt without evidence, do you? That would be special pleading typically seen in religions such as creationism.

Richard,

I don’t criticize Hovind for having tax problems. I criticize him for peddling junk science. See drdino.com and judge for yourself.

I would not mind it being taught if the person teaching explains what the word theory means.

Maybe this will help:

IS EVOLUTION “JUST A THEORY”?

by Lenny Flank

(c)1995

One of the most common accusations heard from creationists is that “evolution is only a theory and hasn’t been proven”. Such assertions are also heard from conservatives who give political support to the creationists. For instance, during the 1980 Presidential campaign, Ronald Reagan told an audience, concerning evolution, “Well, it’s a theory–it is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science and is not yet believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it was once believed.” (cited in Berra 1990, p. 123, Wills 1990 p. 120, and Eldredge 1982 p. 28)

This accusation demonstrates a basic ignorance of the methods and principles of science. The scientific method holds as a matter of course that all conclusions are tentative, and that nothing can ever be absolutely proven to a certainty. Every conclusion reached by any scientist must always include, even if it is only assumed, the unspoken preface that “This is true only to the best of our current knowledge”. Science does not deal with absolute truths; it deals with hypotheses, theories and models. The distinction between these is important in understanding and in countering creationist arguments, since the word “theory” also has a popular usage that is quite different from its scientific meaning (the vast majority of the US population–some studies have indicated as high as 95%–are in essence scientifically illiterate, and have only the vaguest grasp of modern scientific thinking, and the creationists always make a point of appealing to this popular ignorance).

In the popular view, the word “theory” means simply something that is unproven–an assertion which may or may not be true. It is this meaning which the creationists refer to when they assert that evolution is “just a theory”, the implication being that, if evolution hasn’t been proven, then it should have no more standing than creation “science”. In science, however, the word “theory” has a very definite meaning. Under the scientific method, the first step in investigation is to gather data and information, in the form of verifiable evidence. Once data has been gathered, the next step is to form a hypothesis which would explain the data. This hypothesis is, quite simply, nothing more than an intelligent guess. (A hypothesis is, in fact, the closest scientific term to what most people mean when they say “theory”).

Once a hypothesis has been formed, it is compared against the data (both old and new) to see how well it fits with the established facts. If the hypothesis is contradicted by the data, then it must be either modified and tested again, or discarded completely and a new hypothesis formed. Once a hypothesis has passed the test of verification through data, it becomes a scientific theory–i.e., it becomes an established framework within which to interpret the relationship of various bits of raw data. On the basis of this theory, new hypotheses are formed, and areas in which new data may be gathered are identified. If the theory continues to correctly explain new data (and indeed serves to correctly predict the outcome of scientific experiments), it is said to have a high degree of reliability. Such a theory is not a mere supposition or guess; it is a hypothesis that has been verified by direct experimentation and which has demonstrated a high degree of predictive ability.

When a related group of theories are correlated to one another and demonstrate the ability to be predictive and to explain the data, they form a scientific model. Models are the intellectual framework within which vast areas of particular data are explained and described. They also serve to indicate potential new areas of research and new hypotheses which can be tested to see if they can be integrated into the model.

An example may help to illustrate these distinctions. Observational data indicates to us that we can see the masts of tall ships while they are still far out on the horizon, before we can see the deck or the hull. We can also observe that the shadow of the earth, cast upon the moon during a rare eclipse, appears to be circular. We can therefore formulate the hypothesis that the earth is round. This would explain all of our data. Using this hypothesis, we can predict that, if the earth is indeed a sphere, we should be able to sail completely around the earth without falling off or coming to an edge. And, if this experiment is performed, we find that we can indeed do so. Our hypothesis has now been verified by experimentation, shows itself capable of correlating a variety of disparate data, and shows an ability to be predictive, and is therefore established as a scientific theory, the Theory of the Round Earth.

If we combine our theory of the round earth with other theories such as the theory of a round moon and a theory of heliocentrism, we can formulate a model–the moon orbits around the earth, the earth orbits around the sun, and all are part of a system of planets orbiting around a central star. This is the model of the heliocentric solar system.

Please note that none of this is to be treated as an absolute fact. It is entirely possible that some later observation or data will completely upset our model. Many times, a model must be modified and altered in order to explain new data or to expand its explanatory power. No scientific model can be viewed as an absolute proof. Perhaps at some point in time the shadow of the earth upon the moon will be seen to be a square, or perhaps one day we will see that the moon does not really revolve around the earth. However, based upon all of the data we possess currently, we can conclude that neither of these possibilities is very likely, and we are justified in having a high degree of confidence in the solar system model. Although it has not been (and cannot logically be) proven to an absolute certainty, it has been verified by every experiment we have conducted so far, and it has proven to have profound predictive power.

This model then becomes a basis on which to formulate new hypotheses and to investigate new areas of research. As various scientists produce new data and formulate new theories and hypotheses, a consensus will be reached about which theories are better suited to the data and which have a higher degree of confidence. In this manner, the model is constantly being modified, improved and expanded in order to encompass more and more data. Scientific models can never be stagnant–they are constantly changing and expanding as our knowledge of the universe increases.

Thus, scientific models can never be viewed as “the truth”. At best, they are an approximation to truth, and these approximations become progressively closer to “the truth” as more testing of new evidence and data is done. However, no scientific model can ever reach “the truth”, since no one will ever possess knowledge of ALL facts and data. As long as we do not have perfect and complete knowledge, our scientific models must be considered tentative, and valid only within the current limits of what we know.

The current theories of evolutionary mechanisms (Darwinian gradualism through natural selection, punctuated equilibria and neutralist evolution) together constitute a scientific model. This model has survived (with some modifications) every experimental test, and has not been invalidated by any data or evidence we now possess. Evolutionary theory has demonstrated an ability to correlate and explain a wide variety of disparate data with a high degree of confidence, and has proven to have the ability to predict experimental results and to point out new areas that may be investigated for new data. As a scientific theory, the theory of evolution has the same standing and authority that atomic theory, the theory of relativity and the theory of quantum physics possess.

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This page contains a single entry by Skip published on August 2, 2006 4:29 PM.

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