The C-Files: Kent Hovind
Kent Hovind Refuses to Debate!!
by Dave Thomas : nmsrdaveATswcp.com (Help fight SPAM! Please replace the AT with an @ )
Well-known creationist Kent Hovind touts his unsatisfied $250,000 challenge to anyone who can "prove" evolution as evidence for creationism. The challenge is rigged, of course. For example, since the Big Bang is part of evolution, Hovind argues, you will have to produce an actual Big Bang to get the award. Hovind also tours the country preaching creationism to large crowds, and is constantly challenging "evolutionists" to debate at these evangelism sessions.
Kent Hovind has been challenged to a REAL debate - a scientific debate - in the pages of this newsletter, and on the World Wide Web. Hovind has refused this debate. Details of this exchange follow.
The saga begins with the printing of the January 2000 NMSR Reports, specifically the Best and Worst of 1999 Awards. These were also posted on the NMSR website at http://www.nmsr.org .
Kent Hovind's Award read as follows:
The P. T. Barnum "One Born Every Minute" Award goes to "Dr. Dino" himself, creationist speaker Kent Hovind, who on May 7th, 1999, in a packed room in Philadelphia, urged his audience to study convincing new evidence of humans living with dinosaurs. Hovind's evidence, a web site at http://www.darwindisproved.com/Archive.html *, turned out to be the annual NMSR April Fool's prank.
* Site has moved to http://www.nmsr.org/Archive.html . See also http://www.nmsr.org/onyatemn.htm .
On January 7, 2000, I sent the following message to Kent Hovind:
Congratulations Dr. Dino!
You have received an award from New Mexicans for Science and Reason, in the annual "Best and Worst of the Year" category.
Your award can be seen on the web at http://www.nmsr.org/nmsr_hot.htm
Check out our home page at http://www.nmsr.org/
Dave Thomas, NMSR
On Jan. 16, 2000, I received an e-mail correspondence from Kent Hovind. In his short letter, he challenged me to find "some evolutionists brave enough to defend their religion against me in a public debate." Hovind also offered to "come at my expense and debate your best 3 or 4 at a time in a university setting. Call me to schedule a time."
My reply to Hovind, sent on Jan. 18th, 2000:
Dear Dr. Dino,
We're not interested in helping you to recruit "clowns" for your creationist circuses. If it's a real debate you want, we'll be happy to debate you, point-by-point, on the pages of our monthly newsletter (and also our web-site).
Simply send an essay of 750 words or less to me at <firstname.lastname@example.org>, and we'll print it verbatim and unaltered for our constituents (NM and national scientists, media, etc.), along with a 750-word response. We can go for as many months as it takes.
Do you have the guts to defend your religion in print?
A word about the reason for your award - you received the P.T. Barnum "One Born Every Minute" Award because you were hoodwinked by a sleazy pro-evolution April Fool's prank. And you endorsed our prank in public. (We have witnesses)
The scientific community noticed, though. It even made the cover of NCSE Reports! Thanks for your help in making Onyate Man a smashing success!
Looking forward to your first 750-word installment of the written debate. Be sure to send a snail-mail address where I can send the hard-copy editions of NMSR Reports.
On Jan. 22, 2000, Hovind replied. He said simply "Are the presidential candidates 'clowns'? Public open debate is healthy and if you are secure in the knowledge of your evolution religion. [sic]"
I sent the following to Hovind on Jan. 22, 2000:
Dear Kent Hovind :
If the presidential debates were rigged like your creationism evangelism shows, then they would indeed be circuses, and some candidates would indeed be stuck in the role of the "clowns."
But I agree with you that open public debate is healthy. The main difference between what you propose (a "live" debate) and what I propose (a written debate published in our newsletter, and posted on the web) is that many more people would have the chance to read the debaters' remarks, and ponder them at their leisure.
Is that what you're afraid of? Letting the people have time to think about and research your remarks?
I'm afraid I'm going to have to report to our readers that Kent Hovind has refused our very fair offer of a written debate.
You could change all that, just by submitting your first 750-word essay, which we'll print and post verbatim and unaltered, along with our 750-word-or-less response. What could be fairer than that?
Well, one thing WOULD be fairer, and that would be for YOU to publish both yours and our essays on YOUR web site and newsletter as well. But we're not demanding that.
What'll it be, Dr. Dino? If I don't hear from you by Jan. 31, 2000, I will have to report to our readers that Kent Hovind has no stomach for a fair debate with real scientists.
President, New Mexicans for Science and Reason
On Jan. 24th, 2000, Hovind replied, stating simply "I'm not the least bit afraid but I don't have time. Read Neh. 6:3."
On Jan. 25th, 2000, I replied:
You have "time" to run all over the country staging creationist circuses, but you don't have "time" to write a little 750-word essay on why evolution is not scientific?
I don't believe it for a second. I think you are afraid of a formal, written scientific exchange of ideas.
But it doesn't matter what I think, right? What does God say?
(See Proverbs 19:5, and especially Jeremiah 23:32.)
On Jan. 26th, 2000, Hovind cut off the exchange, stating
"My original offer is always open. Schedule a time for a debate when you work up the courage."
I sent the following on Jan. 25th, 2000:
Dear Dr. Dino:
If you want to go around the country holding evangelist revival meetings, that's fine. But do not interpret our reluctance to assist you in setting up these circus meetings as a lack of "courage."
On the other hand, you could demonstrate "courage" simply by presenting your arguments to the people in print, without benefit of razzle-dazzle debate tricks to cover up your total lack of supporting data.
If you ever gain enough confidence in your beliefs to actually put them down in writing, please feel free to submit your first 750-word essay to NMSR at that time.
Nehemiah 6:3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I [am] doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?
Proverbs 19:5 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and *he that* speaketh lies shall not escape.
Jeremiah 23:32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.
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