The Dissertation Kent Hovind Doesn't Want You to Read
A Review of Kent Hovind's Thesis by Karen
You can see the thesis here.
What is a thesis or dissertation anyway?
A thesis is a body of ORIGINAL research, and is one of the requirements
for an advanced degree (M.A., M.S., Ph.D.). Whether this encompasses
laboratory or field study (typical of the natural sciences), surveying
and statistical analysis (typical of the social sciences) or a critical
analysis of some facet of an earlier body of work (typical of the humanities), the key is that it must contain
original and new data or theories
that ADD to the body of existing knowledge, otherwise, it's just a glorified
high school theme or term paper.
There are no prescribed lengths for these documents, although individual
universities may require a certain minimum number of pages. In a recent
biography of Carl Sagan, it was mentioned that his Ph.D. thesis was
85 pages long (Davidson, 107). Generally, it is the content rather than
the length that is important in a thesis.
Once written and approved by the committee, a thesis is considered
a completed document AND DOES NOT CHANGE in length or content. A person
is certainly free to pursue the dissertation topic at greater length,
and publish more on a particular issue or set of experimental data,
but the thesis itself does not get amended.
Why a review? Why not just post the thesis?
Mr. Skip Evans, who has a website critiquing Kent Hovind, initially
requested a copy of the dissertation from Kent Hovind with the idea
of doing just that. Hovind replied that his copy had been lost in a
move. Evans then requested, and with the permission of the author received,
a copy of Hovind's dissertation from Patriot University in March 1999.
Since that time, Evans repeatedly asked for permission to post the dissertation
at his website. His communications were ignored until this recent email
from Kent Hovind:
Anyone wishing to get a transcript of our
current material to post on a web site or distribute to others is free
to do so as long as no changes are made and credit is given including
my name, address, and web site. Permission is given only for the most
recent version to be posted.
(1-16-00, Skip Evans email).
The last sentence is significant, and will be addressed later.
What is unusual about this?
Patriot University as it appeared in 2001
A dissertation from an accredited college or university is available
to anyone who wants to view it. There is usually a copy in the university
library, and most universities require a thesis to be microfilmed and
sent to a depository. A thesis is not as easy to view as an encyclopedia,
but there are mechanisms by which these documents may be seen....BY
What Hovind says about his education, thesis, and critiques.
[Material accessed 1/10/00 from "Where
did you get your degree?"] (Note: The linked page
was removed from the Internet Archive in September 2010. PB)
Every once in a while someone will ask me the
question, "Where did you get your degree?" While I am not the least
bit ashamed of my education, I have learned by experience that they
could be asking the question because they have come to the point where
they cannot attack the message I bring against evolution so they wish
to attack me personally instead. This is called an ad hominem argument.
They mistakenly think that by belittling the man they have answered
his points and won the debate. When the opponent in a debate begins
using ad hominem attacks, it is an obvious signal that they are losing
the debate on facts and must resort to other means to try to save face
or divert attention. It is also interesting to watch how the evolutionists
will spend much time and effort scrutinizing a subject like my degree
or credentials yet won't spend 2 seconds scrutinizing how ridiculous
the evolution theory is! They truly strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.
Back to the degree question. I took advanced math
and science classes at East Peoria High School graduating in 1971. I
earned my first 60 (+ or -) credit hours majoring in math and science
at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, Illinois. I then transferred
to Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan where I double majored
in education and the Bible and graduated in 1974. (I took 18-20 hours
each semester plus summer school to graduate in 3 years.) While I taught
math and science in Christian schools for the next 15 years I took courses
at several Bible colleges in my spare time. I finished my Masters (1988)
and Doctorate (1991) degrees in education from Patriot University. At
the time it was small Christian university in Colorado Springs that
offered an extension program for people involved in full time ministries.
I was taking courses from Patriot University (established 1980) while
it was a ministry of Hilltop Baptist Church and offered a Ph.D. in education.
I spent many years working on my degree and learned a lot - as anyone
who has watched my debates with evolutionists or seminar series will
testify. Long after I graduated, Patriot became independent of the church,
moved their offices into a house and dropped the Ph.D. in their education
program. Some ill informed scoffers have even circulated a picture of
the house where they are now located. I don't understand their logic
but evidently they think this somehow discredits me. Patriot allowed
students to give offerings to the school instead of a regular tuition
payment. Some scoffers have laughed at this idea yet they don't seem
to realize how many thousands have gone through secular schools without
using any of their own money via grants, scholarships or their parent's
Some have ridiculed the size of the school. If
Harvard offers a Ph.D. degree program with only 3 or 4 students (this
happens at many schools- sometimes with only 1 student), does the small
number automatically mean they are not "earning their degree" or that
they are attending a "diploma mill" school? Of course not! Nearly all
schools offer classes by correspondence.
My 250-page dissertation dealt with the subject
of the effects of teaching evolution on the students in our public school
system. My 20-year study of the creation evolutionism subject led me
to start Creation Science Evangelism in 1991. I now speak over 700 times
each year on the subject, have had 40+ debates and have been a guest
on over 3500 radio and television talk shows. My itinerary is available
from my office or on my web site, and any evolutionist interested in
a public debate any place they chose is welcome to contact me to arrange
a time while I am in their area. Since they think I don't have a degree,
they can call me Kent, Mr. Hovind or even "hey you," if it will make
them feel better. Since they don't think I am "properly educated" it
should be easy for them to demonstrate how wrong I am and how much evidence
there is for evolution. I should be a pushover, but I am willing to
debate them anyway and run the risk of publicly embarrassing myself.
Obviously Hovind has been affected by criticisms of his education
and thesis or he would not have written this rejoinder. What I intend
to do in this review is discuss the accuracy of Hovind's remarks above,
and then focus on the quality of the thesis itself. Because Hovind did
not grant permission to post any part of his original thesis, there
cannot be any direct quotations from this document.
Two discrepancies were obvious upon inspection.
Patriot University in 2006
(1) The dissertation is NOT 250 pages in length.
Patriot University sent Mr. Evans a dissertation that is 101 pages in
length, including the dedication. The pages of Hovind's thesis are NOT
numbered, so my references to page numbers start with the "Dedication"
page being number one. There is no table of contents, but on pages five
and six Hovind describes a thesis that has 16 chapters. The thesis that
Mr. Evans received from Patriot University was a four-chapter thesis.
Recently, Hovind attempted to explain the discrepancy in an email
exchange with Evans:
My dissertation was originally about 100 pages. I continued
adding material and it grew to 250 pages. Over the last 10 years
I have constantly been adding material. It is now many hundreds
of pages and will be put into book form as time permits.
Skip Evans email)
This is a ridiculous statement. A dissertation does not continue
to grow and (gasp) evolve beyond the completion of the degree. The thesis
topic may be pursued, but the additional material is not added to the
bound, completed, microfilmed, archived thesis!
(2) The dissertation DOES NOT deal with the subject
of "The Effects of Teaching Evolution on the Students in our Public
School System". NONE of the four chapters of the Patriot University
document addresses this subject, and - IT IS NOT EVEN ONE OF THE SUBJECTS
MENTIONED IN THE TWELVE "MISSING" CHAPTERS!!! I agree that this would
be a legitimate subject for an advanced degree in education, and that
there might be methods to pursue it. However, there is no empirical
evidence that Hovind did anything of the kind.
Hovind appears sensitive to criticism of Patriot University and implies
that despite its small size and the fact that it is a correspondence
school his education is legitimate and so is his degree. What I will
show in the rest of this review is that the quality of this thesis,
which was apparently accepted by Patriot University, falls WAY below
what would be accepted at ANY regular university OR legitimate distance-learning
facility. Neither the content nor the writing quality is Ph.D.-calibre
by any stretch of the imagination.
- There is only one committee
member, a Dr. Wayne Knight. Normally, a thesis must pass muster
with 3-5 committee members, all of whom make suggestions and ultimately
"sign off" on the thesis. Even the undergraduate honors theses at
my institution require the signatures of two faculty members.
- Misspellings are rampant.
A careful, knowledgeable editor/adviser would never allow a student
to get away with misspelling "Caanan", "Voltair", "Nyles Eldridge",
Madelyn Murray "O'Hare" (just like the airport), "Shintu" (the Japanese
religion), "peersuaded", "centrifical" (force!!!), "aught" (to!),
"disippated", "immerged" (from the slime), or "epic" (as in geological!).
"It's" is used as a possessive pronoun. There are several non sentences.
This is especially interesting since the course catalog of PU offers
courses like "Refresher English" and "Mechanics of Composition".
- THE THESIS HAS NO TITLE. There
are no references or footnotes. A few partial citations are included
in the body of the thesis, but they are not in standard form, and
are incomplete. In at least two places (pp 65-66) the citation simply
notes that there is a book title to be added. This has no place
in a final version.
- The single illustration, the
electromagnetic spectrum, is cut out of a science textbook and taped
on; it does not fit the page. Additionally, there are substantial
formatting errors typical of a draft, but not a final, version.
The final version is printed on a dot-matrix printer, an absolute
no-no, even in 1991.
- The Ph.D. is in "Christian
Education", not "Education" - that's what the title page says. The
coursework for the two degrees is substantially different, but as
late as 1-10-00, Hovind still seems loath to advertising the "Christian"
aspect of his degree. Curious that a Christian would leave that
At this point Hovind would surely cry "sour grapes", though these
conventions of format and style are typical, minimal and reasonable
for a "real" Ph.D. It becomes more evident that this thesis fails as
a Ph.D. dissertation when one examines the content.
As stated earlier in this review, a thesis is supposed to be a body
of ORIGINAL research. A thesis contains original and new data or theories
that ADD to the body of existing knowledge. This fundamental requirement,
more than the length of a thesis, differentiates a thesis from a high
school theme or term paper. PU says very little about the doctoral dissertation
except "Minimum of 150 typewritten pages; a popular writing style is
permitted for the dissertation" (1998 PU Catalog, 19). From the content
of this particular thesis one can conclude that either Patriot University
has substantially lower standards for content and style (than conventional
degree-granting institutions) for its Ph.D., or that Hovind's thesis
adviser never read the dissertation. A chapter-by-chapter description
INTRODUCTION (5 pages).
- The first sentence is a greeting, equivalent
to "Hello, my name is Barney, the Big Purple Dinosaur". This may
well reflect the "popular writing style" accepted by PU. At this
point in time (no later than early 1991) Hovind already claims to
be preaching about creation 400 times a year and has a weekly radio
program (where he claims to have gotten some of the ideas for the
thesis chapters). Though he states that as a science teacher he
wants to keep an open mind, he also says that if the Bible says
that something was created in a particular way, then that's just
what happened. He admits that there is nothing new in the thesis,
and it is just an explanation of the things that he has learned.
Chapter descriptions are included: Chapter 1 is the history of evolution;
chapter 2 is evolution as a religion; chapter 3 allegedly deals
with the effects of evolution, and chapter 4, allegedly with the
age of the Earth. The twelve missing chapters (reminiscent of the
12 lost tribes of Israel) are described also: the big bang (5),
the geologic column (6), radiocarbon dating (7), cave men (8), archaeopteryx
(9), creation of life in the lab (10), scientists who were/are creationists
(11), the Genesis 1/2 conflict (12), dinosaurs in the Bible (13),
whether dinosaurs are extinct (14), human and dinosaur footprints
at Glen Rose (15), and an alternative theory to evolution (16).
There are no chapters entitled "The Effects of Teaching Evolution
on the Students in our Public School System".
CHAPTER 1 (38 pages)
- The first chapter demonstrates
Hovind's abysmal grasp of the nature and scope of science and his
inability to write at the postgraduate level. Hovind begins with
a non-standard definition of evolution - that with time, things
left to themselves can improve - and a ramble about thermodynamics.
For the first time evolution is described as a religion (hang on
to your hats). He then proceeds to a long pair of inaccurate definitions
of microevolution and macroevolution. He finishes this section with
a second misstatement about evolution by pinning the idea of "evolution
= progress" on the evolutionists.
- Hovind then begins the actual
purported history of evolution, starting with Satan, whom he believes
fell from heaven about 100 years after the creation of Adam and
Eve. It is alleged that the snake brought the theory of evolution
to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. No Bible verses are cited
to substantiate this assertion. Then there are nearly three pages
of Biblical quotations dealing with pride and how God hates it.
Pride and evolution are conjoined in Hovind's mind because evolution
allegedly teaches that man is its ultimate product. Evolution proceeded
through Cain, Hovind goes on, and continued to be propagated after
the Flood (2400 BC), like a virus. Pride caused Ham to laugh at
the naked Noah, so Ham's son, Canaan, was cursed! The virus traveled
from Cush through Nimrod to the Tower of Babel (which Hovind says
was built in 1900 BC). After the fall of Babel, the people dispersed
all over the world and the religion of evolution (bing) went with
- Ancient Greek civilization,
from Thales to Alexander, takes it on the chin next, with a regurgitation
of the Henry Morris-type biographies that I saw when I visited the
Institute for Creation Research. Since Hovind's only reference in
this chapter is a passing mention of Henry Morris' The Long
War Against God, I suspect that most of this material is rehashed
from that book.
- Having trashed Western civilization,
Hovind gives thumbnail sketches of Eastern religions (Hinduism,
Confucianism, Zoroasterism, Buddhism, and Taoism), but has very
little to say about how they relate to the subject of this chapter
until the big whammy - Hovind alleges that communist takeovers of
these countries were very simple because their religions did not
place much importance on God. (Kinda makes you wonder how they did
so well as civilizations until communist takeovers within the last
50-100 years. Evolution surely was with them since 1900 BC; see
Hovind's date for the Tower of Babel). According to Hovind, evolution
also made an easy entry into these cultures, as it did not challenge
the existing religions. It is interesting that there is no mention
of evolution in Chinese or Indian literature, and that it took a
couple of mid-nineteenth century Europeans to formulate the theory
- After a page of digression
about how to reach people who have been brainwashed by evolution,
Hovind takes on the early Christians. Clement tried to make God
a pantheist God; the Alexandrians rewrote parts of the Bible; Origen
taught Genesis as a myth; Augustine was a theistic evolutionist.
Islam is squeezed in here also, and it is alleged that this religion
accepts evolution. Tell that one to your favorite Islamic fundamentalist!
No supporting evidence or references are given for any of these
- Hovind then concentrates on
the secular, early evolutionary thinkers, and it is here that the
poor writing style is most evident. These short, choppy biographies
include more commentary on lifestyle than on science. Since I am
precluded from direct quotations, but want to make the reader aware
of the style, here is the identical sentence structure of one of
the biographies, substituting Charles Darwin as the subject of the
He was born in 1809 and died about 1880. He was
very anti-Christian and tried to influence anyone he could not to believe
in God. He was very full of godless ideas. He was a very avid agnostic,
racist, and an evolutionist. He believed in a great infinite age of
the universe. He was very influential in furthering the ideas of evolution,
particularly in the country of England.
- Substantial numbers of sentences
are of the "He was" or "He did" type. This is not typical of postgraduate-level
writing; high schools and colleges encourage complex, varied and
interesting sentence structure.
- Voltaire's connections to
Abbe de Chateuneuf are mentioned, only to observe that the latter
might be a homosexual.
- Erasmus Darwin is described
as a very fat, immoral doctor. The number of legitimate children
(12) and illegitimate children (2) are listed, as is this Darwin's
tendency to have affairs.
- The section on Lyell is shot
through with flood geology and references to II Peter 3 (the scoffers
verse). It is mentioned that Lyell was a lawyer by trade, not a
geologist. Though any good history of science book details the development
of the geologic column in the years prior to Lyell, Hovind inaccurately
states that Lyell developed the column. Darwin's contributions are
summarized as a justification for nasty social consequences like
child labor and sweatshops.
- Karl Marx, Alfred Russel Wallace,
and Thomas Huxley all end up with more verbiage than does Darwin.
The racism prevalent in the mid-1800s is exploited and is supported
by a 1926 magazine quotation! This is a recurring theme with Hovind
today, who seems oblivious to the fact that the Christians of that
time period tended to have the same racist ideas. Haeckel and the
recapitulation theory are tied to Adolf Hitler and as a justification
for abortion. Freud is mentioned briefly, as are Julian and Aldous
Huxley, the latter being blamed for the drug culture of the 1960s.
- The chapter concludes as Hovind
blames Shintoism (which Hovind claims is based on evolution), for
what Japan did in World War II.
CHAPTER 2 (12 pages)
- This chapter begins with the
assertion that evolution is a religion (bing) and that there is
no empirical evidence to substantiate it. Rather than attempting
to support this statement, however, Hovind discusses the removal
of prayer from the public schools and spends the next three pages
discussing four options for alleviating the evolution/creation controversy:
Teach evolution only (which he says is done now), teach creation
only, teach them both, or teach nothing concerning origins. While
these options may be worthy of discussion, they are not germane
to the topic at hand.
- The remainder of this chapter
is largely a discussion of Humanist Manifesto and Humanist Manifesto
II and an attempt to link the theory of evolution to humanism, thereby
making it a religion. There are also undated and uncited quotations
by "evolutionists" such as Sir Arthur Keith: "Evolution is unproved
and unprovable. We believe it because the only alternative is special
creation and that is unthinkable". From this, Hovind concludes that
evolution is a religion (bing), and restates this one page later
(bing). After a lament about how preachers are portrayed in movies
and TV, Hovind digresses to an attack on what he perceives as the
lack of transitional forms in the fossil record using out-of-context
and uncited quotations by Gould and Eldredge, D.S. Woodruff, and
a 1980 Newsweek article. One last mention of evolution-as-religion
(bing) and an evolution-as-faith (bing), and the chapter concludes
with Romans 1:21 (cutting off in the middle of verse 28) and an
undated, uncited letter-to-the-editor by Hovind.
- In this last section Hovind perpetuates the
creationists' oft-repeated-but-never-cited Arthur Keith quotation.
The quotation is probably really revised from a D.M.S. Watson quotation
in a 1929 article in the journal Nature. Even if
it is somehow traceable to Arthur Keith (1866-1955), it is outdated
and probably out-of-context.
CHAPTER 3 (17 pages)
- One gets a real sense of
deja vu when reading this chapter because large
portions are EXACT, VERBATIM PARAGRAPHS from Chapter 2. Pages 60-61
are identical to pages 50-51; page 56 is repeated nearly verbatim
on page 63 and again on page 64. The Newsweek quotation
on page 55 shows up intact on page 65; D. S. Woodruff, as well as
Gould and Eldredge from page 55, are reprised on page 66.
- There are only six pages of
the seventeen that legitimately deal with the effects of evolution,
which Hovind believes are Hitler/the Shintu [sic] religion/WWII,
Stalin and Communism, and the fact that evolution does not "lock-step"
with his traditional "linear" scientific method. There is also an
attempt to link evolution with acceptance of abortion. The sole
supporting evidence for any of these assertions is an ICR
Impact article about Stalin. Towards the end of the
chapter evolution (or the waste of class time teaching it) is blamed
for the crisis in science education, and the fact that students
in other countries score higher than US students (never mind that
many of them come from countries where evolution is taught without
- The remaining eleven pages
are composed of a disjointed ramble about how great it is to live
in a free country where we are free to discuss these issues (not
great enough, apparently, to pay income taxes!), and a lament for
those (foreign and domestic) who reject the Bible. The evolution-as-religion
(bing) mantra continues. There is another inaccurate description
of microevolution and this is followed immediately by a Scientific
America [sic] quotation about the inflationary universe and an exhortation
for those who want to teach evolution to start private schools.
More partially-cited quotations by "evolutionists" are used to "prove"
that since evolution cannot be detected within the lifetime of a
single observer, it's a religion (bing) , and yet another evolution-as-religion
(bing) statement. A discussion about the separation of church and
state follows, including an assertion that the first amendment precludes
the teaching of evolution because evolution is a religion (bing).
After repeating the Gould/Eldredge, Woodruff and Newsweek
quotations about transitional forms, Hovind closes the section by
saying again that both creation and evolution are just religious
- The last three pages of this
chapter are a rehash of Hovind's caricature of evolution (no fossil
record, no observation, no experimentation, evolution-as-religion
(bing)). Rather than drawing his evidence about the effects of evolution
(sparse as it is) to a conclusion, the chapter ends with a discussion
of life on the moon and the pads the lunar lander needed because
scientists feared a deep layer of cosmic dust!
I have focused on the content of this chapter in particular to demonstrate
Hovind's inability to stick to the topic, which was, after all, the
EFFECTS of evolution. If one read the chapter without knowing the title,
one would be clueless about its subject. Hovind has success in some
debates because he uses the same style: no issues are discussed in depth
and he can flit rapidly from flower to flower. He refuses to participate
in long-term exchanges via the Internet or other media where these issues
can be discussed in depth and where his material is easily refuted (and
HAS BEEN refuted).
CHAPTER 4 (27 pages)
- The repetitive style continues. As an example,
I have retained Hovind's sentence structure in his introductory
paragraph on time, but changed the subject to a discussion of money:
First we will look at the subject of money. Lack
of billions of dollars is the Achilles heel to [sic] Democrats. If there
isn't a lot of money, the argument is absolutely over. Money is essential
to the Democrats. Their entire argument is built on the premise that
there is plenty of money.
- Rather than continuing on
the topic of time, Hovind spends the next four pages digressing
on the apostle Paul's vision of heaven, that God is not locked into
time, and that in heaven there will be no time. A further digression
talks about the electromagnetic spectrum (hence the textbook cut-out
of the electromagnetic spectrum), and an explanation of the fact
that there are other "colors" that the eye can't see; yet that does
not mean that these colors don't exist. The conclusion is that just
as a blind person accepts that there are colors by faith, we who
have limited senses also admit by faith that God exists. The makings
of a philosophical argument, perhaps, but not germane to the age
of the Earth.
- When he returns to the age
of the Earth, Hovind asserts that its age
can be reasonably estimated by adding up the "begats" in the Bible.
He ties the publication of Origin of Species to the falling-away
of Christians from the 6000 year-old-Earth (ignoring the huge body
of evidence that the age of the Earth had been a subject of controversy
way before Darwin). He blasts gap-theory creationists and mistakenly
says that theistic evolutionists consider the six days of creation
in Genesis to be longer geologic ages (some might, but this is characteristic
of "day-age" creationism). Scientists are accused of being deceitful
by selecting only the few dates that confirm a great age of the
Earth and ignoring all evidence for a young Earth. No confirming
evidence is offered.
- Hovind's "proofs" of a young
Earth are from Henry Morris' list and largely unchanged on his website
today, despite numerous rebuttals by scientists (including those
from other young-Earth creationist organizations like the ICR).
They include the old "dust-on-the-moon" argument, lack of helium,
presence of comets, the slowing of the Earth's spin, and the "declining
magnetic field" theory. After a slight digression about not being
able to measure the distances to the stars accurately, he returns
to the subject at hand, believing the Earth to be six to seven thousand
years old. The supporting evidence for this belief is that he taught
high school science for fourteen years, college level science for
three years, and he knows that "science" has been wrong before.
He specifically notes that once it was thought that the Earth was
flat (gee, where did they get that idea I wonder?), and at one time
bloodletting was used to cure illnesses. Because of this, much of
modern science is wrong!
- A radical gearshift then occurs
and it appears that Hovind is writing a conclusion of sorts. He
returns to the evolution controversy, Darwin, and missing links,
and then within a paragraph is back to the age of the Earth, this
time ragging on Ken Taylor, the author (?) of The Living Bible.
It seems that this translation tends toward a day-age interpretation.
In the same paragraph, he associates Communism with evolution. A
quick Gish frog-to-prince story and then it's back to proofs of
a young Earth: coral reefs, bristlecone pines, and the pressure
of oil wells (All of these "proofs" are "oldies-but-goodies" and
have been refuted elsewhere). His total ignorance of plate tectonics
is apparent when he discusses the ocean floor and continental erosion.
Actually, I take that back: he attributes plate tectonics
to evolutionists .... never mind that this theory surfaced a hundred
years after Darwin! He finishes with an argument about the recession
of the moon, actually stating that scientists taught for years that
the moon was pulled from the Pacific Ocean and that this is offered
as an explanation for volcanoes in Hawaii. George Darwin, Charles's
son, did offer a "fission" hypothesis in 1880 but no serious scientist
has considered it as a possibility in the 20th century. Someone
who has taught high school science for fourteen years should be
aware of this fact. Though he provides NO recession speed for the
moon, Hovind states that by multiplying the recession speed by the
presumed evolutionary age, the moon should be much further from
the Earth than it is. Finally, he cites Kelvin, incorrectly stating
that Kelvin thought that the Earth was thousands of years old (it
was actually at least tens of millions of years old according to
Kelvin). After one last slap at day-age theory and The Living
Bible (effectively repeating pages 85-86), Hovind finishes
with the classic Henry Morris population argument for a young Earth.
- Citing Matthew 19:4, that
Jesus said Adam and Eve were created in the beginning, Hovind finishes
by saying that the lies about the age of the Earth are all from
Satan. The document ends here.
- It is almost unheard-of to
advertise the length of one's Ph.D. dissertation. One is forced
to conclude that by doing so, Hovind is attempting to dazzle his
largely scientifically-illiterate audience with the large number
of pages. However, there is no 250 page dissertation;
when one subtracts the duplicated material, the document is 95-96
pages. The "I added material to it later" excuse is in the same
league as "My dog ate my homework". Hovind demands empirical evidence
for evolution, yet there is NO EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE that there ever
was a 250 page dissertation! If a 250 page thesis exists, Hovind
could silence his critics by producing a document of the purported
length that was obviously written in 1991.
- The topic of this dissertation
DOES NOT HAVE anything to do with the effects of evolution in the
public schools Instead it is a hodge-podge of recycled, discredited,
young Earth ideas, digressions into Bible stories and quotations,
and a litany of "Evolution-as-religion" statements, embedded almost
in 1984 manner into the text. If Hovind wished to silence
his critics, he could do so by posting a 250-page document on THE
EFFECTS OF TEACHING EVOLUTION ON THE STUDENTS IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOL
SYSTEM with evidence that supports its 1991 origin.
- No original thought is presented.
This is nothing more than a rehash of long-discredited theories.
It is a rambling, low-quality book report, sans the references.
It is not an original, thoughtful, coherent body of knowledge. To
award a Ph.D. for this is a travesty and an insult to anyone who
has actually worked to achieve one.
- Ad hominem, shominem! No one,
regardless of race, color, sex or religious background should be
able to produce a work of this quality and claim an advanced degree.
If Stephen Jay Gould had produced a thesis like this, I would be
writing about him.
- If Patriot University did,
in fact, accept this dissertation and award a Ph.D. in Christian
education, then it does fall into the category of a diploma mill,
for the reasons listed below.
- There is no original research
- Large portions of the dissertation
are repeated. Formatting errors are rampant.
- References are absent.
- Spelling errors that are typical
of high school (but not college) writing are present in this document.
- The writing style, "popular" or
not, is typical of high school-level writing, not college, and certainly
not postgraduate. The writing style, as well as Hovind's lectures,
are reminiscent of drive-by shootings, where many disjointed topics
are presented in rapid-fire order (so as to not allow the reader
or listener to really think about any particular topic).
Kent Hovind says (in his statement above) that he doesn't care whether
he is addressed as "Mr." or "hey you" by the scoffers. In fact, his
Ph.D. is very precious to him or he would not be listed as "Dr. Kent
Hovind" in the Pensacola, FL, phone book (it is very
unusual for a person with a Ph.D., even a real one, to do this). One
has only to look at his itinerary to substantiate my claim that being
called "Doctor" is very important to him.
It is certainly possible for a person to acquire expertise in a scientific
field by studying that topic independently. However, such a person does
not claim to have an advanced degree in the field. There is NO
EVIDENCE that Kent Hovind has more than a college sophomore level of
course work in ANY science. There is NO EVIDENCE from his thesis that
he is widely-read in the areas of evolution, astronomy, geology, paleontology
or even the history of science beyond what is written in a few young-Earth
creationist books. There is ABUNDANT EVIDENCE that the requirements
for a Ph.D. degree from Patriot University fall far below those of typical
secular or religious institutions.
Ask yourself whether you would visit a medical doctor, an auto mechanic,
a plumber, or an investment counsellor with similar dubious credentials.
If so, then Hovind is your science guy! Or see him for what he is, the
snake-oil salesman, peddling salvation and pseudo science in the late
20th century and even unto the 21st century.
I join the ever-growing list of those who challenge Kent Hovind to
clarify his background in the sciences and participate in an in-depth,
web-based discussion of his assertions and ideas. This Ph.D. dissertation
might be a good place to start.
1. Davidson, K. Carl Sagan: a Life. New York: John Wiley
and Sons, 1999.
2. Hovind, K. Available from http://web.archive.org/web/20010816220051/www.drdino.com/FAQs/FAQmisc13.jsp.
Accessed 1-10-00. (Note: The linked page was removed from the
Internet Archive in September 2010. PB)
3. Patriot University 1998 Course Catalog.
Addendum: my qualifications to assess the dissertation
Mr. Skip Evans acquired a copy of Kent Hovind's Ph.D. thesis from
Patriot University in March of 1999 (the dissertation was released with
the permission of the author). Mr. Evans requested input from several
people who have written Ph.D. theses or who have advised people on their
theses. My own Ph.D. (in organic chemistry) was completed in 1988.
I proof read and critiqued my husband's entomology Ph.D., have read
and critiqued two other organic chemistry Ph.D. theses and have read
other theses in a variety of fields. For the last eight years I have
been on the faculty of a small liberal arts college that emphasizes
writing across the curriculum. Our curriculum includes designated "writing"
courses where writing excellence is expected. Even though my subject
area is chemistry, I teach two of these "W" courses, and am quite accustomed
to assessing college-level writing. Furthermore, some of our students
transfer from Hovind's first "alma mater", Illinois Central College,
so I am aware of the level of writing expertise typical of a 20-year-old
student from Central Illinois. I am also well-acquainted with Hovind's
website and presentations.
NOTE: My Ph.D. thesis contains the following statement:
"In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment for a doctoral degree
at Montana State University, I agree that the Library shall make it
available to borrowers under the rules of the Library. I further
agree that copying of this thesis is allowable only for scholarly purposes,
consistent with 'fair use' as described in the U.S. Copyright Law.
Requests for extensive copying should be referred to University Microfilms
International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48106, to whom
I have granted 'the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute copies
of the dissertation in and from microfilm and the right to reproduce
and distribute by abstract in any format.'" There are tens
of thousands of Ph.D. dissertations archived at University Microfilms.