Kent Hovind is a young earth creationist preacher based in Pensacola, Florida. Many of the arguments he uses to "disprove" evolution are so bad that even other young earth creationists have distanced themselves from him.
The centerpiece of Hovind's work is his seminar, in seven parts:
- The Age of the Earth
- The Garden of Eden
- Dinosaurs and the Bible
- Lies in the Textbooks
- The Dangers of Evolution
- The Hovind Theory
- Questions and Answers
While the contents of the seminar change from time to time (e.g., in 1999 he claimed that a shadowy "New World Order" group wanted to reduce the population to half a billion people by May 5, 2000), the seminar has remained roughly the same over the years.
For several years, Kent Hovind has attempted to imitate the James Randi Million dollar paranormal challenge by purportedly offering $250,000 to anyone who can "prove evolution." Hovind's challenge is riddled with flaws, for example:
- Even the wording of the challenge strongly indicated that Hovind has an unusually poor understanding of evolution.
- Hovind's standards of "proof" are higher than any proof that could reasonably be expected from any scientific discipline. For instance, he says "Prove beyond reasonable doubt that the process of evolution ... is the only possible way the observed phenomena could have come into existence." There is not a single scientific theory, no matter how well-confirmed, which is regarded as the only possible explanation for any phenomenon.
Someone could make a similar challenge asking people to prove that the theory of gravity is the only possible way the observed phenomena could take place, and nobody would ever be able to claim the money. No matter how widely accepted any theory is, somebody could still say: "God just makes it seem that way."
- The judges of this challenge are anonymous and secret, to be hand-picked by Hovind. It is virtually inconceivable that Hovind would pick judges who are not sympathetic to his beliefs.
The validity of Hovind's doctorate title has often been criticized. Hovind received a doctorate in Christian Education from Patriot University in Colorado Springs, Colorado (now Patriot Bible University in Del Norte, Colorado). In addition to the school being a correspondence school and non-accredited, Patriot University appeared to be a degree mill, meaning it offered degree titles with unreasonably low graduation requirements and in a matter of months rather than years. The school's current policies allow students to attain doctorates for as little as $85 per month.
Hovind has had several run-ins with the law. While this does not directly affect the quality of his arguments on creationism ("Kent Hovind is a crook, and therefore is wrong about evolution" would be an ad hominem fallacy), it does raise questions about his character. In particular, if he is found to be willing to lie about the taxes he owes, he may also be willing to lie about evolution, especially if he believes that a lie will be more effective than the truth in bringing people to Jesus.
On July 13, 2006, Kent Hovind and his wife Jo were arrested on 58 counts of tax evasion. The case went to trial Oct. 17. On Nov. 2, 2006, they were found guilty. On Jan. 19, 2007, Kent Hovind was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released on Jul. 8, 2015.
Jo's sentencing was delayed pending an appeal of Kent's sentence, but on Jun. 29, 2007, she was sentenced to 366 days in prison.
Sites critical of Hovind
- Analysis of Kent Hovind
- Kent Hovind's challenge to evolutionists, and other links at No Answers in Genesis
- The Dissertation Kent Hovind Doesn't Want You to Read at No Answers in Genesis
- The Wild, Wild World of Kent Hovind
- Dr. Dino's "Challenge" is a Fraud?
- Inside the Mind of a Creationist: A Critical Analysis of Kent Hovind's "Doctoral Dissertation"