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Kent Hovind

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Kent Hovind Booking Photo.jpg


Recent photo of Kent Hovind when he was booked into Escambia County Jail on 2nd of November 2006


Kent Hovind (a.k.a. Dr. Dino) is a Young Earth Creationist, and is the founder of Creation Science Evangelism. Hovind is in the unique position of being so dishonest that other creationists distance themselves from him [1].

On November 2, 2006, Hovind was found guilty by a jury in a Pensacola, Florida federal court of fifty-eight federal tax and tax-related offenses; his wife, Jo, was also convicted on 44 counts. On January 19, 2007, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, three years of probation after his sentence is served, and $640,000 in restitution [2].

Another thing Hovind is noted for is his offer to award US$250,000 to any person who can provide evidence that evolution is true [3].Although some have attempted to claim this award, they have usually done so in the hope of exposing the offer as a sham. The main reason this award has gone unclaimed is that, in the fine print, Hovind reveals that what he is really asking for is not evidence that supports the theory of evolution. Rather, what Hovind wants would-be claimants to do is use nothing but empirical evidence to prove that an omnipotent Entity could not possibly have created the entire Universe.

Hovind makes sure that everyone is aware that he holds a doctorate degree, but it has been documented that he 'earned' it from an unaccredited diploma mill called "Patriot University." To earn a degree from a real college, one must write a thesis, a monograph which advances human knowledge in a non-trivial way; if Hovind is any indication, Patriot University's standards for earning degrees are decidedly less stringent. As explained in this review, Hovind's thesis is exceptionally shoddy and totally unworthy of the name — and unlike a "real" thesis, it is only available on request.

Hovind is currently seeking new staff for Creation Science Evangelism. [4]

Contents

Tax and legal problems

Hovind has gotten in trouble with authorities repeatedly for scofflaw behavior related to his anti-evolution ministries. Hovind operates a "theme park" in his native Pensacola, Florida, called "Dinosaur Adventure Land", for which he has been charged with failure to procure proper building permits. In 1996, Hovind was ordered by the Internal Revenue Service to pay several years' back taxes after having been found to have failed to file income tax ever. Hovind attempted to circumvent the ruling by filing bankruptcy, but his bankruptcy claim was found by the courts to have been filed in bad faith. [5] In April 2004, Hovind's offices were raided by the IRS, who accused Hovind of failing to report millions of dollars in income. According to the IRS none of Hovind's enterprises has a business license in Escambia County or has tax-exempt status as a nonprofit enterprise.

Hovind's response to all of his legal troubles has been to cast himself in the role of martyr and victim of religious persecution. He believes the US government has no legal jurisdiction over his church. As Hovind's arguments often include the point that evolution shouldn't be taught with tax money, it is somewhat apropos that he doesn't pay tax. [6]

On April 7th, 2006, The Pensacola News reported that Hovind's Dinosaur Adventure Land had been found in contempt of court and that Escambia County authorities had locked the buildings. The newspaper also reported that ownership of DAL had been turned over to Glen Stoll who works with Hovind on legal matters and that Stoll himself had been twice investigated by federal authorities and had had a judgement recorded against him in which he was reported to have promoted a scheme encouraging people to avoid paying taxes by claiming to be religious entities.[7]

On July 14, 2006, The Pensacola News reported that Hovind had been arrested and charged with 44 counts of evading bank reporting requirements, failing to pay close to half a million dollars in employee-related taxes, impeding IRS investigations and other charges.[8]. Hovind was then found guilty on November 2, 2006 and sentenced to 10 years in prison on January 19, 2007.

Hovind's Moral Claim

One must not commit the fallacy of Attacking the Person: The scientific validity (or lack thereof) of Hovind's creationist beliefs is a matter completely separate and distinct from the question of whether or not Hovind is a morally upstanding person in his personal life. That said, Hovind's legal difficulties and moral/ethical lapses are relevant nonetheless, because he has made them relevant. It is Hovind's explicit position that to accept the theory of evolution is to reject God and be deceived by Satan, therefore Creationists (such as Hovind) are morally superior to people who accept evolution. Since Hovind claims that his beliefs make him a better person, examples of his behavior which have bearing of the question of whether or not he is a better person are very relevant indeed to evaluating the validity of his claims.

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