Friday, August 16, 2013

Hovind's Dissertation Not as Bad as its Critics on Rational Wiki Think


1) Creation vs. Evolution : Can Evolutionists be a Laughing Stock?
2) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on Age of Earth video's by Kent Hovind
3) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on Chaplains vs Councellors and on Creation vs Evolution (feat. Kent Hovind)
4) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Hovind's Dissertation Not as Bad as its Critics on Rational Wiki Think
5) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on Hovind - Ross Debate, for Four Videos
6) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on History being Kent Hovind's Weaker Subject
7) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on Kent Hovind's supposed failure in Carbon Dating Subject

Passage commented on:

"Misreadings of history, philosophy and damn near everything else"

From Rational wiki on Hovind's doctoral dissertation

Hovind attempts to provide a genealogy of evolution that starts with God striking down the Tower of Babel. He traces this through ancient Greek philosophy, eastern religions and the Church Fathers. He gets large chunks of this ancient history wrong, and what little bits of truth do sneak in are surrounded by oceans of irrelevance and idiocy.

Kent Hovind being no ace on history may be true. Neither are evolutionists. And what do you expect from a Protestant anyway? His teachers were probably anticatholics, and that is not a credit to their take on history.

Now, beginning with the Tower of Babel is something with truth in it. Unless you prefer pinning evolution down to transhumanism and therefore to Satan's lie through a serpent mouth in Eden.

Socrates, Hovind tells us, didn't write "many" books. Technically true: Socrates didn't write any books,

Wherein he is like Jesus, by the way. In His humanity - since in His Divinity He dictated chapter long chunk after chapter long chunk of Exodus to Moses.

and is infamous for asserting that one shouldn't write books!

Infamous is as exaggerated as Socrates' own exaggeration.

Hovind describes Socrates, Plato and Aristotle as being "pantheists", and thus attempts to understand in modern terms a religious system that does not easily match modern expectations and categories. If you want to apply a modern label, polytheism catches the spirit a lot better than pantheism.

No, not really. Rational wiki got it as wrong as Hovind here. Polytheism means regarding powerful spirits such as Theists would call angels and regard as created by and answering to God, as powerful spirits on their own, answering to no such thing as a God, or if at all, one more or less democratically elected by them (this thing about Zeus might be the key similarity to Satan in the fall of angels).

Plato (with presumably some support from Socrates) is more Theistic than that. He is Theistic in a kind of initiation cult or esoteric sense, a Theist outside Abraham's tradition, like Akenaton, but he is a Theist.

Aristotle is less of a Theist, though not fully a Pantheist. His very much later Muslim commentator Averroës is at least as Pantheistic as Spinoza and Hegel. And Aristotle may in later years - after pondering why God would chose to create if he was totally blissful in himself - came close to the positions developed by Averroës. St Thomas Aquinas' Aristotelianism does without that. But he agrees that Aristotle did not quite do so in his life time.

(There are some ancient philosophers you can describe as holding broadly pantheistic ideas: Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Zeno and Heraclitus among the Greeks and the Roman philosophers Marcus Aurelius and Plotinus.)

Totally correct. Some of them were also broadly speaking cyclical evolutionists, like Buddhists and Hindoos. It is not a mere coincidence if Carl Sagan admired them. In so far as my comrade - meaning we served under same command - during military service who was a Satanist was of the LaVey type, an Atheist and Evolutionist, it is no coincidence if later he turned up when I met him years after as then become a Buddhist.

Father Bryan Houghton who died in 1992 I think and who had to deal in English Seminars with onslaught of Teilhard de Chardin's ideas (before Vatican II) does a better research than Hovind, he pins Stoicism and Buddhism, clearly fatalistic philosophies, down as closest non-Modern-Western kin of Evolutionary Atheism. See Unwanted Priest, French translation Prêtre rejeté. At least the French edition gives some of his older tracts, including the anti-evolutionist one which says exactly that.

Hovind fails when he attempts to understand Plato and Socrates, ascribing positions to them that are held by participants in Platonic dialogues, most of which feature Socrates as a character, but only some of the dialogues can be thought of as containing the Socrates of history, while the others have Socrates as a literary tool that Plato can use.

I will not say "I buy that" until I read the text. But I would not be surprised. On the other hand I would not be surprised at all either if he ascribed a position of one of the participants as "it is in Plato" ["in Plato" short for "in Plato's dialogues"]forgetting which participant.

There are probably readers of my debates* - I regularly debate in youtube comments, earlier in yahoo message boards and in aol message boards and post the debates - who ascribe to me what is either direct quotes from my adversaries or reductiones in absurdum of their positions ("if you were right, why not also ..."). And some of those guys may very well have Med D spec Psych in degrees not challenged by any court as a felony to receive with so little understanding.

Also, if Plato is not exactly Evolutionist, he is reverse Evolutionist insofar as he thinks there was a gradual downward emanation from pure perfect to the world we see (and to Hell below it).

Also the social ethics of Plato are so socialistic as to be in part very close to the ethical part of pantheistic stoicism. Remember Socrates thought it his duty to drink poison if so condemned ... even if innocent. That is too socialist by far.

Hovind asserts that Democrates is the founder of Atomism, rather than Democritus.

Spell check failed? US accent mislead by pronunciation? I attended a lecture on Aristotle and kept hearing "Ehrenstottel" except for "st" pronounced like "st" rather than real German "sht" pronunciation. After half an hour or more I realised he was pronouncing Aristotle.

"Zoroaster" is the name given to the religion - Zoroaster is in fact the founder of Zoroastrianism - a blunder similar to writing "Christ" when you mean "Christianity" or "Muhammad" when you mean "Islam".

If the proof is him saying "in Zoroaster" when he means "in the Gathas of Zoroaster" the misunderstanding may not be his.

But remember, I have not yet read the actual text of the dissertation. It is easier to find debunkings on the net than to find the dissertation itself. "The dissertation Hovind does not want you to read" - or the dissertation his opponents do not want you to read?

Hovind claims Zoroastrianism was founded around 600 BCE. Most scholars actually state it was much earlier - around 1000 BCE.

I have read a scholarly comment it was something like 700 B.Chr. To be precise, Charles Gore cites some dispute about that in his work that I forgot the name of.**

He completely misunderstands Zoroastrian beliefs, claiming that the essence of it is that "Satan and God are equally powerful". In fact, Zoroastrians believe that Ahura Mazda (the 'God' character) will banish Angra Mainyu (the 'Satan' character) and bring about the end times, and then a savior figure will come along and raise up the dead.

There is in Zoroastrian belief a certain hint that God and Satan or Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu are so far equally powerful. For instance, I seem to recall they are brothers (confer how Albigensian beliefs make "Satanael" and the "future Jesus" brothers and sons of one god). Or the fact that in Zoroaster - in his Gathas, that is - kine were created by Ahura Mazda but wolves by Angra Mainyu. The total victory of God over Satan is thus, in common Zoroastrian belief, set for the future.

According to Hovind, in Zoroastrianism "a lack of importance [is] placed on God". Apparently, despite being a Middle Eastern monotheistic religion with a number of broadly equivalent traits to Judaism and Christianity, "Zoroasterism" (as Hovind also refers to Zoroastrianism as) is actually the bearer of the flame of evolutionism, as it has been carried from the Fall of Man through Satan and then through the works of the Greek philosophers.

The important thing in Zoroastrianism is not a personal relation to Ahura Mazda, but a loyalty nearly totally invested in works. Ritual and moral ones. Including not to eat beef, since the kine had complained to Ahura Mazda about men eating them and Ahura Mazda had promised the Holy Cows that a prophet would come to vindicate their rights - that one being Zoroaster. Not a very clever man (according to the Gatha he wrote himself about it), but the champion of cows who want to give milk but no meat all right.

Actually the right deed is supposed to help Ahura Mazda in bringing about his victory sooner. An indication that Zoroaster considers so far Ahura Mazda not totally overwhelmingly stronger than Angra Mainyu. Like not as if Angra Mainyu were only his rebellious creature.

Which is fine, except for the fact that if the ancient Greeks, Zoroastrians and eastern mystics were all budding proto-Darwinists, you might expect some historians and philosophers who study the ancients to have spotted it - and the work of Darwin and Wallace in the nineteenth century might have been a bit less revolutionary and surprising than it actually was.

Darwin was revolutionary? His work was revolutionary and surprising?

It was heavily prepared on the Old Earth side by Anglicans and on the Transformationism side by Lamarck. And sure, some of these guys did prefer Zeno or even more so Zoroaster to the exact Literal words of Moses and Jesus. Lyell wrote himself about the Broad Church party in Anglicanism that it was well prepared to dump Moses. And Darwin got his Old Earth belief from no discovery of his own, but from his Anglican teachers recommending Lyell.

And to give Hovind the credit he is due, he did research on Lyell, as can be seen in his comment about Niagara falls.

Hovind claims that Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, which all are really evolution cults in disguise, made it easy for Communism to take over in China. On the same note, Communism has spread really well in Iranian Zoroastrian communities and in India, where Hinduism and Buddhism are prevalent. This hypothesis also explains the resistance to Chinese Communism by the Tibetan Buddhist monks really well, and the religious history of Russia and Cuba. In reality the survival of the fittest found in Capitalist market economics has more to do with Natural selection than the Communist ideal of "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs".

Only until you get a few things straight. Or two at least:

One is that Modern Western Esotericism - heavily indebted to Hinduism and Buddhism through Madame Blavatskaya - is socialist and evolutionist. It is not about individual salvation and individual rights of men needing to get their lives straight with God this only life, it is heavily about souls evolving life after life, and if you go to their "ravings" about Mu, Lemuria and Atlantis you will find them as evolutionist as von Däniken.

Another is that "from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs" is heavily presented as a Darwinist recipe for collective adaptation to circumstances and as necessary in making the "new man" or "the man of the future".

Hovind also claims that Muslims believe heavily in evolution. Yeah, you don't want to mention Islamic creationists like Harun Yahya.

Citing Harun Yahya as proof Muslims are not Evolutionist is like citing Kent Hovind as proof Christians are not Evolutionist.

Harun Yahya may think an Evolutionist Muslim is an Apostate or an ill-instructed Muslim or possibly practising Taqqiya (lying about exact tenets of one's belief while living among outsiders). Kent Hovind thinks Evolutionist Christians are either apostates or ill-instructed. Or ill-adviced to practise Taqqiya, if doing so, since this is contrary to Christ's very words.

But you cannot deny people like Hovind are outnumbered by people like Hugh Ross or even more evolutionist Christians, and if you think all nice Muslims are Evolutionists and all terrorists are agreeing with Harun Yahya (who accused whoever was responsible for Sept 11 2001 of being morally Darwinists); then think again. Breivik was in the first police report described as a "Fundamentalist Christian" but he was really a Darwinist, totally agreeing with Lawrence Krauss that teaching Creationism should be outlawed, and he was up to when his superiors heard of the deed member of a Masonic Lodge - not famous for being Biblical Inerrantists. And millions of Muslims who are peaceful in their own lives are Creationists as well as willing (among women) to wear a veil, and when they get heat for that, this fuels a rather unnecessary Muslim backlash - not necessarilyb tied down to people believing and professing Harun Yahya's tenets.

He also makes some pretty silly remarks about the Church Fathers which are backed up with the same sort of evidence as everything else in the dissertation - that is, about the same quality and quantity as you get in a Chick tract or the Weekly World News.

That would very much be the one occasion on which he earned the ire of God by direct anticatholicism. Some other Protestants are exactly doing that and doing just fine, no time in prison at all (nor should they as things are now, one cannot punish unbaptised atheists for just agreeing with Cicero and Lucretius and one cannot punish Prots while letting off the atheists either).

So if someone has a link to the dissertation itself not needing downloading, I might actually criticise it, instead of criticising its critics.

But if Hovind thought St Augustine was evolutionist, sure that IS stupid. Sue the present Archbishop of Paris for that too, if you like - I do not consider him a Catholic or a bishop (possibly validly ordained, but not licitly exercising authority) until he shows himself such. Meaning among other things, in agreement with Church Fathers. None of which were evolutionist (and neither was Plato).

If you want my take on such incompetence, unpunished Ph.D. like Craig Lampe (who just might have started withdrawing factoids, I sent a mail to his son asking about it) or those modernists who invoke St Augustine about non-literality of the six days, see further these three essays: first Great Bishop of Geneva! : Answers about "The Forbidden Book", then Great Bishop of Geneva! : Good News about Protestants, and then again Creation vs. Evolution : St Augustine gives an inch and some take an ell. But as long as I have neither seen any excuses from Craig Lampe (whose Ph. D. is unchallenged) nor seen him in gaol, I do not consider Kent Hovind should be in gaol for his dissertation. Or for that matter, I hope the ones who wrote the article in rational wiki and called Plato a Polytheist, have no ill-earned Ph. D's. Not to mention all the Christian Evolutionists who invoke St Augustine.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
BpI, Georges Pompidou
Day after Assumption Feast

*Assorted Retorts from Yahoo Boards and Elsewhere

**Philosophy of the Good Life. I looked it up in my essay here, sometimes it pays off to write about things you read:

HGL's F.B. writings : When CSL was wrong, Charles Gore was wrong before him, I think. Pt 1

I have not written part 2 on that exact theme yet. It would have involved the complaint of the kine and its influence on Narnia, but not as an occasion for error in CSL, since Narnian ethics does not reject eating non-talking animals.


Mike Campbell said...

Sorry - I missed the bit where you supported your headline with some sort of argument.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Sorry, my grades in sarcasm were a bit low ... can you take your point in argument against anything I said, please?