Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Creationists Fooled By Hoaxes

You have to pity the poor creationists.

Living in a world in which there is no known physical evidence to support their beliefs, they are prey to almost any conceivable hoax and will eagerly pay out to read about it, listen to a charlatan talking about it or to go and see it in a 'museum'.

The irony is that at least one of the hoaxes they use to try to discredit science is itself a hoax on them. 'Nebraska Man' was never claimed by scientists to be a man. The hoax is that a highly imaginative article written in a popular magazine - The Illustrated London News - was a scientific publication and represents a serious claim by science to have discovered an archaic hominid.

Other hoaxes like the Paluxy River tracks, the 'whale on its tail' and the 'Cretaceous human finger fossil' have been written about extensively but perhaps the more glaring hoaxes which creationists regularly fall for are the very creationist 'scientists' who make up, invent, misrepresent and mislead them, or rather the scientific credentials of these charlatans.

For example:

'Dr' Carl E. Baugh

Glen J Kuban has researched his claims to hold various degrees in connection with his exposé of the Paluxy 'Man Tracks' hoax. The very detailed results of his research can be read here: A Matter of Degree: An Examination of Carl Baugh's Alleged Credentials. Basically, Baugh and a close associate, Don Patton, have set up bogus universities through which they award themselves degrees and doctorates as needed, even writing themselves letters to confirm the awards (as though a certificate doesn't do just that). One such degree mill is Pacific International University.
Carl Edward Baugh

'Dr' Kent Hovind

Kent Hovind calls himself a scientist, though he has no formal science qualifications, on the basis that he was a 'high-school science teacher'. This was at three private Baptist schools, one of which he started, and for which no formal qualifications were needed. He attended Midwestern Baptist College, a non-accredited Bible college, and was awarded a Bachelor in Religious Education.

Patriot Bible University
In 1988 and 1991 respectively, Hovind was awarded a master's degree and doctorate in Christian Education through correspondence from the non-accredited Patriot University in Colorado Springs, Colorado (now Patriot Bible University in Del Norte, Colorado, which no longer offers this program). This 'university' has been described as more a shed than a university. It is, in fact, a diploma mill for which the ability to sign a cheque appears to be the only academic qualification needed.

A copy of Kent Hovind's 'doctoral dissertation', which Patriot University refused to release and which Kent Hovind would never make available for inspection, is now available on Wikileaks at Young Earth Creationist Kent Hovind's Doctoral Dissertation or here. As readers can see, this is barely up to the standard required for an A level assignment report, frequently resembles the writing of an adolescent, and shows no evidence of having been submitted for peer review.

Chemistry professor Karen Bartelt has stated that "Hovind's doctoral dissertation is evidence of the poor requirements at Patriot and that Hovind lacks knowledge of basic science." Bartelt noted that Hovind's dissertation is incomplete (it contains four chapters totalling 101 pages, but Hovind's introduction claims the work is 250 pages with 16 chapters), of low academic quality, with poor writing, poor spelling, and poor grammatical style. Bartelt asserts that pages are repeated, references are absent, and it is not an original work with original ideas.
Kent Hovind

'Dr' Grady S. McMurtry.

Grady McMurtry heads up 'Creation Worldview Ministries' and appears to be its only employee. According to his website,"The purpose of this ministry is to provide biblical and scientific seminars in churches and public forums, i.e. universities, radio and TV broadcasts, etc..." His website has a prominent 'donate' button in the finest tradition of evangelical websites.

His father was Grady Louis McMurtry, head of the Ordo Templi Orientis cult.

He has no scientific qualifications. As Gordon Hudson, author of Gordon's Blog has found, his BS and MS are in forestry, not science.

He claims his 'doctorate', a DD (Doctor of Divinity) was awarded by 'the School of Theology, Columbus, Georgia'. No such school appears to exist and no link to it is provided on Grady McMurtry's own website, despite his apparent close links to it. He lists himself as:
  • Past Regent of the School of Theology, Columbus, Georgia
  • Adjunct Professor, School of Theology, Columbus, Georgia
Grady S. McMurtry

Paul D. Ackerman, Ph.D.

Paul D. Ackerman is not a scientist.

His academic qualifications are in psychology, a profession in which he has risen to the dizzy heights of Assistant Professor at Wichita State University Psychology Department, a post he has held since 1968.

He was awarded a B.A (1964), M.A. (1966) and Ph.D (1968) by the University of Kansas. According to his vita, he has authored or co-authored a handful of papers on psychology-related topics, often as the second author, and contributed along with three other co-authors to one chapter in one psychology textbook. He has also written numerous creationist articles published mostly by the 'Creation Social Science and Humanities Quarterly', the house Journal of the 'Creation Social Science and Humanities Society' which he founded in 1978. He edited this journal between 1978-1994, the period during which almost all his articles were published.

He has never published a paper on a science-related subject, has no record of research in science and has never presented any of his scientific claims for peer review or to an audience of professional scientists. In short, he appears to be no more qualified in science than 'Joe the Plumber' or the 'man on the Clapham omnibus'. It shows.

Perhaps his most notorious publication is the outrageously bad "It's a Young World After All", about which I have blogged extensively here, and in which he demonstrates an almost hilarious disregard for scientific principles, and an only passing acquaintance with truth and honesty. He unashamedly presents falsified claims as unarguable truths, claims which have even been withdrawn and disowned by their authors and articles by other creationists as mainstream science, blatantly fraudulent data as evidence and easily falsified lies as factual. Some chapters are almost surreal and read more like parodies of creation 'science'.

This book is still extensively quoted as 'proof' of a young earth. It is now given away free by the Institute of Creation Research despite containing arguments which even other creationists have admitted were faked or based on false, forged or misrepresented data.

Maybe more than most creationist pseudo-scientists, Dr Paul D. Ackerman, Ph.D, illustrates how creationists pose as scientists to pull the wool over their follower's eyes and how they exploit a ready market for bad science for the credulous, gullible and scientifically illiterate audience who buy it from them in vast quantities and who would love more than anything for their superstitious nonsense to be supported by the science they so despise.
Dr Paul D. Ackerman

Harold S. Slusher

Harold S. Slusher, formerly of the ICR, is probably best known for his criticism of radiometric dating. He also believes the Universe is much smaller than mainstream science claims.

Slusher claims to hold a D.Sc from Indiana Christian University - a Bible college with a miniscule science department. He also claims a Ph.D in physics from Columbia Pacific University - a diploma mill and an unaccredited correspondence school that recruited students with the lure of a degree "in less than a year". Ronald Numbers, author of The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design, found that Slusher's doctoral dissertation "consisted of a manila folder containing copies of five mimeographed ICR "technical monographs" and a copy of the ICR graduate school catalog, all held together with a rubber band." His 'supervising professor' was Thomas Barnes, a fellow creationist from ICR who holds only an honorary degree.

Harold Slusher was the 'astronomer' whom Paul Ackerman cited in support of his crackpot notion that our failure to explain where comets come from and how they are replaced [sic] is evidence that the Universe is quite young. Slusher doesn't even claim to hold a qualification in astronomy, but presumably a bought and paid-for certificate in one science makes a creationist an expert in any of them. Astronomy, physics! What's the difference?
Harold Slusher

This is a work in progress and will be updated as more material is discovered. Suggestions of Creation pseudo-scientists for investigation are welcome.

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  1. Lol, I love the way Hovind used to get upset if people didn't respect his degree.

    If you ever do one of these for Christian social scientists, please make sure that Barton gets a nice big old profile.

  2. You just gave me a variety of ideas for satirical posts. Thanks.

  3. Nice work. Thank-you...

    Paul B

  4. I just took the time to "read" some of Hovind's dissertation... and I purposely put the word "read" in quotes because the aim of reading is to derive meaning, which is impossible given the tripe that's on these pages.

    This gem from page 83 stood out: "People ask, 'Where was [g]od before the creation? How long did [g]od wait before the Garden of Eden, before [h]e created man?' Well, you're back into the same argument [referring to a hilarious poem he wrote on the previous pages]. God didn't wait any time at all. There wasn't any time and I can't explain it other than to say, that's the way it is."

    That's some hard-hitting stuff there. It all makes complete sense now.


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