Eric Hovind has been clamoring for attention ever since he inherited his father’s creationist kingdom back in 2007. Typically, his attention-grabbing antics are simply misguided stabs at logical thought and a series of witless one-liners. It’s pretty entertaining to watch, which is why I follow his Twitter account.
But a couple of weeks ago, Hovind tweeted a little nugget of stupidity that’s a perfect metaphor for one of the major flaws in the creationist perspective; they’re genuinely confused by the concept of humility.
Hovind’s comments were directed at Alex Botten, a British artist and podcaster, who recently goosed Eric with the following tweet:
The two of them, Hovind and Botten, have a bit of history together. “He’s sore that across several debates on the Fundamentally Flawed podcast, myself and my colleague Jim Gardner moved from stumbling bafflement to being able to confidently refute everything [he] said,” Botten told me via email.
Botten’s email went into detail about their back-story and Hovind’s own philosophical ineptitude, which Botten sarcastically boiled down thusly: “I can prove that god exists. To do this I begin by presuming that he does.”
Anyone who’s listened to Hovind stumble through a philosophical argument has heard him say something similar. In fact, here’s a video of Eric regurgitating the same gibberish after losing a short debate to an 11-year-old boy:
Hovind’s argument, as usual, is extraordinarily naïve and convoluted. Any freshmen-level philosophy student should have no problem unraveling the dichotomy. However, the part that’s most interesting to me about this particular tweet is that Hovind seems to be genuinely confused by humility.
Many atheists, myself included, take pride in our lack of certainty. The universe is full of difficult questions, and it would be arrogant for us to assume that we understand them all completely. But Hovind attacks this humility as a weakness, and seems to think that his hotline to heaven gives him an exhaustive knowledge of the natural world.
What Hovind doesn’t understand is this: it’s not that we’re uncertain. We’re just willing to be convinced. Show us the evidence, and we’ll bend to follow it.
The ability to admit when you’re wrong and act accordingly is the foundation of the scientific method, basic ethics, and any romantic relationship. And Hovind’s arrogance probably disqualifies him from participating peacefully in any of these activities.
Luckily, he’s got an imaginary friend to hang out with.
The irony is that Hovind requires humility from any of his potential converts, but excuses himself from the process. If Hovind really wants people like Alex Botten to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior, Botten must do something that Hovind would never even consider: admit that he’s uncertain about something.
I don’t often get the chance to sincerely quote Ray Comfort, but in an ironic moment of clarity, the Banana Man posted a bit of wisdom on Facebook. It wasn’t related to the Botten/Hovind interchange, but it seems particularly apt today.
I couldn’t have said it better myself, Ray.
And if Mr. Comfort is correct, it’s probably safe to assume that Eric Hovind isn’t in any danger of converting.
But neither is Ray Comfort. So the universe is still in its usual state of untidiness.