Few contenders so far for creationist's reward for proof of evolution
Stars and Stripes June 22, 2003
KENNY HILL, England — Kent Hovind has a quarter of a million dollars burning a hole in his pocket.
He’ll give it to anyone who can convince him that evolution is more than just a theory.
And don’t come armed with nothing more than platitudes about the fossil record and human tailbones, or a challenge for him to prove his belief that God created the world and everything in it just like the Bible says.
He has heard them all before.
“There’s no fossil record,” he said. “There are fossils.”
Fossils are the result of a rapid burial, he said. That occurred, he believes, in the flood of Noah’s time, 4,400 years ago.
And what of the human tailbone, often cited as a useless remnant of the human evolution process?
“There are nine muscles attached to the tailbone,” Hovind said. “You need your tailbone.”
To the Illinois native and founder of Creation Science Evangelism, evolution is as faith-based as Christianity and should be treated as such, not as science.
“It’s a religion,” he said in an interview after a seminar session. And it’s a religion being taught in public schools and paid for with tax dollars, while his religion is taboo inside classroom walls.
Hovind presented a four-day seminar recently at the New Testament Baptist Church near RAF Mildenhall, England. The church, established 25 years ago, attracts as many as 300 congregants to a Sunday service, nearly all from the nearby U.S. Air Force bases.
In the congregants, Hovind, 50, who takes his message across America and the world, found like-minded partners. Thomas Adams, the church pastor, said a majority of the church families choose to home-school their children rather than send them to Department of Defense Dependents Schools, where evolution is taught in science classes.
Master Sgt. Douglas DeField and his wife, Liesl, have four children, ages 11, 9, 4 and 2. They prefer home-schooling and one reason is the presence of evolution and the absence of God in the DODDS schools.
“It’s probably one of the big top five reasons,” Douglas DeField said. “The schools are just riddled with evolution.”
Liesl DeField said, “We’ve taught them creation. We’ve taught them the truth.”
Tech Sgt. James Smith and wife, Diane, have children who just finished seventh and fourth grades. The Smiths send their children to DODDS, but prepare them to hear contradictions to what they are taught at home.
“We try to teach them the biblical way,” James Smith said.
“We feel like, because they have the background [from home], they will know the difference,” Diane Smith said.
She and her husband do not want their children to sit quiet when they are taught about evolution, but they will not be expected to mount a vociferous protest, either.
“We don’t want [them] being disrespectful to authority, arguing with an adult,” she said. But they want their children to have the knowledge to point out another possibility for the world’s creation.
In a statement, the Department of Defense Education Activity said the curriculum at its schools is consistent with the national standards.
“The theory of evolution is taught as part of the standards- based science curriculum,” the statement said.
Parents are welcome to voice concerns through proper channels and those issues will be considered, according to the statement.
Hovind said evolution has seeped into the textbooks of America’s schools because “atheists” have taken over state school boards and because textbook publishers care more about money than truth.
He was a high school science teacher for 15 years and never taught evolution.
“I told the kids I think it’s the dumbest theory in the world,” he said.
To him, the Bible is a perfect book, and every word should be taken as, well, gospel.
Therefore, to him, evolution is evil and he sugarcoats nothing when talking about it.
“Evolution caused World War II,” he said.
He said German leader Adolf Hitler believed he was destroying the weak through the Holocaust and perpetuating the strong through selective breeding, a clear example of evolution’s mantra.
“Survival of the fittest has a flip side — the death of the unfit,” Hovind said.
Of course, he has his critics. He is accused of misrepresenting evolution in his talks, books and seminars, oversimplifying a complex process for his own purpose. His qualifications to talk about the subject are questioned.
But he is nothing if not steadfast in his belief.
Hovind encourages people to home-school their children or send them to private schools to escape the teaching of evolution. He suggests they campaign for school boards to influence the choice of textbooks.
He also doesn’t expect to part with the $250,000 he said a rich friend has reserved for anyone who successfully takes up the challenge.
“We’ve had the offer for 12 years. I’ve had three challenges,” he said. “And they’ve all been real stupid.”