GRADUATING FROM BOVINE UNIVERSITY

So you've heard of Kent Hovind, right? The bat-shit insane fundamentalist who acquired a great deal of money and notoriety with his unique hybrid of Young Earth Creationism and tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theories? He usually managed to worm his way into any and all public debates about creationism, evolution, and public schools (not to mention Chick Tracts). I say "managed" in the past tense because he's currently taking very defensive showers in Federal prison after being convicted of 58 counts of tax evasion (idiotic "tax protester" ideology was apparently one of the many fringe theories in which he believed, so much so that he felt he was not legally obligated to pay taxes) and obstruction of justice.

Like many "Creation Scientists" and "Evolution Skeptics" Mr. Hovind's educational credentials consist of rapid attainment of advanced degrees at unaccredited fundamentalist diploma mills. He scored the trifecta: a Bachelor's from unaccredited Midwestern Baptist College and his MA/PhD combo from even-more-unaccredited Patriot University (!!!!) For your edification and amusement, here is a (real) photo of Patriot University:


Patriot U., formerly Navajo Nation Alcoholics Anonymous

Here's where it gets awesome.

Many of his opponents (i.e. the entire scientific community) were rankled by his habit of referring to himself as "Dr. Hovind" or, as his website was called, "Dr. Dino" in reference to his novel, Carl Everett-like theories about dinosaurs.** So they looked into Patriot U. and Kent's doctorate.

One of the basics of a PhD program is that it makes dissertations publicly available – perhaps in a "library" – so that anyone may inspect the recipient's qualifications for the highest possible level of educational attainment. Not so at Patriot, which also raised eyebrows with its "monthly fee" tuition scheme, as opposed to a per-term or per-credit scheme such as are used at real schools. Unable to read Hovind's thesis, we are forced to rely on the second-hand reporting of people who have read it. Like Karen Bartlet, who holds a real PhD in organic chemistry and who hosts The Dissertation Kent Hovind Doesn't Want You to Read.

Where to begin.

First of all, the entire dissertation is 101 pages and 4 chapters, about 20% the length of most real dissertations. It also contains no original research or data, which is essentially the definition of a dissertation. Among the other curious characteristics:

  • The dissertation has one committee member (not the standard five)
  • Absence of a title
  • Absence of page numbers
  • Rampant misspelling ("Voltair", "immerged", "disippated", "centrifical force", and "epic"/epoch are my favorites)
  • One illustration, which is cut out from a science book and taped to the dissertation
  • It begins with a greeting, i.e. "Hello, my name is Kent Hovind." This is highly irregular.

    You can read Bartlet's chapter-by-chapter rundown; it's too funny to summarize quickly here. If you are pursuing or have ever pursued postgraduate education, you are likely thinking what I am thinking: Must. Read. This. Thing. Must……find……a way. Immediate cash payment of $100 to anyone who can supply me with a copy.

    **(The single greatest fan-made sign I've ever seen at a sporting event, back during Mr. Everett's tenure on the White Sox, was fan dressed in a full Barney the Dinosaur costume holding a giant sign reading "I DON'T BELIEVE IN CARL EVERETT." It was awesome on so many levels.)

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  • 3 Responses to “GRADUATING FROM BOVINE UNIVERSITY”

    1. Scott Says:

      Well to be fair, I don't length should be a criteria of a good dissertation. From what I understand, most hard science dissertations are only about 100 pages (if that). And I for one, don't plan on writing 500 pages or including 20 chapters in my dissertation.

      That being said, the other problems make for hilarious reading. I still don't understand why people can't use a spell check – Microsoft makes it pretty hard to turn it off in Word.

    2. Kreggg Says:

      Hey Scott,

      Your subtle humor is mot lost on me. I don't don't you use spellcheck. Its o easy.

    3. Rob Says:

      I just wanted to mention that her name is Karen Bartelt, not Karen Bartlet.

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