Sunday, February 8, 2015

When Reason Fails Try Ridicule?

Hovindology is adding to my guest posting brain trust.  Some of the best critiques of "creation science" that I have read have been by Nathan Zamprogno, who has been a Hovidologist much longer than I.  In this post he discusses the best way to deal with outrageous belief systems. I don't agree with Nathan on every point and have a tendency to adopt a more conciliatory tone in dealing with Hovindicators, but he makes some good points.

Commentary from Nathan Zamprogno:

‘I am patient with stupidity,’ Edith Sitwell used to say, ‘just not with those who are proud of it.’

More than occasional readers will know that I have often reflected on the significance of the conjunction between Sovereign Citizen belief, and other irrational beliefs like young-earth creationism, vaccine-skepticism, and various creepy ’truthisms’ like 9/11 false flag, birthers, or even the reptilian-UFO NWO conspiracy.

In my last commentary, I identified the common thread; faulty critical thinking skills. Sometimes this arises due to religious brainwashing. Sometimes it’s just ignorance and stupidity. But it certainly explains why these beliefs seem to occur in clusters.

I am on the national committee of an anti-Cult organisation, CIFS, here in Australia. I can tell you that the parallels between so-called Sovereign Citizens, or tax protesters, or Creationists, or conspiracy theorists, and the suppressed critical thinking faculties among cult victims is uncanny. I’m thinking of the unshakable certainties. The aggressive bluster. The conflation of *prosecution* with *persecution*. The parroting of parodied versions of the same values that exposed them as deluded, such as ‘open mindedness’ or ‘skepticism’. And most tellingly, the complete absence of a sense of irony — a complete ignorance of their own ludicrousness.

The horrified fascination we hold for Kent Hovind, who never, ever met a nutty theory he didn’t like, has now extended to a horrified fascination with the retinue of restive whiners who have come out of obscurity to bask unwittingly in our fremdsch√§men.

So here’s the problem: These people are not going to change their minds. If we gave them the benefit of a doubt before, I think we can conclude that we’re beyond that now.As Sam Harris says, ‘How can you argue with someone who does not value evidence or logic?’ (

What are we to do?

There is an answer, and it’s surprisingly effective, and it’s working even now.

The answer is shame, ridicule and scorn.

This was brought home powerfully to me when I read an excellent piece titled “The Anti-Vaccine Movement Should Be Ridiculed, Because Shame Works” , by Matt Novak which reminded us of the battle we’re slowly winning over the anti-vax cranks.

Here in Australia, egregious vaccine crank Sherri Tenpenny was recently booked to a major national tour of four cities  . Ordinary people spoke up and expressed their entirely righteous anger. All eleven venues Tenpenny was booked for, cancelled. Tenpenny was tarred and feathered, and Australia will remain free from her particular brand of ignorance. A textbook takedown! Huzzah!

And it seems that you, my American friends, do know how to do the same to the cranks in your ranks.

Witness the comprehensive (and now thoroughly viral) takedown Dan Bidondi got at the hands of Boston hero Roger Nicolson when Bidondi pretended to be a journalist and crashed a press conference with specious questions about the bombing being a false flag operation. “You Asshat”… <snicker>. 

Witness the hapless ‘Ayatollah of Appalachia’, Ken Ham, fulminating futilely as his tax concessions are stripped away because canny Kentuckians spoke up about his discriminatory employment practices, meaning public funds will no longer be wasted on his Biblical boondoggle of an Ark. Strike one up for common sense!

And now, witness the tide of indifference sensible people are responding with as Rudy Davis and co. are ratcheting up the hysteria about Kent Hovind’s ongoing criminal behavior. No one of any import cares, because Hovind’s supporters are making the prosecution case with surprising eloquence by threatening public officials and posting endless prison phone-chats that are deeply incriminating to Hovind.

Kent Hovind and his co-accused Hansen will probably get another year or two in prison. More may be too much to hope for, even though they both richly deserve to languish there until they realise that ‘penitentiaries’ are there to induce ‘penitence’.

On current form, that could be *forever*.

Rudy Davis may lose his job, if he hasn’t already, as his life becomes consumed by what we may term a literal Hovind-mania. We’ll continue to watch with interest to see if it’s the tax court, the secret service, or the state troopers guarding Florida courthouses who catch up with him first for his various threats against the IRS, President Obama, or Judge Rodgers respectively. I have a bad feeling about Davis.

[PJR: Lest I be accused of not paying attention, I should note here that Kent is being tried in a federal court in Pensacola. If you make trouble inside the court house you have to deal with US Marshals.  Remember Nathan is from Australia]

Dan Bidondi will continue to be punched in the nose for grossly insulting human decency everywhere he goes. Eventually, his Mom may arrive on air to grab his ear, ground him and take away his microphone, and that can’t happen soon enough.

Ernie Land’s clients will finally realise that every single theory he espouses lands them in prison, while Land himself never, ever seems to have the courage of his own convictions —and him slinking back into the shadows to take in a new rube down the track will finally end. Destination: Prison. Just you wait.

[PJR: I don't think Ernie generally holds himself out as a counselor. He has a special long term relationship with Kent which has thrust him in the role of spokesman and consigliere.  I understand that he earns his daily bread through marketing healthy products.]

Eric Hovind will eventually prove that the apple rarely falls far from the tree, and my suspicion is that the CSE assets sold and snapped straight back up by the lesser-Hovind’s “God Quest” scam may yet be forfeit as Kent and Jo’s personal tax debts come home to roost. Eric has understandably kept well clear of his father's case, but we all know that his new scam is just the old scam with a new coat of paint.

So go read the excellent Gizmodo piece by Matt Novak linked above. Liken its lessons to the parade of crazy that Hovind’s followers are spouting, and be of good cheer. Make no mistake: Most of America, and certainly the rest of the world, are all pointing and laughing both at Kent Hovind, and his clown-car of followers. Laughing all the time.

And eventually, they will all be shamed into a blessed silence.

Nathan Zamprogno from Australia has held a long-time interest in fringe belief, blogging about Kent Hovind since 2007. After losing his wife in 2009 to a cult group, he has taken on an advocacy role with Australia's leading anti-cult watchdog, CIFS He has worked for conservative parliamentarians at state and federal level and has worked in Christian schooling since 1998. He holds a Bachelor Degree in History and Philosophy and a Masters Degree in Education.


  1. firstly this nathan guy was lured into a cult... shows you how impressionable and easily led astray the young man is

    this nathan guy ally's himself with admitted liar rlbaty. like the cult he followed, liars, he may want to think twice about what he believes.

    nobody takes you all serious anymore. if you have a man who admits he is a liar and makes up disgusting defamatory remarks for not reason other than he enjoys it... you all have a problem...

    1. I find this response completely telling in its ignorance.
      I have never been a member of a cult. I lost my wife to a cult. The simplest of searches would have confirmed that.

    2. Nathan, Anonymous here, as well as some other Hovindicators, has a casual relationship with facts. For some reason, these people believe I am a retired IRS attorney named Denise. The first part would come as a surprise to my employer of the last 16 years (a financial institution). I haven't bothered to try and explain the second to my elderly and quite deaf mother. My brother thought it was funny.

  2. I see the BatyHaterz have sent in their anonymous whiner who won't come out and openly, honestly engage me in a reasonable discussion of his problems and some substantive matter relating to Kent Hovind's legal problems that are all the rage these days.

    They got the noise, and they are afraid of the light.
    It shows.

    I am, however, longsuffering and await their repentance and bringing forth of worth meet for such repentance.

  3. Well, at least Nate just owns his tactic of shaming and ridicule, instead of pretending he's actually attempting to give anyone who disagrees with him the benefit of the doubt...

    I got a particular kick out of the line stating that "no of any import cares" about Kent's case, since I suppose that would mean then that neither Nathan, Baty, or Reilly himself is ultimately "of any import", since you all seem to care a great deal about this whole mess, as evidenced by how much you continue to write about it!

    But anyhow... I also love how Nathan admits to tracing his hatred for all such people with "irrational beliefs" to the fact that he lost his wife to a "cult", who he alleges brainwashed his ex-wife into believing she experienced all sorts of horrific abuse as a child, when in fact she did not. Essentially, in his mind, belief system's akin to Kent Hovind's are what took his wife away.

    Never mind the fact that thousands of survivors of childhood sexual and ritualistic abuse come forward with resurgent memories in adulthood very similar to hers in many ways, and the majority of them tell such accounts without any involvement or counseling from anyone coming from a church/religious background.

    Kent Hovind, nor others who believe similar things about Biblical Creation etc., are responsible for taking your wife away. Period. The world is veritably chock full of all kinds of people, who believe all sorts of various things about the universe in which we all live, and 99.99% present absolutely zero existential threat to you or I or anyone else. You don't have to agree with them. That's the beauty of democracy, or so I'm told.

    Think of all the vastly more productive things you all could've been doing, benefiting your own lives and well-being, instead of spending so much time and effort railing and ridiculing a man already in jail, and people who share some of his beliefs.....

    The scorn, ridicule and shame only betrays the true nature of just what it is that you find threatening, the possibility that there really is a God, and your ancestors never really did crawl out of the primordial ooze....

  4. It's always bemusing when your opponents make your points for you.

    Firstly, you misrepresent me by suggesting that we scorn a view without first giving the benefit of a doubt.
    Wrong. I made it clear that scorn comes after you've been long-suffering well beyond the point of remaining graceful. Scorn comes after you've determined that your opponents regularly ignore evidence and are more committed to their fallacy than the truth. When they ignore and distort the very rules of debate and even try to co-opt the language of rationality through their accusation of calling their opponents "closed-minded" when it's the reverse which is the case.
    My point, more simply made, is that you don't argue with a mosquito -- you swat it.

    Secondly, tell me, pray, where I admit to tracing my hatred for such groups to the fact my wife was lost to a cult? I can assure you, my contempt for Kent Hovind and his mouth-breathing supporters goes back a long, long time further back.

    Third, if a person's idiosyncratic, even thigh-slappingly wrong view is genuinely harmless, then I'm all for handing them a Darwin award and backing away slowly. However, when a person's delusion has them telling anxious mothers to not vaccinate their kids, or when Creationists think they have a right to invade school boards and dictate Science curriculum, or when (as you well know Kent has) idiots tell people that they should stop their Chemotherapy or that the Jews are responsible for the NWO, then far from being harmless, these beliefs are justifiably countered with the full force of society, its laws, and the media to pillory them into oblivion.

    And lastly, as to your final comment, perhaps you missed my bio where I state I've been in Christian education since 1998.

    Shame on you, yet again, for lying, distorting, and ignoring the bleedingly obvious.