Monday, November 7, 2016

#1743: Kelly Hollowell

Kelly Hollowell is an MD and hardcore creationist. Since she has a real education (not related to evolution, of course) she is a mainstay on lists of creation scientists, including Answer In Genesis’s list of creation scientists, Creation Ministries International’s list of scientists alive today who accept the Biblical account of creation and the Institute of Creation Research’s list of creationist scientists (that these institutions feel the need to make these lists is of course telling; that creationists can be listed on short lists containing primarily scientists (often by a stretch) working in completely unrelated fields is telling as well). Of course, the extent to which Hollowell herself is a “scientist” is a matter of debate; she certainly lists herself as one. She also lists herself as a “patent attorney and adjunct law professor of bioethics.” Moreover, she’s a senior strategist for something called the Center for Reclaiming America, a conference speaker and founder of ScienceMinistries Inc. (We haven’t bothered to check those out; we have an idea about what we would find, and we’ve seen enough of that.) Her rants have also been picked up by the WND, which to any minimally reasonable person would be ample reason to rethink one’s whole world view. Hollowell, however, is not a reasonable person, unless she and her Science Ministries are, as some people seem to think, an elaborate hoax.

Hollowell is even a fan of Kent Hovind, no less, whose rants are too idiotic even for Answers in Genesis, and has for instance posted Hovind’s “Questions for Evolutionists” on her webpage, prefaced with the following twaddle: “The test of any theory is whether it provides answers to basic questions? Some well-meaning but misguided people think evolution is a reasonable theory to explain man’s questions about the universe. Evolution is not a good theory – it is just a pagan religion masquerading as science.” I don’t think she knows what a scientific theory is or what a “test” is. Or an “explanation”, for that matter.

According to Hollowell “Darwin’s theory of evolution is now hotly contested by arguments of intelligent design” (no, she doesn’t seem particularly aware of the fact that biology has, well, evolved since Darwin), though Hollowell at least admits that Intelligent Design has some shortcomings as a scientific theory (it sort of lacks a precisely described mechanism, one that has predictive power; appeals to miracles do not have predictive power), but to Hollowell that’s just a reason to return to a literal reading of the Bible, not to accept “evolution’s bogus explanation of diversity through macro-mutation.” (Yeah, read that again; she has no idea, does she?)

As denialists in general, Hollowell has a tendency to accept any piece of alleged evidence that supports her own view regardless of the quality of that “evidence”, up to and including spam from anonymous “former, university professor[s]” who claim to have discovered the theory of everything: “In the Bible, we are told that God created the universe out of nothing by using light. This is confirmed by modern cosmologists. They acknowledge physical existence had a beginning from complete nothingness (no time, no space and no matter). Then from a single focal point of light the physical world came into existence initially in the form of sub-atomic particles, i.e., the Big Bang theory […] Both the Big Bang event and subsequent arrangement of sub-atomic particles, therefore, provide our first opportunity to see light as the interface between the non-physical (spiritual) world and physical existence. Think about it. From light came matter.” Yes, that kind of ranting – Hollowell admits the claims exhibit all the hallmarks of a hoax, but seems to endorse it nonetheless. Just like she in 2005 got really excited (in a WND column, of course) about the imminent discovery of the Ark of the Covenant by one “Dr. Vendyl Jones. He is a modern-day explorer and teacher and the true inspiration for the Indiana Jones series. Startling the world, he announced last week on Israel National Radio that he actually knows the location of the Ark.” Hollowell must hence be unaware that Ron Wyatt already found it? We never saw a follow-up to that column.

Hollowell has a beef not only with evolution but with relativity as well. Like evolution, the theory of relativity corrupts the youth and turn them into godless moral relativists (Conservapedia also struggles with the distinction between relativity and moral relativism). Nor does Hollowell like plate tectonics (she doesn’t understand plate tectonics either, of course – “Continents and oceans ride on top of these plates” is not a phrase you would find in a geology paper), but promotes instead something she calls “catastrophic plate tectonics” (that would be John Baumgardner’s idea) – i.e. flood geology. As evidence she cites the Mid-Oceanic Ridge: “Imagine, if you can, a massive earthquake and the flooding splash made when this mountain range fell into the waters of the deep. It would be like a fat man jumping into a bathtub of water. The displacement would be so great, it could easily cause worldwide tidal waves and flooding.” Yes, imagine that.

Like so many whacky fundies Hollowell has also tried to argue that the US was founded as a Christian Nation, that the founding fathers were really religious fundamentalists and that the Constitution is really based directly on the Bible. As evidence, she cites the separation of powers, which is apparently taken directly from Isaiah 33:22 (rather than, you know, John Locke and Montesquieu). Isaiah 33:22 says “For the Lord [is] our judge, the Lord [is] our lawgiver, the Lord [is] our king; he will save us.” Critics may note that there are some steps from the idea expressed in that verse to the separation of powers most of us think is enshrined in the Constitution (one possible difference, for instance, is that the verse suggests the exact opposite of the separation of powers).

Diagnosis: Not only does she try to out-Hovind Hovind; she arguably succeeds. Hollowell must be one of the craziest and most deluded fundies out there, and that’s quite something.

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