Creationist draws large crowd
Creationist draws large crowd
Hundreds attended Kent Hovind's

By TERESA MCMINN, York Daily Record/Sunday News, 3/18/06
Mar 18, 2006 In a back row of a packed auditorium, seventh-grader Matt Frysinger and his two friends each sat with a skateboard positioned vertically between their knees and the floor. The boys had been skating in the area when they saw a sign promoting a "Creation Seminar" outside Dover Area High School.

There's been much talk of creation and evolution in their community, they said - a federal judge ruled last year that the district could no longer include intelligent design in its biology curriculum - and they wanted to hear what was being said at the seminar. Once inside, they were surprised by what they found.

Much of creationist speaker Kent Hovind's seminar felt more like a clean stand-up comic show than a religious lecture. Hovind, a creation science evangelist, used terms including "American Communist Lawyers' Union" when referring to the ACLU. He called the Big Bang Theory a "cosmic burp," and said "Charlie Darwin's" lies should be removed from textbooks.

He joked about his former experience as a science teacher for 15 years and said students taught him that "There's not much intelligent life on this planet."

He went on to call evolution the "dumbest and the most dangerous religion in the history of the earth."

Evolution is widely accepted as the unifying concept of biology.

Hovind's positions are not always accepted by other anti-evolutionists. For example, the Web site of Answers in Genesis, a creationist group, includes a list of arguments creationists should not use - including some of Hovind's arguments. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and extremist activity, wrote about Hovind as supporting theories favored by an anti-government movement.

On Friday, he found a receptive audience in Dover.

According to several in the crowd of more than 600, Hovind's charisma and humor got his message across: "The universe was created by God."

"Everybody's fighting over it," Frysinger, a 13-year-old who attends Dover's intermediate school, said of evolution versus creation.

"Actually, what he's saying is true," his brother, Chris Frysinger, 15, said of Hovind's lecture. "He knows what he's talking about. You can hear it in his voice."

Myriah Hartzell, 11, recently stopped attending a Christian school and enrolled in Dover Area School District's North Salem Elementary School because she wanted to be in a larger school that has a football team. She came to Hovind's seminar with her parents and younger brother and said she brought a book along expecting to be bored by the lecture. But she said Hovind was very funny and held her attention.

Her father, David Hartzell of Dover Township, said he believes in creationism, and attended the seminar to gain some scientific argument.

"I supported the former school board," he said. "I'm saddened evolution is taught ... and we have to fund it with tax dollars."