Cyberguy's Blog

Encouraging religion to "beget" off!

The Hovind Factor – the definitive measure of religious lunacy!

I want to remind people of a scale that I helped develop in 2008 as a semi-serious joke to measure religious lunacy. With the U.S. presidential election closing rapidly, it is even more appropriate – even essential – today!

It is called the Hovind Factor, and it is named after the American young earth creationist, evangelist and Christian theme park operator Kent E. Hovind who is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence for tax offenses, obstructing federal agents, and structuring cash transactions. In short, honesty is not his strong suit.

The Hovind Factor includes in its calculation measures for Belief in Scripture, Scientific Illiteracy, Idiocy, Paradox, and Mendacity.

The scales runs from 0 to 100, where a completely honest statement of scientific merit would score a Hovind Factor of zero, whereas a silly religious statement which violates science but adheres to doctrine, contradicts itself and which the claimant knows to be untrue, would score the maximum Hovind Factor of 100.

Here is the formular:

Hovind Factor = (X + s + i + p) x (m + 1)

where:

Belief in scripture – “X”
0 – No doctrinal belief required
1 – Metaphorical use of Biblical/Qu’ranic quotation
2 – Belief in scripture as the infallible word of God. Timeless, inerrant and absolute. (AiG/The flud etc.)

Scientific Illiteracy – “s”
0 – Full understanding of detailed, advanced scientific principles
1 – Overall grasp of principles with some understanding of specific area being discussed
2 – Vague understanding of general principle but with poor grasp of many details
3 – No understanding or knowledge of area being discussed
4 – Rejection of basic scientific facts/laws/robust theories and/or denial of any evidence that contradicts scripture
5 – Robert Byers (Extreme, moronic and puerile level of 4 above)

The idiocy scale – “i”
0 – no discernible stupidity
1 – slightly silly, but understandable
2 – foolish
3 – daft
4 – rather funny in a slightly worrying sort of way
5 – very funny in a very worrying way
6 – scary stuff
7 – very scary
8 – unlikely to be accepted by anyone with more than two functioning neurons
9 – Moronic. Stark-bollock-naked, off-the-wall, wing-nut
10 – Kirk Cameron or VenomFangX

Paradox – “p”
0 = Statement is logical and self-consistent
1 = Statement acknowledges slight flaw in internal logic but glosses over it with babble.
2 = Statement relies on an assumed divine intervention to explain self contradiction.
3 = Self contradiction invalidates statement completely, and is left unaddressed.

and

Mendacity – “m”
0 – Total honesty
1 – Statement maker knows they are telling enough of a porkie to try to mislead a generally credulous audience
2 – Statement maker knows they are lying enough to try to mislead an educated audience, or they are repeating a lie that they have previously been corrected on.
3 – Whopper! (including plagiarism)
4 – Complete, burn-in-Hell, perjury grade, super-lie – for example, one that is strategically designed to mislead authorities or the general public (e.g. as witnessed in the Dover trial and Expelled).

Using this formula, a completely honest statement of scientific merit would score a Hovind Factor of zero.

The maximum Hovind Factor, HFmax, is a completely insane statement which contradicts all scientific evidence but adheres totally to religious doctrine and which the person making the claim knows to be untrue – while at the same time the statement also completely contradicts itself – would score (2 + 5 + 10 + 3) x (4 + 1) = 100.

To save you time and effort, there is a Hovind Factor Calculator here. It also includes a “True Believer Rating” (TBR) that removes the mendacity component, as that can sometimes be hard to figure out.

Send me examples of high Hovind Factors or TBRs from some of the Presidential hopefuls, or any other recent religious nonsense. Post the quote, and the resulting HF or TBR based on how you set the parameters.

Enjoy.

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One response to “The Hovind Factor – the definitive measure of religious lunacy!

  1. sminhinnick May 23, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    One drawback of the original Hovind Factor is its heavy weighting for Mendacity. If a religious person was being totally honest while still being completely wrong on all other points the highest HF was 20 out of 100, which just isn’t a good measure of overall religious idiocy. Also it can be quite difficult to judge whether someone thinks they are telling the truth or not.

    I have created the Modified Hovind Factor that re-weights the contributing parameters to re-balance the formula so that it comes out closer to expected values. This has the beneficial effect of simplifying the parameters, making it easier to choose the most appropriate values.

    It can be summarised as a combination of (Personal Idiocy) x (Taught Idiocy) x (Logical Idiocy).

    Here is the formular:

    Modified Hovind Factor = i x (1 + X + s ) x (1 + m + p)

    where:

    The idiocy scale – “i”
    0 – No discernible stupidity
    1 – Slightly silly, but understandable
    2 – Rather funny in a worrying sort of way
    3 – Scary stuff. Unlikely to be accepted by anyone with more than two functioning neurons
    4 – Moronic. Stark-bollock-naked, off-the-wall, wing-nut crazy

    Belief in scripture – “X”
    0 – No doctrinal belief required
    1 – Metaphorical use of Biblical/Qu’ranic quotation
    2 – Belief in scripture as the infallible word of God

    Scientific Illiteracy – “s”
    0 – Full understanding of detailed, advanced scientific principles
    1 – Token understanding of general principle but with poor grasp of many details
    2 – No understanding of area being discussed, or rejection of basic scientific knowledge

    Mendacity – “m”
    0 – Total honesty
    1 – Statement maker knows they are telling enough of a porkie to try to mislead a credulous audience
    2 – Statement maker is repeating a lie that they have previously been corrected on, or are trying to mislead authorities

    and

    Paradox – “p”
    0 – Statement is logical and self-consistent
    1 – Statement acknowledges slight flaw in internal logic but glosses over it with babble
    2 – Self contradiction invalidates statement completely

    Let me know how you get on with this improved scale.

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