Well, Pat Robertson is at it again, this week. On Monday’s episode of The 700 Club, a viewer posed a question about miracles. Rightwingwatch.org uploaded a video clip of the episode, and I still haven’t decided which was worse: the question, or Robertson’s response.
Caller: “Why do amazing miracles (people raised from the dead, blind eyes open, lame people walking) happen with great frequency in places like Africa, and not here in the USA?”
Now, my first instinct is to wonder if this guy is for real. I’m not completely convinced that this wasn’t a masterfully executed exercise in trolling, especially considering that Monday was April Fool’s Day. For now, though, let’s ignore the ridiculousness of the suggestion that Africa, many parts of which are poverty stricken, riddled with conflict and facing an AIDS crisis, is a continent that has been blessed with an abundance of miracles, and take a look at Robertson’s response:
Robertson: “Because those people overseas didn’t go to Ivy League schools.”
If you’re waiting for the punchline, there isn’t one. Robertson was dead serious. He continued:
Robertson:“Well, we are so sophisticated, we think we’ve got everything figured out, we know about evolution, we know about Darwin, we know about all these things that says God isn’t real, we know about all this stuff. In many schools, in the more advanced schools, we have been inundated with skepticism and secularism.”
There you have it. The age old attack on science and skepticism that religion has been forced to keep up over the ages, as science has consistently shown it to be false. Because, when the answer to a question isn’t what you want people to believe it is, the only way to keep them from finding out is to convince them that it’s a bad thing to ask the question, in the first place. Here’s a tip, folks: any time that someone uses the term “skepticism” with a negative connotation, your bullshit-o-meter should be setting off an alarm.
Robertson wasn’t about to stop at vilifying science and critical thinking, though. He went on to glorify the more widespread blind faith and unquestioning acceptance of those in less developed countries, saying that:
“Overseas, they’re simple, humble. You tell ‘em God loves ‘em and they say, ‘Okay, he loves me.’ You say God will do miracles and they say, ‘Okay, we believe him.’ And that’s what God’s looking for. That’s why they have miracles.”
So, a famous televangelist tells people that science and skepticism are bad, and blind faith is good. Pretty much par for the course, right? Well, I suppose, but that’s exactly why it raises my ire so much. When charlatans like this man are able to dupe millions of viewers with their science denying, ignorance glorifying nonsense, its effect is the retardation of the social and intellectual evolution of our species. He and people like him should be exposed at every turn as the harmful frauds that they are, until the large scale promotion of ignorance is no longer considered just an everyday occurrence, but an offensive act of harm against humanity.
Here is the video clip of the episode, courtesy of rightwingwatch.org: