Pat Robertson Babbles About Time

Justin Griffith found some great video of Pat Robertson babbling incoherently about the nature of time and the universe and edited in some clips from Doctor Who for comparison. The result is quite funny. If you can find anything remotely making sense in Robertson’s ramblings, please translate for us.

21 comments on this post.
  1. Michael Heath:

    I just finished Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality, partly in hopes of gaining a better understanding of what time is. I also just purchased Scientific American’s special edition, “A Matter of Time” though I’ve yet to peruse it. Because the reality of time still eludes me to some degree, I’m empathetic with Mr. Robertson’s lack of a grip on time.

    However wisdom argues merely noodling the concept around in one’s biblically-infected noggin will assuredly not lead to insight but instead the type of incoherency revealed in the video. Sometimes Robertson sounds like a teen-age stoner whose not an apt student. I do not use this analogy trivially. The more I read and observe the more it seems conservative Christians use rhetoric and their sort of thinking to get a brain-chemistry buzz similar to those who use pot or cocaine.

  2. jba55:

    “the reality of time still eludes me to some degree”

    Let me make this easy for you. Time is simply a sociological creation of man, created to keep track of the movement of the planetary light/dark cycles and seasons so as to not be late and make woman (or possibly a different man) angry.

  3. JoeBuddha:

    Time is just Nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once…

  4. slc1:

    I’m sure that morons like Robertson will be dumbfounded to discover that clocks at the equator run slower then clocks at the North and South poles.

  5. Bronze Dog:

    Sometimes Robertson sounds like a teen-age stoner whose not an apt student. I do not use this analogy trivially. The more I read and observe the more it seems conservative Christians use rhetoric and their sort of thinking to get a brain-chemistry buzz similar to those who use pot or cocaine.

    You’re not the only one.

  6. dingojack:

    Michael Heath and Bronze Dog – Maybe you shouldn’t hang out with so many teenaged stoners. At your age that’s just creepy.
    ;D Dingo

  7. Bronze Dog:

    Actually, I’ve never seen those sorts myself, just some media tropes and notice that Creationist (and other woo) trolls I encounter seem to view those stereotyped characters as role models.

  8. Sastra:

    Michael Heath #1 wrote:

    The more I read and observe the more it seems conservative Christians use rhetoric and their sort of thinking to get a brain-chemistry buzz similar to those who use pot or cocaine.

    I shudder when I contemplate the day poor Michael finally encounters New Age.* Deepak Chopra is one of the saner ones. Read and observe enough and YOU will eventually get a brain-chemistry buzz similar to those who use pot or cocaine.

    Different shovels, that’s all.

    -

    *(Yes, I know you’re already aware of it.)

  9. Bronze Dog:

    I shudder when I contemplate the day poor Michael finally encounters New Age.*

    I can’t remember where I read it, but I once read some website or article that was defining “New Age” and its introductory paragraph listed Creationism second in its list of three example beliefs.

    Not like there’s really a meaningful difference in their core epistemology.

  10. Michael Heath:

    Sastra writes:

    I shudder when I contemplate the day poor Michael finally encounters New Age.* Deepak Chopra is one of the saner ones. Read and observe enough and YOU will eventually get a brain-chemistry buzz similar to those who use pot or cocaine.

    Different shovels, that’s all.

    -

    *(Yes, I know you’re already aware of it.)

    Actually I really don’t know much at all about New Age woo. I recall reading one very popular book a couple of decades ago which claimed we had an aura around us and at least some parts took place in South America. I forgot its title but remembered it by googling just now, The Celestine Prophecy.

    This was part of my journey from being raised fundie to what I am now – which I refuse to frame around religion or belief. That church community’s fierce and relentless indoctrination efforts never took hold of me.

    I found Deepak Chopra when he first started playing golf and had the absurd temerity to think he had a clue about the game – enough he wrote about it and was published in golf magazines I subscribed to at the time. I researched him a little bit and found he wrote with the same ignorant confidence about everything, i.e., he didn’t even know what he didn’t know. Chopra’s buffoonish behavior reminds me of a sort of quasi-Dunning-Krueger effect though not a text-book case since the Dunning-Krueger effect presumes expertise in at least one field. I couldn’t find Mr. Chopra excelling at anything except duping people for money.

  11. Taz:

    Robertson + “quantum” = Chopra

  12. Jordan Genso:

    I have an understanding that I don’t know if others share or have thought of. I remember hearing when I was younger that time was the fourth dimension. For a while, I couldn’t come to terms with that, because you could graph/visually represent the first three dimensions, but not the fourth.

    Then one day, after watching many great science programs (like The Universe and others), I began to realize that you could actually integrate the fourth dimension into the standard x,y,z graph.

    It came about when I tried to imagine 3-D graphing the Milky Way Galaxy. I realized that because we would be placing stars on the graph based on where we see them, it would be a flawed process as those stars are no longer actually located there. With a limited speed of light, we see where stars used to be, not where they acutally are.

    But then how would you create a 3-D graph of the galaxy or universe, placing stars where they actually are rather than where they appear? I don’t think it would be possible, because the fourth dimension (or time) comes into play.

    I feel that the fourth dimension on a 3-D graph is then the perspective (or 0,0,0 origin point). If that point moves, then all of the other points move in a non-identical manner.

    Picture a 2-D graph with a point at 2,1 and a point at 4,2. Both of those points are in motion, but we have “frozen” time. Now if you shift the origin down 1 and to the left 1, you would expect the two points to now be located at 3,2 and 5,3. But if the fourth dimension is in play, the points could have moved to somewhere else, since by moving further away from them, you’re perspective then shows where they were in the past, even though time was “frozen”.

    A blog comment is not an appropriate medium for trying to explain this point, so I apologize if I didn’t do it well. One last thing I want to state though, is that it’s not just light that travels at the speed of light, but gravity as well. And so I view existence as traveling at the speed of light, which means everything that has ever existed does still exist.

    The dinosaurs still exist if you are located 70 million light years from Earth. It’s not just that you could theoretically see them with a strong enough telescope pointed at Earth, but you would also be feeling their ever so slight gravitational effects.

  13. fifthdentist:

    Pat Robertson has come unstuck in time.
    And bogged down in stupid.

  14. jakc:

    Jordan: people recognize that locations other than the one they are in exist, but have trouble recognizing that different times also exist. Our personal perception of time makes it hard to see that there is more to time than the “now” (and now implies that we can quanticize time, a very weird concept when you think about it). Dr Who is course just making stuff up, so of course he is incoherent when talking about time. Pat almost sounds like he has some grasp of the topic, but given that he has to include stupid ideas – god – he goes off the track quickly.

  15. lou3jay:

    Ed, Robertson’s initial comments are not very far off the mark if you substitute “the Big Bang” for “creation”. According to Einstein’s theory of Relativity time and space are woven together in the fabric of “space-time”. So physicists would make a similar statement, to wit, before the big bang and the appearance of matter there was no time. And as far as we know it, time is a continuum, but is not independent of space. When Robertson speaks about “eternity”, he is talking about being outside of time (and the physical universe). Whether or not you subscribe to his definition of ‘eternity’ or ‘God’, in this case, his description of time is not far off the mark. I am not speaking to Robertson’s reference to “entering into His feeling”, though. The nature of time is still a topic of debate amongst physicists and philosophers alike. I like this quote from Augustine (which I found on Wikipedia): In Book 11 of St. Augustine’s Confessions, he ruminates on the nature of time, asking, “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_space_and_time)

    @Jordan, you are correct in thinking about time and space graphically, but it is mathematically much easier to describe the situation using vectors when our limited ability to visualize in more than 3 dimensions gets in the way. If you think of 3D (Euclidean) space being represented by 3 coordinates (x,y,z) and simply add time as your 4th coordinate (i.e. – dimension), you have (x,y,z,t), which we call a 4-vector. All the mathematics works out the same if you follow the rules of vector algebra and use the proper “metric”. Further, the vector algebra is not limited to 4 dimensions. In Quantum Mechanics, we use infinite dimension vector spaces, called Hilbert space (named after David Hilbert). The mathematics is the same, but the major difference between these abstract notions is that in Euclidean and Hilbert spaces, all the dimensions are spatial. In Special and General Relativity, the fourth dimension is time. Conceptually, it is good to think of the 3 Euclidean spatial dimensions on a graph as one snapshot in time. If you are tracking the path of baseball being hit, or of a planet orbiting a star, or whatever, the position in space changes as time progresses. The 4th dimension of time can be ‘seen’ by showing each position in time at successive times and linking each successive graph together into a “movie”. However, your statement about the dinosaurs still “existing” is not quite right. You are referring to the concept of “look back time” in astronomy. Just because one can observe dinosaurs, or any other object, at a given time from a large distance, does not mean that the object still exists physically. It takes a finite amount of time for the information to reach a distant observer.

  16. organon:

    I think the important thing is not that he make sense to anyone here or in any scientific communities, but rather that he convince part of his audience that he isn’t just a fundamentalist zealot devoid of scientific knowledge. Science needs nothing from religion, but religion desperately wants to share in the credibility science carries. They feel threatened by science on the one hand, and attack it visciously, and yet take a me too stance in regard to it, as if they are on equal footing, credibility wise. They’ve made scientist a bad word with their audience, but they know their audience has at least a sub-conscious understanding of what science has brought to the world. They seem to think that they can win a stamp of approval from the scientific community through various approaches. Try to intimidate and ostracize them into it. No that doesn’t work. Try to sound scientifically hip. No, that doesn’t work either. They don’t so much want to eliminate the scientific community as have control over it. To censor it. And to have it do its whatever it is (not understanding the methodology) in support of their religious views. As I have so often argued, you are free to hold whatever views you want, but if you want them accepted as science, subject your views to scientific methodology. Just hammer away that they are parading religious views as scientific views. Sprinkling scientific sounding language into religious views does not make them scientific. I am sometimes amazed by the education level of some of the persons who enter into debates, arguing against science. The appeals to science while arguing against science can sometimes be truly baffling. Spending part of the time seeking credibility of science while spending the rest of the time trying to assault the credibility of science.

  17. Jordan Genso:

    luo3jay,

    Thank you for that additional information.

    As for the dinosaurs still “existing”, I’ll rephrase. Let’s say the sun disappeared right now (from its own perspective). It would take around 8 minutes before we would see it disappear and stop feeling its heat. But it would also take around 8 minutes before we stop feeling the gravitational effects from the sun. So from our perspective, the sun would still exist during those 8 minutes. At least, AFAIK, there would be no difference to us for those 8 minutes.

    But it all depends on how you define ‘existence’.

  18. organon:

    Just a point regarding it depending on how one defines existence, the following comes to mind: The sun and the waves of energy are both part of existence. If the sun suddenly were taken from existence (I’m understanding you to mean not implication that would be in violation the laws of nature, but rather simply an example for sake of discussion), then that amassment (entity) around which our planet revolves, then in fact it would no longer exist. That the waves it generated before going out of existence take time to reach us, it requires not a different definition of existence, but rather distinguishing what existent is being referred to. And of course those waves would continue onward beyond earth into the future. It just seems more a matter of defining terms when speaking of existents rather than a matter of definition of existence itself. For whatever it might be worth…

  19. Foster Disbelief:

    “found some great video of Pat Robertson babbling incoherently”

    Wouldn’t that be any video where Pat Robertson “speaks?”

    In the last 10 years, has a coherent sentence escaped his lips?

  20. organon:

    To his followers, somehow it all makes sense. Somewhere in the incoherence, he reaches a fairly large number of followers.

  21. dingojack:

    “Time is an illusion – lunchtime doubly so” – Douglas Adams

    Michael Heath (#10) – Yes, but did Deepak shoot a 38?

    :) Dingo

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