Pat Robertson Babbles About Science

Right Wing Watch has a clip of Pat Robertson being completely incoherent when talking about science, religion and the origins of life. He says scientists can’t say anything about the origin of life because they weren’t there — but if they talk about something millions of years ago, you should believe them.

Robertson: God created the world; the laws of nature were created by God. True science tries to find out what God put in the world. The trouble is where scientists speculate about theology and they don’t know what they’re talking about because they weren’t there. They can’t speculate about the origins of life because they weren’t there. If they tell you observable phenomenon then we ought to believe them, and I tell you if you find a geologist who tells you something existed 300 million years ago then you better believe them because he knows what he’s talking about. We don’t want our religious theory go with flat earth.

Say what?

23 comments on this post.
  1. MikeMa:

    It has to be said:
    “Pat Robertson Babbles” was enough.

  2. frankb:

    Pat is as loony as they come, but I’ll give him credit for accepting an old Earth. The trouble is he is as loony as they come so YEC’s will ignore him as usual.

  3. tbp1:

    I’m not sure I can remember a time when Pat Robertson DIDN’T babble, about whatever it was he was talking about at the moment.

  4. Michael Heath:

    Pat Robertson:

    [Scientists] don’t know what they’re talking about because they weren’t there.

    This is the predominate argument I encounter in meat-world from Christian creationists. It’s damning evidence they’re completely clueless about how science works and how arrogant and delusional they are that they’ll claim to know the Truth with absolute certainty, while the rest of us, including scientists, are ‘blinded by Satan’. These are the people who don’t read creationist screeds, it’s merely their position in order to maintain the delusion the Bible is inerrant and their beliefs are true.

    This type of arrogance leveraged off ignorance also extends beyond creationists or conservative Christians. Unfortunately I’ve also encountered highly degreed professionals who make strong arguments regarding the reality of a thing and then extrapolating opinions based on their understanding of that thing, where they haven’t even bothered to research the thing itself. Instead they rely totally on their total awesomeness coupled to analogies coming from unrelated fields which they have studied. Analogies which are obviously flawed to those who are well-studied on the thing being considered.

    When the well-informed points to the failure of analogy, and fallacy that analogies from one field are sufficient to establish one’s premises for another, that analogies merely provide utility to illustrate a premise – not establish it, it causes the critic to be described as arrogant. Well, I find it incredibly ironic that those who do the hard work of studying topics, concede the experts are right, and use that knowledge to challenge or even falsify assertions made by the uninformed who make their claims with strong confidence are the ones who are arrogant. Certainly the informed can be somewhat arrogant in dismissing the claims of the ignorant, but such arrogance can’t reach the level needed by those who make arguments with certainty who’ve failed to even sufficiently study the subject, and then expect their audience to consider their arguments.

    Some applicable quotes:

    “Creationists: The only people in the world who can simultaneous[ly] say that 6000 years is the entire length of the universe and that 70 million years is ‘sudden’” – Iason Ouobache

    “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” MLK Jr.

    “It is worse still to be ignorant of your ignorance.” – Saint Jerome

    “The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.” – William Osler

    “What men want is not knowledge, but certainty.” – Bertrand Russell

    “. . . when people are joking they’re dead serious. When they’re dead serious they’re usually pretty funny.” Jim Morrison

    “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” — Charles Darwin [This failure in humans extends well beyond conservative Christians.]

  5. Doug Little:

    The trouble is where scientists speculate about theology and they don’t know what they’re talking about because they weren’t there.

    So that means that no one can speculate about theology then because no one was there, so Pat STFU.

  6. slc1:

    Re Michael Heath @ #4

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

  7. desoto:

    So that means that no one can speculate about theology then because no one was there, so Pat STFU.

    Their rebuttal to that is many stories in the babble mention witnesses.

  8. 'Tis Himself:

    Their rebuttal to that is many stories in the babble mention witnesses.

    But were they* there when the witnesses were doing their witnessing?

    I had a discussion with a YEC a while ago. He threw out the “were you there?” idiocy at me. I told him that was the wrong question. The right question is “how do you know?”. The topic rapidly became about something else.

    *They being them.

  9. Doug Little:

    Their rebuttal to that is many stories in the babble mention witnesses.

    They themselves weren’t there, so cannot attest to the validity of said eyewitnesses.

  10. slc1:

    Never have I heard anyone speak so knowledgeably from such a vast fund of ignorance.

    John Voelker, former Michigan Supreme Court Justice.

  11. D. C. Sessions:

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    One of my favorite misquotes of all time, but I always was a Popist.

  12. Woof:

    Please, someone hide Robertson’s car keys.

  13. andrewlephong:

    They can’t speculate about the origins of life because they weren’t there. If they tell you observable phenomenon then we ought to believe them, and I tell you if you find a geologist who tells you something existed 300 million years ago then you better believe them because he knows what he’s talking about.

    Oh, so the topic of origin of life is off-limits because scientists weren’t there to see it, but the topic of 300 million year old geology is alright because…uh…somebody saw it?

  14. abb3w:

    The 300 Ma comment is kind of interesting. However, it turns out to be a not particularly new position. I guess he’s in the OEC or ID camps?

  15. robertfaber:

    “You weren’t there” is Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis nonsense. In Ham’s seminars for young children, he teaches them to say “were you there?” whenever someone talks about the age of the being older than 10,000 years.

    I have two replies to this. First, if there are no eye witnesses, there shouldn’t be anyone convicted of murder, because no one was there. But there are many people convicted of murder without an eye witness, because there are other types of evidence that we can rely upon. And second, I could easily ask, how do you know Jesus wasn’t made up by some anonymous authors whose works were later attributed to made up apostles? Were you there?

  16. baal:

    I’ve never heard anyone who actually knows what science is refer to “true science.” They may refer to quasi-scientific or say things like, “that’s not scientific” or “hrm, sample size of one”.

  17. Crudely Wrott:

    Roll camera and action.

    Robertson:

    Robertson: God created the world; the laws of nature were created by God. True science

    Cut!

    *science is not about truth. it’s about getting closer to reality. the two are easily confused*

  18. Crudely Wrott:

    Oops. Meant to add that science and reality are converging much more rapidly and dependably than faith and reality.

  19. Ichthyic:

    But were they* there when the witnesses were doing their witnessing?

    The book of Job comes to mind…

    but then, wasn’t that a bet between god and satan?

    nutty, nutty stuff

  20. birgerjohansson:

    Hmm…
    So when a prosecutor presents a case with fingerprints and stuff, he has no credibility because “he wasn’t there”?
    — — — — — —
    Robertfaber, I started typing my comment before reading yours. Great minds think alike :-)
    — — — — — —
    Since Baal is the god of thunderstorms and rain, he might be involved in the original creation of life. You know, Darwin’s “little warm pond”. Not to mention the original, biggest Bang.

  21. Michael Heath:

    Crudely Wrott:

    *science is not about truth. it’s about getting closer to reality. the two are easily confused*

    I’ve heard scientists claim that science is about the search for truth, objective truth. Truth which is held provisionally where the degree is based on the level of confidence regarding what we currently understand. I agree with these scientists and see no good reason to concede this high ground about an objective descriptor.

    It is religionists who fail to properly use the term truth when they speak of truths, really beliefs, held by some combination of faith and a doggedly determined misunderstood perception of reality – both of which are fatally defective approaches to discovering what is true.

  22. Crudely Wrott:

    Michael, there is a distinct problem resulting from human’s subjective propensity to confuse some degree of certainty with actual fact. While I certainly agree that objective measurement and categorization of natural processes are indeed truthful, there are many to whom truth is measured by emotional reaction which smears any meaning of the term truth across a spectrum of desire, culture and personal comprehension.

    Too, what science reveals as truth normally goes through a long process of refinement as new knowledge is acquired. This drives some people bonkers.

    See my addendum at #18.

  23. Crudely Wrott:

    Addendum the second: Michael, your point that religionists assign the term “truth” to anything that aligns with their personal world views is well taken. I observe that as a given.

    By the way, I enjoy and profit from your thoughtful comments on this blog. Long may you run.

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