Feb 07 2012

How a Christian brain works

Pat Robertson and his cohost are trying very hard to understand us evil atheists, so they do a little projection and a little Christian logic. They deduce that we…well, you’ll have to watch it to believe it.

Here’s how it goes:

  1. Atheists hate all gods. Actually, they hate everything.

  2. Wiccans worship trees as gods.

  3. Therefore, atheists should all want to cut down trees.

Yes, it’s 8am here. I waited a few hours to drop that on you. A headache is as good as a cup of coffee for waking you up, isn’t it?


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  1. 1

    …And that arrow never is going to hit the tortoise!

  2. 2

    “Atheists don’t believe anything.”

    Total fail in first 4 words; whatever else he had is immaterial, irrelevant & beside the point. Total fail.

  3. 3

    The only trees I want cut down are our neighbour’s row of giant c.leylandii, and that’s only because they block out our light(the trees are directly along the bottom of our smallish yard) and they have killed the bottom half of our garden/lawn, because of the slope I understand. It’s a dustbowl.

    The other trees can live… for now!

  4. 4
    A. R

    That’s some Glen Beck level free association!

  5. 5
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    How can I hate something that doesn’t exist? Well, there’s their problem. They can’t conceive of the idea that they are wrong about their imaginary deity existing.

  6. 6
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I can’t hide this any more. I hate trees. Every time I see a tree, I want to kick the bastard. Just standing there, by the side of the road, acting all cool and innocent and “Why did you hit me with a car, I’m just standing here”. Because I hate you. That’s why.

  7. 7

    *eyes glaze over*

    Must kill the trees…

  8. 8

    Pat Robertson has managed to reach a level of such insipid insanity that I have almost no reaction to him anymore. “Oh, look, it’s that idiot Robertson.” [yawn] That man achieved such a weapons-grade level of stupidity so long ago that he has lost his power to amaze me. I guess one of the few things to still surprise me about him is that anyone continues to send money to him and his fellow 700 Club con artists, but they do. Stupid suckers.

  9. 9

    Suddenly it makes sense: The ancient Egyptians had cat deities, so it stands to reason that PZ doesn’t like cats.

    Since I like both trees and cats, I guess I should stop being an atheist. Should I join the wiccans or my local Egyptian mythology reconstruction cult?

  10. 10
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Uh, sorry about #6, strange things coming out of my mind today.

    It’s brilliant how they pull out Wicca when it’s convenient. You could probably find an episode where they are condemning Wiccans to the pits of hell.

    Not to mention the whole stupid idea that atheists hate gods. I hate the idea that this god fantasy is needed in order for people to live fulfilling lives. Not to mention more nefarious purposes for which belief in god(s) is used.

  11. 11

    I can’t even process this amount of stupidity this early…I’ll come back later.

  12. 12
    Gregory in Seattle

    Professor, shouldn’t you have put “Christian logic” in Comic Sans?

  13. 13

    But by his logic Christians should be the ones actively clear cutting the forests. The bible clearly states, “cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places.” If Wiccans worship trees, then not only do Christians have the duty to their God to cut the trees, they have to get the jars of white-out out to erase the names of the forests from the maps.

    Sasquatch Jesus in the Pale Moon Light.

  14. 14

    I hate gods in the same way I hate unicorns, ie not at all. It is religions I despise, and then only if they try to force their religion on others, either directly or through pushing for religiously based laws.

    And at least Wiccans have something material to worship and not a imaginary playmate. Trees exist, more than the impotent sky god christians pray to.

  15. 15

    Back when I was still living in Texas, I wouldn’t have minded cutting down and burning all those wretched cedar trees. Fuckin’ allergies…

    What does that have to do with my not being an adult with imaginary friends? Absolutely nothing! I just hate those pollen spreading bastards.

  16. 16

    Listen to his tone. I think even Pat Robertson was offended by how stupid that “thought” was.

  17. 17
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Therefore, atheists should all want to cut down trees.

    Then why the fuck am I a park ranger?

    Wait. Maybe he tuned in to the discussion about the elf and the ent on the Thread and . . . .

  18. 18

    Pat just seems to get more incoherent as time goes on.

  19. 19

    Hate gods? I certainly hate the idea of the Christian God (as repulsive a perverter of morality and excuse for the ugliest impulses mankind can harbour that has ever been dreamed up), but as has been pointed out before,there is no point in hating the deity in itself as it doesn’t exist. But I fear the dull Mr Robertson would be unable to grasp the distinction.

    I assume the existance of animist religions are the reason Athiests hate everything? Am I allowed to like intentionally fictional deities? I have to admit to viewing the Crocodile God, Offler with some fondness (I find the lisp quite endearing).

  20. 20

    Oh! do I sympathise!
    I’m in Texas and a martyr to the sex life of trees too!

  21. 21

    Next time PZ, just drop on over and scoop by brain out with a spoon.

  22. 22
    Neil Rickert

    No morning headache here. We already knew that Pat Robertson was totally bonkers.

  23. 23

    Yep. Definitely have a headache now from my brain trying to make a 90 degree turn inside my skull. Thanks, 700 Club. ~wjs

  24. 24

    I was going to hit ‘play’, but I just couldn’t. The stupidity hurts too much.

  25. 25

    Especially banana trees. Those are the worst.

  26. 26
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    By this logic, Ronald Reagan was an atheist. He did not care much for trees, they contributed to pollution.

  27. 27
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    And let us hear for the greatest atheist comic character, Charlie Brown. He was always doing battle against the kite eating tree.

  28. 28

    One doesn’t need to hit play to know just how stupid Robertson really is. I once fell for his delusional scares about the Y2K bug which was claimed to supposedly stopped all computers from working when the clock struck midnight on Jan 1, 2000. Didn’t happened, didn’t it? This latest idiocy is one of the huge factors behind why I don’t watch the 700 Club anymore.

  29. 29
    Chris Booth

    Yes, Pat Robertson is right about the herbicidal rage of atheists. But it is not trees we hate, they accorded with Frigga not to ever injure Baldur. Its mistletoe we atheists hate. We atheists hate mistletoe, because Loki tricked Hothr into hurling a dart of mistletoe at Baldur, and the mistletoe killed Baldur. And that is why we have winter! And THAT’s why we atheists hate mistletoe!! Mistletooooooooooooe!!!!!!1!!




    Uh, nevermind.

  30. 30
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    The old ‘no gods = no anything’ bullshit. I’m sorry, but gods are not everything. In fact, they are nothing. If all you have is god, all you have is a delusion. You can keep your fucking gods – I’ve got the goddamned universe!

    By the way, #13 wins. :-)

  31. 31

    So if a Republican becomes president, is he/she going to attack atheists because we’re trying to get out hands on weapons of mass deforestation?

    You know, this is probably why so many atheists were miffed at the space program getting scuttled. We were trying to develop a spaceship capable of slaying the sun because we hate Apollo.

  32. 32
    Chris Booth

    Holytape @ #13:

    If Wiccans worship trees, then not only do Christians have the duty to their God to cut the trees, they have to get the jars of white-out out to erase the names of the forests from the maps.

    Indeed. Well played! And the druids and oaks, and the Greeks and dryads, and the Shintos and other animists and everywhere, including trees, springs, rivers, hills, copses….

    Yup. Robertsonian Xristians have to recapitulate Adam’s God-given task of naming everything and everyone. They might as well project “no false gods before me” into 3-D: “No false gods before, behind, on either side, above, or below me. Phew.” That’s a lot of white-out, squid ink, pinfeathers, and survey maps and star-charts they are going to have to buy. I guess they’ll need more donations and won’t have time for more TV shows for a while. There’s Dog’s Work to be done! No Sabbath for the Holy!

  33. 33

    Pat Robertson has managed to reach a level of such insipid insanity that I have almost no reaction to him anymore. “Oh, look, it’s that idiot Robertson.”


    But ponder this. Pat Robertson is a billionaire because of his TV presence.

    The larger question is, who in the hell sends some rambling idiot TV evangelist that sort of money?

  34. 34
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I’m sick of these motherfuckin’ trees in this motherfuckin’ forest

  35. 35


    Watching that made me feel like Louis del Grande in “Scanners”.

  36. 36
    Glen Davidson

    Christians believe in “spirit,” and the early Bible basically conflates “air” and “spirit.”

    Which means that I now want to get rid of all of the air. Of course.

    But then, if I thought that stupidly I suppose I’d be Pat Robertson.

    Glen Davidson

  37. 37

    Hmmm. Not real fond of mistletoe myself. Causes no end of trouble around here. Not as ugly as the ball moss, but then ball moss only lives on dead wood. Getting rid of it does not involve mutilating living wood..

    As for the trees having sex all over us: The cedar tree– (pedant) they are actually a species of juniper (/pedant)– is quite lovely, and nearly kills me every fall. Not allergic to the pollen, thank FSM, but the sheer bulk of particulate sets my sinuses off something cruel.

    And now we are rapidly nearing oak season, which is for me, even worse. Last year wasn’t much because we were in the middle of a drought and these are native oaks. They know better than to waste energy on reproduction in bad years. I think I saw 2 acorns last fall. But we’ve had an unusually wet winter so this year will be….. bad. Everything will get a thick yellow coating of what my older son insists on calling “tree come”.

    Even so, as an atheist, I am quite fond of trees. And even though I am not very fond of old Marion, I still don’t want to cut him down either. He’s become a parody of himself. Quite amusing, actually.

  38. 38

    This old goober still alive? Proof positive my prayers don’t work.

  39. 39

    Since I can prove Pat Robertson exists, I can hate him.

    Since Pat Robertson can’t prove God exists, “meh” about God.

    As for trees, I’m cool with them as long as nobody asks me to hug one.

  40. 40

    And by this logic, we should kill all the cephalopods because the Tarvuists revere them. Not a Tarvuist? It’s so easy . . .

  41. 41

    “By this logic, Ronald Reagan was an atheist. He did not care much for trees, they contributed to pollution.”

    You have to keep in mind, to an ancient anaerobic organism like Reagan oxygen is quite poisonous.

  42. 42

    Look at the trees!

  43. 43

    The last thing that I need after a long morning of clear-cutting is to be getting shit from Pat Robertson.

  44. 44
    chigau (違う)

    Ursula K. Le Guin wrote a story about a killer tree, Direction of the Road.
    (I suck at finding stuff on-line)

  45. 45

    This is why I get such joy from yardwork, landscaping, etc. Everytime I dig a hole, I get a sense of euphoria from driving a shovel into the body of the god of those earth-centric religions. Death to the soil!

  46. 46
    Gregory Greenwood

    I don’t hate trees… *strokes chainsaw lovingly*… I don’t hate trees at all…

    *Cue manic, supervillain-esque laughter to a backdrop of dramatic thunder*

    Honestly, what is Robertson smoking?

    Oh, that’s right, he’s high on teh baby jeebus(1), like all xian godbots.


    (1) That stuff is pricey. It goes for a dozen homosexual ‘cures’, a hundred and fifty slut-shamings or one false claim of a deathbed conversion of a prominent atheist per ounce on the street or so I hear…

  47. 47

    I don’t believe in gods but I do fear the Lorax.

  48. 48

    A search of the Sb Pharyngula site shows four instances of “Cuttlefish is God”. You may all hate me.

    (Oddly, there were far more hits from creationist sites, all cutting and pasting the same sentence: The real Code-Giver, the Intelligent Designer Who “tailor-made” the cuttlefish, is God.” Bastards.)

  49. 49

    Something wrong with the title there, PZ – it gives the impression that Christians’ brains work….. maybe I’ll have a pint of whatever Pat’s drinking – must be fun to be that fucked up all the time.

  50. 50

    Will killing trees get in the way of killing babies, kicking puppies, microwaving cats and Corrupting the Youth (TM)?

    Hey, I’m a busy* man. Don’t judge me.


    *The original, pre-proof, typo was “bust man”. I was very tempted to let it stand for extra truthiness.

  51. 51
    ricardodivali having sniffles over stiffles

    For comment #28 -Y2k didn’t happen because we sorted it out. It was a fairly easy fix for a known quantifiable problem.

    Wait… Do Wiccans even “worship” trees anyway? I thought they just treated them as equals or something…

  52. 52

    Well, if we loved trees, why would we have built anything out of them? All those buildings, bridges, furniture, just stacking up dead tree carcasses like that guy in Skyrim who filled his house with troll skulls. Heck, I’m typing while resting my arms on a dead tree carcass now! Nice carcass. (stroke)

  53. 53

    “Atheists don’t believe anything.”

    Sure we do. I for instance, believe (with lots of supporting evidence) that Pat Robertson is a woomuppet, a moron of the lowest order, and has no redeeming qualities other than serving as a bad example of what a human being should be. =)

  54. 54

    Dear idiot Robertson,
    Yes I want to cut down trees, but not because I am an atheist. I want cut down trees because I am an evil Canadian socialist atheist who grew up on the Canadian prairies and trees block the view. Besides, why do you give a flying f*** if I cut trees down? In your version of reality, some magical being said humans have dominion over the planet.

  55. 55

    How can I hate something that doesn’t exist?

    Christians are really in a bad situation – they’re expected to love something that doesn’t exist.

  56. 56

    I think the old fella just misspoke. What he meant to say was that atheists all want to marry trees, just as soon as they can pass new laws destroying traditional marriage.

  57. 57

    sorry, but while I’ve heard the failed trope: “atheists don’t believe in anything” before, I think that was the very first time I’ve heard that atheists should want to cut down trees because Wiccans worship them.

    that is a whole new level of fail that my brain STILL is not comfortable processing.

    I have this 2 second moment of hesitation every time I attempt to re-parse it.

    Wiccans… worship trees…. atheist… hates… trees….



  58. 58

    How can I hate something that doesn’t exist?

    ah! but trees exist!

    there! I’ve run (tree)rings around ya logically!

  59. 59

    I’m sick of these motherfuckin’ trees in this motherfuckin’ forest

    I’m absolutely convinced now that the only reason Jackson agreed to do that film was because he KNEW that this phrase would end up being associated with him for all time.

    it’s like continuous brand recognition!

  60. 60
    'Tis Himself

    Pat Robertson has become a parody of himself.

  61. 61

    Wiccans worship trees as gods.

    Oh LOL, such 3rd grader casual stupidity.

  62. 62

    There is unrest in the forest
    There is trouble with the trees
    Pat Robertson says atheists hate them
    And should chop them down with glee
    (apologies to Neil Peart for this unauthorised lyric alteration)

  63. 63

    Or perhaps the last two lines should be:
    Pat Robertson says atheists should hate them
    And chop them down with glee

  64. 64

    Pat Robertson has become a parody of himself.

    I can’t actually recall a time when he wasn’t?

  65. 65

    Wait. Since when did Pat care about the trees?

  66. 66

    From what I can make out, Pat (and his co-anchor) aren’t saying that atheists will want to cut down trees because Wiccans think they’re gods and atheists want to kill God. They’re implying that atheists will want to cut down the trees to prevent the Wiccans from worshiping them.

    In the Land of the Persecuted Christian, people who try to enforce the separation of church and state do so for one main reason: they can’t stand to watch other people worship. Atheists don’t just want to take sacred symbols and objects out of government: they want to forcibly remove them from people’s homes and private properties. They want to knock Bibles out of the hands of people reading them. No worship!

    Needless to say, they can’t distinguish between using rational discussion to change someone’s mind and using brute force to make someone conform.

    The knuckleheads in the video think that a consistent atheist would be just as eager to cut down a tree so the Wiccan won’t worship it as they are to burn down churches. How do they know atheists want to burn down churches? Because a Prayer plaque was removed from a public school. It’s all connected …

  67. 67

    Yup, #13 wins the thread. Being able to resist the urge to headdesk long enough to actually point out the insanely stupid hypocricy speaks of character.


  68. 68
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    If I recall my movie trivia correctly*, Samuel L Jackson threatened to pull out of Snakes on a Plane if the title was changed. So, your assessment is probably correct. :)

    *I sure as shit hope I do, since movie trivia is about all I’ve got going for me right now. :p

  69. 69
    Catnip, Misogynist Troglodyte called Bruce

    @Shouldbeworking #54

    Admit it… you just want to cut them down so you can watch your dog run away for another 2 weeks….

  70. 70

    “Atheists don’t believe anything.”

    I don’t believe that is true…

  71. 71

    The statement “atheists don’t believe anything” will be considered true by many people because christians, new agers and others have perverted the word “belief”: It’s now automatically assumed to mean “irrational belief” by most people (here in the USA, anyway). Douglas Adams complained about this in in interview with American Atheist (reprinted in his posthumously-published book The Salmon of Doubt) many years ago.

  72. 72

    I am an atheist. Pat Robertson thinks I don’t believe in anything. I will prove him wrong. I believe Pat Robertson is a complete scoundrel with nothing new or interesting to say.

    I really tried to hear him out, I swear, but I only made it through about 20 seconds before the lolz kicked in, and that was that. Do you think if you rewired Robertson to run off of a superpowerful turnip anyone would notice the difference?

  73. 73

    How a Christian brain works – it doesn’t

  74. 74

    Doesn’t the constituion ensure both freedom of trees, as well as freedom FROM trees?

  75. 75

    Zeno@ #8

    Well said. The effluent that incessantly exudes from these creatures is so predictable and asinine as to not even being funny listening to anymore. ( I remember how even as a young kid 45 plus years ago, the likes of Oral Roberts would make me uncomfortable and give me heebie-jeebies.)

    Problem is,….despite the fact that he looks and sounds like he’s on the verge of the (presumably) greatest event of his existence– ‘meeting his maker’– there is always a long line of idiots ready to take the reins and carry on the stupidity for another generation,.. and another,.. and another.

  76. 76

    petejohn@ 72

    Love your suggestion of rewiring Robertson to run off of a superpowerful turnip! Too funny.

    I would love to try that as an experiment. Maybe we could use the results to support a theory about how all ‘EEE-vangelicals’ run.

  77. 77

    Save the trees – eat more beavers!


  78. 78

    Ow. Ow. Ow. The stupid… it hurts!
    These people are literally incapable of grasping any world-view but their own. They do not understand the people they despise so much, and do not (apparently) have any intention of learning. The willful ignorance they display never ceases to amaze and appall me.

  79. 79

    First off Pat, it’s not your non-existent supreme being we hate, it’s what you and your ilk do with the idea. You use deity as a lever to con people out of their money. You’ve literally stolen billions from people on a promise of some eternal life that you know you cannot deliver.

  80. 80
    Alex Samaras

    Yes, it’s 8am here.

    ?? Where is here for you at the moment, PZ? Sounds like you might be on my side of the planet?
    (I’m in Thailand)

  81. 81
    Alex Samaras

    Errr… nevermind my last (#80). Judging by the timestamps on the comments, it seems more likely that for some reason this didn’t appear in my Reader for 12 hrs.


    Ah well.

  82. 82
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Blockquote> A headache is as good as a cup of coffee for waking you up, isn’t it?

    Some of us wake up with headaches all the time..

  83. 83
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @2. peterh says:
    7 February 2012 at 8:04 am

    “Atheists don’t believe anything.”
    Total fail in first 4 words; whatever else he had is immaterial, irrelevant & beside the point. Total fail.

    Actually it sort of makes sense – if you assume he’s accidentally left out the words “in just” as in :

    “Atheists don’t believe in just anything.

    Continuing with :

    “They believe in stuff that has actual evidence in favour of it existing for instance you can see, touch and sometiems smell trees which you cannot for gods / goddesses.”

  84. 84

    Wiccan’s worship Trees
    and we all know that Wicca was invented by Satan (this book told be so: http://books.google.ca/books/about/Wicca.html?id=fF53S4AlYGcC)
    so trees must the spawn of Satan.
    cut them down, cut them all down before they yet your soul!!!

  85. 85
    James Goetz

    I understand that strong atheists don’t hate all gods but instead don’t believe in any god. Regardless, if there would be a nearby Wiccan sacred tree festival, then I could see PZ calling his minions who own male dogs to walk their dogs while invading the sacred tree festival. PZ doesn’t discriminate against Eucharists, Korans, or sacred trees.

  86. 86

    Robertson drivels words in a purposeless and aimless stream of consciousness, right from the top of his head, just like dandruff, and with about as much effect or meaning.

    You have to hand it to the man. Only through many, many decades of dedicated training and hard-line praxis can one ever hope to reach the sublime transcendental level of Primate of Christian Sludge.

  87. 87
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    D’oh. Sorry. Make that :

    “They believe in stuff that has actual evidence in favour of it existing for instance you can see, touch and . Things like, say, trees which you can see, touch and sometimes smell which you cannot do for any gods / goddesses.”

    For clarity.

  88. 88

    So Atheism is Dutch Elm disease. M’kay.
    Since when did Pat Robertson become Butterfly Hill?
    This is coming from a guy who wanted to tried to strip mine Africa for blood diamonds with charity funds.

  89. 89

    BTW: I thought it was Druids that worship trees? (OK, I suppose it could be Wiccans *and* Druids.)
    Check out Ed Byrne’s reasoning why Druid (Druidusm?) can’t be a real religion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRVlRLp09-k

    Government: What do you worship?
    Druid: Nature
    Government: Nah, nature *exists*

  90. 90
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    A normal person would look outside and see if atheists are actually cutting down all the trees. Seeing that it’s not happening, one would then reconsider their premise and consider that it may be flawed. I mean, holy fuck! How stupid do you have to be to propose something so easily falsifiable? I just can’t understand how the fuck these people dress themselves.

  91. 91
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I wonder if Robertson hates Jar-Jar Binks.

  92. 92

    It’s more unfortunate than that. He’s not just projecting, he really has the delusion that God is everything. It would be too easy to say that since he believes God is everything and only believing in God matters, that he doesn’t believe anything else.

    I have met enough people who truly believe this, and it’s sad that they accuse me of no morals because they know if I am right, then they actually have no moral foundation, but I do. If they are right, as unlikely as they know that is, they do have a moral foundation, but so do I.

  93. 93
    Nick Gotts

    Regardless, if there would be a nearby Wiccan sacred tree festival, then I could see PZ calling his minions who own male dogs to walk their dogs while invading the sacred tree festival. – James Goetz

    I’m sure you could, but that’s because you’re a fuckwit. PZ stuck a nail through a cracker because of death threats from a number of Catholics against a student. Only if Wiccans were similarly to insist that everyone else abide by whatever their religiously inspired rules are, would he or the vast majority of atheists feel any urge to demonstratively refuse to do so.

  94. 94

    I just can’t understand how the fuck these people dress themselves.

    what evidence do you have t support that they in fact, DO dress themselves?

    I could easily see hired minions dressing both of the people featured in the video clip.

  95. 95

    I think we are focusing on the wrong problem here. Pat Robertson is a desiccated, nearly incoherent sack of bias, but it was the interviewer (I don’t watch enough news to know her name, but I’ll have to find it out now) who fed him the “pagans love trees = atheists must hate trees” line. Pat has been spewing nonsense since I was in grade school in the 80′s, so I think we need to bring her to task on her spoon-fed spew.

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