“Pat” is short for “Patronizing”

Pat Robertson is asked why poor people in Africa have more miracles than we do (assumption not supported with evidence), and he gives his condescending answer: Americans know too much science, while people overseas are “simple, humble” and God loves ’em more.

Well, gosh. All we have to do is shut down higher education, then, and we’ll have all the blessings of, say, Somalia.


  1. raven says

    Well, gosh. All we have to do is shut down higher education, then, and we’ll have all the blessings of, say, Somalia.

    Way behind the curve here.

    A lot of fundies openly hate and fear college educations and discourage their kids from going there. Many more send them to overpriced bible colleges so they can pretend to get an education while finding a marriage partner from the same cult.

    Many homeschool their kids to make sure they are as ignorant as their teachers.

    (I know not all homeschoolers are like this. The normal homeschooler parents put a lot of effort into making sure their kids get a comprehensive education.)

    Rick Satanorum said once that they will never have the support or admiration of the college educated and intelligent people. He, for once, accidently said something true.

  2. DLC says

    A True Believer™ need only learn what Pastor wants them to learn, and need think only what Pastor wants them to think. Further, to believe and think fervently.
    Because if you step outside the box, and think something other than what Pastor says to think, you’ll find yourself thinking too much, and run the danger of realizing it’s all hokum.
    Once that happens, you’re on your way to H – E Double-Hockey-Sticks! (but not the Mann kind, we don’t believe in that.)

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The smart people aren’t listening to me as they see through my slight-of-hand. WWWAAAHHH

  4. aziraphale says

    Americans do have (what most people throughout history would have called) miracles. Television, for one.

    Of course they are science-based, and don’t count.

  5. says

    I would’t be at all surprised if more miracles are reported by people without any science education, because they don’t know the science behind whatever happened, so based on that he’s almost got a point here. Specifically, his brand of bullshit works best on the ignorant.

  6. grumpyoldfart says

    The sad thing is that many of his viewers would have instantly agreed with him. “Ah-ha, that explains it. I often wondered. Now I know … Hey kids, sorry about your college fund, I’m going to buy a new pick-up instead.”

  7. Sastra says

    If God wants people to have a mindset of simple, child-like faith then how could God (or anyone) be upset when the simple, child-like faithful are mislead by false prophets, fake religions, and phony miracles? After all, it’s not as if they’ve developed any critical sense. They’re gullible to an extreme. Dangle something shiny and watch them go.

    The religious have a love/hate relationship with reason. One the one hand they want to insist that their beliefs are rational, intelligent, and convincing. They stand up to the strongest of scrutiny, you bet. Yet on the other hand they want to encourage people to accept what they are told as if they were obedient and not-particularly-bright toddlers.

    People raised from the dead? I’ve seen those African videos. I’ve even been directed to them by believers., as evidence which will surely meet my strict standards and just melt away all my rational objections. “Watch — you can see it happen for yourself!” A lot of people milling around, wailing, and exclaiming when someone who was lying down gets up.

    Would you believe my hard heart failed to melt?

  8. Ulysses says

    Sastra @9

    Would you believe my hard heart failed to melt?

    Easily. Like Sanal Edamaruku, I’m more willing to believe a “miraculous” dripping crucifix in Mumbai was caused by faulty plumbing and not divine intervention.

  9. moarscienceplz says

    Silly PZ. If you’d only allow your mind to become more childlike and stop being all sciency and skeptical and stuff, not only would you become closer to your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (blessings be upon him), but also a lovely Nigerian prince would share his fortune with you!

  10. moarscienceplz says

    Americans do have miracles. Television, for one.

    You must get much better channels than I do.

  11. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    PZ: “Well, gosh. All we have to do is shut down higher education, then, and we’ll have all the blessings of, say, Somalia.”

    I think that is in the Republican platform, isn’t it?

    It reminds me of when Patty Schroeder said, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

    No one was more surprised than Patty when they took her up on it.

  12. says

    The only miracle I’ve ever witnessed is that obvious charlatans like Pat aren’t adorning lamp-posts. It’s a miracle that their victims continue to believe such obvious bullshit, and even send them money.

  13. says

    Luckily, this is not true of all the adults in my community, but unfortunately it is true of a significant segment of adults in my area: They confer on themselves something like a Knighthood of Ignorance, or perhaps a Knighthood of Anti-Intellectualism. It’s a sign of bravery.

    The mindset, and the culture that encourages it, is tied to various religions: FourSquare, Mormonism, Baptists, etc.


  14. peterh says

    Quite a string you’ve got going there, Pat; zero for infinity. Don’t stumble on your way and actually learn something.

  15. dean says

    We have a state representative who seems to agree that we are “too educated” – at least here in Michigan.

    Potvin argued that making foreign language and algebra II an option would free up space in a student’s schedule and could allow them to expand their education at a career tech center.
    He believes that allowing students to learn a trade while still in high school would allow them to “be a very positive citizen in our community.”

    But if schools allow this option in high schools, what will that mean for future generations who choose trade school over foreign language?
    This theoretical, divided society already exists, according to Potvin.
    And for students who don’t learn a foreign language? Potvin said that’s not a problem either.
    “What’s the language in America? I believe it’s still English.”

    He goes on to note that if students leave school and find they can’t do what they want, it’s very easy to go back and get more schooling.

    If Michigan can survive the current governor and assholes like this guy it will be a miracle.

  16. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Posting this, PZ, come on, you’re wasting your time, and mine.

    Rene, Why, would, you, say, that?

  17. Moggie says

    “Simple, humble” people: does this include the African dictators Pat has befriended, or just the people they had killed? How about the workers who endured terrible conditions in gold and diamond mines to make money for Pat?

  18. loopyj says

    Did no one else hear the racism in Pat’s description of Africans as ‘simple’ and gullible?

    @18 – Learning Spanish as a second language is certainly important for American school children, but if there’s an option between learning a foreign language and being exposed to the possibility of learning a skilled trade, I’d go with the trades. We’ve seen what happens when trades are downplayed: Too many young people sold a bill of goods that tells them their only chance in life is a college degree or three. I think it’s marvelous that we have such well-educated baristas in North America, but I suspect that a lot of them would rather be doing a job that earns them an income well above the poverty line.

  19. Pierce R. Butler says

    In the immortal alleged words of Richard Nixon,

    America can’t stand Pat.

  20. dean says

    @22: I agree, there is a good discussion to be had concerning where the line should be drawn on guiding high school requirements, but our local man isn’t arguing out of concern for too much pressure on students. He has a history of complaining about “emphasis on science” and the related troubles he sees it causing. It is especially notable because at the same time he (and others) are arguing for a decreased emphasis on science and technology in education, business leaders in MI (I assume in other states as well) are saying they want increased emphasis. I also find his notion that, should a student graduate and find they can’t get a good job after high school, it is a simple matter to go back to school to be less than reasonable.

  21. robro says

    Africans don’t go to Ivy League schools…hahahaha…that Pat what a riot. Not a racist bone in his body, is there? Oh well, lucky Africans…because of their ignorance they have more miracles. They also have more poverty, hunger, disease, and dead babies than Americans…oh, and some very scary politicians…but hey, that’s the price you pay to have god raise the dead or heal the blind in your neighborhood. Seems fair, particularly if you’re a White, American, multi-millionaire preacher living comfortably in Virginia. So please, send your donations to the 700 Club.

  22. Lofty says

    Once again the elite white right wing nutcakes think that being racked with disease, unwanted pregnancy, poverty and pain is good for the souls of rank-and-file christians. I wonder what product of western science Pat is willing to give up to suffer along with the poor devout Africans? Heck, he might even give up WiFi for an hour in sympathy.
    Bloody torturers the lot of them.

  23. chigau (not my real name) says

    Maybe Pat wants to be recognised as a Saint™, like Mother Teresa.
    Even though, I expect Pat doesn’t like the RCC very much.

  24. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    So miracles don’t occur in places where fruad is easier to detect and theres a frame work for validating claims?

    Great. I can be invisible but only as long as no one is looking at me

  25. d.f.manno says

    @anuran (#11):

    How do you explain the 1969 Mets, Pat?

    Easy – their challengers were the Cubs.

  26. naturalcynic says

    It’s a miracle that so many children can be identified as witches by Helen Ukpabio.
    It’s a miracle that so many can be convinced to trash their heritage by al-Qaeda in the Maghreb.
    It’s a miracle that Robert Mugabe hasn’t gotten his ass thrown out of Zimbabwe.

  27. ck says

    I always figured “Pat” was short for “pathetic” or an acronym for “pernicious, abhorrent theist”.

  28. Larry says

    Well, we Americans may be too educated and sophisticated to be suckered into believing in miracles and other such religious nonsense but we do have a political party that is trying very, very hard to change all of that.

  29. vaiyt says

    Yeah, Africa is surely swimming in miracles. Doesn’t seem to help them all that much, does it?

  30. sonofrojblake says

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight – someone living in the richest, most culturally, militarily and linguistically powerful and dominant country in the history of the world aspires to have that country be more like… Africa? Really? That really is about the dumbest thing I’ve heard this year, and it’s up against some pretty stiff competition…

  31. catwhisperer says

    I particularly enjoyed the use of the word “overseas” as synonymous with “Africa”.

  32. thumper1990 says

    Unless the “Miracle” in question is something akin to the feeding of the 5,000, I’m sure most Africans could do without. Meanwhile, in the absence of any such useful magic, those of us with a brain in our heads will have to do our best to fill the gap.

  33. thumper1990 says


    Did no one else hear the racism in Pat’s description of Africans as ‘simple’ and gullible?

    Yes, but I chose to ignore has patronising ignorance on the basis that that which is commmon is not worth being suprised at.

  34. lpetrich says

    Miracles have a remarkable shyness effect. They tend to occur away from good documenters and documentation technology and resources.

    Philosopher David Hume recognized this shyness effect about 250 years ago, and it’s still true.

  35. kevinalexander says

    The Bible is enough for salvation, book larnin’ is the devil’s tool.
    Can’t remember where I heard that.
    We could be like Somalians, eating grass and all. Next we could learn to grow wool then Pat’s all set for the good shepherd business.

  36. Gregory Greenwood says

    Now, now, be fair – Pat has actually managed to recognise that America is not the entire world, that there are parts of the planet that are not-America. While he is bigoted and patronising toward those societies that are supposedly so “simple and humble” (well, at least he is toward those that he doesn’t feel pathological, genocidal hatred toward), he is still ahead of the curve when it comes to many of his fellow brainwashed theo-fascists who automatically equate America with the whole planet.

    That is almost progress…

    Sort of…

    If you look at it in a certain light…

    And squint really hard…

    And are quite spectacularly inebriated…

  37. says

    If you are a missionary type trying to raise money for your next jaunt to wherever and make sure that you can afford to stay at the Nairobi Hilton or similar when you get there, you need to shake down a lot of gullible people. Claiming to have raised the dead and regrown limbs in some village in Africa will get the cash flowing. It is also a lot harder for some one to produce proof that it didn’t happen than if you claim to have done the same thing in the town three miles down the road from where you are.