From: Rod Swift
Subject: Pat ROBert$on flamed by Scientific American article...
Date: Thu, 10 Sep 1998 12:42:42 +0800 (GMT+0800)

415 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Tomorrow, Partly Froggy
by Steve Mirsky

Television evangelist and sometime presidential candidate Pat Robertson recently shocked the world by revealing that a science existed that he knew even less about than paleontology. Delving into the latter discipline, Robertson once contended that "there is no case where we have remains or fossils of an animal that died during the evolutionary process." In fact, every fossil ever found is of an organism that died during the "evolutionary process." But I digress. In June, RObertson added meteorology to the list of sciences about which he has theories - and few facts.

The self-appointed forecaster took to the airwaves to warn residents of Orlando, Fla., about wicked weather possibly headed in their direction. Orlando stood in the way of some righteous wrath, he maintained, as a result of the city's decision to allow gay organizations to fly rainbow flags in a local celebration called Gay Days. "This is not a message of hate; this is a message of redemption," he insisted. "But if a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation, if it will bring about terrorist bombs, if it will bring about earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor, it isn't necessarily something we ought to open our arms to. And I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you."

Robertson the scientist might be expected to be an expert on hot air masses. But he's not going out on a limb long enough to snap off in a 100-mile-per-hour wind by prophesying hurricanes in Florida. This just in: Buffalo gets snow in January! (And Florida weather is even easier than most. I lived in Miami one summer, and I can give a fairly decent forecast for any day in July or August without looking at a single satellite map: temperature in the 90s with high humidity, good chance of an afternoon thunderstorm. Rinse, Repeat.)

The issue of whether God has a face in which to wave a flag is an open one for some people, but assuming He or She does, ears are probably attached, and assuming Robertson has God's ear, maybe he could ask Him or Her for some more detailed meteorological information. Which he could then include as a regular feature on his 700 Club broadcasts, launching into something like this:

"Odious lectures by Stephen Jay Gould on evolution at the American Museum of Natural History will lead to cherub-size hail in the early evening in New York City. Continued homosexual activity in the large cities of the East Coast and, of course, San Francisco, will initiate a severe low-pressure front with associated torentially heavy rains late in the day. Look for heavy flooding, especially in theater districts. Because of some isolated pockets of freethinking, the Midwest will see a 90 percent chance of frogs this afternoon with vermin, especially in low-lying regions, so please drive with the low beams on. Frogs diminishing toward dusk, followed by scattered murrain. Putting the map in motion now, we see that general sinfulness across the country will bring darkness after sundown."

In the interest of an even-handed attack on wacky ideas, I'd like to point out the obvious fact that no religious group has a monopoly on them. Some of the more vocal members of some groups, however, do have their own broadcast outlets, so it's easier to notice when they say something outrageous. The good news is that such spokespeople serve the larger purpose of reminding everyone of the simple and profound words written by Gould: "The enemy of knowledge and science is irrationalism, not religion."



The views and opinions stated within this web page are those of the author or authors which wrote them and may not reflect the views and opinions of the ISP or account user which hosts the web page. The opinions may or may not be those of the Chairman of The Skeptic Tank.

Return to The Skeptic Tank's main Index page.

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank