The Inescapable Conclusion...
Fact: Tornados are generally classed as "acts of god," or events beyond human control and primarily the responsibility of an all-powerfuly deity. The tornado in question here was classed on the Enhanced Fujita scale as an EF-5. This classification is marked by winds in excess of 200 miles per hour and is described as follows:
Strong frame houses leveled; [torn] off foundations and swept away; automobile-sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 m (109 yd); high-rise buildings have significant structural deformation; incredible phenomena will occur. So far only one EF5 tornado has been recorded since the Enhanced Fujita Scale was introduced on February 1, 2007.
Fact: In November of 2005 televangelist Pat Robertson warned the residents of Dover, Pennsylvania that for daring to vote a set of anti-science hicks out of their school board, god would send his wrath down upon them. Lest you think I'm exaggerating, what he said was:
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club."
Later Thursday, Robertson issued a statement saying he was simply trying to point out that "our spiritual actions have consequences."
"God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever," Robertson said. "If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."
Fact: Kansas has also been involved in the intelligent design hoopla. The school board in Kansas hasn't been voted out, exactly, but did recently repeal a set of religiously-motivated standards.
Fact: Greensburg, Kansas is about 1,300 miles from Dover, Pennsylvania.
Inescapable Conclusion: Either god decided that Kansas was more worthy of punishment than Dover, or his aim is just terrible.
Okay, all kidding aside, my sympathy is with the residents of Greensburg who have an awful lot to try to recover from. I can only imagine what kind of hardship they have before them. Donations can be made to the Red Cross here.
At the same time, however, does anyone think that Robertson's threats are in any way appropriate when viewing this kind of devastation? Is his talk of "spiritual consequences" reasonable when surveying a town that has been virtually wiped from the face of the Earth? I think quite clearly his god is not one that I want to believe in. It's not even one that is worth worshipping.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a truly inescapable conclusion.