One of Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly’s favorite arguments for the existence of God is about how the tides go in and out, the sun goes up and down, all without any “miscommunication”, which all obviously means, in his mind, that God did it. This is an argument from ignorance on a number of levels: the “God of the gaps” fallacy (“It isn’t scientifically explained yet, ergo, Goddiddit!”), an argument from incredulity/lack of imagination (as is typical amongst Christian ideologues – “The world is so beautiful/complicated/balanced/etc., ergo, Goddiddit!”), and mostly because we know how the tides work and why the sun rises and sets every day. The Colbert Report did a particularly amusing segment on the matter where Neil deGrasse Tyson himself debunked this nonsense.
But, it seems that O’Reilly doesn’t watch The Colbert Report, for he’s now made a little YouTube video – yes, he’s apparently on YouTube – wherein he mocks a viewer who wrote in telling him about how the Moon causes the tides with all the arrogance of ignorance he can muster:
My transcript (redundant bits removed):
BILL O’REILLY: David, from Beverly Hills, Florida: “What do you mean when you refer to teh tides when you are asked about the existence of God? Science explains the tides … the Moon’s gravity pulls on the oceans.” Okay; how’d the Moon get there? How’d the Moon get there?
Look, you pinheads who attack me for this, you guys are just desperate. How’d the Moon get there? How’d the Sun get there? How’d it get there? Can you explain that to me? How come we have that and Mars doesn’t have it? Venus doesn’t have it? How come? Why not? […]
You have order in this universe. Tide goes in, tide goes out. Okay, yeah, the Moon does it. How’d the Moon get there? Who put it there? Did it just happen? […]
You know, I see this stuff; it’s desperate. As I’ve said many times: It takes more faith to not believe, and to think that this was all luck, everything, all this human body, the intricacies of it, and everything else, all luck … than it does to believe in a deity.
There’s a fair amount of logical fallacies (in addition to outright non-sequiturs) in that farcical line of thought, but the crux of O’Reilly’s argument, as has been noted above, is his argument from ignorance and incredulity. He then invites people to explain to him (as I reckon so many SIWOTI-afflicted enlightened individuals sorely want to) just why things are as they are. But, of course, if someone were to actually school this dunce on such things, he’d simply retreat into asking how those phenomena came into being, and so on and so forth. It’s the typical fundamentalist attitude of demanding, not a cause or an explanation, but a reason, a purpose. It’s tedious, boring and ultimately self-defeating to even try and engage such roundabout debaters.
He even repeats the bogus claim that atheism requires more “faith” than does, well, faith. Well, if by “faith”, he means a commitment to reality and credible evidence and logical reasoning, then yes, I suppose he does have a point. Except that, of course, that’s not at all what Bill means; he’s actually talking about blind, “believe in it just ’cuz” faith – the type shared by God-bothering ideologues such as him. Which makes his little swipes at atheism all the more amusing, albeit tiresome.
You can also check out Phil Plait’s post, wherein he thoroughly fisks O’Reilly’s illogical and numerous false claims. I love when Phil occasionally gets all gnarly.
(via Bad Astronomy)