Bill O’Reilly won’t let it go. He was called out on his claim that the tides represent definitive proof of God’s existence, and he is vehemently defending his position.
Notice that his argument shifts instantaneously when his original claim is explained away by science. When it is explained to him that the moon causes the rising and receding of tides, his argument turns on a dime and is defined anew. No longer is he concerned with the cause of tides, but now the cause of the sun and moon occupy his attention. One wonders why he started with the tides at all as an argument for God’s existence when he so readily concedes defeat and pushes the mystery back one step in a causal series of events. Why doesn’t Bill just ask for the cause of the Big Bang, since his tactic of conceding and retreating will inevitably lead him there?
Bill then rolls out the old “fine tuning of the universe” canard. This is such a ridiculous claim that only reveals O’Reilly’s complete reticence toward reading well-articulated responses to this old, tired, and philosophically neotenous argument. The fine tuning argument is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. The reason that life is so finely tuned to surviving on this planet is because it evolved here. Life evolved to accommodate the environment on earth, earth does not respond to or accommodate life; life will only evolve on planets suitable for life. To sit around and think, “My gosh, what are the chances we would exist on a planet so perfect for life” is completely backwards thinking. Life wouldn’t evolve on a planet incapable of supporting life, so any planet on which life finds itself, is, by definition, a planet suitable for life! We wouldn’t be here wondering about such questions if earth were not hospitable enough, or stable enough, to have resulted in our evolution. In no way did we “get lucky” by happening to evolve on a planet able to support our existence.
Also, as has been pointed out many times, earth itself isn’t exactly a Shangri-La on the whole of its surface. Life on earth only exists on a razor’s edge, performing a balancing act on the Goldilocks tight-rope of too-hot-or-too-cold. O’Reilly’s viewpoint is a throwback to the times before Darwin and even Newton. Its basis is in the conception that the universe was made for humans, and that we occupy the center of the universe, which is also the center of attention for a loving and benevolent God. Newton and especially Darwin made great strides in dispelling the miasma that this anthropocentric view induces. These advances in thought are not just necessary for the scientists’ toolkit, but for any voice attempting to contribute to the ever-growing modern intellectual milieu.
“Faith-based reasoning begins with a faith position and seeks to confirm it. It reasons from faith rather than to faith and surprise, it finds faith reasonable.” ~John W. Loftus
Bill O’Reilly, and the rest of the Faux News quacks enjoy a childish solace from ignorance. What a flock of dodos.