You know, sometimes it seems like USA has come to stand for “United States of Appalling Ignorance.” A lot of people in this country need to read an improving book. And I’m not talking about the Bible. That one only seems to improve people’s ability to be smug about their appalling ignorance.
MTHellfire found this bit of outstanding fuckwittery spouted by Bill O’Reilly and took him to the woodshed over it (h/t):
“Tide goes in and tide goes out…you can’t explain that.” Bill O’Reilly recently told Dave Silverman of American Atheists, during a recent airing on Fox News as they debated the integrity of religion.
After her head hit her desk, she went on to advise that, yes, actually, Billo, we can explain how the tide goes in and out. I’d just like to add that Billo needs to avail himself of a book I recently read, Beyond the Moon. We are so able to explain tides that entire pop sci books can be written on the subject.
MTHellfire went on to quote, in its full misspelled glory, a screed she’d been subjected to on Facebook, wherein the correspondent (and I use this term loosely) advised that the reason people don’t trust scientists is that they can’t explain where the first speck of dirt came from, but they can tell you how life was created.
Wrong wrong wrong, and not just because the original had enough grammatical errors to make an English teacher contemplate a home lobotomy in an effort to escape the pain. Scientists can explain how life evolved. They’re not yet sure how it originated, but they’ve got some promising ideas. They’re pretty certain it did not include a large bearded deity poofing the whole thing into existence.
As far as the speck of dirt goes, any decent book on cosmology can clue you in. Dirt is formed of elements. Elements are forged in stars. And so on, all the way back to the Big Bang. So yes, Facebook babbler, scientists can explain where the first speck of dirt came from. At length, and with equations, if you like.
But it’s not like the “God did it” crowd is likely to listen to the evidence. If they do, their eyes will all too likely glaze over, and they will take this as a sign: they cannot understand it, therefore scientists don’t really understand it, ergo Jesus! So let me just turn this around a bit. I like turning tables. It adds interest to a room.
Here’s my reply to the “Scientists can’t explain every single detail exactly, so God, so there!” crowd:
Do you know every last detail of how, precisely, God created the universe? I mean, precisely how he spoke the whole thing into existence? The complete and excruciating details of how, exactly, God did it, from the first photon to the last squidgy bit on Eve?
Deary me. Guess I’ll have to just stick with science, then.