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Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bill O’Reilly: tidal bore | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

Look, I know. Bill O’Reilly is a far-right ideologue who couldn’t grasp reality with a hundred meters of velcro and a ton of Crazy glue. He’s mean-spirited, loud, and wrong, wrong, wrong. Debunking him is like debunking the Tooth Fairy; so easy and obvious that it’s almost mean on my part to do it.

Yet here we are.

By now the entire planet has heard O’Reilly’s bizarre litany about tides, and how he claims they prove the existence of God. As he has said on many an occasion, "tide goes in, tide goes out, never a miscommunication." By this he means that the harmony of nature, the amazing interconnection between things, clearly argues for God.

The problem is, he’s wrong. Twice, actually. First because he’s making the "God of the Gaps" fallacy: if something can’t be explained, then God must have done it. That’s pretty silly, since of course the far more likely explanation is simply that O’Reilly can’t explain it. That doesn’t mean I can’t! And in the case of tides, I can explain them, as can my friend Neil Tyson, and pretty much every other astronomer on Earth.

Posted via email from Fred's posterous