TIDES! HOW THE FUCK DO THEY WORK?

There is an organization in this country called the American Atheists.  They’re mostly dedicated to maintaining the separation of church and state, but they have some other assorted causes.  One thing that got them a fucking gigantic amount of press recently is these billboards.

Now, they’re not supposed to be inherently offensive, and I think they’re not, but Christians lost their shit over it as they are liable to do when atheists do pesky things like existing.

David Silverman, the president of the American Atheists, was promptly invited to a huge number of talk shows, where ignorant quasi-religious people made sad faces that someone had dared to not be like them.  But I digress.

One of Silverman’s stops was on the O’Reilly factor, where Papa Bear yelled a lot.  The whole interview is here, but I wish to share with you one quote in particular.

I’ll tell you why its not a scam in my opinion.  Tide goes in, tide goes out.  Never a miscommunication.  YOU can’t explain that.

Yes, that’s right.  Bill O’Reilly thinks that the fact that there are tides is proof of God’s existence, because no one can explain them.  Here’s the face that Silverman made in response.

Translation: are you fucking kidding me?

O’Reilly went on to clarify his point by saying it again in a more condescending voice.

See, the water of the tide, Mr. Silverman.  It goes in, and it goes out.  You can’t explain that.
This is not the first time Papa Bear has used this argument, as documented by Stephen Colbert in this clip.  According to Colbert, O’Reilly’s theology boils down to “there must be a god because I don’t know how things work.”  WELL I FUCKING DO.  And I will explain it to you, because I’m assuming most of you don’t either and I also want to demonstrate how simple it really is, and thus how Bill is a dribbling imbecile for suggesting that it’s inexplicable.
I made you a graphic.
Now, the large blue circle is the Earth and the little black one is the moon.  The dark blue arrows are vastly exaggerated illustrations of the force exerted on either side of the Earth and the center.  So the side that’s closer to the moon gets pulled on harder by the moon.  Everyone following?  Good.
So, let’s look at the “Near Side” column.  Since the Earth is pretty much solid, it moves as one unit, and thus the force on the Earth is represented by arrow 2.  The water, however, is fluid, so the force on it is represented by arrow 3.  You can see that the water is being pulled on more than the Earth, so it bulges up and that’s a high tide.
The “Far Side” column is slightly tricker.  In that, the Earth itself is closer to the moon than the water on the far side of the Earth, so what’s really happening is that the Earth is getting pulled out from under the water.  It bulges up and that’s the other high tide.  That’s illustrated by the red arrows pointing in different directions.
There are a few other factors.  The moon isn’t always the same distance from the Earth, and the Sun plays a part too, and the Earth isn’t always the same distance from the Sun, but the point is that this is very easy to explain.
It is worth noting that O’Reilly has also used, for the same purpose, the argument “sun comes up, sun goes down.”
I will not be dignifying that with a post.
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8 thoughts on “TIDES! HOW THE FUCK DO THEY WORK?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Though the comments made by O'Reilly are incredibly uneducated, I would like to say that not all religious people are like him.
    Though there are some religious whackjobs out there, not all of them use their lack of knowledge as an excuse for faith.
    And though you may not believe in a God, that does not mean that others should not either.

  2. Boy Genius says:

    Faith IS a lack of knowledge. It is the concession that we don't NEED to explore out knowledge further because we already HAVE the answers, when in reality religion has never offered a satisfactory answer to a real question, ans science keeps plodding on, regardless of the abuse and resistance rained upon it by religion. It has always been this way.

    And I have reasons for not believing in God. They're universally valid, and they do apply to everyone. Religion is irrational and intellectually indefensible.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I disagree. I believe in God and I am far from thinking that I have all of the answers. I believe that exploring our knowledge is one of the most rewarding and important things we can do as human begins.
    One of the definitions of faith it 'complete trust or confidence in someone or something'. I have confidence that there is a God, just as you have confidence that there isn't. I have faith that there is a God. You have faith that there isn't.
    We differ on opinion. That does not make either of us stupid.

    I have reasons for believing in God. I do not expect you or anyone else to share them. I have no interest in shoving my beliefs down your throat, i just ask not to be thrown into the same boat as O'Reilly.

  4. Boy Genius says:

    Yes, but you have confidence that there's a god because some person or book told you. I don't have any confidence that there's a god because there is not and never has been any evidence for one. I've examined the evidence, and you have not.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You have no idea why I believe that there is a God. Don't presume that you do.
    We disagree, and I respect that you don't believe the same things as me. I ask that you would do the same in return.

  6. Boy Genius says:

    Look, if you want to tell me why you believe, I'd genuinely like to hear it. Email me. Until I HEAR that reason, I'm going to assume that like every other reason I've ever heard—and I am pretty damn well-read in these areas—it's illogical and poorly defended.

  7. Paul says:

    If Anonymous above has gotten in touch with you as you invited them to, I would love to observe the discussion, if that's ok with all parties involved.

  8. Something says:

    Look, it doesn’t matter what religion you are with, as long as you don’t shove it down people’s throats, respect those who have different opinions, and don’t take all of your religion too seriously, you’re probably a good person.

    Fuck you Boy Genius, from a fellow atheist.

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