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.
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.
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.”