January 11, 2011

David vs. O’Reilly

By Francis Nye

Anti-Religion Billboard
David Silverman, president of the American Atheist Group, went on The O'Reilly Factor to defend the billboard ads his group has put up around the country calling religion a scam.

Bill O'Reilly began by telling Silverman that his organization is insulting religious people, an accusation Silverman denied, insisting that his message was simply the truth so how could it be offensive. The conversation then took a strange turn as the host played what he believed to be his trump card of the why God exists.

O’Reilly argument as he puts it, “I'll tell you why [religion's] not a scam, in my opinion: tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can't explain that.”

Silverman was initially taken aback by this proof. To tell you the truth so was I. What does tide goes in, tide goes out mean?

O’Reilly goes on to further explain after seeing Silverman’s expression of confusion by that statement, “See, the water, the tide comes in and it goes out, Mr. Silverman. It always comes in, and always goes out. You can't explain that.”

Really? No one can explain how tides work? When O’Reilly stated he is not the smartest man in the room I think that spoke volumes about his intellect and the direction of this interview. The fact of the matter is, science has a very good explanation for why the tides occur on such a regular basis:
Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun and the rotation of the Earth.

Most places in the ocean usually experience two high tides and two low tides each day (semidiurnal tide), but some locations experience only one high and one low tide each day (diurnal tide). The times and amplitude of the tides at the coast are influenced by the alignment of the Sun and Moon, by the pattern of tides in the deep ocean and by the shape of the coastline and near-shore bathymetry.

So you see it has everything to do with gravity and nothing to do with a man sitting on a cloud pulling the ocean to and fro each day in perpetuity.

It just slays me how people like Mr. O’Reilly can come up with the silliest proofs for the existence of God. Forget science and logical explanations. I often ask myself why would some believe such fantastic notions when physical, tangible, and logical proofs already exists for such things as ocean tides? Why is it easier for people to believe that an invisible man is pulling the oceans back and forth, to and fro everyday than it is to believe the moon and sun which are visible to everyone and are clearly at work here. Besides doesn’t God have better things to do than yank on water all day and night?

I must say O’Reilly is typical of a zealot. Throughout the interview he puts words in Silverman’s mouth and he mocks him personally. O’Reilly says that because the billboard states religion is a scam that Silverman and his group are insulting people. That is not what I took away from that sign when I saw it. I saw it as more of a warning about religion than an insult to its followers. O’Reilly insisted that Silverman was stating that people of faith are stupid. If O’Reilly would have shut his yap for a minute and let Silverman explain maybe he would have understood this.

Anti-Atheist Billboard
Silverman points out the fact that this country is filled with billboards that attack atheists. However, O’Reilly says that he has never seen any. I guess O’Reilly doesn’t get out much because I have seen them and there is no doubt those boards are insulting. For example the two billboards below come straight out and state that atheists are un-American. This is ridiculous when you think about it. I know of several famous patriotic American atheists. Men like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and James Madison just to name a few.

Anti-Atheist Billboard

What I find really repulsive about the whole affair is O’Reilly is unwilling to listen to Silverman’s point of view and invited him on his show for what appears to be a false pretence. What is almost laughable is O’Reilly asks Silverman questions then he cuts him off when he starts to speak every time. It appeared to me that O’Reilly was not interested in what Silverman had to say on the subject of his billboards at all. It appeared O’Reilly was more interested in proselytizing to his viewers. A “Larry King” O’Reilly is not. At least King was interested in what is guests had to say when they were on his show.

O’Reilly doesn’t have to agree with anything Silverman has to say but he should at least extend him some basic courtesy and allow him to finish a sentence. Silverman for the most part allowed O’Reilly to speak. As much as atheists are criticized and made out to be barbarians by our society it looks as if in this case the non-believer had more manners and bearing than the believer. I think O’Reilly did more to show the unwillingness of people of faith to act in a civilized manner when it comes to what they believe in. That’s the way to win them over Bill.

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