Last month, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly stepped into instant Internet infamy when, in adebate with American Atheists president David Silverman, O’Reilly attempted to prove the existence of God by citing the mystery of the tides: “I’ll tell you why [religion is] not a scam, in my opinion. Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can’t explain why the tide goes in.” Only one problem: There’s this thing called the Moon which might have a little to do with tides.
More recently, O’Reilly attempted to clarify his remarks by asking, “where’d the Moon come from?” But this too opened O’Reilly’s flank to any number of scientific counters, and anyway, the damage had been done. Fairly or not, O’Reilly had been pegged as an ignoramus who blindly defended faith not with reasoned arguments, but with questions that could be answered with a quick Wikipedia lookup.