O'Reilly and Intelligent Design

We all know that I don’t like Bill O’Reilly. He’s a self-righteous ass. I had to deliberate on whether or not to post this because for most of the people who read my blog, this is hardly news. But one of my other pet-peeves is Intelligent Design, so when those two super twins united their powers, I couldn’t resist.

The Link

Now, despite some people’s claims, O’Reilly isn’t exactly a heavy hitter in the brains department. It may appear that way sometimes because he has fast comebacks to things people say on his show, but usually these are talking points that he’s repeated so often that they sound like foregone conclusions. In most cases, they’re just crap. This conversation is a good example.

O’REILLY: OK. But science is incomplete in this area of creationism, is it not? GRANT: Science is always incomplete in all areas. O’REILLY: Well, I don’t agree with that. Science is not always incomplete and I’ll give you an example. There are twenty-four hours in a day. Alright. That’s science. And there are four seasons. That’s science. So you can state things with certainty in biology or any other science you want. However, if I’m a student in your class and you’re telling me, well, there might have been a meteor or big bang or there might have been this or there might have been that, I’m gonna raise my hand like the wise guy I am and say “Professor, might there be a higher power that contributed to the fact that we’re all here?” and you say – what?

Here Bill shows that he doesn’t really understand what science is, and what it does. That’s not a terrible fault, most people don’t, but it should be pointed out that this fact is often abused by ID people to try and make their points.

Of course, Bill’s examples of Science were probably about the best he could do. But the 24 hour day and 4 seasons are of course pretty subjective measurements of observable phenomenon. Some parts of the earth have pretty much 2 seasons due to their proximity to the equator and roughly constant exposure to the sun relative to countries closer to the poles. 24 hours in a day is based on the earth’s rotation on its axis as well as its rotation around the sun. The speed of this rotation is subject to change and is not an immutable truth of science. While it is a pretty well explored subject, it would be silly to call it complete. Of course days themselves are a earth-centric measurement with arbitrary base 60 and base 12 counting systems passed down from other cultures.

Of course, this isn’t really the point. To use O’Reilly’s own examples, ID would be like teaching that God makes the sun come up along side astronomy in schools as both valid viewpoints that need to be seriously considered in science classes. It would be a lot like demanding that Christian Scientists demanding that prayer healing be given equal consideration in med school.

If I was asked that in a class, about a higher power, I would simply say, “sure it’s a possibility that a higher power contributed to our existence, but there’s very little evidence to support it. One must be careful about jumping to conclusions or being intellectually lazy in the face of little evidence, or evidence that doesn’t support your hypothesis.”

O’REILLY: Alright. See. I think this is a narrow-minded view, with all due respect, that you are holding. But I must point out to our viewers that most academics agree with the professor. Alright. It’s pinheads like me that cause trouble. Now. Cloning of human beings. It’s never been done that we know of. Would you agree with that? GRANT: To the best of my knowledge, it has not yet been done. That’s correct. O’REILLY (overtalks the last 8 words): OK. Now. Do you not talk about cloning of human beings in biology class? Do you not talk about the possibility that may come about in the future? GRANT: In certain special classes and the bioethics classes, we definitely do talk about that…. O’REILLY (overtalks last 3 words): Yeah. It’s not science, sir!!

Again, O’Reilly clearly doesn’t understand what science is and tries to fall back on flawed semantics to prove an unprovable point. No where was it argued that creation has not been done, just that it has not been observed as a part of the natural order, evidence for it is weak and it cannot be tested by science so far.

O’Reilly with his 6th grade mental faculties seems to think that because human cloning in specific has not been done, that it somehow equates to unprovable and untestable speculation. It doesn’t. Mammals have been cloned. Humans have not due to the ethical issues involved, not because it isn’t possible or verifiable. Just because something hasn’t been done doesn’t mean there is no science involved. People don’t doubt ID because they haven’t observed it, they doubt it because there is very little evidence to support it, and an overwhelming amount of evidence in favor or evolution.

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