Bill and Bill on Religion

I love Bill O’Reilly as much as the next person (omg jk’z), but this is a fantastic back-and-forth between O’Reilly and Maher, in characteristic fashion, on religion and how to interpret the Bible.

It’s a schoolyard fight of TV hosts. Mahrer calls out O’Reilly for cherry-picking from scripture. O’Reilly calls Maher an elitist. Mahrer points out the overlooked barbaric side of the Holy Book. O’Reilly… doesn’t know what Maher is referring to, and then recycles the same old “God of the gaps” argument, i.e. we can’t explain (yet) the fine details of how life began, ergo Thor… er, God.

Science is actually doing a fantastic job at pinpointing how life began (and hijacking some life too, for that matter, to say nothing of creating life.) O’Reilly simply rehashes an argument from ignorance — again: I can’t explain it, therefore God. Who can blame Richard Dawkins or Jerry Coyne for being so frustrated? The tendency for many people to be resistant to facts is dangerous and completely goes against the entire enterprise we call science — otherwise known as reality — on which we all depend on a daily basis.

And so, Bill and Bill duke it out; all is well and entertaining. (Note O’Reilly’s confidence in blabbing a glaring historical inaccuracy, namely, that the gospels were written by their respective “according to ___.” There is little historical evidence suggesting that the Canonical Mark, Matt, John, or Luke ever wrote the gospels themselves, and the majority of religious scholars argue that they were written decades after the Crucifixion.)

Indeed, O’Reilly can believe what he wants, which is a shame given his influence on the 3 million viewers who tune in to his show nightly. I’ll add, however, that it’s when some forms of creationism or (un)intelligent design impinge on our turf of brain science that I begin to have some serious beef. The article I’m referring to is reproduced over at NeuroWhoa!

Psychiatrist Jeffrey M. Schwartz is spearheading a movement known as “non-material neuroscience,” which simply argues what Descartes argued in the 17th century — that is, that mind and body (or brain) are separable. The only difference is that non-materialists now take aim at neuroscience. Mind and matter are different, they say.

The beauty of science is that it serves as an intellectual safeguard, which lets you know when someone is full of it.


This just got real. More on the creationists’ declaration of war over the brain later, as it is the topic of the next post.


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