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What Bill O'Reilly Does, And Does Not, Know About Religion

by Adam Frank
Feb 9, 2011

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Adam Frank

Wonderful discussion yesterday about everyone's favorite provocateur and his non-theory of the moon's origin. In the end it is pretty clear that O'Reilly is just playing the "why" question that every 6-year-old knows. You just keep asking "why" until you exhaust your parents' patience.

Of course, for many people placing some form of deity at the end of the "why" chain is not a particularly satisfying end. I am pretty sure that O'Reilly is smart enough to know that. Real explorations of such a question are not where he thinks his ratings come from, however, which is a pity because the end of that chain is pretty interesting from either a science or a religious perspective.

Still O'Reilly misses the boat in thinking that religion is about explanations for the physical world. That train left the station sometime around 1500 CE. The role of experience as a basis for encountering what human beings hold sacred, in a religious or non-religious context, is really a far more interesting and truly open question.

Thanks to everyone who responded though. We leave you with a link to Colbert's response to O'Reilly that Erin Bell provided. To quote Erin "The part about O'Reilly starts at about 2:30 into the clip."

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