Nature Is Complex

by Zoe Pollock

Phil Plait shatters Bill O'Reilly's latest tirade (above):

Wow. I guess O’Reilly hasn’t discovered Google. Or any astronomy textbook written in the past thirty years. Because we know how the Moon got there (a Mars-sized planet struck the Earth a glancing blow about 100 million years after it formed, splashing debris into orbit which coalesced to form the Moon). And we know how the Sun got there (a small region of a vast cloud of gas and dust collapsed under its own gravity, compressed in the center, ignited nuclear fusion, and Our Star was born).

It gets worse. He asks why we have a Moon, and Mars doesn’t. Pssst, Bill: Mars has two moons. ...

Now it’s possible that Bill is being metaphoric; he doesn’t literally mean the Moon, or tides, or anything like that: he means rules and order in general. We have the laws of physics, and we don’t know why those exist the way they do.

That’s true enough, and an interesting field of exploration. But to jump to say, "God did it" is a losing bet. They used to say that about thunder. They used to say that about people getting sick. They used to say that about, oh, why the Moon and Sun are in the sky, and why we have tides. Say.

But now we understand those things. We understand them because we’re curious, we humans, and we developed a method of understanding the Universe. It’s called science.