Bill O'Reilly has issued a video rebuttal (h/t: Towleroad) to this embarrassing admission of scientific ignorance, and it's even more hilarious:
Look, you pinheads who attacked me for this...you guys are just desperate.
How'd the moon get there? How'd the sun get there? How'd it get there? Can you explain that to me? How come we have that, and Mars doesn't have it? Venus doesn't have it--how come? Why not? How'd it get here?
If there is any desperation in this discussion, it is the sole property of Bill O'Reilly. Using goddidit as an "explanation" for the order and understandability of the universe is a failure of, well, godlike proportions. O'Reilly sounds like nothing quite so much as a child whose petulant refusal to admit an error has now gotten his arm stuck up to the elbow in the cookie jar. Anyone with a grade-school science education should be able to point out that Mars has two moons, (Deimos and Phobos); both Venus and Mars "have" the sun, in the sense that they each orbit around it.
O'Reilly then falls back to the standard Creationist canard that "it takes more faith to not believe [in god] than it does to believe," prompting me to wonder if he's serious. Could he be pulling an enormous satirical prank, à la Stephen Colbert? That hypothesis makes more sense than the supposition that O'Reilly is truly as obtuse as his onscreen persona.
Amanda Marcotte uses O'Reilly's idiocies to note that "science itself is under attack, and that the reason that conservatives are so eager to lash out against it has to do with an anti-modernist bent:"
This is especially true when you understand that science really is a threat to religion. [...] Religion really draws its power from explanation. It gives order to the world. And science is poaching that territory rapidly, which pisses off authoritarians, because they rightfully understand that if they lose the power to create facile goddidit explanations for everything from gravity to the problem of evil, they will lose their power over people. Thus, the attack not just on specific scientific theories, but on science in general, and most of academia, as well.
I would like to point out that O'Reilly's explanation of why you have to believe in god because that means there is "order". To which I must point out that this is the authoritarian, patriarchal mind at its best---he wishes to believe that him being on top of others is the natural order, so he creates a parallel fantasy of a white guy in the sky who created everything, and his power is derived from the magical white guy in the sky, because presumably they look alike and are both assholes. Also, said white guy in the sky making all the rules means you don't have to think any more, just obey.
Astronomer Phil Plait writes that "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 not an answer. It's an evasion. O'Reilly (and so many ideologues like him) wants his ignorance to be canonized, but ignorance is not a goal. It's an opportunity to learn more.
Look: I seriously and strongly feel that everyone has the right to believe what they want, and to find comfort in it if they need it. But you can't let that belief narrow your view of the Universe to where it's simply easier to avoid what you don't understand.