Last week, someone at Salon.com wrote a really sophomoric piece entitled "Bill O'Reilly: An Idiot in Search of a Village" in response to a debate Loofa Man had with an idiot from some athiest group. In the debate, O'Reilly explained that he believed in God, saying, "The tide rolls in, the tide rolls out. It always happens."
What Loofa Man was obviously getting at was that there is order and regularity to the universe; something you would never expect if the world was the result of chance or happenstance.
The brilliant soul at Salon, however, claimed this discussion as evidence of Loofa Man's idiocy, saying that THE MOON and not God was the reason for the tide coming in and out.
In Aristotelian Metaphysics, there are four types of causes. (Final, Material, Formal, and Efficient) Of these four causes, the Moon indeed would constitute the Efficient cause of the motion of the tides; that is, the proximate reason for water to be pulled in this way is the gravity of the Moon. In this case, the Formal cause is somewhat irrelevent, as a Formal cause is that which orders the material shape or design of a thing. The formal cause of things made by men are the minds of their designers. A Material cause is, in this case, the law of gravity, because in this case that is the "subject out of which or in which the actuations of causes occurs." (The Philosophy of Being, Smith and Kendzierski, p. 121) This leaves the Final Cause, the reason for all things, which theistic Aristotelians associate with God.
So of the four causes of Aristotle, the only one that Salon recognizes is the Efficient Cause, leaving blank spaces for the other three. Salon allowed a variety of comments of the nature of "Right wingers are stupid, and they don't know anything about science," so apparently the only religion tolerated by liberals is Islam. One of the comments said something snide about "the Pope's invisible friend," but no where did anyone cite Islam as a "stupid" religion. My previous blog "Obama's Catholic-Bashing Speechwriter" talked about Jon Lovett, who joked that TSA positions were designed to give defrocked Catholic priests a job opportunity. Mr. Lovett would of course never make a joke about the systematic abuse of women in Islamic societies. So we see a distinct double-standard, where athiestic liberals hold their fire on Islam, but let Catholics have it with both barrels. (Estase now expects to be blamed for any incidents where Catholics are shot.)