Like many of you, I did not enjoy my time in Frontiers of Science. I might even say that Frontiers of Science is the worst class I've ever taken at Columbia.
I'm not blaming the professors for that. I just think that the whole "just-the-highlights, middle-school-lab-projects, everything-basic-you-need-to-know-about-the-natural-world-so-you-can-read-The-New-York-Times" approach runs counter to everything science is supposed to be.
Or at least, that's what I used to think.
But watching this video of Bill O'Reilly made me realize that we owe at least one thing to Frontiers of Science: We can be sure that we'll never answer a letter claiming that the moon causes the tides (O'Reilly frequently cites the tides as proof that God exists) with a condescending "OK, how'd the moon get there?"
That's because we learned that the moon most likely formed when the still-forming earth was hit by an object half its size, and that some debris from the impact was subsequently caught in the earth's orbit, and that said debris ultimately became our only satellite (or something like that).
Other "mysteries" we learned about in Frontiers that O'Reilly mentions - the formation of our sun, evolution through natural selection, and why there is life on earth (as opposed to on any other planet in the solar system).
The point being that we should probably thank Alma Mater for saving us from O'Reilly's lack of basic information.
I realize that the above might sound like a comment hostile to people of faith, but actually my main point in writing this post was to express my appreciation for those students and teachers at Columbia who are in fact religious. More specifically, I wanted to take issue with something O'Reilly says at the end of the video: "It takes more faith to believe this was all luck...than it does to believe in a deity."
That's simply not true. As a person whose faith didn't make it out of high school, I promise you that not believing is much easier (for one, I have my Sundays back). Which is why I'm sort of in awe of Columbia's religious community. I'm not entirely sure what it takes to harmonize a highly-educated rational mind with a personal faith, but I know part of me is jealous of those who can pull it off.
So anyway, kudos. And as for you, Mr. O'Reilly, there should be a lecture in Miller Theater next week that you might consider attending.