- uploaded: Aug 1, 2011
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The ancient Aztecs believed that the moon was the severed head of the goddess Coyolxauhqui. According to legend, the deity led an attack on her pregnant mother, Coatlicue, only to be confronted by Huitzilopochtli, who sprang fully armored from Coatlicue's womb, decapitated his half-sister, and threw her head into the night sky.
Apparently, this legend is just about on par scientifically with Fox News' understanding of the moon.
Yesterday, Fox News anchor Jon Scott invited Bill Nye ("The Science Guy") to talk about newly discovered volcanism on the moon. Scott, for reasons that aren't entirely clear, asked if the existence of a volcano on the moon somehow casts doubt on climate change science: "It's not like we've been up there burning fossil fuels." Nye, clearly taken by surprise, patiently and slowly explained to Scott that, no, volcanoes have nothing to do with fossil fuels:
Scott's lunar confusion comes on the heels of celebrated astrophysicist Bill O'Reilly's famous query: "How'd the moon get there? Who put it there?" O'Reilly, you'll recall, had argued that the rising and falling of the tides prove the existence of God, and was lashing out at the "pinheads" who rightly noted that the moon's gravity was actually responsible for tidal movement. And the moon, it turns out, most likely "got there" when a huge celestial body collided with earth about 50 million years after it first formed, ejecting loads of debris into space which accreted into what today we know as the moon.
The question now is why Fox News is having such monumental and comical trouble adhering to basic scientific facts about the moon. I'm afraid we may never know -- as O'Reilly famously put it: "You can't explain that."