Marco Rubio was asked about the age of the earth. Rubio said he wasn’t a scientist and offered this explanation, “it may have been created in seven days or seven actual eras” and “it is one of the great mysteries”. Rubio received push back from this view because (1) we do know the age of the earth and (2) his answer undergirds the anti-science bent of Christian conservatives, Rubio’s fan base.

Rushing to Rubio’s rescue, the virulently anti-gay and morally feral Bryan Fischer (pictured) of the American Family Association weighed in with an article entitled, “Help for Marco Rubio: scientific evidence for a young earth.” Fischer bragged that “A full 46% of the American people, according to Gallup, believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years.”

Scientific literacy is not a strong point for the average American. According to the national survey commissioned by the California Academy of Sciences:

Only 53% of adults know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun. Only 59% of adults know that the earliest humans and dinosaurs did not live at the same time. Only 47% of adults can roughly approximate the percent of the Earth’s surface that is covered with water.*Only 21% of adults answered all three questions correctly.

Most Americans do not understand the difference between a ‘theory’ as a hunch, supposition, or speculation and the scientific definition of a theory which is “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Scientists create scientific theories from hypotheses that have been corroborated through the scientific method, then gather evidence to test their accuracy.

Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge. This is significantly different from the word “theory” in common usage, which implies that something is unproven or speculative.”

Bryan Fischer proves he is clueless about scientific theory when he states: “ And these theories about the age of the earth and man are just that, by the way, theories, since nobody was there to watch it happen.” Wrong. The rocks of the earth are a witness to our geologic history. We know how old the earth is by measuring isotopes, because ‘there are clocks in the rocks’. There is a time machine at UCLA called the CAMECA ims 1270 high resolution ion microprobe that has measured the age of rocks (through isotopes) and we definitely know that the earth is 4.5 to 4.6 billion years old. Fishers reliance on “ Answers in Genesis” cannot refute the answers in isotopes.

Fisher cannot save Rubio because real science is too important for the future of America. We cannot afford to let scientifically illiterate politicians or panderers to the scientifically challenged continue to fake their way into positions of legislative power. We suffer greatly as a nation when our politicians are not grounded in time and space. (See Republican members of the House Science Committee)

I once asked famed astrophysicist Carl Sagan about what can we do to prevent unscientific, and science hostile politicians from hurting and attacking fields of scientific research and inquiry.

Sagan answered in two words: “Vote intelligently”.