Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, Sarah Palin's successor, appeared stumped by a question about the age of the earth Thursday, choosing not to answer a multiple choice question regarding the matter during a gubernatorial debate.There's no speculation involved - it's science. According to science, the age of the earth is calculated to be 4.54 billion years old give or take 50 million years or so.
"Only God knows," Parnell responded, when asked if the earth was more accurately described as "6,000" or "six billion" years old.
Democratic candidate Ethan Berkowitz wasted no time, telling the moderator, "I'll go with six billion."
Parnell's answer did not go over without some skepticism, however. One person in the recording can be heard laughing, and another asks, "you really don't wanna answer that?"
"I really don't know," Parnell then said. "For either one of us to do it is quite speculative."
The calculations are done by something called radiometric dating. The idea is that unstable radioactive isotopes "degrade" from heavier isotopes to lighter isotopes at a pretty constant rate. By isolating the relative amounts of the isotopes within a given sample and comparing how much there is of one as opposed to another, scientists come up with a fairly accurate number. It's a solid (ie non-speculative) method. If it's wrong then whole huge chunks of physics are also wrong.
On the other hand, the Bible says 6,000 years. So I can understand Governor Parnell's confusion. Or perhaps his unwillingness to offend the faithful.
Evolution, Climate Science, and now radiometric dating - can someone please explain to me why such anti-intellectionalism is almost always found in the GOP?