Since the news continues to be slow we can re-visit the comments that Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio made with respect to the age of the Earth. Sen. Rubio, inaugurating the 2012-13 Pandering Season for Republicans opined that the age of the Earth was a big mystery, no one knows how old it is or if it were made in 7 days about 7,000 years ago.
Even the bland newspaper
takes on Sen. Rubio with a barely concealed degree of smirking.
The fun kicked off when GQ Magazine quoted political hot property Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., saying in an interview that our planet's age was "one of the great mysteries." Acknowledging the many believers in the biblical account of creation, Rubio said, "Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that."
Uh, Sen. Rubio even the reporters at USA Today know the real score.
Lost amid the political back-and-forth is the answer to the question of how we know the age of our planet. And that is a shame, because the scientist who figured it out, Patterson, also provided the planet more than just its birth date. He saved many of us alive today from the scourge of lead poisoning.
So how old is the Earth?
|Caltech geochemist Clair C. Patterson.(Photo: Caltech archives|
So, by reporting the ratio of lead types found in these pristine meteorites and comparing them to lead ratios found in the other rocks on the Earth and other meteorites, Patterson could calculate the age of the solar system, when the Earth formed, to be 4.55 billion years old, give or take 70 million years. "Except for a few minor disagreements, this paper is probably a concrete expression of the attitudes of most investigators in the field," Patterson noted in the study.
The estimate, now refined and narrowed by other investigations, has stood for five decades, Eiler says, "and has only gotten more solid over time."
Of course, Sen. Rubio could have found out the age of the Earth by just attending its next birthday party, and counting the candles on the cake.
And no one should think this display of science stupidity will harm Mr. Rubio should he choose to run for the Republican Presidential nomination. A majority of Republican primary voters think stupidity and ignorance is a good thing in a candidate.