GQ magazine features a quick interview with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla) in which he is asked the straightforward question, "How old do you think the Earth is?" He begs off, calling the subject "a dispute among theologians." But it's not a theological question, it's a scientific fact that the planet Earth formed approximately 4.56 billion years ago. And by "scientific fact" I mean that as closely as we can tell, after centuries of exploring and debating the topic with all our tools and intellect, the Earth is configured, down to the atomic level, exactly as if it originated at that time. I think the Senator ought to commit that statement to memory because it's compatible with all faiths and persuasions.
OK, it was a "gotcha" question; I get that argument. As the Senator went on to say, "it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States." But we use shibboleths and catechisms of all kinds in our lives, from the Pledge of Allegiance on down. I'm OK with asking our public servants what they know about science, because their answers are important to me as a voter and a citizen. Is there a problem with that?