How Old is Earth?

It is scary when an elected officials quote Biblical dates and make public statements, like Arizona state Senator Sylvia Allen ( R), who claimed the other day that the earth is only 6000 years old.

In 1650, James Ussher of the Church of Ireland published Annalium pars postierior in which he calculated the date of creation. According to the Bishop, the world was created on the “nightfall preceding 23 October 4004 BC.” Based on this, even to this day, many people believe that the earth is only 6000 years old and during the last election, this issue caused Matt Damon to ask if Sarah Palin believed that dinosaurs walked on earth 4000 years back.

Phil Plait of BadAstronomy notes that the irony of Allen’s claim “is that she’s talking about uranium mining, and it’s through the radioactive decay of uranium that we know the Earth is billions of years old.”[Think Progress» Arizona state senator argues for uranium mining by claiming the Earth is ‘6,000 years’ old.]

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