Five Other Embarrassing Answers to the ‘Age of the Earth’ Question

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Doesn't want to play this game. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Marco Rubio may have provided the world with the most recent embarrassing explanation for the age of the Earth — which, thanks to radiometric dating, and regardless of what some religious fanatics may claim, is about 4.54 billion years old — but he's, sadly, in good company. Here are five other political office-holders who were recently asked the same question and failed miserably with their response.

During a talk on climate change in October of 2006, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer polled the audience on whether it though the Earth was "hundreds of millions of years old" or "less than a million years old." He then declared that he needed the support of lawmakers who didn't think the "Earth is 4,000 years old." Well, Roger Kooperman, a state representative who was in audience, was one of "at least two people" who raised a hand for the "less than a million" option. He later told a newspaper that Schweitzer's comments "insulted many Christian people and other people of faith that arrived at that position other than the way I arrived at it." And whose evidence is just as good, we're sure.

Speaking of state legislators: Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen, while making the case from uranium mining in a June 2009 hearing, said, "The Earth's been here for six thousand years ... long before anybody had environmental laws and somehow it hasn't been done away with." The irony is that the moronic point she was trying to make could have been even more persuasive with a more accurate figure!

Another rising star in the GOP, Rand Paul, refused to answer when he was asked how old the world is during a question and answer session at a meeting of the Christian Homeschool Educators of Kentucky in June of 2010. "I forgot to say I was only taking easy questions," Paul joked ... except he was serious. "I'm gonna pass on the age of the Earth. I think I'm just gonna have to pass on that one."

During an October 2010 debate, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell was asked whether the Earth was closer to 6,000 years old or 6 billion years old. Parnell responded, "Only God knows." When pressed, he insisted, "I really don't know. For either one of us to do it is quite speculative." Not really though: His opponent quickly answered 6 billion, and he was correct. No speculation necessary.

Finally, on August 18, 2011, Texas Governor and brand-new presidential candidate Rick Perry was asked by an unbearably manipulative woman, via her helpless child, how old the Earth is. "I don't have any idea," Perry said to the mother, though talking to her child-puppet. "I know it's pretty old. Um, so it goes back a long long ways. I'm not sure anybody actually knows completely and absolutely how long, uh, the Earth is." Hey, at least he admitted it's "pretty old."