NY Times science writer Nicholas Wade is piling on
criticism of a supposedly anti-science Republican:
Senator Rubio, a possible contender in the 2016 Republican presidential race, gave the following answer: “I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians.”
It may have been a mystery back in the 17th century, ... Today’s best estimate for the age of Earth, based on the radiometric dating of meteorites, is 4.54 billion years. The real mystery is how a highly intelligent politician got himself into the position of suggesting that the two estimates are of equal value, or that theologians are still the best interpreters of the physical world.
Rubio did not say that the two estimates are of equal value, or that theologians are still the best interpreters of the physical world. He said that theologians disagree, and that "I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says."
It is true that radiometric dating
(of Earth rocks, not meteorites) shows an age of 4.5B years. But I still think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, and what science says. I can believe in science and religious freedom at the same time.
Like those electrons that can be waves or particles, evolution is both a theory and a fact. In historical terms, evolution has certainly occurred and no fact is better attested. But in terms of the intellectual structure of science, evolution is a theory; no one talks about Darwin’s “fact of evolution.”
When someone says that electrons can be waves or particles, he means that electrons are not really either, but some experiments make them look like waves, and some make them look like particles. But this is a poor analogy. But Rubio did not say anything about evolution.
Wade is one of the better science reporters, but this essay is stupid and pointless. Babbling about evolution being a theory or a fact has little to do with what Rubio said. Wade says that evolution is really a theory, and if evolutionists would only admit that, then Rubio would be better able to answer questions about the age of the Earth. I don't think that the evolutionists will be happy with anything other than a statement that evolution proves religion wrong.
Wade's plan is not going to satisfy the religion-haters
How, exactly, is Dawkins “militant”? ...
Wade is completely clueless when it comes to prescribing how to get rid of creationism. The best way, I maintain, is not to “profess respect for all religions and make a grand yet also trivial concession about the status of evolution.” The best way is to weaken the grasp of religion on the American mind, for religion is the only source of creationism.
And why, exactly, are scientists supposed to accord “respect” to a bunch of ancient fables that are not only ludicrous on their face, but motivate so much opposition to science?
Update: Of course Dawkins is militant. He describes himself as militant. I had not noticed that Barack Obama answered a question about the age of the Earth, and said the same thing as Rubio