Anthony Scaramucci, an adviser to President-Elect Donald Trump went on CNN and got into a bit of a tiff over human induced global climate change. As the argument wound down, he got in this little gem.
People have gotten things wrong throughout the five thousand, five hundred year history of our planet.
See a clip here:
So Anthony Scaramucci, Republican, gets added to my list of politicians who have made unscientific statements. That's one more for the Republicans, if you're keeping count.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS), on their website, says,
The Earth is a constantly changing planet. Its crust is continually being created, modified, and destroyed. As a result, rocks that record its earliest history have not been found and probably no longer exist. Nevertheless, there is substantial evidence that the Earth and the other bodies of the Solar System are 4.5-4.6 billion years old, and that the Milky Way Galaxy and the Universe are older still.
NASA hosts several pages that agree, as they do here.
Tiny zircons (zirconium silicate crystals) found in ancient stream deposits indicate that Earth developed continents and water -- perhaps even oceans and environments in which microbial life could emerge -- 4.3 billion to 4.4 billion years ago, remarkably soon after our planet formed.
As an update, Mr. Scaramucci has since clarified to Snopes that he intended recorded history.
Was referring to well-recorded human history. Cuomo understood what I was saying but the segment was ending.
This would be (generously speaking) correct, in keeping with our current knowledge of written human history. He did make the good point that the question was rushed to a close by the host who wanted to move on. So, maybe he would have clarified if given the chance.
Given he was there insisting that climate change caused by humans was not a real thing, and given that he refused to allow that the consensus of scientists is that human caused climate change is real, I am not disposed to grant him too much leniency here, though. Snopes, in my opinion, is being overly generous. Even assuming he meant human recorded history, there is no clear pattern of error on the part of scientific consensus, and especially not about things as well understood as the shape of the Earth. Even the famous "are dinosaurs reptiles or birds" did not achieve full scientific consensus prior to the conclusion that they are indeed most closely related to birds, and in fact, are essentially archaic birds, different enough to have their own classification, but similar enough to draw direct line comparisons. Nor was Lamarckianism accepted by a full consensus of the scientific body prior to acceptance of Darwinian evolutionary theory. It was favored by a majority, but never achieved full consensus. So his assertion is just flat out wrong, whether he was referring to recorded history, or Earth's age.
Importantly, Mr. Scaramucci tried to defend his position in re climate change by incorrectly asserting that history showed scientific consensus held that the Earth was flat for a very long time. This is irrefutably false. The scientific method, as a formal system of analyzing observations and arriving at conclusions, is relatively new. Yet even before the current conception of science, the scientific method, or scientists existed, various ancient astronomers, navigators, and mathematicians had worked out that the Earth was not, and could not be, flat. It was the church, specifically the Catholic Church, that resisted this notion, just as they had resisted the notion that the Earth was not the center of the solar system, or the universe. And even they had accepted the spherical Earth by in the last couple centuries before the Common Era (BCE, or BC for those still using that designator) as reported by phys.org. Scientists understood that the Earth was not flat based on relatively simple scientific observations and experiments. (But don't take my word for it, ask Neil DeGrasse Tyson.)
Mr. Scaramucci's single statement that there are only 5500 years of Earth's history would not, in and of itself, put him in the same class as someone who thinks that the island of Guam might tip over, in light of his clarification. However, the totality of his statement demonstrates a profound lack of scientific or historic grounding, and a fundamental lack of respect for scientific consensus and the scientific method.