13 Billion vs. Roughly 7,000
I put the question to [five year-old] Meade: "When did the dinosaurs live?"
There is an agonising pause as he considers it. American children are wonderfully earnest and Meade is not going to be rushed.
Eventually he says it is in a book his Dad bought him.
We hunt the tome, find it, open the page and behold a diagram which has been explained to Meade.
It all floods back.
The dinosaurs, he informs me with great authority and aplomb, are millions and millions and millions of years old. I could have hugged him and his parents; we are, after all, inhabiting the same mental planet.
But many modern members of the Republican party, including some in positions of great power, do not seem to be living on that planet....
Describe an American as a Roman Catholic and you say nothing about his or her political and social beliefs.
Left-wing flower-power Democrats can be Catholics, so can right-wing socially conservative Republicans.
American Jews, Hindus, even Muslims are not politically defined by their faith.
But evangelical Christians, operating inside the Republican party, have coalesced their energies and their resources around a set of beliefs on homosexuality, abortion and Darwinism which place them on the authoritarian right of every political question and at odds with science campaigning. For instance, to tell visitors to the Grand Canyon that this wondrous sight is not millions of years old, which it is....
The [opposition to the Evangelicals] have noticed two things. Number one, that the zealots are spending more energy fighting Charles Darwin than cutting taxes, and number two - and this is much more important - that the zealots outside Kansas are not receiving the support of the nation at large.
And if Evangelicals and right-flank Catholics get any closer, then Advent homilies warning of the impending Rapture will soon be conspicuous by their absence.