Skepticism

Happy Fake Birthday, Earth!

As Skepchick’s (sometimes) resident geologist, I just wanted to wish Earth a happy fake birthday!

According to the most famous of the biblical chronologies, the Ussher Chronology, the Earth was created by God on the evening of October 23rd, 4004 BC. So, that means that today is Earth’s birthday!

Of course, it is a fake birthday since the Earth is really 4.5 BILLION years old and was formed over millions of years, not in a single day. But it is sort of fun to have a day to celebrate the Earth and its age, which is an extraordinary BILLIONS OF YEARS, not a mere 6,013…

One of the biggest challenges of being a geologist is thinking on such long, grand, geologic timescales. Geologists often talk about “young” rocks that are a million years old. A rock that is only 6,000 years old is considered very young indeed… geologists would call such a rock a “recent” or “modern” deposit.

Still, as a human I operate on human timescales of decades, years, and days. So, it is nice to have a day to appreciate the Earth, even if it is biblical bullsh*t.

Happy Earth day, everyone!

Evelyn

Evelyn is a geologist, writer, traveler, and skeptic residing in Cape Town, South Africa with frequent trips back to the US for work. She has two adorable cats; enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking; and has a very large rock collection. You can follow her on twitter @GeoEvelyn. She also writes a geology blog called Georneys.

Related Articles

8 Comments

  1. Actually, Evelyn, as Ussher was working within the old Julian calendar system, you have to convert his date into the Gregorian system we use today. When you do, you find out that, by our currrent method of reckoning, his date would be Sept. 21st, 4004BCE. So, today is the double fake Earth’s Birthday.

  2. Wouldn’t the 6000 years be enough for the wobble of the Earth’s axis to move the equinox around? So Ussher’s calculations, which were related to the equinox, would have to be adjusted for that?

  3. “One of the biggest challenges of being a geologist is thinking on such long, grand, geologic timescales. Geologists often talk about “young” rocks that are a million years old. A rock that is only 6,000 years old is considered very young indeed… geologists would call such a rock a “recent” or “modern” deposit. ”

    Yeah, reminded me of a discussion I had with my sister in which she mentioned that very soon the Canary Islands would fall into the ocean and take out, I want to say, the western seaboard of the U.S. I responded with, well I guess I won’t be moving there, only for her to point out that “very soon” meant 10-12 thousand years from now.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close