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Anthony Scaramucci is a lawyer, Wall Street investor, and now advisor to President Elect Donald Trump (sorry, I’m still having trouble saying that out loud). He’s on Trump’s finance committee and is also on the Transition Team Executive Committee. He and casually mentioned to millions of people that the Earth is less than 6,000 years old.What’s most remarkable about this isn’t that a man who is advising the future President of the United States has misjudged the age of the Earth by 4.5 billion years. Nor is the most remarkable thing that this probably means he’s a young-Earth creationist who believes that dinosaur fossils were put in the ground by Satan to mislead us and that if people came from monkeys why are there still monkeys. No, all that is remarkable and terrifying, but the MOST remarkable thing about Scaramucci’s TV appearance is that his remark wasn’t even the dumbest thing he said in that same interview, so it didn’t even get headlines.
In the interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Scaramucci was attempting to defend of any researchers at the Department of Energy who worked on climate change. If you’ll recall, the man who is about to be President of the United States believes that climate change is a hoax cooked up by the Chinese.
Cuomo deserves mega-kudos in this interview, since he cut Scaramucci off immediately when he tried to say that there are scientists who don’t believe in global warming. Cuomo points out that the overwhelming scientific consensus is that it is real and it is man made, and he also states that that needs to be said whenever someone tries to say otherwise. Absolutely correct, and exactly what fact-checking should look like in mainstream media.
This drove Scaramucci to compare the consensus on global warming to two ideas, which have been misreported in the media as “theories”: the idea that the Earth is flat, and the idea that the Earth is at the center of the universe. At least, I assume that’s what he meant when he said “there was an overwhelming science that we were the center of the world,” which, to be fair, may be referring to the theory that the world revolves around investment bankers with more money than education.
The idea that the Earth is flat was never a scientific theory. Humans have known the Earth isn’t flat since before the scientific method was even formalized, because unlike Scaramucci, humans in general are pretty clever and could see ships disappearing over horizons. Hell, 2,200 years ago humans had already figured out the approximate size of the planet just by looking at the angle of shadows in two different cities on the solstice. The idea of a flat earth wasn’t ever a scientific theory: it was religious mythology. So get out of here with that “sometimes 99% of all scientists are wrong” bullshit., Scaramucci.
As for geocentrism, that was the overwhelming assumption amongst humanity for an understandably long time, until the scientific method was formalized and astronomers started actively debating it. Then there were many different proposed models: Tychonic, Ptolemaic, and yes, Copernican heliocentrism. And through a lot of debate and discussion and employment of the scientific method, heliocentrism won the day. The number one threat to heliocentrism wasn’t other scientists, as Scaramucci implies. In fact, it was ignorant, anti-science religiously motivated bigots. Just like the major challengers to climate change.
Just to be clear, all this should scare the shit out of you. Trump is threatening to remove funding for studying climate change, the single greatest threat mankind currently faces. Scientists . Clinton wasn’t coming for your guns, but Trump is coming for your brains.