Supreme Court Justice Nino Scalia just gave the commencement address
for the graduating class of one of his 36 grandchildren, delivering some comic stylings by skewering weighty maxims like "to thine own self be true" and "never compromise your principles." (Hard-hitting stuff!) The best part, though, was when he threw a triceratops femur to the young Earth creationist set:
"Class of 2015, you should not leave Stone Ridge High School thinking that you face challenges that are at all, in any important sense, unprecedented," he said. "Humanity has been around for at least some 5,000 years or so, and I doubt that the basic challenges as confronted are any worse now, or alas even much different, from what they ever were."
At least 5,000 years—he's not wrong! And McDonald's posts those signs, you know, that say, "Over 5,000 served." Of course, he's also hedging by a factor of 40, since good ol' homo sap. emerged 200,000 years ago
So why that specific number, 5,000? It just so happens to be right around what those who take a literal view of the creation story in Genesis believe the age of the earth to be. (Current year in the Hebrew calendar: a nicely palindromic 5775.) Surely a coincidence, yes? Well, Scalia's right: We're still facing the same old challenges as we always have—in this case, rank ignorance.