The world is 5,578 years old, Rabbi Neil Amswych told a couple dozen people scattered on the lawn before him. He spoke with confidence, though his words belied scientific teachings that suggest Earth is billions of years older.

However, Amswych said during this informal science lesson Friday outside the New Mexico Public Education Department’s headquarters on Don Gaspar Avenue, the estimate he gave is based on scriptural sources and beliefs — not fact.

“We know anyone who believes this is ignorant of the scientific data,” he said.

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