Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), whose 2016 campaign for president is well under way, showed that he’s just another one of those fossilized Republicans who thinks he can deny science (losing the vote of a majority of high school and college graduates) in order to pander to the tea-vangelical base (thus gaining a remarkably tiny yet vocal portion of the actual electorate). Here’s what he said and what was said about what he said.
Rubio declined to tell GQ magazine how old he thought the earth was, saying it’s “one of those great mysteries.” Said Rubio:
I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.
To which Marc Ambinder, writing in The Week said it’s not a mystery, “It’s about 4.5 billion years old, give or take a few million.”
Ambinder went on to note:
I think there’s a way for Christian conservatives who believe in the literal (or proximately literal) truth of the Bible to answer the question without denying science. Denying science is not just a position; it is fundamentally a denial of modernity, which is why it is so, well, stupid, to the ears of elites, and even to the ears of folks who just know that geology isn’t a just-so story. Atheists won’t be satisfied with the answer, but who said that Marco Rubio has to satisfy atheists?
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had about the most sensible response to Rubio’s gaffe, which he called a “head scratching type of answer”:
We’ve got to be a kind of pro-science and pro-technology party. And I think Marco Rubio is just that. On the Earth question, I guess I have to read more closely in terms of getting a better understanding, but, yeah, kind of a strange response, I guess.
The real mystery is not that anyone would think the earth was made in six days, but that anyone thinks that Marco Rubio is presidential material. I suppose the GOP has four years to work on him, but they worked on Mitt Romney for seven and that didn’t get the job done …
- Section: News & Comment