November 20 2012
If somebody were to ask me how old the earth is, I’d have to say I haven't the foggiest. But no one is going to ask me: I am not a contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
Yeah, it's a dumb question (except for scientists), but it was put to Senator Marco Rubio the other day by GQ magazine. Unfortunately, Rubio did not burst out laughing and say, “You’re kidding, right?”
GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
Marco 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.
Well, man, Rubio’s answer wasn't quite Todd Akin dumb. But it was headed in that direction. This question is designed purely and simply to show that Republicans are anti-science. A guffaw is the only proper response, in my opinion. Matt Smith has an interesting take on the question and Rubio's reply on Ricochet:
Yes, Rubio probably needs to answer that way to get through the Iowa caucuses, and that's the problem. I wish the people that determine our presidential (and Senate) nominees would be perfectly happy for him to have answered simply, "A few billion years."
(I'm giving Rubio the benefit of the doubt in assuming he doesn't think the world is 6000 years old. He does sit on the Science and Space sub-committee, after all.)
Is the age of the earth really an issue in Iowa? I guess I’ll take Smith’s word for it. Or not. But I do know this: I’m getting sick of GOP politicians being chased around and asked what they think about evolution. Pathetically, they generally take the bait.
For the record, I believe in evolution, but the current level of political discourse is about to make me believe more in devolution.