Greatly Mystified Rubio

During an interview with the future of the GOP, Senator Marco Rubio (who is already pandering campaigning in Iowa), GQ dropped this bomb question: “How old do you think the earth is?”

Rubio’s response is one for the ages, even if he is completely mystified by the panoply of dating techniques (i.e., basic science) that determine things like ages:

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.

There are mysteries and then there are mysteries. This isn’t one of them. If this is the future of the GOP, it’s not very bright. Here is a man who wants to command nuclear weapons, yet can’t be bothered with the science that creates those weapons.

While this may seem trivial or inconsequential, it isn’t. The Economist explains why. It is at times like these that I can almost appreciate the work being done by new atheists. It’s gutter work but someone has to do it.

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3 thoughts on “Greatly Mystified Rubio

  1. Dominik Lukes

    Speaking as a left-wing atheist, this seems more than a little unfair.

    I think he formulated his view quite admirably – he could have spouted something straight out anti-science – the Bible says so, and that’s it. But he deferred the issue.

    Frankly, I have no idea how old the Earth is. And I just don’t care. It’s supposedly some number that I occasionally overhear on quiz shows. The age of the Earth is an extrapolation of current science – both theoretical and empirical but I don’t see why I couldn’t be skeptical of such extrapolations while not doubting the foundational science.

    The problem with these honey traps is that they don’t help in the dialogue and simply propagate a cultural divide. They are substitutes for questions of substance and make the discussion of substantive issues much more difficult.

    For all I know Rubio is a right-wing nut who deserves everything he gets. But he stands for lots of people who don’t. I was just listening to http://www2.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2012/11/20121113t1830vHKT.aspx and I think that we need to be a lot more understanding of the people who simply don’t trust the messengers who carry the evangelism of science.

  2. Cris Post author

    Dominik — it is nice to see you again!

    Speaking neither as a left-winger nor an atheist (but rather as an apolitical agnostic), I will admit it might be unfair or even churlish. I suspect, however, that if you were raised by an evangelical parent (as I was) and lived in the evangelical US (as I do), you might at least empathize with my disgust. I’m far from being a scientist or evangelism for science, but this sort of thing deserves the contempt I gave it.

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