Rubio: How old is the earth?

During a recent interview with GQ magazine, the rising GOP star dodged questions about the earth's age.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is either an idiot, said Alex Seitz-Wald in, or running for president. How else to explain why, when GQ magazine asked the rising GOP star how old he thinks the earth is, Rubio replied, “I’m not a scientist, man.” Rubio then waffled for a while about the “multiple theories out there,” before concluding that the question of the earth’s age is “one of the great mysteries.” Not incidentally, Rubio last week made his first appearance in Iowa, where 68 percent of Republican caucus-goers are Christian conservatives who believe God created the universe in six days just a few thousand years ago. For the record, said Garance Franke-Ruta in, all the geological and fossil evidence points to the earth being 4.54 billion years old. Rubio’s frantic dodging of scientific reality demonstrates how “biblically literal conservatism continues to hold sway over the GOP.”

Questions like this are nothing but “political booby traps,” said Paul Kengor in The liberal interviewer had but one goal—to caricature Rubio as a know-nothing Christian extremist, thus minimizing the threat this bright young Hispanic Republican poses as a possible future presidential candidate. As Rubio himself explained in the interview, questions about the age of the earth have “nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.” In 2008, candidate Barack Obama was asked a similar question, said Dan Amira in He replied that he didn’t “presume to know” whether the universe was created exactly as described in the Bible. Does that make Obama a “science-denying religious zealot?” Or just a politician?

All politicians dodge questions, said Paul Krugman in The New York Times.But as president, Obama has been a consistent champion of science, whereas Rubio, as a Florida state legislator, compared the teaching of evolution to communist indoctrination. In other words, Rubio shares the dangerous “anti-rational mind-set” of the far Right. So if he becomes president, he’ll join those who deny the overwhelming evidence that carbon emissions lead to global warming, and that tax cuts don’t lead to economic growth. How does America solve its national problems if we close our eyes to evidence? How do we compete with other nations in science and technology if we let creationists dictate what’s taught in schools? Rubio’s little dodge “was symptomatic of a broader problem—one that may set America on a path of inexorable decline.”

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