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Your 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate

[ 116 ] November 19, 2012 |

Marco Rubio in an interview with GQ.

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.

Comments (116)

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  1. Mudge says:

    I’d think choosing either 4000 or 4 billion would work here. Any attempt to avoid the question is an explicit bone to the fundies. Every interviewer should call them on it. Not holding my breath thought.

  2. rea says:

    Rubio, of course, raps part-time for ICP, in an attempt to appeal to the youth vote:

    Water, fire, air and dirt
    Fucking magnets, how do they work?
    And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist
    Y’all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed

  3. Derelict says:

    Well, expecting the man who wants to lead the greates, most powerful nation the Earth has ever known to have any actual knowledge about anything at all is just one of those typical liberal media gotcha questions.

    When will liberals learn that profound ignorance should be a prerequisite for public office? That and a deep and abiding hatred of the institution you want to lead?

  4. NonyNony says:

    Wait I’m confused.

    Is Marco Rubio a scientist or not?

    • sam says:

      I think, in his Republican populist worldview where everyday regular Americans with Common Sense already know what they need to know, we all are, so nobody is. It’s very complicated.

    • Jonas says:

      Well, scientists are theologians, and he is no theologian. He can always consult with Franklin Graham on scientific matters.

    • Anonymous37 says:

      Well, he is a member of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Even still, I’d give him a pass if (as CJColucci mentions below) he said, “I don’t know — it’s been a while since I’ve studied these things. I know it’s many millions of years old, but beyond that, I couldn’t say.” But he can’t bring himself to say even that.

  5. Mo says:

    What’s crazy is that he is Catholic. The Catholic Church believes in evolution, believes in the big bang, all of it. God created the world and the bible and differences between the two are part of God’s mystery.

    Some bishops have spoken out about this, but….. non-Catholic nurses at Catholic hospitals are using contraception!

    • John says:

      Yeah, I was going to say the same thing. It’s one thing if you’re a member of an evangelical young earth creationist church to say this kind of nonsense. It’s quite another if you’re a Catholic or a Mormon or a Mainline Protestant.

      • tonycpsu says:

        Rubio may have been born as a Catholic, but these days he’s
        moonlighting as a Southern Baptist.

        Good to see the GOP is distancing themselves from serial panderers…

        • John says:

          It appears from the article that his wife is a Southern Baptist, and he himself is Catholic, and they split time between churches. Hard to say for sure, though.

          • tonycpsu says:

            Hard to say for sure, though.

            Just like we can’t say for sure he’s a young Earth creationist — I think that’s how he likes it. In fact, that’ll probably be his campaign slogan.

            • Derelict says:

              Well, it’s going to be a remarkable couple of election cycles for Republicans as they have to fully embrace the lunacy that is their party’s official, published platform while simultaneously letting everyone know that they don’t embrace anything their party has published in the official platform.

              • STH says:

                So I guess the strategy is to do the Mitt thing of saying whatever works at the moment, with the hope that Rubio has less of a history of public statements and can’t be so easily exposed as the lying weasel he is. And have a brown candidate because that’s all that matters to brown people. And maybe don’t fight TOO hard against that immigration reform (though hard enough that you can defend it to the racist base).

                • Cody says:

                  You’re saying Democrats need to push for lots of Marc Rubio interviews on TV, so we can establish along back log before 2016?

    • Warren Terra says:

      I assume you’re correct about Catholic theology, but Rubio isn’t trying to describe his theology or to reassure his coreligionists – he’s trying to appeal to the fundamentalist Christians (Protestants of whatever sort) that have tremendous power in picking the next Republican nominee. If fundamentalist devotees of the Flying Spaghetti Monster had a strong position in the Republican party, Rubio would refuse to categorically deny the existence of His Noodly Appendage when asked, even though such an idea has considerably less basis in Catholic theology than does Young Earth Creationism.

    • Halloween Jack says:

      Unless the Catholic Church has changed an awful lot in the decade since I stopped going to church (with the exception of the occasional marriage, funeral or visit with family who expected me to attend with them), I don’t think that it’s so much a matter that they believe in evolution, the Big Bang, etc. as they don’t believe in the literal truth of Biblical accounts of creation. There may have been a Vatican position paper in the recent past that affirmed modern science–I seem to recall something along those lines–but, germane to my point, most Catholics don’t really pay very close attention to that kind of stuff unless their priest or bishop makes a point of bringing it up; your average Catholic doesn’t scrutinize the latest papal bull (don’t bother with the obvious joke) to see if it’s still OK to eat meat on Friday or whatever.

      The flip side is that, unless Rubio touched on one of the hot-button issues that the Church has gotten itself involved with lately–abortion, contraception, acceptance of same-sex relationships–it’s not as if Rubio’s priest or bishop would call him up and lecture him on the Church’s official position on magnets or star formation or whatever.

  6. BigHank53 says:

    We are fucked, aren’t we?

  7. Malaclypse says:

    That’s like asking the square root of a million. No one will ever know.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Disappointing from Rubio.

    Sooner or later we’re going to have to tell the Jesus Freaks who brought us big-government “compassionate conservatism” to get the fuck out of the movement.

    Fiscal conservatism is the future. Ayn Rand is our loadstar, not Jeebus.

    • John says:

      This is what is great about disputes for the soul of the Republican Party – both sides are completely distasteful.

      On the one hand you have people like our anonymous friend here, who apparently dislike fundamentalist nonsense, but largely because it distracts attention away from their horrifying libertarian economic agenda.

      On the other hand you have people like Mike Huckabee who feint at moving in the direction of a saner economic policy – all in order to garner more votes for their horrifying religious agenda.

    • Sly says:

      How to build a bigger political coalition: Tell other people already in your coalition, and who provide much of the infrastructure and manpower at the ground level in states you rely on for a national presence, to get out.

      I think that was Saul Alinsky’s sixty-eighth rule for radicals.

      • Anonymous says:

        Their vaunted ground game didn’t help much this time, did it?

        Fuck them and their constant whining. If they don’t like it they can get the fuck out and go Democrat. You try dealing with them.

        • Sly says:

          I’m sure you’ll fare much better with the ground game of first world libertarians. Because “center your political coalition on the smallest and least politically motivated group that will do fine no matter who gets elected” is Saul Alinky’s sixty-ninth rule for radicals.

          • SeanH says:

            Leaves them more time to focus on Saul Alinsky’s four hundred and twentieth rule for radicals.

            • Kryten says:

              Four hundred and twentieth? “No radical above the rank of lieutenant is to wear a ginger toupee”? I’m sorry, sir, but I really don’t see how that’s relevant.

        • Njorl says:

          Both religious zealotry and libertarianism are fatal poison for any presidential election. The Republican party used to understand that those groups were supposed to be played for fools, and ignored. Until they relearn that, or until libertarians and religious zealots accept that their beliefs are meaningless hobbies, we will have Democratic presidents.

        • NonyNony says:

          Their vaunted ground game didn’t help much this time, did it?

          I dunno – seen any projections of what the race would have looked like without it?

    • Scott S. says:

      “Loadstar.”

      Yes, that’s it exactly.

      Ayn Rand is definitely a loadstar.

    • Stag Party Palin says:

      Ayn Rand is our loadstar, not Jeebus.

      Ayn Rand is a truck? That’s harsh.

  9. CJColucci says:

    There are probably politicians who simply and honestly don’t happen to know what science says about the age of the Earth, but would not presume to dispute it if they did know. But they wouldn’t answer the question the way Rubio did, even if they wanted to hide their ignorance. They might say something like: “I know it’s really old, but I’ve forgottern the details of what I was taught, which may be out of date anyway. Go ask a scientist.”

    • Tybalt says:

      “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer here. I would think a great deal more of him if he’d said “Not my area. I don’t know.”

  10. Left_Wing_Fox says:

    I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says,

    Just not what geologists, cosmologists,

    but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians

    15 fans arguing about which version of Darth Vader’s orgin is canon, and George Lucas doesn’t count.

    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.

    Except for evolution on medicine, geology on energy policy, cosmology on our space program and use of satellites, or climatology on the future of our food production capabilities. Aside from those, nothing at all.

    I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that.

    Ivory tower assholes and their fancy “Books and “TV” and learning.

    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.

    All hail the Great Green Arklesiezure, who sneezed the universe into creation.

    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.

    In other news, it’s a great theological debate as to exactly where his house is. The christians say he lives in that apartment, the buddhists say he should be happy without material possessions, and should be happy meditating near the overpass.

    Just don’t show him a map. He’s not a scientist after all.

    • ploeg says:

      Except for evolution on medicine, geology on energy policy, cosmology on our space program and use of satellites, or climatology on the future of our food production capabilities. Aside from those, nothing at all.

      This deserves to be hammered home. A big challenge for the future economic growth of the US is the increasing tendency of scientists from abroad choosing to live in countries other than the US because they’re concerned about their scientific investigations being disrupted by a bunch of whackjobs.

      • Kurzleg says:

        Or as the oil companies say, “Good luck finding oil in the ground using creation science.”

        • redrob64 says:

          Well, since you insist on bringing that up, may I present the latest treatise by the esteemed Jerome Corsi, Ph.D., which manages to combine a conspiracy theory involving Big Oil, the Democrats, the Nazis, Soviet technological supremacy, and Creationism into a great steaming pile: The Great Oil Conspiracy.

    • Halloween Jack says:

      15 fans arguing about which version of Darth Vader’s orgin is canon, and George Lucas doesn’t count.

      Well, it shouldn’t, is the point.

      • Left_Wing_Fox says:

        Reality sucks, sometimes. All the wishful thinking in the world isn’t going to make the prequels disappear, and won’t poof Adam, Eve and Original Sin into existence either.

        • Halloween Jack says:

          Hey, now that Disney is in charge, and has the option of hiring someone sane for the next trilogy, they can mark the sequels down as a holodeck malfunction, or release Topher Grace’s edit, or whatever.

  11. patrick II says:

    …It is the practical realization of this idea, that education is a collective function not a private affair, that one essential distinction of the “modern state” from any of its precursors lies…Votes in themselves are worthless things. Men had votes in Italy in the time of the Gracchi. Their votes did not help them. Until a man has an education, a vote is a useless and dangerous thing for him to possess. The ideal community towards which we move is not a community of will only, it is a community of knowledge and will, replacing a community of faith and obedience. Education is the adapter which will make the nomadic spirit of freedom and self-reliance compatible with the nomadic spirit of freedom and self-reliance compatible with the co-operations and wealth and security of civilization.

    H.G. Wells

  12. actor212 says:

    Sadly, he’d still reliably get about 48% of the vote.

  13. Just Dropping By says:

    I’m going to choose to believe that the “I’m not a scientist, man,” statement is a quasi-dog whistle for Ghostbusters fans. (“Back off, man, I’m a scientist.”)

  14. David Mathias says:

    I can’t be the first person to make a joke about GQ = Gotcha Questions, can I (in my case it would be a joke on the people who would tell that joke as a sincere criticism of GQ, so levels, hoorary!)?

    I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says

    He means is that the Biblical story of Creation is recorded history that was recorded thousands of years after Creation according to its own account, right? Or is he instead suggesting that there are historical documents recording the creation of the world that are contemporary with Creation itself? That would be preety cool!

    • UserGoogol says:

      To be fair, the Bible claims to have the transcriptions of a guy who was there for the creation of the Universe, so there’s that. I don’t find those claims particularly persuasive, but most people do so I can’t really get particularly worked up over Marco Rubio being one of those people.

      • NonyNony says:

        the Bible claims to have the transcriptions of a guy who was there for the creation of the Universe

        No, it doesn’t.

        Some Bible idolators make that claim, but nowhere in the Bible does it actually say “this was transcribed by a guy who was actually there at the creation of the universe”.

    • Kryten says:

      Or is he instead suggesting that there are historical documents recording the creation of the world that are contemporary with Creation itself?

      27th October, 13,500,848 BC. Another day without much happening. Pretty dark, pretty quiet. Ho hum. Watched the rest of Series 1 of Deadwood and got an early night.

      28th October. UNEXPECTED VERY LOUD BANG TODAY.

  15. MAJeff says:

    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.

    Who the fuck cares what theologians say? That he would turn to them as the “experts” on such matters should automatically render him unfit for office.

  16. Major Kong says:

    I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says.

    Parents can teach that the universe was shat out the back of a giant turtle for all I care.

    Schools on the other hand, need to teach real science.

    We don’t teach the flat earth theory in geography as part of “the controversy”.

    • JKTHs says:

      Well I do care if parents teach that the universe was shat out the back of a giant turtle because eventually the schools would be teaching that the universe was shat out the back of a giant trutle. Obviously nothing you can do about that though

      • CJColucci says:

        Assuming that the “shat out of a giant turtle” theory was bad secular science rarther than a religious doctrine, our public schools would be legally free to teach it, just as they are now legally free to teach the phlogiston theory of chemistry. It’s not quite true that there would be “nothing” you could do about it; you could oppose it politically, and probably succeed. There isn’t much public demand for teaching bad science that isn’t religiously-motivated.

    • BigHank53 says:

      There’s a t-shirt, you know.

  17. I’m not a scientist, man. Does the earth rotate sound the sun or does the sun rotate around the earth? Scientists disagree. Think about THAT, man.

    Did I just blow your mind?

    • dwreck says:

      Also an unfrozen caveman lawyer quality to Rubio’s answer:

      “I am just a Senator. I was elected by Republicans in Florida and later got selected a potential presidential nominee. I don’t really understand your science… As I said during the campaign, I’m just a caveman [err, Senator]. But there is one thing I *do* know – we must do everything in our power to lower the Capital Gains Tax. Thank you!”

    • Halloween Jack says:

      Somewhere there is a dude whose entire universe is a single atom in my little finger (or is my entire universe a single atom in his little finger? Or both?) who is asking that same question at this exact same time. Like, whoa.

  18. commie atheist says:

    I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says

    One of these things is not like the other…

  19. mpowell says:

    This is actually not a bad answer for a national Republican. And I can’t say it’s any scarier than what I would have expected. They have to pander to the fundie base now. And it leads to pretty terrible social policy, though that is related to birth control much less than it is education policy.

  20. bexley says:

    I blame hipster’s ironic sensibilities for our inability to know how old the Earth is.

  21. I have tried to extend the principle of charity several times by reading Rubio’s response to the question, but I am forced to conclude, based on reading his words, that he is either a complete idiot, or a pandering idiot, or both.

  22. Kurzleg says:

    Is Rubio an economist? Because he sure seems confident about economic matters. Why this seeming unfounded confidence on economics but the equivocation on the other question? Hmmm…

  23. timb says:

    Reporter: Marco, thanks for the interview. How do I get to the interstate from here?

    Rubio: Hey, man, I’m not a map.

    • Halloween Jack says:

      Reporter: But you’ve got a smartphone; it looks like a Samsung Galaxy III–

      Rubio: Hey, quit depending on the government for assistance, moocher! Besides, I have people who tell me this stuff now. *turns away, boots up Angry Birds*

  24. Johnny Sack says:

    Dumber than your average pile of dogshit.

  25. Unsympathetic says:

    Rubio should ask people who are Christian who actually know things.

    Christianity can and does answer this question – with something called “Apologetics.” This applies science to Christian questions. For example, one of my sources on the below answer is a professor of electrical engineering at Johns Hopkins.

    The basic answer is: Apologetics has determined is that the Biblical use of “day” in Genesis does not refer to what we today term a 24-hour day. It means more of an epoch. So, carbon dating fits perfectly.. I’m comfortable with the wiki definition of the age of the earth.

    In short, the people who claim to “know the bible” and assert that God “did” such things as make the earth in one 24-hour day are.. crazy. Ignore them. If you must talk with them, ask them if they’ve heard of apologetics. A good book explaining this in greater detail is Lee Strobel’s The Case For Faith.

  26. Surreal American says:

    I don’t care if my next-door neighbor believes that the universe was created in Hoboken, New Jersey on January 1, 1937. I do care if that neighbor was vested with the power to make decisions on government policies that involved science.

  27. Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    Even the liberal Forbes magazine is calling out Rubio’s idiocy:

    Here’s an even more disturbing thought – scientists currently believe that the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old because radioactive substances decay at generally stable rates. Accordingly, by observing how much of a radioactive substance has decayed, scientists are able to determine how old that substance is. However, if the Earth is only 9,000 years old, then radioactive decay rates are unstable and subject to rapid acceleration under completely unknown circumstances. This poses an enormous danger to the country’s nuclear power plants, which could undergo an unanticipated meltdown at any time due to currently unpredictable circumstances. Likewise, accelerated decay could lead to the detonation of our nuclear weapons, and cause injuries and death to people undergoing radioactive treatments in hospitals. Any of these circumstances would obviously have a large economic impact.

    If the Earth is really 9,000 years old, as Paul Broun believes and Rubio is willing to remain ignorant about, it becomes imperative to shut down our nuclear plants and dismantle our nuclear stockpiles now until such time as scientists are able to ascertain what circumstances exist that could cause deadly acceleration of radioactive decay and determine how to prevent it from happening.

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