Rubio ignites debate with answer about creationism
November 19th, 2012
04:19 PM ET

Rubio ignites debate with answer about creationism

By Dan Merica and Eric Marrapodi, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Florida Sen. Marco Rubio attempted to walk the line between science and faith-based creationism in remarks that that have provoked the ire of liberal blogs, leaving the door open to creationism in responding to a recent question about the age of the Earth.

When GQ’s Michal Hainey asked Rubio, in an interview released Monday, “How old do you think the Earth is,” the rising Republican star described the debate about the planet’s age as “one of the great mysteries.”

“I'm not a scientist, man,” Rubio told the interviewer. “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.”

“Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras,” Rubio continued, “I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries.”

Most scientists agree that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 14.5 billion years old. Christian Young Earth Creationists, on the other hand, argue that the weeklong account of God creating the Earth and everything in it represents six 24-hour periods (plus one day of rest) and date the age of the Earth between 6,000 and 10,000 years.

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Left-leaning blogs and sites like ThinkProgress and Huffington Post jumped on Rubio’s comments, with the Zack Beauchamp from ThingProgress writing, “To suggest we can’t know how old the Earth is, then, is to deny the validity of these scientific methods altogether — a maneuver familiar to Rubio, who also denies the reality of anthropogenic climate change.”

Rubio is regarded as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, though the senator says his visit last week to Iowa, home of the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, had “nothing to do with 2016.”

His response to GQ’s age of the Earth query has also provoked questions about his political aspirations. Dave Weigel of Slate writes, “How can you read that and not think ‘Iowa’? ” The state is the first to hold a presidential caucus in 2016.

Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup in June. That number has remained unchanged for the past 30 years, since 1982, when Gallup first asked the question on creationism versus evolution.

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The second most common view is that humans evolved with God's guidance - a view held by 32% of respondents. The view that humans evolved with no guidance from God was held by 15% of respondents.

The Gallup poll has not specifically asked about views on the age of the Earth.

Rubio attends a Baptist church in southern Florida but also considers himself “a practicing Catholic.”

He was born Catholic, but his family converted to Mormonism when Rubio was 8 years old, according to Rubio’s recent memoir. The family left its LDS faith behind when it moved from Nevada back to Florida and Rubio was confirmed in the Catholic Church.

Catholic teaching is that science and faith are not at odds with one another and it is possible to believe what scientists say about the Earth’s age and in God. But many evangelical churches, including Baptist ones, promote a version of creationism.

When CNN reached out to Rubio’s Baptist church in Florida on Monday, a person answering the phone would not comment on its teachings about the Earth’s age and said that a church representative was unlikely to be available in the near term.

During the GQ interview, Rubio argued that “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.”

For the past 30 years, the “equal-time argument” –- the idea that Creationism taught alongside evolution -– has been popular method for Creationists to advance their cause. In the late 1980s, some state legislatures passed bills that promoted the idea of a balanced treatment of both ideas in the classroom.

In 1987, the issue made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where a Louisiana "equal-time law" was struck down. The court ruled that teaching creationism in public school classrooms was a violation of the Establishment Cause in the Constitution, which is commonly referred to as the separation of church and state.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Creationism • Politics

soundoff (6,211 Responses)
  1. gran

    The stupid GOP is on every tv in the country saying they need to grow up and come into this century, and what is the first thing they do? Apply the old Creationist Litmus Test on an up-and-coming. If he doesn't pass this test, he is toast. The GOP shoots itself in the foot AGAIN, LOL!!!!

    November 19, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Jessica

      Shhhh..... Let them keep doing what they have been doing.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  2. noteasilyswayed

    This is why the GOP needs to disavow the extremists..... by pandering to right wing extremists, the candidates sound like a bunch of ignorant folks who cannot be trusted. Anyone who reads National Geographic or goes to any museum knows that there are fossils that are millions of years old..... the GOP is continually self destructing.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  3. lionlylamb

    Richard wrote, "Religious believers can claim misery, suppression of knowledge and murder among other crimes as their legacy. It's not 'hate' to oppose this."

    Governing bodies are the ones that "can claim misery, suppression of knowledge and murder among other crimes as their legacy." Just on reasoning alone the simple minds of the religious blame games know little to hardly anything regarding what governing officials have done yes in the naming of religious b e a t i t u d e s. being governing's official scapegoats throughout much in histories. Oh, I forgot! Religion is all there was in past histories. Influenced by greediness may well be the gold-egg in many tradgedies thru the world's history trees. If not for secularism grabbing the U.S.A.'s governing bodies, we here in the U.S.A. and in many other countries, nations would still be under the oppressions of old man fuddy duddies bellying up at the bars exercising their arms!

    November 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Athy

      Beatitudes, not b e a t i t u d e s. Not that this would make your comments any less painful to try to read.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Actually, throughout most of western history, government was religions scapegoat.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • I'm Too Lazy for html

      "b e a t i t u d e s"

      Show off! :twisted:

      November 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Athy

      I think you meant to say "beatitudes."

      November 19, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      In what ways was governing bodies the scapegoats of religions? The west you say? How so?

      November 19, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      Anytime I use t i t my posting does not happen! same thing whenever I use words with c u m,,,, :-(

      November 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  4. Chris

    So begins the pandering to the religious right. As Yogi Berra once said, it's deja vu all over again.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  5. Speak the Truth

    I think people like Rubio represent the height of human arrogance. We have intelligence and wisdom which we should use to make the world a better place. To deny human's ability to think is to spit on this great gift which we possess. It is ignorance that breeds hatred, cruelty, waste and sorrow. And this man is supposed to be a respected politician? He represents what's going wrong with this country; arrogance, just plain arrogance.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Speak the Truth,

      "Intelligence and wisdom" comes and does go in matters that flow. One cannot intellectualize without the sense of wisdoms about moralisms being held up to the plates of mobs and masses chiming in their due considerations. Yes?

      November 19, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Speak the Truth


      November 19, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  6. El Flaco

    Here we have a Republican who feels compelled to pander to the Evangelical dingbats of his party because they often provide the margin of victory to Republicans. Yet, he doesn't want to appear stupid to the non-Evangelicals so he gets mealy-mouthed and says that it is all still up for debate.

    A statesman would have said, "We must defer to the scientists, who know much more than we non-scientists about such matters. Scientists say that the Biblical version of history is primitive nonsense. We probably should go along with that. Scientists, after all, have read hundreds of books and articles in scientific journals. We – most of us – have read none of that. We should accept the opinion of he experts."

    November 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  7. Beadles

    The mere fact that "46% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form some time in the last 10,000 years" is sufficient to horrify me.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Apatheist

      Agreed, but it's better than 47%...

      November 19, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Speak the Truth

      The majority of Americans also believe in ghosts, UFOs, that their horoscope is accurate, and that the gods are real. So what's new?

      November 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  8. Emilio Dumphuque

    NO! Scientists agree that the earth is AT LEAST 4.5 billion years old. There's a difference. They don't have a cut off date, and leave the door open for further evidence pushing it past that.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Actually Emilio, not really. Science has dated the Earth at 4.54 plus or minus 1%. It's not an "At least" kind of thing.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Oops, 4.54 Billion years old that is.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  9. RichSF

    Hey... the boy's still got one thing going for him. He's smarter than Sarah Palin.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Athy

      Shit, I could say that about my dog!

      November 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  10. Franky

    I'm sorry I simply can't deal with Republican stupidity anymore.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Chad

      Democrats arent Christian!!???

      are you sure?

      November 19, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Akira

      Did he SAY anything about Christianity? He just said Republican stupidity!

      November 19, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Chad

      Oh, sorry, my bad..

      Are all republicans young earth creationists???

      are you sure???

      November 19, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Chad

      Chads are all chew toys!!???

      are you sure?

      November 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  11. tokencode

    So Rubio is either pandering to the brainless or is brainless himself.... I'm not quite sure which is worse. If you can brush aside all of the scientific evidence in favor of a book of fairytales, I really don't want you having a say in the future of this country.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Athy

      He could be both. A brainless boob pandering to the brainless.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  12. thegadfly

    The most sensible thing he said? "I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States." Fiscal conservatives might just have a voice in the federal government right now, if they would tell the social conservatives to go take a hike.

    The least sensible thing he said? "I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says." What the Bible says about the matter is utterly irrelevant. About a thousand times as irrelevant as what it says about gays. Wherefore do you doubt what recorded history says? Do you really think a loving God would try so hard to trick you?

    November 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  13. Just Plain Common Sense

    That would be a day when a politician gives a straight and truthful answer. Shame on Rubio for not answering a simple question.
    If earth is 6000 years old then how we keep on finding bones and minerals that are million and million years old.

    Amazing Fool he is!

    November 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Beadles

      I asked that very question of a believer in creationism. Her answer: God took parts of *very old* worlds to cobble together planet Earth. So that is why scientists find evidence of Earth being older than the Bible says.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Akira

      I had a similar friend who said that God populated the Earth with fossiles and dinosaur bones to test the true believer's faith.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • End Religion

      "God took parts of *very old* worlds to cobble together planet Earth."

      I just laughed for 23 seconds...

      November 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Dump hinduism, illegality of Evolution, way of hindu's, deniers of truth absolute GOD, sons of LANGOOR, SELF CENTERED

      Rubio is a politician, a way too smart to say 4,5 billion years old and loose votes of dumbos. Hey what the hack, if you say the Earth was borne yesterday, and win some fools votes in election?

      November 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  14. Reality

    God creating the Earth and everything in it represents six 24-hour periods (plus one day of rest)

    What did God do on His day of rest? Why did He need a day of rest? What did He do on the next day?

    November 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  15. Observer

    So Marco Rubio can't figure out if the answer is likely 6,000 years or 4,500,000,000.

    Why should this man be in any office making decisions that affect people?

    November 19, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • End Religion

      Because he's comely and speaks well, which are the most important things in life.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  16. sanjeev phukan

    I would love to know what his opinion was when he sat in his science class in school. At that time his intellect may not have been clouded by the religious right mumbo-jumbo.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • End Religion

      the article says he grew up clouded >

      November 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  17. marcphila

    he wont win the presidency. anyone who claims that earth is 6000 years old might think he will get alot of votes, but he will not. citizens needs someone with logic to run a country. sorry, but its inconceivable that a person who thinks that the earth is 6000 years old can be elected. Even George W did not think it.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • CS

      Tom Tom nailed it below, but I will take it a step forward. I am embarrassed in front of my children. How do explain this to them? The country the live in elects such ignorant people. And they should aspire to this?

      November 19, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What's worse is that people like Chard think this guy is just A-OK.

      I feel sorry for your kids that they have to grow up with idiots like that in charge of things that affect their lives and with the idiots that vote for such morons.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Answer

      I'll add this one little piece to reflect the global arena in economics..

      "Nobody is going to pay for any religious patents. Scientific patents will always be the winners."

      November 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  18. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    It's mortifying that an elected representative would make such statements in public for the entire world to see. I am so disgusted that Rubio would embarrass the nation this way. I'm angry that such a completely ignorant azz gets to vote on issues affecting education in this country.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  19. blaqb0x

    The shape of the Earth? One of lifes mysteries.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • mama k

      Someone should run up and catch Marco off guard and ask him what the fiscal cliff is and what happens if we go over it.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      He'd probably say that God made the cliff and it will be his will that will determine what happens when we go over it.

      Please, will somebody grow some common sense and get rid of these idiots?

      November 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Athy

      The world is obviously flat. Every time I go on an airliner I look out the window and see the edge. So it has to be flat and that's all there is to It. Don't confuse me with facts.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  20. CanOnTo

    There are multiple theories on the shape of the Earth. Well, two at least. One says it's round, the other one says it's flat. I wake up every morning and see it's flat. I think we should teach kids in school both theories.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      OK, I laughed.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
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