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.
Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter
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.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
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.
Jesus was fond of getting his point across via parables. The important part of the parable was the moral of the story, not the fact that the story was or was not a fictional account. So, why is it so odd to many Christians today that the six days of creation were not six 24 hour periods, but six eras? I an Catholic, and I find that the story of creation in the Bible actually follows the Big Bang theory...that is, if you consider a "day" as an era, and not a literal day.
These old books of the Bible were verbal stories passed down for generations. If God said, "After I launched the creation of the universe from a singularity it took about 10 billion years for your home planet to form," the average person in 1,000 BC would have said, "What is a singularity?" What is a billion?" What is a planet?"
The original writers intened their story to be taken literally. You and people like you rationalize it as an allegory in order to sidestep your cognative dissonance.
So why doesn't your god come back and update his profile, as it were? We are now far more scientifically literate – so where is your god? If he's omniscient he clearly can see what a muck-up his book is causing. Come on, god – clarify.
Ohhh, hang on – I think I know why there's been a lack of clarification. He doesn't exist.
And why couldn't he get things in the right order in the first place, regardless of the days vs. eras question? He clearly has the Earth existing well BEFORE the Sun, moon, and stars, which we know to be, like, you know, wrong. And he seems confused about the order of creation of living things – compare Genesis 1 & 2 and notice the contradictions.
They do tell us that God is pretty old, ancient of days and all that. Do gods get Alzheimer's?
you can believe in a mystical being who created all the matter and life in the universe, yet refuses to display definitive proof of its existence to us, or you can believe that the proper amount of protein, electrolytes, sugars, and RNA came together in a lipid layer (or some other semi permeable membrane) at just the right time to create a cell that could reproduce itself and begin life.
Now, chemistry tells us that reations requiring the presence of more than 3 molecules at once are exceedingly rare due to the low probability of all the reactants coming together in the same space at the same time. The probablility of all the cellular machinery (enzymes, ion channels, RNA polymerase, anabolic and catabolic pathways, etc) just assembling out of randomn peptides and nucleic acids is infinitely small.
Either way, you're taking a big leap of faith that either event occurred. The key part there is what you BELIEVE. I find it funny when people who have not conducted a Carbon 14 dating experiment are certain it works because someone told them so, but ridicule the guy who believes something his pastor/rabbi/priest/shaman told him because he didn't figure it out himself. I'm pretty sure if I ask the average guy to explain the science behind a GC/MS he would be clueless but believe the machine when it told you what was present in your urine sample.
Believe whatever feels right to you, don't force your beliefs on others and I mean that for both sides of this debate.
I'm still looking for Big Foot.
Yeti – youve been hanging out on too many creationist website....the calculations leading to the whole "impossibly small probability" arguement has been widley debunked. Just google it and youll see why the calcs used would make result in everyday cell division essentially impossible
Yeti, what do you believe about how it is that you can sit wherever you are sitting, move your fingers against a piece of equipment, and that equipment turns your finger movements into words that are appearing on other pieces of equipment all over the world? Did god do that? Or was the cu-mulative efforts of untold numbers of people involved in the creation of computers, the internet, the power grid, etc.
How can you tell, unless you've created an internet from scratch, created and distributed electricity, created computers? Because, clearly, if you personally have not done these things, these is simply NO basis to choose between competing theories, right? In fact, who's to say that it's not magical text fairies, who go into your brain, take your thoughts, muck around with your optic nerves so you think you're seeing things, and then fly magically all over the world into other people's brains, making them think that they are reading your words on a computer screen.
@Attack – I think you just explained Science as Creation. Hmmm.
@Attack – or is that Intelligent Design? So confusing.
Selective Science works well with Selective Morals!
Well he's a republican, so of course he doesn't believe in science, or climate change. They probably don't believe in gravity since they all wear metal shoes which is the only thing that keeps them from floating off into space with the their 'air head' ideas.
The good news here is they will continue to alienate independent voters who are turned off by pandering and stupidity. The GOP is not likely to win a national election for a long time to come with this the Rick Santorum philosophy of "the gop will never be the party of the educated elite"
Wow...a blatant repeat of Stephanapoulis birth control tactic. Terribly misleading headline...it should read "GQ reporter ignites debater with Red Herring."
Is there no GOP leade4r willing to corss the crazies?
I think you guys are missing that Rubio was trying to say the age of the earth is an unimportant question to be asking him when the economy is on the verge of collapse
No, the pint is that he was being intentionally being misleading and dishonest in order to score political points pandering to people who are too stupid for their own good, and apparently getting stupider all the time
Then why not say, are best evidence supports the age as 4.5 billion years AND we should be speinding our time on the economy numbers not the earth age numbers.
If these people cannot even get the fundamentals of science, how will they be able to handle the fundamentals of math necessary to get us back on track?
Not exactly, Jimmy, he said it was a mystery, that it's a dispute for theologians, and then said let's talk about the economy. Someone who had paid attention in school when they were a kid, would have said "It's estimated to be 3.5 billion years old. Now let's talk about the economy."
Do you see the difference?
Lets ask Obama the same question then. What do you think he will say?
Yes, yes, I know. 4.5 billion. Hit the wrong key.
Then he could have answered with a straightforward answer and moved on, rather than some of the most blatant political doublespeak I've seen in recent memory. Clearly Rubio was trying to "hold to the base" while not sounding like he completely dismisses science. Unfortunately he just ended up sounding like an idiot.
In short, Marco Rubio probably believes in evolution and the age of the Earth that science points to, but he can't -say- that because then the Religious Right will crucify him.
EXACTLY, yet, they are all back here bickering and whining like little children while their economy collapses around them. Howecver the world was created, however old it is - you can bicker and whine all you want, but it is what it is, none of you are chaning anything. Most of you need to get off Mom's computer, move out of your parent's basement and GET A LIFE. A REAL one – of your own. Then decide what YOUR beliefs are and keep your nose out of everyone elses beliefs. Simple. Could change the world.
If he said that he would still be wrong. It is an important question. There are gov't represetatives running around deciding policy (global warming for instance) on what they think the bible says. If you don't think their beliefs matter you are wrong.
No–it's his statement 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” that is the dangerous part. He's NOT trying to downplay it–he's parroting explicitly the Christian Right's line that we should teach religion in schools. THAT plan has nothing to do with economics. He can't hide behind a pretense that we only need to work on the economy while saying we should undermine science literacy AND blur separation of church and state at the same time!
I don't think it's likely that most politicians would know the correct number offhand... note that here we had 3.5B... so the real criticism here should be that he evaded the question the wrong way.
Well, Wanda, as soon as Christians get back in their bus and get out of Washington, and stop their campaign to turn this country into a theocracy, then I'll "get my nose out of other peoples' beliefs". And not a moment sooner.
Imagine the shape the economy will be in if we have a generation of scientifically illiterate kids.
Before I have a pint with 50 Ft Underwear, I gotta say that if Rubio sits on a science committee and makes a stupid claim about the age of the earth, then I have to wonder what other kinds of numbers he's screwing up. It's just further evidence of poor education in science across a large percentage of the electorate.
It's not a matter for theologians, it's a science matter.
I'm on your side Greg.
This is a discussion about SCIENCE and "beliefs" really do not matter and shouldn't even enter into the discussion. Early Christians arrested Galileo because he tried to show them that the earth went around the sun, contrary to their "beliefs" and scriptural interpretation that the earth was the center of the universe. When a scientist starts "believing" his hypothesis rather than questioning them, he stops being a scientist.
That's it...I formally renounce my association with the republican party. These people are complete idiots. The only "great mystery" is how these people tie their shoes. Bachmann, Broun and now Rubio. Three strikes and I'm out.
The Earth is as old as the hills and twice as dusty.
It's actually older than any visible hills due to geologic activity, e.g. erosion, uplift, subduction, etc.
Darwin believed in an "omnipotent deity" until the death of his 10-year old daughter, which he couldn't reconcile with this belief. It was his loss of faith that moved him to adopt the theory of evolution. Should grief and the resulting cynicism be the reasons a thinking person changes their belief system? Did Darwin's bitterness about his daughter's death result in the foundation of disbelief for so many people? He may have been correct that his daughter's death was somehow associated with the "inbreeding" from marrying his cousin. It seems he wanted to blame "someone else" for his own misjudgement.
Even if what you say about Darwin is true, what does that have to do with the world being much older than religious wackos believe?? Maybe Darwin was so disillusioned with religion that he went out and falsified the earth's age, right??
Any proof for your claims? Provide links to back them up. Other wise opinion and speculation. God still doesn't exist.
you fvcking idiot, that is a creationist myth. He based his theory on about 40 years of painstaking research. Research that has been validated innumerable times. Now put down tyour computer and crawl back into your trailer. You really are fvcking stupid.
Is it your understanding of science that anything that Darwin thought or felt is relevant to the Theory of Evolution? That would be an incorrect interpretation. His observations are important and the observations of hundreds of thousands of scientists since then. Evolution is not about challenging beliefs, it is about creating models to predict natural phenomena. The religious views of the observer are completely irrelevant.
First, the age of the Earth is not dependent on evolution.
Second, regardless of Darwin's motivations, his theory stands or falls on the evidence.
Darwin doesn't really have anything to do with geology, and he isn't anything more than a symbol of evolutionary theory, either... so it doesn't matter if he was motivated by personal issues.
Proof? Proof of what is written about Darwin? I didn't know him, did you? Does Colin speak for the rest of you? Colin, what are you implying about people who live in trailers? Are you saying that all people who live in trailers are "fvcking idiots?" With your brilliant reply, you've convinced me that your are right?
"Chance favors the prepared mind." While it may have been the death of his daughter that primed Darwin to think far outside the traditional, Victorian box, it was incredibly detailed observation followed by excellent scientific dedcuction that led to The Origin of Species.
There was never any admission of Darwin's to that effect. Charles Darwin referred to himself as an agnostic – or a theist:
"… the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the Origin of Species; and it is since that time that it has very gradually with many fluctuations become weaker."
"In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that generally (and more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind." (1879)
Funny. I've always heard the story that Darwin was hesitant to publish his work precisely because he was having a hard time reconciling it with his religious faith. Doesn't sound like a guy that was all that "disillusioned" to me. But maybe that story is a legend as well.
"Does Colin speak for the rest of you?"
The rest of who?
What are you assuming?
I should have written that "It has been written...," instead of "Darwin believed..." for which I apologize. I commented to "incite," which, apparently, I have. All of those replying, have readily critiqued my comment, but have not said anything about Colin's scathing, moronic, categorical characterization of my comment.
The Bible was written by a bunch of guys that counted by writing numbers in the sand, comets whizzing across the sky were belived to be angels, and volcanos and earthquakes were caused by God's vengeance. So why would you use this the Bible as your scientific basis for anything? It's a good moral compass that still stands the test of time, but use it for that and for that alone.
As our priest put it, "The Bible is a great guide to "Why." It's not so good on "How."
"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.”
I'm pretty sure a 7 year old can answer that 'great mystery'.
Umm, let me see. There may or may not be a God. If one lives a life under the golden rule and practices a religion that believes in God and there is a God – WIN!!! If there isn't a God – no harm, no foul, you led a good life. If there is a God I pity you poor losers who could have had the best of both if you used your head while you were alive. Gamble away and i hope you don't burn, IF there is a hell, that is.
Um.... I think most religions require people to "really" believe – not just play pretent in order to hedge against potential hellfire......but other than that, nice plan.
So, if I believe in God and thus only lead a good life because I'm scared of eternal damnation, then that makes me a good person at heart? But yet, if I don't believe in God but still live a good life because I want to, because I'm a good person, and then it turns out I'm wrong, God will tell me, "Eh, all that goof stuff you did during your life doesn't count because you didn't go to church. Sorry. But that other guy, who cheated on his taxes, wife, job, etc, but then asked me for forgiveness... he gets into Heaven."
Oh, husky – you've fallen for a logical fallacy called Pascal's wager – assuming that there are only tow possible scenarios after someone dies. What if there is a god, and he judges people based on whether or not they use their brains, as opposed to blind, illogical belief in the face of overwhelming evidence. What if god consigns all of the believers to Hell, and all of the atheists to Heaven? Then who's up the creek? What if god is Thor, and he's p-issedd off because you have been worshiping that false Abrahamic god instead of him?
Which god is the right one?
That being the case, why do you care? and by your own bible it says that those that follow gods rules, follow the teachings and the bible, but do not believe, they burn in hell too! see ya there! IF people would stop trying to make sure everyone folows thier rules, their god, thier way, and jsut did what their way was, I would not hate religions o much, and the rest of the planet could get along. You people cant just let god be the be all end all of it though, you have to scream and fight and promote your own god and try to make laws that enforce what your god says. What you believe, its nto what I believe! I have the right to pursue happiness, I have the freedom of religion right too, and that means freedom from religion. Go to your church, pray to your god, do what ever ya like, but stop telling everyone else they have to do it too! if you had a god, if he had any power what so ever, he wouldnt need you running your mouth to defend him, he could do it on his own. I hope i am wrong and god is real, and I hope when you all die and go see god, its a gay woman.
Nice tightrope act, Marco! You've assuaged the religious crazies;; now what do you REALLY believe?
Wrong – blindly following a "Theory" can be more dangerous than blindly following a religion.
Yeah – especially theories that have the backing of – oh, i don't know – 99.9999999% of the scientists in the world. And that whole gravity theory thingie? Forget that stuff! Jump off a bridge – it's only a theory that you'll be pulled to the ground at 32.2 feet per second squared. It's ONLY a theory!
It's a theory if not proven wrong. To prove something means you follow accepted methods and the results are the same.
Gravity is technically a theory. You want to dispute that? Learn the difference between a hypothesis, where people are just guessing based on fact, and a theory, which is scientifically accurate but still lacks some properties of observation. E.g. have you SEEN a gravity? Exactly, it doesn't even make sense. For all we know there are little, invisible fairies that pull everything to the ground and keep all the planets in orbit, but that's highly unlikely so we call the force gravity instead.
I've got a well tested theory
Carbon 14 only decays at a specific rate. We answered the age question long ago. 4.5 Billion years. End of drama.
@independent – Col 1:16 and 17 is your answer.
@dave – Wrong you can't use Carbon 14 to date the earth. And who says it's constant?
Following a theory for which there is a mountain of evidence is not following "blindly". Following religion with no evidence whatsoever - now that's biind. But thanks for trying.
@Enjay – I use history, written by men, inspired by God, written in a book telling me about the same mountain. Only your mountain is not history but, written by men, inspired by science fiction. I choose to remain blinded as you call it because your evidence has not been proven. You can continue on you path of enlightenment.
" Col 1:16 and 17 is your answer."
Why would you believe Paul of Tarsus... or those other primitive, superst'itious Middle Eastern Hebrews, who were wrong about quite a number of things?
@I Wonder Why do you choose to believe Scientists who are wrong about alot of things? Trekiis no doubt. My belief in the Creator leads me to believe in the consistency of what they have written and I believe that is Truth.
" the consistency of what they have written"
1. There are a lot (see, it's "a lot" - no such word as "alot") of inconsistencies in your Bible.
see http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html – for some of them.
2. Whatever seeming consistencies in your Bible were purposefully selected by early Church leaders in choosing only ancient Middle Eastern writings which toed their "party line".
@I wonder – I have been studying the Bible for more than 20 years and have yet to see one contradiction. I have seen that site and so many others people have posted and not one has an actual contradiction. The problem always ends up being that you guys don't understand what you are reading, so you think it's inconsistant or contradictory.
Your Emperor (The Bible) is running around in his underwear.
The bits of verified Middle Eastern Hebrew history and some basic morality tales are the skivvies. The golden-threaded cloak is imaginary.
@I wonder – Ahhh, glad you cleared that up. So, what you're saying is that I should take Dr. Dipwad's theory as the Gospel because he spent a few years in college and in a lab away from the real world. Just throw out thousands of years of History and eye witnesses.
@I wonder – I have been studying the Bible for more than 20 years and have yet to see one contradiction."
You apparently haven't read it very carefully. Start with Genesis 1 & 2. The order of creation of living things. Totally contradictory. And that's just The Beginning.
It is scary that politicians still want to mix religion with politics just to appeal to their base. It is just a scary that religious leaders want to bring politics into the scanctuary. But probably worst of all is the mixing of science and religion. I view these election results as a win for reason, but it was close.
um, HE didn't try to "mix politics and religion". HE tried to deflect the question. Smart move for him. Because, it's NOBODY'S BUSINESS what he believes about those kinds of questions. He's just a plain old politiian, he has nothing to do with religion, but the LIBERALS keep bringing it up. How ironic is that???? Ridiculous.
Rubio was asked the question by a liberal magazine obviously trying to get him to commit on a controversial issue? Why are you acting as if Rubio is running his campaign based on young earth creation?
Wanda and JL: It is relevant because politicians who try to legislate via their religion can effectively stifle religious freedom in this country if they are successful.
Wanda, The religious right want to mix religion with politics to further their agenda – creationism taught as science, public displays of their religious symbols on civil buildings, civil law based upon their interpretation of the bible, etc. etc. So why wouldn't the public want to know where a politician standss. More so for Rubio who is on the science committee; or do you think it is acceptable that someone who doesn't believe in science sits on that committee and if you do what would be the purpose – it can only be as an obstruction.
The Earths age is roughly know and it's not what far right religious but bags try and tell you. What's actually one of Earth's greatest mysteries is how in this day and age a political party can be so hostile to basic scientific tenants that have been settled for decades.
It's really amazing...the Earth turned out to be so much older than anybody had imagined. The rocks say so and rocks don't lie. The Earth is more than 1/3 the age of the universe itself. We live on an incredibly ancient planet. But the Earth isn't worn out and barren. It's alive, teaming with life, warmth, water, beauty.
The ancient Hebrews had no record of their past except their verbal heritage so they believed the world started with them. Like most primitive cultures they believed their beginning was the beginning . Sorry, not even close.
What's actually one of Earth's greatest mysteries is how in this day and age a political party can be so hostile to basic scientific tenants that have been settled for decades.
Because when religion is finally exposed for the fraud that it is, they will lose their flock.
When the universe was created is a great mystery? No, it is most definitely not. Scientists have collected data, cold hard facts, and determined the age o the Earth to be 4.5 Billions years, give or take a few million. End of story. No mystery. The Bible is not scientific fact.
We should have the opportunity to teach all theories? Then how about we teach the theory that the Holocaust was a hoax and never happened. Let's teach kids that we never landed on the moon, that 9/11 was an inside job, that the Earth is flat, that germs aren't real, that HIV doesn't cause AIDS, and all the other crackpot theories out there in the world. Let's see how well that goes over.
All good points. People in this country should have the freedom to be stupid. "Imma be stupid – and there's not a thing you can do about it!"
Sure, Steve. Your post proves your point.
“I'm not a scientist, man,” Rubio told the interviewer.
I AM a scientist, man, and if you were willing to listen, I might convince you with data and logic of the Earth's great antiquity.
But fundamentalists are not open to reason. And as the saying goes, "Fundamentalists are fossils in their own time."
"A conservative is a man with two good legs who can't move forward." -FDR
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.