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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. Smarter than ewe

    The Devil is behind all these stories, about whether God exists, that CCN keeps taunting the believers with. All one needs to do is sneeze in a crowd to know he/she exists. Well at least in theory and name thanks to a bunch of dudes who wrote the best seller to grab land and not pay taxes on it once there put up a church.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Optic

      I think its Godzilla, and i have many movies to prove he is real

      November 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  2. Leonard A Magazine

    What bull. We can scientifically prove the earth's age. We can prove the age of rocks on the earth by radiometric aging. Get real Mr Rubio.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      Yea. That's right. In fact, we're so good at it we keep coming up with different answers every time....

      November 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And not one of them is 6,000 to 10,000 years, idiot.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • KRHODES

      That is what is known as circular reasoning.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • lol

      @krhod.. so lets hear how old do you think earth is? in all your wisdom and god's love.. which ofcourse according to you has a the most accurate answer..

      November 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Ted Ward

      Yes, and relativity teaches that time itself is not absolute but is relative to the observer. So time could be anything. So don't get so stuck on what "scientists" think. Just a few years ago ( in earth observer time) scientists thought the expansion of the universe must certainly, logically, scientifically, be slowing down. But, voila!, a couple years later "science" in all its great ignorance finds that, in fact, the expansion of the universe in expanding, the very opposite of what science had claimed was scientifically true all along. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Don't take science too seriously. It has its own limitations.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • KRHODES

      lol

      "@krhod.. so lets hear how old do you think earth is? in all your wisdom and god's love.. which ofcourse according to you has a the most accurate answer.."

      I have no idea and i am pretty sure neither do many others. We think we know a lot of things but as time passes those ideas are overthrown on a regular basis.

      November 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Khruddy shows all the qualities of a right-wing politician.

      November 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • lol

      "I have no idea and i am pretty sure neither do many others. We think we know a lot of things but as time passes those ideas are overthrown on a regular basis."

      But.. looks like the philosophy you subscribe and prescribe to others is, since science can not come down and decide on exact time, lets use this 2000 yr old bronze age book and consider it absolute unequivocal unadulterated unalterable truth and stop caring about solving the question all together.. how does that make sense?

      also, I can not help but extend your sentiment to ask, isn't 2000 yrs a long enough time to throw out the stories about man living in a whale and talking snakes and woman made from a man's rib and woman turning into salt and all the stuff like that?

      November 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Was Blind

      "Yea. That's right. In fact, we're so good at it we keep coming up with different answers every time...."

      How so? The estimate of 4.5 billion years has not materially changed in the last ~60 years. It was first postulated in 1953.

      What different answers are (real) scientists coming up with that vary demonstrably from 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years?

      November 20, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  3. LikeLogic

    Tom, there are many public sources for this information. Just one that can get you started is "A Nation of Givers" by Arthur C. Brooks. In the year 2000 (and I believe it has since increased even more) households headed by a conservative gave, on average, 30 percent more to charity than did households headed by a liberal. And in this study, liberals were earning 6 percent more in income and yet still less charitable. Same source also gives stats on donating time to charitable causes.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And your source is a conservative. Hardly unbiased.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • KRHODES

      Wait a minute Likelogic...liberals are extremely generous...just with other people's money, but generous all the same.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • J.W

      What is your definition of a liberal or a conservative? Would every person who is considered liberal also be non-religious by your definition?

      November 20, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Good question, J. W. I'd love to see the answer. What did the researcher define as "liberal?"

      November 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • J.W

      Ive tried to pull up some articles online just right now. Many seem to say they are about the same but the charities they donate to are different.

      November 20, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'll bet they are. And I'll bet that an conservative writer won't bother to count charitable giving if it's to Planned Parenthood or NARAL. Too bad, because such contributions do count, whether or not one agrees with the cause.

      November 20, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  4. One of those guys

    OK. I get it. Nobody with half a brain can possibly believe in a young earth. Count me in. As well as this list of scientists – http://www.examiner.com/article/growing-list-of-scientists-who-consider-young-earth-creationism-yec-a-fact-and-evolution-as-bunk

    And in spite of the "facts" argued here there is rational scientific data that supports a young earth. http://creation.mobi/young-universe-evidence

    There must be a few who wan to actually look at the evidence and not just read immature bashing from either side of the fence.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Athy

      None of that young earth data is rational. It doesn't even take an expert to figure that out. But there are always uneducated fools who'll believe it. Apparently you're one of them.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  5. food

    That's right don't tick with your religious nut cases by actually believing in real science.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • KRHODES

      "real" science...what other kind would there be?

      November 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • mama k

      You don't know KRHODES? My goodness. Things like apologetic creationism. You know, for being apologetic about making up stuff.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, my goodness, mama k. You mean the way khruddy misrepresents posts others have written? Say it ain't so!

      November 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • KRHODES

      mama k

      "You don't know KRHODES? My goodness. Things like apologetic creationism. You know, for being apologetic about making up stuff."

      So one groups science is real and the others is false. One question...can you prove science by science?

      November 20, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • mama k

      It doesn't take rocket science to look in your spam folder and know spam when you see it. That's how obvious creationism is KHRODES.

      November 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  6. mama k

    What would people say if Chuck Schumer said "I'm not a finance guy, man". lol.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • KRHODES

      I'd say he is right.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • mama k

      Oh please KRHODES, this Rubio is as green as they come. He has no business being on a senate science committee with answers like that. And it was a magazine interview for crying out loud – it's not like someone had a mic shoved in his face.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • KRHODES

      Evidently mom...politics requires no experience...look at the president.

      November 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • mama k

      Let's see you try you hand at being a two-termer, smart-ass.

      November 20, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  7. orangey

    The catholic church does not believe in a literal interpretation of the biblical creation story, so despite him saying be is catholic, he doesn't even know what he own religion teaches. Typical.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  8. Franque

    Marco Rubio is going to tell me what the Bible says. Praise his name!

    November 20, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Ronaldo

      Wake up America, here we go again! CNN is now taking shots and Rubio as he could be a Republican possibility for 2016. Haven't Wolfe, Soledad and Candy shown enough liberal bias during the election? CNN is a disgrace and they all need to wear Democrat, Liberal bumber stickers on their foreheads. There is no independent journalism in the mainstream media, politics are rigged by media like CNN.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If your guy's a stooge, why shouldn't we all know in advance?

      November 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Ronaldo,

      There is no independent journalism in the mainstream media, politics are rigged by media like CNN

      You do know that this was from an interview by "GQ" magazine don't you? You know, the one with an almost nak-ed picture of Rihanna on the cover.

      It's really deep and political, man.

      November 20, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  9. Troy

    Scary to think that someone this ignorant of scientific fact could be in a position of such power.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Leonard A Magazine

      I could not agree more.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • MikeinMN

      Scary to think that there's a clear majority in the House and not far from a majority in the Senate that will go along with this ignorance of proven science just to pander to the votes that they need to get re-elected!

      November 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  10. Dave in SC

    "We need to stop being the stupid party."
    -Bobby Jindal

    November 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • mariosphere

      Too late. The GOP keeps on being the stupid party because its leaders are stupid and give conservatism a really bad name.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Brycan

      The republicans have a monopoly on stupid. Sorry, Bobby, ain't gonna change with idi0ts like this making remarks like he did.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  11. Thelma

    Dear Marco Rubio, If you won't tell us how old you think the Earth is, will you please tell us where you think oil comes from?

    November 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      Olive oil?
      Peanut oil?
      Cottonseed oil?
      Flaxseed oil?

      Talk to me.....

      November 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'd get more intelligent responses from a dead cat.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      Oh, now you're Thelma?

      The Gospel of Mark, 5:9, speaks of TTPS, et al when he/she was in the country of the Gadarenes:

      And He (Jesus) asked him (the man), "What is thy name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion: for we are many."

      November 20, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  12. QS

    Anybody thinking this party has a chance to come back and "reinvent" itself is kidding themselves....they still can't even bring themselves to start living in this century yet, how are they supposed to become this supposed new party that will suddenly be able to attract new voters who all view this party as they should – like it's the great-grandfather of the family, sitting over in the corner in a rocking chair mumbling to himself about how "back in my day".....

    November 20, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  13. Dr Tom

    Remember God is all powerful. He actually created the Universe two hundred years ago and placed fake fossils all around in just the right place so that sceintists would think the earth was 4.5 billion years old. He also created a lot of people then and he placed memories in their brain. Remember, he's all powerful and can do anything. No, wait, he actually created the world yesterday with everything in it as it appears and gave us all these fake memories. No, wait, I'm actually just a brain in a jar and all this that I think I see is God playing wtih me. What, you don't believe me.
    This is just as believable through faith as a 10000 year old earth and just as unbelievable through science.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  14. MashaSobaka

    When are we going to stop acting shocked when Christians say stuff like this? It's what they believe. There are worse things for them to believe. Maybe we should focus on the stuff that adversely impacts people's lives.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  15. Skibo2000

    Another great example why I will never vote conservative... they can't accept reality!

    November 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Leonard A Magazine

      Me too.

      November 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  16. masadaone

    For a scientific and Biblical answer to the earth's age, read Dr. Gerald Schroeder's book – The Science of God. You will find that both the scientist and the theologian are correct. Fascinating stuff.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  17. tony

    According to already p[roven atomic theory, iIf the Sun was less than coupla million years old, then the light from it's core wouldn't have risen to the surface and the Earth would still be dark.

    Either that or the Nuclear Power Station in the USA are all doing magic.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      What pray-tell exactly is a proven theory anyway?

      November 20, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  18. Patrick L

    In 2016, let's not forget what Rubio said about creationism in Nov 2012. This kind of public talk that cannot separate church (or religion) from state is completely unacceptable.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  19. tony

    Never disagree with the fools who you need to vote for you, no matter how awful the consequences later.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  20. Me

    "The Universe only appears to be super old because The Creator willed it thus."

    Cool! So your god is a lying sack of shin-ola? That is good to know!

    November 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      Why exactly is that good to know? Afterall, He doesn't even really exist! Your ilk kills me! They way you switch arguments midstream no wonder you are going around in circles.

      "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

      2 Timothy 3:7

      November 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
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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.