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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. Nietodarwin

    PENDEJO IGNORANTE Not believing in evolution is as stupid as not believing in gravity. Evolution is the foundation of biology.
    Not believing Darwin was correct is like believing Einstein wasn't correct. RELIGION BREEDS IGNORANCE AND STUPIDITY.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • the AnViL

      religion is PREDICATE on ignorance.

      good form, by the way.

      November 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • lol??

      Darwin was a racist Christian apostate who forgot his first love and went for his bitterfly collection. Then contrary to his genetic concerns he married his cousin. It's an old story, creatures over the Creator.

      November 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Gadflie

      LOL, one of the few things more pathetic than an ad-hominem attack is one against a dead man.

      November 22, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  2. art

    The funny part of this is the fact that when GOP politicians get behind closed doors, they can't believe how friggin stupid they have to appear to get the trailer park vote. No one with an IQ over 23 believes the earth is 6000 years old. That's the real reason Romney lost. He didn't believe anything he was saying. No republican candidate who spouts this BS will ever win a national election. And that's good for America.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @art

      Amen ! :D

      Peace...

      November 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • lol??

      What you say about trailer park avenue trash!

      November 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • lol??

      Course the Big O won't prosecute his friends.

      November 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  3. lol??

    Islam for gang bangers.

    November 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • lol??

      Evolutionism for the diverse beast. Perfect fit, for the survival of the fittest, heh heh.

      November 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • the AnViL

      i'm sure you think you're witty and clever.... but you really just look like an ignorant, delusional, uneducated twerp.

      you've no substance... just retarded, banal idiocy.

      get some substance..... evolve, son.

      November 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  4. lol??

    Evolutionism is a rather primitive religion even for primates. It's based on ye olde European model of exploring for the King back home. Name it and claim it. That's what happened with north america. The land grabs went from sea to shining sea. So the scientists classify their observations of nature and, poof!, no Creator! The King is now the boss and usurper. The military has the same mindset by 'classifying' everything, for security, hahahaha. It's really for the survival of the fittest commanders that know how to live well, ala broadwell, with ye olde broad path to destruction.

    November 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Evolution is simply a theory explaining what we have observed about how life changes on this planet. It really doesn't matter what you, I, or anyone else personally believes. It's the way the world is to the best of our current knowledge.

      November 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • lol??

      Chub, you're a little late in helping some people with knowledge......"Hsa 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children."

      November 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • the AnViL

      to borrow from churchill....

      so so so many of you use biblical scripture as a drunkard uses a lamp post... for support rather than illumination.

      you're too stupid to be ashamed... you should be embarrassed to be so stupid.

      November 22, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Ed

      the AnViL, thanks for that. Well-borrowed, from Churchill, one of my heroes.

      November 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  5. Pete

    Why does anyone listen to Rubio especially about something as fought over as that.Rubio changes religions like most people change pants and he should just be ignored,plain and simple..His stances religious or not are not the norm so people should take anything from him or any of the religious right with a grain of salt,they're extremist who run by a different drummer and should be treated that way!!

    November 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  6. lol??

    Evolutionism is a man made religion. Offerings are provided by the educated peons, big time. Their High priests live a comfortable existence. Follow us, chimp chumps!

    November 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • chimpo

      Run into me in an alley sometime, you mindless piece of filth. I will prove the theory of natural selection up close and personal. You'll never forget it.

      November 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  7. bp

    Great. Another GOP star pandering to the far right by supporting the concept that science need not be believed or accepted unless it conforms with your personal beliefs, and that all belief-based views of science are equally valid.

    I don't know much about Rubio yet, but anyone who thinks science is a matter of opinion has lost my vote.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  8. Alex

    So Rubio can't decide whether to believe all the professional scientists, radiocarbon dating, etc, on the earth's age or to believe the writings of a people just out of the stone age who also believed the world was flat. His own Catholic Church has no problem with evolution. The last election showed that pandering to backward beliefs will not get the votes of the majority.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Alex

      It's not that he can't decide. He's just waiting for the christian right to tell him what to believe to get the most votes.

      This is actually comical to watch.

      Peace...

      November 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  9. the AnViL

    gods exist in only one place....

    between the ears of delusional humans with very weak minds.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Hal

      We are all born into a silent universe. Thus we have been forced to invent myths and tell endless stories to one another....because we have no other choice.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • EddieG

      Your response is quite common, and you are welcome to have your own dellusions, or to regurgetate those of others. it really is an angry and intolerant response, you might want to look into what's driving it!!!

      November 22, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  10. Michael, Chapel Hill

    The Left has already anticipationg Rubio's role in the next election and started their propaganda war to destroy him. A left winger can talk and believe whatever she/he wants..it is OK...We have the most TOLERANT LIBERALS.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Jaywoods

      Shut up your party just lost

      November 22, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • EddieG

      I didn't know losing meant we lost our right to free expression, is that really what's behind the liberal/ progressive movement? free speech only if it agrees with me? You are right michael; tolerance only extends to thse who agree with them. I personally have never told anyone to shut up even when I vehemently disagree.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Michael, Chapel Hill

      You Said: " The Left has already anticipationg[sic] Rubio's role in the next election and started their propaganda war to destroy him. "

      Yes, we are anticipating Rubio's run in 2016. However, we don't need to start a propaganda war to destroy anybody.

      You social conservative christian right-wingers do a fine job all on your own of destroying the Republican party from within.

      Peace...

      November 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Pete

      @Micheal,Chapel Hill,yes and its you religious hypocritical righties that proclaim one thing but do another.It's your Billy Graham who railed against the Mormon cult of Romneys but just recently blessed his campaign and took down the site against Mormonism.Just how much was placed in Grahams hand as a donation to change his mind and remember you religious,sanctumonious ones are the ones wanting everything to help your fellow brethren taken away remember in ACA ,Medicaid,Medicare ,SocialSecurity ,anything to help the people of this proud country.It all comes down to money doesn't it hypocrites hidden behind the smokescreen of religion,just take your snakeoil mentality somewhere else,its not wanted or needed here!!

      November 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  11. REDFIREBALL

    Jehovah created all living things according to their "kind" - meaning, dogs can cross-breed with other dogs, humans with human, roses with roses, etc.- To trump evolution and discount the theory of creation, just try mating a dog with a pig, an orange with an apple, etc. :)

    November 22, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      We are not serving turkey this year. We are having a croc-o-duck.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • EddieG

      I'm not clear what you're trying to push here but humans are able to produce hybrids of all kinds and we are getting more sophisticated all the time. I God does exist then by definition he can do even more than that. Ultimately; therories are the path to the truth, and these rabbit trails only prove that as a race we are looking to substatiate what we already believe or want to believe, not what is ultimately the truth!

      November 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  12. REDFIREBALL

    God has a plan for Man - He is just giving all of us time to see that Man's plan for himself does not work

    November 22, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  13. REDFIREBALL

    Man was created in God's image - everything else was created for God's and Man's pleasure.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Man made god in his image.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Happy Turkey day, my friend.

      Peace...

      November 22, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Peace.......Peace!

      And to you as well!!

      Gooble Gooble

      November 22, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  14. therealpeace2all

    Way to go Rubio... already throwing your hat in the ring for 2016. Gotta' start making the 'crazy' religious statements so you can get the religious rights' approval if you want to have a chance.

    And so it begins. 8O

    Peace...

    November 22, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  15. Rick

    Religion should always be separate from politics. This nations should never allow politicians whose aim is to let religion influence the laws they legislate. That is not what this nation's founders aim was. Apparently Republicans still have not gotten that message.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  16. REDFIREBALL

    The "truth" could be a hybrid of original cretion and evolution. Once a few species of every "kind" of living creature and vegetation were created, God many have set selectivity and cross-breeding into motion? Therefore we now see thousands os things belonging to its own "kind." Look at all the variety of flowers, fruit, dogs, cats, etc. Consider the various of human races and lnguages also.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • UncleBenny

      You should stop now. Your total ignorance of the theory (yes, THEORY) of evolution becomes more apparent with each post.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  17. dirk

    When testing the age of the earth, how do you explain that scientists were a couple million years off on 10 year old rock samples from mt. st. hellens?

    November 22, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Richard

      simple. Dr. Austin, the "scientist" in question, is a young earth creationist who went to the site with the stated purpose of finding "proof against evolution," gathered material which was a mix of newly formed rock and ancient rock which had been ejected from the mountain, dated them with imprecise methods, and then skewed the results, as thousands of actual scientists have already reported. In other words, Austin et al. weren't doing science at all. Also, there are dozens of different methods of dating the earth, all of which have come back with the same approximate answer: around 4.5 billion years

      November 22, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  18. BOb the Prairie Dog

    NO ONE knows what happens when we die, and ANYONE claiming such knowledge is a LIAR (who probably wants your money.)

    November 22, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  19. John

    "Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years"

    And we wonder why the US is declining. For the sake of humanity I hope this poll is wrong.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • lolol

      the % of believers was bigger in the past. I think you just owned yourself there you communist libnut

      November 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  20. geckopelli

    And then we wonder what's gone wrong with America...?

    Maybe idiots like Rubio who are so stuck in the past they can't see the present, much less the future coming at them.?!?!

    America was great when it was moving forward, not wallowing behind.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:46 am |
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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.