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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. 0RacKL

    The fact that Rubio will NOT say that the earth WASN'T created in seven days tell us a lot. He's already playing up to his base of evangelicals,

    November 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then he's a complete moron. His base is shrinking every day. If it weren't, Romney would have had a shot. He crashed and burned because the fundies are a dying breed. And good riddance to bad rubbish. Ignorance begone and stupidity disappear.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  2. SteveInMN

    What a pandering politowaffle. Typical Rethug. Next.

    November 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  3. Hypatia

    Ignorant and worse..another GOP prize

    November 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Agreed. You're either rational or you aren't. He isn't.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  4. Tanner

    This is not newsworthy. This whole story is calculated to just make Marco Rubio look bad. It looks like people are considering him a threat.

    November 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Athy

      He's a threat only if he wins.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      You think it insignificant that someone on the science committee doesn't believe in science?

      November 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • ToldUso

      He's making himself look bad with his wishy-washy, ignorant non-answer.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • JakeAZ

      its newsworthy because some of us don't want our country run by ignorants. its good to stay informed.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • works4me

      No sweat on this ... he'll fit right in.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      If he wants to run the most powerfull country in the world and does not understand how oil came into existence......his is a threat.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • William

      Its just easy bait for Liberal hatred and gives them an excuse to vent their bile at someone they dont agree with. He is a Hispanic republican so he will have special scorn heaped upon him. Look what they said about Condi and West. In their eyes the only thing that could have been worse is if he was a Jew.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bullsh!t. The moron isn't worth spit. If he had ANYTHING substantive to say, you'd be braying from here to kingdom come, you yipping hypocrite. Get over yourself. You creeps don't have a single candidate that's viable and it just gripes your azzz something fierce. Try Aveeno, honey.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Pete

      William, I am a republican, and will not vote for any republican who doesn't come right out and say that people who think Earth is 10,000 years old are really, really stupid.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  5. Leroy

    Numb nuts Marco Rubio in 2016 – scratch!

    November 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • William

      Crude. Bigoted. Vile. You demonstrate all the hallmarks of todays Liberal
      Bravo!

      November 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  6. William

    I have heard alot of crazy things by alot of people. From conspiracies to religions i cant understand. I have heard it all. I dont care if he thinks the world is flat. He shouldnt have to walk any tightrope at all just for having the freedom to think what he wants. What can he do about jobs and the economy? What can he do about the debt that is about to bury us? What can he do for a nation divided by politicians along racial and income? What will he do about our energy independence and the ever increasing food prices? What kind of human being is he and does he take care of his family? I swear sometimes it seems CNN brings up these sorts of things only because it will get people arguing and run up their hit count. Every week something like this is put out and the same people come on here and ware it out with the same old arguments. Who cares?

    November 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Athy

      "alot?", "ware?". Hm.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I care. And if the guy thinks the earth was created in 6 days 6000 years ago, then I don't have the time of day for the idiot. We need a moment of science in our schools; not an eon of religious mumbo-jumbo.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • James Scott

      As long as Rubio's uncertain about basic scientific concepts like evolution and relativity, he's completely incapable of making economic judgements for America, as our broadening technological base is absolutely dependent on a thorough understanding of these basic scientific principles.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Climate change has a big impact on food prices. If we are to address that, wouldn't you feel more reassured that the science committee fundamentally believed the science?

      November 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • William

      Ok i hear what everyone is saying. So it basically boils down to bigotry. If he was a Hindu-guilty. If he is a Buddhist? Guilty. If he was a Mormon? Well we know the vile things said about Romney. So if someone doesnt agree with your point of view they are guilty. Your hatred over something so small is way our of proportion with sanity and decent human behavior. Its almost violent. I fear that it will be come just that very soon.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then I suggest you persuade the idiots you know, William, to get an education and stop being azzholes.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Freedom FROM Religion

      Only the irrational are afraid of truth, William, and you liken those who say it is important for our elected leaders to be as smart as possible, especially ones on the science and space committee, as bigots or violent?

      November 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  7. Laura

    If you actually read what Rubio said, it's pretty clear that he wants to reconcile what pure science says with what his Bible says. I am in the same boat, really. It is pretty difficult to deny what science has proven thus far, although scientific theories are always being disproven and re-discovered. With that said, I like to think that the "7 day" creation is more of a parable than a literal story which symbolizes evolution as we know it. I think Rubio probably feels the same. Very few Christians deny what science has taught us...but many of us also try to understand it through the eyes of our religion as well.

    November 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • William

      Religion is an ideology that helps you find direction in your personal life. Science deals with the physical universe.
      Nobody has to reconcile any of it. Just believe what you want. Practice science that works. Pray for your soul. Thinking a god created the world in 7 days and believing in Global Climate Change isnt a death sentence.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If he's stupid enough to think that he can "reconcile what his bible says with what science says," then he's a fvcking moron.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Laura,

      Do you think the writer of Genesis meant for the creation story to symbolize evolution or do you think it was originally meant to be taken literally?

      I think it was meant to be taken literally and now people reconcile their cognative dissonance by rationalizing the story as an allegory.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Athy

      Why not try to understand it through the eyes of truth, forget the religion bullshit.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • works4me

      @william
      Pssst... God is always capitalized.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • works4u

      god god god no i don't fink it is

      November 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • pssst

      works4me

      @william
      "Pssst... God is always capitalized.

      No it isn't. He said "a god" - no capitalization necessary.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Than you, pssst. You rock.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • William

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son- Calm down and take a Zoloft. Really, do you have to be so angry?

      November 19, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm not angry. I am just amused that you think you can be a fundie and rational, Billy the boob.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  8. Bob berbowski

    I've seen The Flintstones enough times to realize humans lived with dinosaurs. How else would they dig at the rock quarry?

    November 19, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  9. Den Hunter

    Why folks outside of Florida think that he is some rising star is a major mystery. The TeeBaggers and the Cuban sheep of the GOP Florida are his only support. Hispanic don't like him (excluding Cubans) and he won the seat with a little more than a third of the vote, thanks to Charlie Crist running as an independent.

    He is a kid. His brain isn't even developed. And all he has to help his noggin grow is Jeb Bush, the most HATED Texan in Florida....

    November 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • William

      Teabagger. Very nice. So very typical of todays bitter liberal. If you didnt have something to hate you would hate each other.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  10. brian

    can somebody from Scientology weigh in here? I mean it wouldn't be fair to ignore the possibility that aliens built the solar system...

    November 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Bob berbowski

      Tom Cruise is going to have you followed if you're not careful.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  11. VivaEvolution

    LOL...and people are talking about this guy being president. I actually consider Rubio to be pretty smart, but as a typical politician he will just say any crazy thing to be elected.

    November 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • 0RacKL

      I don't see how you can call those comments "very smart." It's yet another example of a Republican going into extreme denial when confronted with consensus science. Somebody needs to teach the Republicans about radiocarbon dating.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Laura

      He didn't deny the existence or validity of science. He does, however, question how his religious views square with science. That doesn't make him dumb – it actually makes him intelligent because he wants to understand something instead of just accepting it for what it is.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, Laura, it doesn't make him intelligent. It makes him a friggin' fraud who wants the votes of the christards and the votes of the sane.

      Nothing more hypocritical than that.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Tanner

      I tend to think he actually mean what he said. That is how a lot of Christians reconcile their beliefs with science– just not looking into it too much. I don't think he thinks there needs to be a battle between the two.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • William

      Lord isnt that the truth!
      Biden was talking to blacks about people like me and said in a fake southern accent that "There going to put ya'll back in chains."
      I almost fell out of my chair. Politicians will say and do anything for a vote.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then he's dishonest. One can't espouse teaching creationism and pretend to be rational. One can't believe in nonsense and call oneself rational.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  12. erivera63

    He is really good at skirting the issue and walking the fine line ...Good GOP material..

    November 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • William

      Oh please there are things Liberals follow with as much devotion as a Southern Baptist. They walk a line too and skirt the issues. Its called politics. They understand it. We are the dupes that buy it.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  13. End Religion

    Three cheers for GQ’s Michal Hainey!
    Hip hip hooray!
    Hip hip hooray!
    Hip hip hooray!

    November 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  14. james

    There is nothing out there..except possible life on some other globe...and so far, theyre keeping their distance. smart move....were dumb.

    November 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • William

      We might be glad they dont want to come here. Lots of critters here to eat.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  15. maine liberal

    The Theology

    “They are presented as alternatives that exclude each other,” the pope said. “This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.”

    He said evolution did not answer all the questions: “Above all it does not answer the great philosophical question, ‘Where does everything come from?’”

    Benedict also said the human race must listen to “the voice of the Earth” or risk destroying its very existence

    November 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Science doesn't know everything....

      Religion doesn't know anything....

      November 19, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Akira

      Quite frankly, Pope Benedict is frightening...

      November 19, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  16. VinnyDaPooh

    The best defense ever created to the Equal Time is pastafarianism. They can't open up the public schools to alternative non-scientific theories with a limited scope. They would have to open it up to all alternative theories. This one states that The Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe.

    November 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      Ramen!

      November 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • VinnyDaPooh

      EndReligion... well played sir.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      He boiled for our sins!

      November 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • William

      Having talked to many HS age kids i can say that they opened it up the schools to all kinds of weird theories yet they cant tell you what the Scientific Method is, cant tell you the parts of an atom and totally lack any idea about history. Ever have one try to count change back to you? Our test scores have been falling since 1970 and believing some god did something or the other isnt the cause. Hindus and Asians have their own religion and teach it in schools yet their test scores are much better than ours.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  17. Anna Banana

    Oh wow. I've been hearing Rubio's name mentioned frequently lately as a possible 2016 candidate, and I foolishly hoped that he might be one of the more reasonable Republicans. I guess I know all I need to know about him.

    November 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    November 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • erivera63

      if I pray will it stop you from postng the same comment over and over and over again?

      November 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Akira

      If Jesus was here, he'd say, "Prayer does NOT, you are a LIAR."
      Hal9000 would pimp his "Dementia" book, and HeavenSense (?) Would say, "Hi, prayerbot".
      Did I miss anyone?

      November 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • VinnyDaPooh

      Why is atheism unhealthy? How many wars are fought because one side believes in a different god than the other? Now how many have been fought because one side's absence of god is different than the others?

      November 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does NOT, you are a LIAR.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • scottos

      Animals don't seem to require god for anything and the last I heard they were living things

      November 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Veritas

      So pray for some imagination

      November 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • William

      As soon as you posted your remark i knew it would be like cat nip to a liberal. Their crude remarks were also very predictable.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  19. Dump hinduism, illegality of Evolution, way of hindu's, deniers of truth absolute GOD, sons of LANGOOR, SELF CENTERED

    my Imam told me, only Thin Allah, truth absolute GAWD, secular s, knows the true age of Earth and Jihnnat, not even Einstein, goons.

    November 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Akira

      "Thin Allah"?
      There's a fat one?

      November 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  20. Rex

    So, All you Christian haters. Why don't you ever bash the Islamic faith? .. Because you know they will cut off your F*%king heads....

    November 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      The cutting-off-people's-heads thing, is because Islam is still in its adolescence. (1400 years old). When Christianity was the same age, they were barbequeing people that disagreed with them. Same thing, same people, same delusions, different ages.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • db

      Rex, Islam is just as stupid as Christianity. There. Feel better?

      November 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • erivera63

      Is it a christian requirement to curse at every person who doesn't believe what you believe in?..Just curious.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      Who says we don't?

      November 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      We do equal opportunity fake god bashing.
      Allah developed from the moon god named Sin.
      Islam is not really an "Abrahamic" religion.
      Whoever cooked up Islam, (and it was not Muhammad), just asserted that Allah and Yahweh were the same.
      In fact the Babble has many instances where they were told to stop worshiping Sin, the moon god, from Arabia.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Salem

      The Salem Witch trials come to mind. That would be Christianity's loving compassion for human life.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      We do....you are not paying attention.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do give me even one example of any Muslims executing an American on US soil, you dip wad.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • wcnea567

      Christian and moslem are actually brothers and sisters under God/Allah. They worship the same God/Allah. They are from the same dysfunctional family of God. They have been fighting each other like cats and dogs for centuries. That is sibling rivalry to extreme. The Father has completely lost control of His spoiled brads.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Nope. Yahweh was not Allah.

      November 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • William

      Dont worry. Christians are easy targets because of the point you made. Then its off to Hindus next. Then Buddhist, then Wiccan than any other belief that they feel hatred toward. Remember, they believe that religion is the opium of the people. Its just good socialist practice.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:13 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.