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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. 21k

    "the way planes fly, is such a mystery, it must be by god's invisible hand!"

    November 19, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Chris

      A mystery we may never solve, indeed, how does this "plane" you speak of resist Intelligent Falling, or as you call it "gravity"?

      November 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • blaqb0x

      @chris

      "Intelligent Falling" LMFAO

      November 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • 21k

      chris, they stay aloft using the air currents caused by the fluttering of angels' wings. why do you ask?

      November 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  2. CTed

    There are multiple theries of HOW by a) God is not one fo them, that is not a theory B) they all agree on the time frame, in general – assuming we're talking about science. Creationism is made up and doesn't count as one that should be taught.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Future civilizations will be laughing their asses off about creationism and the fools who believe such nonsense.

      November 20, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  3. cave man

    There are planets? And they're round? Crazy! I thought the firmament was a giant poke-a-dot puzzle.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Polka dot

      November 20, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  4. lionlylamb

    The questions when asked about the ages of spatial nebulas, galaxy clusters and solar systems should be considered as Godly Time verses our understandings of earth based times. For God's Timeframe only a season has lapsed by and say a billion years have thusly lapsed by earth time. Within the gospel is written, Psalms 90:4 "For a thousand years in thy sight [are but] as yesterday when it is past, and [as] a watch in the night." I see nothing wrong in understandings our sciences age theories. In fact I stand resolute and in favor of it. The theories of inward inter-cosmological paradigms and outward paradigms of cosmological comparisons is truly where sciences should consider and bible based theologians should also.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Answer

      You certainly know a lot of jibberish.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • 21k

      bet you wear sandals, a cloak , and have a very smoky room.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Mr. Lamb, that is such sound logic and so very interesting.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Lyin'Lamm, give it up. There is no god and never has been.

      November 20, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  5. Corey Feldner

    Wow. The ignorance of the right wing knows no bounds. If they ever take back the power, let me be the first to offer up the initial shots in the New Revolution. These bozos don't deserve the natural resources they decimate nor even the polluted, ozone depleted air they breathe. It is a sad, sad day in human history when we turn our backs on billions of years of life and death and struggle to justify the uninspired, droll, some would say boring stories of a little black book. Leave the fairy tales to the Brothers Grimm and keep them out of political discussion. Long Live the United States of America!

    November 19, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Corey Feldner,

      It is a Truth that our biosphere can only sustain so much foolery of pollution before it can no longer balance out its needs of sustainabilities. Hydrogen fuel cells for transportation needs only by-product is water. The restructuring of fuel stations seems to be up for debate though. If more people would push their governing officials toward restructuring of fuel stations, it might happen sooner than being our only option come future times when we have depleated the biosphere's inabilities.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  6. len

    Wow alot of hate being spouted particularly from the Christian bashers. Almost like their religion is being threatened. Or did they have a bad experience with church as a child? One wonders how we had all the advancement of Western civilization such as modern medicine, industry etc when up until recently the majority of folks would consider themselves Christian. I don't know how to explain all the anger just like I don't know how to explain why it seems every second issue of National Geographic has to push the evolution story. It seems to me that it is perfectly possible to believe that God created an ordered world and be energized to discover it.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      "push the evolution story"

      You are already disqualifed. Ignorant.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • 21k

      why would such a being create an ordered universe, and then let mankind discover it thru chaos? you, like your religious beliefs, make no sense.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If that seems perfectly plausible to you, lenny, I have a lovely tract of swampland in Arizona I'd be willing to sacrifice for cheap...

      November 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      OMG, hindu-bot has affected my brain!

      November 19, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • David R

      Nonsense.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Reality

      National Geographic has just as many articles regarding the different religions as it does those concerning evolution. And it is basically, a scientific publication.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Richard

      Religious believers can claim misery, suppression of knowledge and murder among other crimes as their legacy. It's not 'hate' to oppose this. It's a sense of moral outrage. Evolution is fact . Your little 3-in-1 god is mythology. Learn to tell the difference or suffer ridicule.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Akira

      Apple, you didn't say hind, ignorant...you're still OK.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • CTed

      NG probably mentions it the same way the weather mentions the sunrise time every morning.. ya know "Pushing" those facts.

      And as for hate... no, it's just that smart people have little tolerance for ignorance. When soemone claims the earth is 6K years old, the ark could hold all the animals (it couldn't even float), and all that other stuff it's mildly annoying. When someone wants to teach it as fact, or someone that ignorant wants to make our laws, yeah, we get downright testy

      November 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Oh Akira, thank you.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • heliocracy

      First, denying that a philosophy that makes demonstrably false claims about the natural world is not a religion, any more than it's a religion to believe that fire will burn you. Second, your apparent assumption that people default to being religious unless they have a bad experience in church is patently false. Third, industrialization happened in Christian nations because capitalists, including those of today, act in a very un-Christian-like manner when it comes to money. Fourth, National Geographic accepts evolution because there's a great deal of evidence for it. Christianity cannot make that same claim.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  7. Richard

    Rubio has publicly embarrassed himself by declaring his ignorance of a subject that most foreign 10 yr old students have mastered. This fool represents the citizens of Florida? Rubio , you should resign from politics and go back to a middle school science class. This time stay awake!

    November 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • 21k

      imagine what the folks at nasa think of their representative.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  8. Canaan Ed

    Why would a rising start say something so dumb. Just lost my Republican vote forever.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Canaan Ed, Bravo.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  9. 21k

    by the way, is rubio an "anchor baby"? does he need to self-deport?

    November 19, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Either that, or self-destruct. Oh, wait.....

      November 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • heliocracy

      He is indeed.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  10. Lenny Pincus

    Rubio either kowtows to the ignoramuses who occupy his base or is an ignoramus himself. Either way, a dolt.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  11. Savonarola

    I bet not one liberal got upset in 2008 when Obama was asked when he thought life began and his reply was, "that's above my paygrade". Most liberals probably thought that was a great dodge and applauded him for it. Why are liberals going after Rubio? Because he's Hispanic and doesn't stay on their welfare plantation and he's a real threat in 2016. They will continue to throw "gotcha" questions at him in order to smear him, meanwhile our debt will climb to over 20 trillion and our jobless rate will continue to rise.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      That was a "gotcha" question? My 6 year old can answer that question.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • 21k

      hmm, pretty sure libs welcome his ethnic background. it's you rednecks that can't think straight when you are wearing those white hoods.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And he'll STILL lose. People are done with this sort of idiocy. What don't you get about that?

      November 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Answer

      You know what the difference in that time spectrum was – compared to this present year?

      I have a three letter word for you to digest: "w-a-r".

      Guess who wanted your American soldiers to get involved with that?

      November 19, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Richard

      That was a simple question for someone on a science sub committee. Perhaps you want him to have a question more suited to his intellect ?

      November 19, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Akira

      What a bunch of sh!t. Obama wasn't thrown under the bus because he had enough fvcking class to admit he didn't know, not pontificate about sh!t like that.
      Not to mention the fact that Obama never has, and never will, try to legislate beliefs into law.
      Fvcking deal with the fact that Obama is the POTUS, and move on.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • CTed

      Obama's response was perfect. He doesn't know, AND it doesn't MATTER what he thinks (aka it's above his paygrade). He's not going to be concered with that question as POTUS, he's going to tackle actual problems in the country. I have no problem with his response.

      Rubio basically said NOBDODY knows how old the earth is... but the way he said it (all theories should be taught) smakes of saying that it might be 6K years old, which we know it isn't. We may not know down the year, but we know it's older than 6-10K.

      If Rubio said "I don't know and I don't care" I'd be fine with that.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  12. Guest

    I do hope he will be the Republican presidential candidate 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."

    Only 46% ?!? The rest 54% are dumb! Of course God created us and everything else ... this is what bronze age tribes from the Middle East believed in and, while there are absolutely no proofs of that, I am happy to believe in it and base my life on it! Btw, my five year old son has just stopped believing in Santa ... he says that the story doesn't seem possible and there are no proofs to support it! He is so dumb! Who cares that the story has contradictions and impossible events ... who cares that there are no proofs ... Santa sure exists ... and so does God!

    November 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • 21k

      make him go to macy's once a week for an hour and stand in the santa line. that'll make him believe again.

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

      Bravo!
      Sarcasm...the food of the thinking person!
      Well done!

      November 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Sarcasm......my second favorite "asm".

      November 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Lemme guess what your favorite "asm" is.....

      November 19, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • CTed

      Phantasm....

      November 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Nope

      November 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  13. 21k

    god, the all-powerful being who created everything and everyone, yet decided not to stop hitler. not someone i want to spend eternity with.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  14. Steelie-Dave

    The science involving Einstein's Theory of Relativity gives credibility to creation: "The expansion of the universe also gives rise to the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the overall entropy (or disorder) in the Universe can only increase with time because the amount of energy available for work deteriorates with time. If the universe was eternal, therefore, the amount of usable energy available for work would have already been exhausted. Hence it follows that at one point the entropy value was at absolute 0 (most ordered state at the moment of creation) and the entropy has been increasing ever since - that is, the universe at one point was fully “wound up” and has been winding down ever since. This has profound theological implications, for it shows that time itself is necessarily finite." So quit fighting about it, nobody has the answer! For you simple minded folks – Science = Good Religion = Good , get over yourselves!

    November 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Answer

      State the other laws of thermodynamics!

      November 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Answer

      You creationists cvnts are all the same. Never in a trillion years will we let you morons get away with your stupid antics!

      November 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • 21k

      answer, we already are. and it's probably too late to turn the country back to thinking.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Richard

      Wrong! Credibility to your simplistic imaginary god is not real and not science!! Learn the difference between mythology and reality !!

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

      It's only in America. You country can fall like the Arabs.

      Europe and China and along with Russia will overtake the role of the scientific endeavor. It's really Americans who are gonna suffer, but hey you're small fish. :P

      November 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "The science involving Einstein's Theory of Relativity gives credibility to creation"

      Oh, it does not, you ninny.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      So you use science to try and disprove science.

      You are a moron.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Steelie-Dave

      I'm not a creationist and look it up yourselves. None of you have a real clue what your talking about.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Don't need to. An idiot like you proves the point, Steelie Dope.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Answer

      @Steelie-Dave

      "the second law of thermodynamics, " <<- This is all you creationists / apologists / cvnts can ever understand. But ALWAYS ALWAYS MISS the most important detail.

      IN CLOSED SYSTEM. Get a fvckin clue.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, and Steelie Doofus? If you want to make a point, it's a good idea to be able to write. Try to figure out the "you're/your" thingy there, dear. Otherwise, you look really fvcking stupid.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Michael

      No scientist believes the universe is "eternal". Nor does any creationist. So who's "theory" are you trying to refute?

      November 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Steelie-Dave,

      You don't have a clue what you are talking about. If the universe is "winding down" why is it speeding up? Science does not claim to have all the answers, that is something theists do...."god did it".

      Arguments that explain everything...explain nothing.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Steelie-Dave

      ANSWER
      Entropy exists in open systems, quit acting like you have a clue. Tom Tom you have a quick wit, i can tell you are an educated fella....

      November 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Rich

      You should leave the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics to engineers. It takes a brain to understand it and even then not everybody gets it.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • heliocracy

      But the universe is not eternal yet, it's only 13.75 billion years old.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Steelie-Dave

      Rich
      Do you mean physicist! Engineer, uhh yeah it takes a brain to understand uh?! Get it straight, my point is this debate is pointless – Science does not conclusively disprove creationism. I am not a creationist, but I am a realist.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • Rich

      @Steely

      No, I mean engineers.

      There's no such thing as a perfect engine. That's what the 2nd Law is really about. People who think evolution and the 2nd law of thermodynamics are incompatible are demonstrating a complete lack of understand of thermodynamics. Entropy is unusable energy, not disorder. The whole disorder thing was somebody's misguided attempt to explain a very difficult concept to other "realists".

      November 20, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  15. Joe

    You cannot get a man to believe something when his paycheck depends upon him not believing it.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  16. Answer

    "Americans Think Cloud Computing Comes From Actual Clouds "

    Link: http://www.webpronews.com/americans-think-cloud-computing-comes-from-actual-clouds-2012-08

    ==== Dumb them down further. Yessiree.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • 21k

      angels got calculators.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • mama k

      Well it was really windy one day and damned if that iCloud didn't blow away for about an hour.

      November 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  17. Chgokamper

    Dear Mr. Senator,

    The world is not flat also....

    November 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  18. 21k

    great, gops's want to figure out what went wrong, and they start by denouncing science. we are heading towards the movie "idiocracy" and rubio has his foot on the gas.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  19. Peteyroo

    Forty-six percent of Americans believe in creationism? When you walk down the street, you can figure that just about half the people you come across are complete morons who believe absolute horse feathers. You have to wonder how many of these bed-wetters see every dust-up in Israel as an opportunity to end the world in Armageddon, so they can go to their happy home in the End Times. How many of our senior military and civilian leaders share these feelings? How many have access to nuclear weapons? It's scary!

    November 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  20. God Created Everything Including Evolution

    What is it about "creationists" that makes them get upset about the age of the earth. Their mindset seems to exist in a vacuum created about a million years ago; that knocks out the 6,000 year old earth "theory". Rubio is a bit younger and his mind is only about 800,000 years back.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:11 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.