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. lionlylamb

    For God does never change His spiritualism and His Holy Spirit is the Great Sea of Absolute Nothingness! Always was and is and will ever be no matter what smatterings of materialized shapes do tend to seemingly clutter up His unending spiritual abundancy! It is truth that God has troubles within the fractal paradigms of inwardness's inter-cellular cosmologies as protrutions of insolent 'activists' that are sometimes revolting against the grains of our embodied sanctifications creating many unrighteous undulations of travesties not uncommonly being viewed by us celestial beings as being viral and even bacteriological in the way we understand things to be and therefore become. What was first made can never again become that which was made first for only in varying differential constructs can another thing be made to be outdone against that which was firstly made. The pillars of one's DNA, the spirals of all celestial life forms and formations bitten fomentations is where God's Sons and their given wives are taken in as residents there abouts.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Colin

      Please commit suicide tonight.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      In retrospect, Godless bemoans and bewails the ungodly. For these are the choices from which commonwealth atheists do make felt upon their retrospective and habitual senses denying the goodly upon ever moving towards and upon the ways of godly intent. Many young-bucks of godlessness and the ungodliness sensually tenders to avail themselves with the nailed doldrums' sciatica.They do abound with much societal unpleasantries toward the abaters of commonly wanton deniabilities against them. Ungodly and godless beings of smirked violaters of randomized intention-abilities are meant only as austerities of servile subversions. Their subversive deniabilities are not without compromising or so they do entail and also do weave upon the where-with-all of seasoned laments.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Francois

      Absolute mishmash nonsense. You speak only to obfuscate the truth.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • c smythe

      quit pretending to speak in tongues, phony gibberish gets you nowhere . . . false prophets and all that

      November 20, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Pendy

      Eschew obfuscation!

      November 20, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Observer


      Your pretentious babble impresses no one but yourself. Cut the bull.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  2. hedge1

    Does anyone here understand radiometric dating of the earth? If so, can you give me a quick overview and what is used for a 14 billion year old standard?

    November 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Typical fundie. If you can't do it quick, I can't be bothered.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      what we understand is google is handy so we don't have to answer the same questions over and over.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Ken

      The problem with google is that creationists post their misinformation on the internet too. Better check your sources.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:49 am |
  3. Bill Marvel

    "Rubio attends a Baptist church in southern Florida but also considers himself “a practicing Catholic.”
    –Uh-uh. Nope.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  4. lionlylamb

    et al,

    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 toward our science's 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 11:41 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Mr. Lamb that was so clear, concise and convincing. Thank you so much!

      November 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Oh

      Science does not live in a world of make believe. Therein lies the problem.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Observer


      A day has always been a day – the time it takes for the earth to rotate one time. Unless the Bible claims that God changed how fast the earth rotates, you have no argument to make.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  5. Jessica

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

    Then 46% of American's need to stop getting Flu vaccines as they are a prime example of Evolution in action.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  6. SC

    Let's simply put it this way. This guy is not that intelligent. Asking him how old the Earth is the same as asking a 5-year-old kid to do triple integral.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  7. Colin

    You fvcking scientists and evolutionist think you are SO SMART. Well, you not only got evolution wrong – I know God made the Earth – but you don't even know where babies come from!!

    It is OBVOIUS to me that storks bring babies! I have never seen a woman giving birth, but I have seen a lot of storks, especially on margarine containers. If you ever go to the beach, you will lots of storks carrying babies. They look just like pelicans because they carry the babies in their mouths. If women gave birth to babies, there would be no need for a navel, but that is how the stork picks the babies up from HEAVEN.

    There is no REAL evidence that women give birth to babies. It is just a THEORY. If they did, why is it that men never give birth to babies? Why just women? Where do boys come from? It makes no sense. There is also the problem of the missing link, because there are only ever midwives and never “mid-husbands.”

    If women gave birth to babies, why are there still women and babies? And why is it you never see a half-woman, half-baby!! Explain that evolutionists and va.ginal birth believers! Bet you CAN’T.

    If you look at a stork, it is INTELLIGENTLY designed to carry babies. Why would that be if it didn’t deliver babies? And what about twins and triplets? What, do some women have 2, or even 3 uteruses? That is stupid. A stork can EASILLY carry two or three babies, but a woman couldn’t.

    Why is it that for every 50 boys born, there are 50 girls. What, can a va.gina count? Ha, how stupid. But a stork could. And, what about all the GAPS in the birth record. One time I took a peek at my mother’s va.gina, and it was so small and babies are SO BIG.

    You evolutionists are so dumb. Your think babies JUST HAPPENED in their mother’s womb. What, do you think they just appeared out of yucky, slimy blood and stuff ? Fred Hoyle once calculated that the chance of a baby spontaneously appearing in a woman’s uterus was the same as a storm blowing through a junkyard and creating a Boing-747. That’s harder to believe than that the stork brought them!

    You might like to think you came from a mere zygote, but I KNOW I came from a glorious stork.

    My father insists that I was born because he slept with my mother. I derisively call this the Big Bang theory, because he cannot tell me what happened BEFORE the Big bang. And what caused the Big Bang? It must have been a stork.

    You might ask, ok “what caused the stork?” Well the stork was always there.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Jessica

      No grasp of Science, have you

      November 19, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Colin

      Holy sh.it Jessica, you didnt recognize that as sarcasm........

      November 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Athy

      I think Jessica's a little slow on the uptake.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • MaryJ

      After giving birth to three kids I wish there was a stork! 🙂

      November 20, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  8. MateoinUtah

    well that disqualifies this guy for EVER being president! Which means that the GOP will certainly run him in 2016 LOL! Does the dude know there are actual living organisms older than 10,000 years? Or do we just ignore those things. Put the blinders back on. Gawd save me from your followers!

    November 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Ken

      Probably all GOP presidents ever understood about nuclear weapon science was "Me press button, country go BOOM!"

      November 20, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  9. Lewis Black on OT, Evolution

    "Whenever anybody tries to tell me it [creation] took place in seven days, I reach for a fossil and go, fossil!. And if they keep talking, I throw it just over their head."

    November 19, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      The Scopes Trial is Over. Not. Arg.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  10. Tim

    Why is he getting multiple interviews all of a sudden? Why isn't anyone asking him, "What are you doing, what are you accomplishing for the State of Florida and for the country other than interviews? You are a useless sound byte machine. Every interview lists him as a 'rising star' in the GOP. Another empty suit. He's Romney without all the sleazy vulture capitalist money.

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

    Despite what the article says, most all scientists agree that the universe is 13.75 billion years old, not 14.5. Several different methods of dating the universe all agree on this.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  12. Apple Bush

    Christians argue that, if science has not found an answer to a phenomenon, then God did it.

    Therefore before we understood lightning, God did it. Likewise for rain, tides, earthquakes, etc.

    Using this logic, every time we explain something we did not previously understand, a piece of God is eliminated.

    Therefore, God will necessarily be disproven over time.

    Therefore, there is no God.

    The law of a diminishing God.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  13. jdoe

    It only shows that Rubio is a wimp, unable or unwilling to stake an opinion in order to not offend one group or another.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • heliocracy

      They have apparently learned nothing from the election of 2012; namely, that pandering to the fringes makes the undecided voters in the center not trust you or vote for you.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  14. webman6

    Wow. This guy is a real gem. How can anyone with half a brain possibly think that the earth is only a few thousand years old? What a bunch of religious nuts the GOP has on their train. It's long past time that religion be put in its proper place in society. Far away and forgotten. There is no place for religion in modern society.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Seriously...there are rocks in my back yard that are, without any doubt whatsoever, older than 10,000 years old.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  15. Observer

    Like Palin, Rubio was asked a simple question and was completely stumped. So much for intelligence.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  16. BFOTO

    As Pogo once famously said..."we have met the enemy and he is us."

    November 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  17. Petey Pirate

    An easy way of combining faith with science is to point out that while the earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 3x that or more, what was before and what created the universe? therein can be the blend of religion and science. I'm not saying I believe it OR don't, but it DOES solve a problem.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Gadflie

      "God did it" is the most used answer that has never once been shown to be correct. Isn't it time we quit using this answer and admitted that it was never more than a place holder?

      November 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Athy

      No it doesn't. You're just throwing the problem over the fence. Where did the creator come from? Some sort of super creator? Most people's brains seem to shut down after the first stage.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • matt

      it's impossible to conclude there is not a god. to claim to know what that god is is dumb.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      No it doesn't solve anything. Saying "god did it" when you run out of proven answers is nothing more than an argument from ignorance.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      You are incorrect. There can be no "blend" of religion and science. You are as stupid as Marco. Science is science. Religion is religion. They do not mix. At all. Ever. Unless if is the science of studying acient myths.

      November 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Matt, by that "reasoning" it is impossible to "conclude" that there is no invisible family of sea urchins living in the "s" bend of your toilet. But, in reality, that conclusion is easily reached, and arguing otherwise is just using a logical fallacy known as "Negative Proof".

      November 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  18. Marianne

    The GOP has an uncanny ability to pick smooth-talking, really stupid candidates who are locked into their bubbles with 18th Century mindset and zero curiosity about science or the world.

    Now, finding these lunatics is talent!

    November 19, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Athy

      Not really. The party is apparently full of them!

      November 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  19. mmi16

    Dumbo flys again!

    November 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  20. matt

    it's dang hard to be a fiscal conservative with these idiots around..maybe that's why we're in 60 trillion accrued debt?

    November 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
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About this blog

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.