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. Maie MD

    Is he lying again? This guy is a complete mo ron. This is what the rethugs think is going to win them the White House in 2016?
    Once again the facts get in the way of the tea baggers.

    November 20, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • nope


      November 20, 2012 at 6:33 am |
    • snopes confirms

      nope is a dope

      November 20, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  2. nemo0037

    And this idiot has the nerve to think he can lead a superpower nation in the 21st century... By dismissing the age of the universe as an unsolvable mystery? That's one of the most pathetic notions I've seen this year, And I see it REPEATEDLY from the Republican Party. Sad.

    November 20, 2012 at 6:19 am |


    November 20, 2012 at 5:14 am |
  4. Michael

    And you wonder why the GOP is irrelevant.

    November 20, 2012 at 5:13 am |
  5. scuffed

    wait just a damn minute (or as the bible calls it 100 million years), now god is tricky sob...laying down them cave paintings and fossil record and giving us carbon dating was just his sneaky sense of humor.

    November 20, 2012 at 4:36 am |
  6. 200 TON HAMMER

    kombaYAH. Is the song of blacks who came on slave ships in chains.the word YAH is YahshuYah or Jahovah if you look at the true history of blacks suffering by long list its DEUTERONOMY Chapter 28:15~68 it fits the blacks in America too a T look at how many black males make up the jail and prison population in the lower 48 states they are Truely the HEBREW ISREALITE

    November 20, 2012 at 4:13 am |
    • OxyFlush©

      We can help you lose that extra 50 tons, Hammer!

      November 20, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  7. cincinnatidavid

    "One of the great mysteries" is how Rubio has the slightest chance of running for president.

    November 20, 2012 at 4:06 am |
    • fekt

      well, the gop think that by running a cuban american they can appeal to latino voters. i've met many fine cubans. i've met many other fine men and women of latin descent who were not cuban. i would not want to be in the same room with them at the same time. if this is how they plan to get the latino vote, then they really have no idea how inadequate a word that is in describing a group of such a large diverse people from many different cultures. some of whom really don't like each other that much.

      November 20, 2012 at 4:24 am |
  8. 200 TON HAMMER

    HEBREWISMS OF WEST AFRICA BY JOSEPH J.WILLIAMS its a real life in order time lines. Of who blacks are who's past Generation came from Jerusalem in which their Black HEBREW ISREALITE Travel and Lived all through west Africa.

    November 20, 2012 at 4:00 am |
  9. R Burns

    The first clue that should be noticed about whether a "day" means an era or a 24-hour cycle is the account in Genesis itself. It describes the light and darkness being separated and periods called night and day being established as taking place within the first "day" period. It would be impossible for a 24-hour day to be contained along with other processes, all within the same 24-hour day. So, the "day" must mean an era. The rest of the verses explain the same evolutionary process that science tells us is the one life had to go through, so we must consider the account to be accurate and this should bring science and religion together. But people are too inclined to follow instead of think, and too afraid to relinquish long-held beliefs just because that is what they were taught. One error of logic and calculation changed the description of Christianity for some, and not as it should. We are told in Peter that to God a day is like a thousand years in verses that directly address the situation with today's science vs creationism. We need to be getting back to the messages of direction that Jesus brought us and stop allowing these distractions. Get the world back on the right track. It won't be by arguing about the age of the earth!

    November 20, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • redzoa

      Sorry, but the order of the Biblical creation, regardless of an acceptance of day-age theory, is contradicted by the fossil record and appearance of the various classes of animals, plants, etc.

      November 20, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • End Religion

      Did you miss the memo? Here are the Cliff notes:
      – The bible is a fraud
      – Everything in it is a lie
      – God is imaginary

      November 20, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • ScottLL

      redzoa, I suggest you read Genesis 1. There is nothing there that contradicts evolution and evolution doesn't contradict Genesis 1.

      November 20, 2012 at 3:48 am |
    • Captain H

      "In the beginning, God created the heavens AND the Earth"........This unspecified period of time preceeded the creative "Days" process that followed in transforming the already existing Earth. As others mentioned, the bible
      makes no claim that the "Hebrew" word translated as "Day" indicates a period of time as understood by man, nor as equal periods of time. As such, a "Day" could be millions of years in one case or just a few in another. The bible on these points do not conflict with what scientist theorie about the Earth's history.

      November 20, 2012 at 5:40 am |
    • Damocles

      @capt h

      Funny, the times I went to church I don't ever recall hearing anything but that 6 days meant 6 days. It's been fairly recent that believers have tried to hammer the round peg of 6 days into the square hole of ~14B years.

      November 20, 2012 at 5:50 am |
  10. ronjayaz

    Well, that seals it for me, any politician pushing Creationism is off my list.

    November 20, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      So, how does that make you any different than those that will not vote for a Atheist candidate?

      November 20, 2012 at 4:50 am |
    • saggyroy

      Atheists wouldn't start a war just to bring about the 2nd coming of Christ.

      November 20, 2012 at 6:13 am |
  11. borisjimbo

    No it's not a dispute among theologians, it's a dispute between reputable scientists and crackpot flat-earthers.

    November 20, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  12. Mary

    I respect a person who admits that his spiritual journey involves exactly that....his own personal spiritual beliefs and relationship with God. I imagine that many of us still are working our way through this life and forming opinions and beliefs. This is the second media article I have read today in which the author attacks Rubio on personal issues. I can see it all starting – the tearing down of the man the liberals fear will be the Republican nominee for president in 2016....time for the left to start the "gotcha" reporting. The hateful negative campaign worked for Obama, and I expect to see it utilized again in 2016 by the extreme left.

    November 20, 2012 at 2:54 am |
    • ScottLL

      Mary, I agree with your comment about us all being on a spiritual journey. The longer I study the Bible and God's word, the more I realize how it all ties together and I marvel at all that He has done. And it is not by deeds, good or bad that we are saved. Rather it is God's love for us all and His grace that saves us. Whether the earth is 6,000 years old or 16 Billion years old isn't what my faith is built on nor am I going to be devastated if it is something else. I am a Chemical Engineer. Whether you are studying something microscopic or macroscopic, the universe is truly amazing.

      November 20, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • End Religion

      it's a report on a possible future Presidential candidate who doesn't believe in reality. Forgetting the future for the moment, he's a Senator whose current committee assignments include Commerce, Science and Transportation. He's supposed to be on the side of science, not against it. If he doesn't understand how old the earth is then he is incapable of performing his duties.

      November 20, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • Christie

      I am a Christian as well. However, the tendency to deny all science in favor of literal translation of one Holy Book in a country built on freedom of religion is offensive to me. If we allow our elected to get away with the Flinstone concept of history we open the door for women being responsible for original sin and will immediately de-evolve into the age of witch burnings and Inquisitors. I refuse to elect anyone to the grown-up table of intelligent Heads of State and represent my country when, clearly, there is a barely concealed and potentially violent contempt for those who disagree within our own borders.

      November 20, 2012 at 3:37 am |
  13. ScottLL

    I give up. I have tried 4 times, but CNN keeps censoring my posts. No profanity or racism or anything, they just don't don't like my point. My point is that it is ok to say people are ignorant, etc to believe in God without any scientific proof, but yet they readily accept SSA when there has never been a single scientific study that proves it is innate (even though there have been many attempts to do so.)

    November 20, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • CTYank

      Paranoid, or just stupid? Evolve some.

      November 20, 2012 at 5:37 am |
    • CNN Belief Blog Moderator

      Your posts were blocked because they were super racist, and don't try to deny it.

      November 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • helpful

      The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".
      • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.
      Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".
      And said moderators still have not solved the chronological placement of comments once the number of comments gets above about 100. They recently have taken to dividing the comments in batches of 50 or so, for some strange reason. Maybe they did this to solve the chronology problem only to make comment reviews beyond the tedious.
      “Raison's Filter Fiber© (joking about the copyright)
      1. Here's my latest list – this seems like a good spot to set this down, as nobody's posting much on this thread.....
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to post that wonderful argument:
      Many, if not most are buried within other words, but I am not shooting for the perfect list, so use your imagination and add any words I have missed as a comment (no one has done this yet)
      – I found some but forgot to write them down. (shrugs).
      c-um.........as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, etc.
      sp-ic........as in disp-icable (look out Sylvester the cat!)
      ho-mo...whether ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, etc.
      t-it.........const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, (an unexpected one)
      va-g....as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant
      ar-se....yet "ass" is not filtered!
      jacka-ss...but ass is fine lol
      p-is.....as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, etc.
      o ficti-tious, repeti-tion, competi-tion.
      There are more, so do not assume that this is complete.

      November 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  14. Ms. Wiltmier


    If you don't mind me asking, what do you do for a living? Or are you still in school? I'm not trying to be mean, however I have also noticed that you post almost everyday and at all hours. I find it curious and would like to learn the meaning behind such commitment.


    November 20, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • Truth

      What a shocker, an atheist can't address and simple, nicely written question. When they can't resort to one line insults they tend to ignore you, thus showing their true selves.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  15. ScottLL

    Just checking to see what part of my posts are being censored.

    November 20, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  16. Science

    Rubio is an ignorant. The Age of the Earth is known from physics, the exact same physics we understand well enough to build nuclear powerplants, nuclear subs, and nuclear weapons. If you don't believe in the scientific age of the Earth, then you shouldn't believe in nuclear power. How could we possibly trust someone so ignorant with our nuclear might?

    November 20, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Wow, you hijacked the handle of someone who you can't beat in a debate and refuses to go away.

      ... Is this the only way to beat Rational Lib? To steal his or her username?

      November 20, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Also, if you want to imitate me, say that you accept evolution rather than believe in it.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  17. ANDERSON P00PER 360

    Atheists are scu.m of the earth. Quite possibly the lowest of the lows. Sorry but you scrubs are.

    November 20, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • tallulah13

      I'd be crushed if your opinion had any value at all.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Definitely. Not believing in sky wizards, magic carpenters and pedophile warmongerers really brings out the worst in people.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • ANDERSON P00PER 360

      Tallulah – do you spend every waking day on here? I notice you post everyday and at all hours, must be sad not having a life 🙁 ps the comeback of "you must be on here too then" isnt valid and only makes you look even more like a moron

      November 20, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • End Religion

      anderson, you must be on here too then

      November 20, 2012 at 3:20 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      We all spend too much time here. Not like anything said here will change the views of the other side. Also, the rest of America, does not care.

      November 20, 2012 at 4:52 am |
  18. RJ

    We shouldn't ridicule other beliefs. That's why we are America. We have different voices....What is really sad is when evolutionists call Evolutionary Theory actual science....It is not....It is a Theory, and a bad one at that....It is so full of holes and scientific contradictions, it is dangerous to hold on to. What is scary is that people have blind faith in it....Adaptations exist, but not evolutionary theory as they believe in it....Here are some of the contradictions: 1) The Second Law of Thermodynamics contradicts evolution because everything is Not going from disorder to order, 2) DNA mutations are more common than genetic improvements. That is, mutations occur at a more rapid pace, and thus, we are actually devolving instead of evolving, 3) No such thing as crossing over of species–sharks do not become dolphins, and as such, humans do not come from other species. Our DNA is only programmed to form the human species 4) The fossil record has enormous gaps, which cannot be called reliable evidence 5) Carbon dating is unreliable–scientists have carbon-dated the skin of whales and found them to be 'hundreds' of years old!

    Sorry Evolutionary Theory, but you have to go!

    I'm surprised many scientists still believe in it!

    November 20, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Damocles

      10,000 cute puppies died because of your post. I hope you are happy.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • MC

      You truly are an idiot.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • Observer


      Yep. Replace it with talking animals, unicorns, and the incredible nonsense of Noah's Ark.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • Athy

      Name one proven hole. The counterexamples you quote are total nonsense. You obviously have no grasp whatever of what evolution is all about. And you probably never will get it. Pity.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • 4sanity

      I ridicule your beliefs. Willfully ignorance deserves nothing less.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • Peter

      And yet the internet continues to provide ample evidence of the existence of trolls.

      Anyway, this is America. Land of free speech. If you seriously expect that to mean 'no ridicule', then you are an utter nincompoop. The entire principal on which American free speech is based is that there is no need to respect what others are saying. Instead, the concept is 'the market place of ideas'. If your ideas cannot stand up to ridicule, then they are ridiculous. As such, I will continue to laugh aloud at your pseudo-science. Your arguments remind me of biblical pickers and choosers...you take a snippet to support what you want to say and cover your ears for the rest.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • Russell's Teapot

      Quit acting as if scientific theories are nothing more than the product of a night of copious drinking and or drug use. For theories to gain any meaningful traction they must hold some validity.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Evolution isn't a belief, it's a fact. You either accept it or you're retarded.


      You're right, this is America, so I have every right to ridicule you and you're retarded delusions.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • Rational Libertarian


      For a thypothesis to be even be considered to be a theory (in scientific terms) it has to be damn near perfect, with masses of evidence to support it. There are few, if any, scientific theories with more evidence than evolution.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • End Religion

      "I'm surprised many scientists still believe in it!"

      Perhaps you're surprised because you obviously don't understand it.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Common Sense

      R.J. Are you related to Dick Morris? He had a lot of great theories about the election...

      November 20, 2012 at 2:32 am |
    • gggg

      Evolution is a theory. It is a theory because it changes and is adapted as new facts are learned. Creationism is bull crap. It is bull crap because it say new facts are wrong if they do not fit with creationism. And RJ, the second law of thermodynamics says that entropy never DECREASES. I.e., it can stay stable or increase. Entropy = randomness. Everything is going from order to disorder until the disorder is uniform. My grasp of thermodynamics may be incomplete, but yours is non-existent. Your grasp of biology is also pretty much non-existent. First off, most of your DNA you don't even use. It's like a bunch of switches in a permanent off position. You can change them all you want and nothing will happen. Combine that with a mutation rate of about .000027 changes per 20 year generation, and evolution would be pretty slow. To suggest that one species could become another is ludicrous and in no way affirms or detracts from evolution. It only shows you to be a mindless idiot. The fossil record has gaps because it is REALLY OLD and we haven't found it all yet. Now personally, I think you made the last one up because a search of the internet reveals nothing about it.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • redzoa

      I believe you'll find all these tired arguments addressed here:


      November 20, 2012 at 3:21 am |
    • DC Native

      1) You are relying on the same scientists' "theory" of thermodynamics. If you don't trust scientific theories, be consistent. 2) Drivel...learn about mutations. And there is no such thing as "devolving" (see "Evolution 101) 3) How could a species "cross over" if by definition twospecies cannot mate and create a viable offsping? Learn the definitions of these scientific words. 4) The fossil record will always have gaps and that is fine. We are filling those gaps in every day and learning more and more. If you believe that we can never gleen evidence from something with gaps in it, apply that rule to your Bible and you will be sunk 5) Carbon dating is reliable when done correctly by professionals, and there are many other forms of dating. How reliable is "Faith?"

      November 20, 2012 at 3:33 am |
  19. James

    I am a catholic and have never believed that God created the world in 7 days, never believed in Adam & Eve, never believed in the virgin birth, never believed in the resurrection etc. Why am I still a catholic? I still see catholicism as a force of good in the world and I still believe in the teachings of Jesus, not necessarily the events surrounding his life, like the performing of miracles. I do believe that evolution is real and that there is a God. What role he played and is still playing in this phenomenon, I am not quite sure.I do not believe however that God answers prayers, grant wishes or punishes.

    November 20, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Athy

      Sounds like you shouldn't even be a catholic. Why not go the next logical step?

      November 20, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Observer


      You are probably like the majority of Christians, but are more honest than many. Everyone picks and chooses from the Bible and it's refreshing to find someone so honest with themself.

      November 20, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • 4sanity

      Well said.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You are evidently not a Catholic.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • J

      I'm straight. I have never slept with a woman. I have never been attracted to women. I only sleep with men. Why am I still straight? Because I enjoy the idea of being straight and the idea of being able to procreate.

      Am I really still straight? Are you really still catholic?

      November 20, 2012 at 2:30 am |
  20. Shane

    It is true, we don't know the exact age of the Earth, but the approximate range isn't very debatable.

    One side, you have this thing called Evidence, and the other you have parts of a book that was written over a long period, and often about seemingly very different Dieties.

    November 20, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • borisjimbo

      Not even in English, and only post facto declared "The" Bible.

      November 20, 2012 at 2:59 am |
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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.