Marco Rubio, one of the Republican Party’s great hopefuls for 2016 and a member of the Senate’s Science Committee, won’t say how old he thinks Earth is.
“I’m not a scientist, man. 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. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that.
“At the end of the day, I think 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. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”
Steve Benen writes:
note the way in which Rubio thinks the issue through — he’s “not a scientist”; theologians disagree; so he’s not “qualified” to answer. The senator is comfortable, though, concluding that the age of the planet is “one of the great mysteries.”
Except, of course, it’s not. A “dispute amongst theologians” or not, science offers extremely reliable information that answers the question quite well.
…Does it matter that Marco Rubio doesn’t know the planet is 4.54 billion years old? No. But it does matter whether the senator values science, whether he takes the notion of epistemology seriously, and whether he reconsiders old assumptions based on new information.
Yes indeed. It also matters whether Rubio accepts that the planet is billions of years old because if he doesn’t he must also deny the basic tenets of physics, chemistry, astronomy and geology that led scientists to that conclusion, the basics of evolutionary biology that arise in part from the fact of a very ancient cosmos, and so much else. If someone doesn’t accept a planet that’s billions of years old, then the entire endevour of science across all its multi-disciplinary fields literally has nothing to say that he understands.