Today In Your Science-Hating GOP

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.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I think a lot of ‘mericans have no idea the actual difference between a hypothesis and a theory, thereby conflating the two into an inevitable word salad.

  • There are many kinds of irrational and harmful behaviors that can get you hospitalized against your will for treatment. I think we should use the same standards to judge whether a religious person has crossed the line from mundane crackpot to dangerous crazy person who needs treatment for his condition whether or not he wants it.

    If someone uses his religious notions to justify abusing his children, for instance, or attempting to control others using the force of legitimate authority, he should be locked up and treated for his mental illness.

  • Rubio backtracks: Science proved ‘definitively’ Earth is ‘at least 4.5 billion years old’

    Raw Story, By David Edwards, December 5

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) may have damaged his credibility with creationists on Wednesday when he reversed course and declared that science proved “definitively” the the Earth was “at least 4.5 billion years old.”

    The Florida Republican had recently suggested to GQ magazine that the Earth could have been “created in 7 days” but he wasn’t sure because “I’m not a scientist, man.”

    But in an interview with Politico’s Mike Allen on Wednesday, Rubio said he was just trying to give the same answer that President Barack Obama gave in 2007.

    “There is no scientific debate on the age of the earth,” Rubio explained. “I mean, it’s established pretty definitively, it’s at least 4.5 billion years old.”

    They got to him. Somebody *got* to him!

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