Marco Rubio and Creationism

We weren’t going to write about Senator Marco Rubio’s latest blunder regarding the age of the earth (see Rubio ignites debate with answer about creationism) because: (a) we’re just getting over the last presidential election; and (b) we’ve been writing about Marco Rubio’s creationism for at least three years — see Marco Rubio: Creationist Theocrat for Senator? and also Open Letter to Marco Rubio.

But today we’ve changed our mind. That’s because the Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page.– have leaped to his defense. Check out the latest at their blog: Did Marco Rubio Stick His Foot in It? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Rubio was asked by GQ about the age of the earth and gave an equivocal answer, a non-answer.

No, Rubio didn’t give a non-answer. It was very revealing. Actually, it was an utterly crazy answer, which is exactly the sort of thing we’d expect of a young-earth creationist, or a politician who is shamelessly pandering to them. Here’s the original article in GQ, with their question and what Rubio said in response:

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?

Marco Rubio: 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.

Hopelessly, tragically absurd, right? GQ played it just right. We’ve been recommending that question to politicians for years now — see Always Ask Candidates: “How old is the earth?” Getting back to the Discoveroids, they quote some liberal writer who criticizes Rubio, and they say this about it:

This is more or less the conventional wisdom on Rubio’s answer, which is certainly muddled. But a couple of points. Rubio doesn’t affirm Young Earth Creationism. He recognizes the question for what it is: a hackneyed media gimmick to trap Republicans.

We know all about the media and their gimmicks, but the question is legitimate because we want to know if a candidate is nuts. Your Curmudgeon is a Republican, but such a question wouldn’t be a trap for us. Our response would be: “Geologists say the world is about 4.5 billion years old. If you need a more precise answer, ask one of them.” Another candidate, less up to date but nevertheless sane, could answer: “I don’t know; ask a geologist.” It’s simple, but Rubio couldn’t handle it.

Although it’s not strictly relevant here (and it’ll drive many of you over the edge) in the interest of fairness we must add that the media should flush out the crazies on the other side too. We’d like them ask Democrats: “Do you think incomes should be redistributed so that there would be more fairness in society?” We also wish the media understood what that question is all about. Anyway, let’s see what else the Discoveroids have to say about Rubio:

One purpose of the question is to get people like Wehner [a liberal commentator] to denounce the subject of the interrogation — Rubio — and so create fissures among Republicans. Wehner falls right into the trap.

Huh? The journalist didn’t fall into any trap — Rubio did. Here’s more:

Is it really now intellectually intolerable, when someone asks you an irrelevant question, out of all context, about the age of the earth, to say: “I don’t know”?

Come on, Discoveroids! Rubio went way beyond saying he didn’t know. He launched into an embarrassingly clumsy song and dance routine designed to appeal to every creationist lunatic of every variety. That’s why Rubio’s response is contemptible.

Besides, the question about the age of the Earth wasn’t sneaky. It was a rather straightforward way of asking: “Are you a creationist?” There’s an obvious way to handle goofy questions or trick questions about science — “That has nothing to do with my office, so I don’t know why you’re asking me about it, but if I needed to know the answer I’d call in the best experts.” Nothing wrong with kind of response. Unfortunately, Rubio’s answer to the age of the earth question revealed him to be a creationist.

There’s not much else to the Discoveroids’ article. After leaping to Rubio’s defense as if he were a damsel in distress, they wrap it all up, in effect, by praising him because his response shows that he’s open to “evidence that contradicts conventional wisdom.” Oh yeah!

And where does that leave us? At this very early stage, it seems that most of the Republican presidential hopefuls are creationists — or they’re at least eager to pander to them. A pity, really. But it’s premature to worry about it. Let’s see if the country survives the next four years.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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30 responses to “Marco Rubio and Creationism

  1. Well, Jindal has the answer…”stop being stupid!”
    He’s telling his comrades how to win…Louisiana style.
    Of course, he’s hoping no one remembers his supporting
    one of the most ignorant….Perry.

    Not many Huntsman Republicans around these days.

    Now that West has been fired…as was Santorum…maybe
    he will take a run in 2016…ala Santorum.

  2. I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.

    Note that Rubio is on the subcommittee for science and space.

    And he’s telling us that if something is not of immediate obvious importance for making money, we don’t have to be concerned about it.

  3. Our Curmudgeon proposes:

    in the interest of fairness we must add that the media should flush out the crazies on the other side too. We’d like them ask Democrats: “Do you think incomes should be redistributed so that there would be more fairness in society?”

    An excellent suggestion! But really only one of many such that could be made toward the laudable aim of encouraging genuine discourse on polity in place of sloganeering and spin. Well, one can dream…

    And perhaps someone has some figures, but I believe that in the USA, Creationists are by no means universally Republicans?

  4. I would ask SC’s question a different way: “Do you believe laborers and service personnel deserve a larger share of the wealth they help produce?”

    And “Is it justifiable to allocate some of our Gross National Product to assist the destitute?”

    That two-part form avoids the buzzword “redistribution” and still gets at the principle of how we should balance resources among social classes.

  5. Retired Prof says: “I would ask SC’s question a different way”

    No problem, but your questions need a bit of clarification. As corrected, they should be this:

    1. Do you believe laborers and service personnel deserve a larger or perhaps smaller share of the wealth they help produce, determined in some way other than the free market price of labor?

    2. Is it justifiable to use government force to allocate some of our Gross National Product to assist the destitute?

  6. “Do you think incomes should be redistributed so that there would be more fairness in society?”

    Interesting that you equate a scientific question to a policy question. It doesn’t do your credibility much good.

    Is putting money into the space program “redistribution”?
    Are tax cuts for the highest earners “redistribution”?
    Are tax credits for oil companies “redistribution”?
    Is hospitals being forced to pay for deadbeat patients “redistribution”?
    Is funding vaccination programs for the poor “redistribution”?

    The above questions are all opinion. I’m sure you can add many more that neatly fit your view of “redistribution”. The question “how old is the earth” can be answered based on evidence.

    So the question “How old is the earth” and “Do you believe in redistribution” are not equivalent. If you get more specific, like “Do you believe in welfare for single mothers who have nowhere to live and no one to help them?” then that is much more specific, although still open to a range of interpretation. We can add “who is jobless” and “has no childcare” and “carried her rapists child to term” and “is somewhat disabled because of the beating her rapist gave her”.

    See. Still the same general question, still “redistribution”, or should we call it “REDISTRIBUTION” to help connotate it’s pure evil? After all, helping out a young new mother who had to carry her rapist’s child after being beaten and caused severe injuries causing long lasting disabilities is so darned Democrat like, those horrible, horrible Democrats. What a shame her entire family was killed in a car accident just a month before. Well, that’s tough luck for her.

    We conservatives know that helping her would only disincentive her from working, assuming she can get work, while she leaves her baby in a closet at home during the day, and night. She has lots of medical bills, so she needs to work 16 hours a day to pay them off. We don’t want to redistribute money via the hospital system. She has to pay her way.

    So clearly, I am sure we can agree that this example of providing aid to this young woman is redistributing. In all it’s evil forms.

    Giving tax credits to Exxon is not. This is incentivising a business to search for more oil on home soil.

    Providing vaccinations for the poor. Definitely redistributing. Unless your concerned about saving money in the long run, and the health of your general population.

    Providing a single payer healthcare system. Definitely redistribution. Unless, again, your concerned with the overall health of the nation, want to reduce personal bankruptcies, stop hospitals from having to swallowing
    costs from people who can’t pay, want a healthy workforce. Fix problems of insurance industries constantly refusing to pay. Seems to work for a dozen other countries.

    I’m sure we could come up with a hundred examples of redistribution being classified in another way. Isn’t this exactly what a tax of any sort does? It takes them from most, and gives it to others, paying wages for jobs building roads, defense, light houses, etc.

    Which is strictly redistribution is opinion and not subject to peer review and evidence.

  7. @Mike: What’s with your rant about a woman leaving a baby alone in a closet while she works 16 hours a day? Show me where this happens. That is the most absurd thing I’ve heard in quite a while. If you would even think about leaving a baby in a closet for 16 hours a day or even a minute, you’ve got some serious issues that money cannot solve. On top of that, you’re using single payer healthcare as an example of evil redistribution? This one really annoys me because it is usually based on comparisons of the US to countries like Canada, Sweden or the UK. So let’s take a closer look. Sweden is 174K sq. miles, population 9.4M. Canada 3.5M sq. miles that are mostly uninhabitable, population 34M. UK 88K sq. miles, population 64M. US 3.79M sq. miles / 2.9M sq. miles contiguous, population 311M. This is like comparing the economics of my neighborhood block to Liechtenstein. If you want to compare the US to Europe as a whole, be my guest, but then you have to balance Sweden with Belarus. Once all the wealthy European countries support the less advantaged ones I’ll be impressed. Until that happens, those comparisons are meaningless.

  8. And then there is (then) Senator Obama’s reply to a similar question.

    Q: Senator, if one of your daughters asked you—and maybe they already have—“Daddy, did god really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say?

    A: What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know…

  9. BTW, I forgot to h/t Allahpundit on Hotair for that quote.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/11/20/quotes-of-the-day-1205/

    FYI, Allahpundit is a conservative atheist.

  10. Given the popularity of Robin Hood, any questioning of redistribution of wealth will remain a minority view.

    Perhaps if it were rephrased: “Should politicians be allowed to steal money from one group of people in order to buy the votes of others?”

    That seems to be more to the point, as well.

  11. @retiredsciguy

    +1

  12. Ceteris Paribus

    @retiredsciguy If that is your attitude about redistribution of wealth, well, don’t be expecting me any time soon to be inviting you to take a tax deductible ride on my private jet, and visit me at my secondary home with the $1 million mortgage that qualifies for interest deduction.

  13. @Ceteris Paribus: The examples you cite are just variations of politicians stealing money from one group of people to buy the votes of others. The sword is sharp on both sides, All Things Being Equal.

    Personally, I like the idea of everybody paying some tax on their income, and doing away with most deductions. That way, all voters will start paying attention to how the politicians are using our money.

    Somehow, this whole string has gotten way off-topic, so I’ll quit now.

  14. SC said:

    Our response would be: “Geologists say the world is about 4.5 billion years old. If you need a more precise answer, ask one of them.”

    Except you really didn’t answer the question. You alluded to it with your “If you need a more precise answer”, but it could still be said that you never said whether you agreed or disagreed with it. I think you’d be better off saying,

    Our response would be: “Geologists say the world is about 4.5 billion years old and I see no reason to doubt them. If you need a more precise answer, ask one of them.”

    You could even expand on this by throwing in the many lines of science (geology, astronomy, nuclear physics, etc) all provide roughly the same answer.

  15. OK, time for old Doc Bill to wade into this issue and why it’s important.

    If you’re interested in a fascinating read, look up the transcripts for the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt of 2005. Our lawyer, Pedro, asked each of the “witnesses” the same questions leading off with “What is the age of the earth?” Of course, the answer is simple: The age of the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. Period. Done.

    You will read such equivocation from the creationists as to make your head spin. They just won’t answer the question! It’s astounding. The Disco Tute calls this simple, 5th Grade science question a “gotcha” question which is totally ridiculous. It’s only a “gotcha” question if you think privately that the earth is 6,000 years old and you’re being asked to publicly declare that and risk being labeled a crank, which you would be.

    Here’s the problem with Rubio and his fellow travelers. If he comes out and states the science he risks “losing the base” of evangelical Christian voters who have supported Republicans since Reagan. What the Rubio’s have failed to understand is that their base is an every shrinking demographic and can no longer guarantee a win in an election.

    Rubio claimed that he “wasn’t a scientist” and therefore was unqualified to wade in on an issue as complicated as the age of the earth, but that’s a cheap dodge. You don’t have to be a scientist to be scientifically literate. You don’t have to be a scientist to get an “A” in 5th Grade science. The Rubio’s must risk losing their ever-shrinking base if they have any hope of remaining relevant in the 21st Century.

    Rubio is dangerous because he is either still pandering to the shrinking base or he really and truly doesn’t understand the basic underpinnings of our modern society. Either way he’ll continue to make the wrong decisions for the wrong reasons and be useless as a leader.

  16. Doc Bill says:

    If he comes out and states the science he risks “losing the base” of evangelical Christian voters

    That’s why I think all candidates should be asked about the age of the earth. It smokes ’em out. Similarly, they should be asked their opinions of socialism and free enterprise. And tax rates. And the size of government. All candidates should be grilled on all these issues so we know what we’re getting.

  17. I agree with the curmudgeon. Regardless of my personal views, I think the only way we can really be informed as an electorate is if politicians are ‘forced’ to give an honest answer. Though we all know SCs opinion of liberal policies no one should take offense to the ‘redistribution’ question. If I as a voter am ok with my candidate supporting ‘redistribution’ whatever that may mean then so be it. On the other hand if an evangelical voter is ok with their candidate being a creationist then so be it. The problem arises when the creationist candidate is elected and then violates the constituional separation of church and state.

    I agree that the use of the term ‘redistribution’ could be better defined unless one’s goal is simply to establish how far along the fiscal conservative path a candidate may be.

    I think you could add any number of additional questions to the list to ‘smoke out’ a candidate’s views. The question a voter then has to ask is, “which of these are most important to me?

  18. … continued…. darn ‘smart phones’.

    I don’t think the 2 questions should carry the same weight however. The question on the age of the earth is meant to allow a candidate to show they will respect information and sources that are verifiable. The candidate is therefore willing to be logically consistent in other matters. The redistribution question hits on matters of personal morals and preferences. There are widely differing views amongst economic policy experts bc there is no simple solution, the same is not true among scientists on issues like age of the earth or evolution or even global warming (how to handle the issue is separate from acknowledging that ‘houston we have a problem’). My two cents… though probably an inflated estimate of how much my comment is worth… now off to the turkey.

  19. One final comment on the Rubio thing but referring to my gov, Rick “Good Hair aka Oops!” Perry.

    Perry is as dumb as they come. Easily led but not a leader. Never held a job, he’s been on the Government dole all his life but I’ll bet my last road apple that he hates “moochers and takers.”

    Anyway, Texas has been in a severe drought for several years. Perry’s solution has been to have Days of Prayer – for rain. Sure, it rains somewhere in Texas and it’s always claimed by the scammers, that is, priests and ministers that it is “God answering the prayers of Texas.”

    So, rather than implement effective water conservation projects and measures, Perry prays. Perry also cut funding for rural firefighting but has never hesitated to call on the hated and dreaded Federal Government for firefighting help and financial relief. Prayer and hypocrisy, an Traditional American Values in action.

    In Perry’s dumb little mind (and I use the term loosely) God controls the weather and all we can do is pray. Seriously. That’s the policy. Of course, the rest of the dim bulb Republican legislature is no better and they’d rather practice talking to snakes than soil and water conservation.

    That’s why Rubio and the other Rubio’s, Jindal’s, Bachmann’s and the rest of the Party of Stupid are so dangerous. They will fiddle, er, pray, while Rome burns.

  20. Gabriel Hanna

    Jack Hogan’s point about our current creationist President has dropped into the memory hole, so let me fish it back out.

    The progressives who frequent this board voted, I assume, for Obama, who said essentially what Rubio said when asked the same question, according to that notorious right-wing hotbed Salon.com, which has the video:

    I’m trying to remember if we’ve had this conversation. What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it — it may not be 24-hour days. And that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and that I think is a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. You know, my belief is that the story the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live, that that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible? That, you know, I don’t presume to know.

    I would be interested to hear their defenses, except that I know what they are already–that Obama doesn’t actually mean it, just like he didn’t actually mean it when he was against gay marriage, when he was against deficits, when he was against the Bush tax cuts which he later signed into law, when he was against the Patriot Act which he later signed it into law, when he was against Guantanamo Bay and wars in the Middle East, and when he was against warrantless wiretapping which his lawyers are arguing for before the Supreme Court, and rounding up medical marijuana users. They will say, he’s a politician, what do you expect, now he doesn’t have to worry about being reelected. Rubio’s quote, however, provides a window into his true soul, apparently, and must be construed to be as creationist as possible.

    Meanwhile our gracious host, as usual, is more worried about the entirely hypothetical threat that creationism poses to our freedom than the actual civil liberties that we are losing.

    http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security-technology-and-liberty/new-justice-department-documents-show-huge-increase

  21. Gabriel Hanna says: “Meanwhile our gracious host, as usual, is more worried about the entirely hypothetical threat that creationism poses to our freedom than the actual civil liberties that we are losing.”

    How did I give you that idea? I’ve always said that with the two parties we have today — one creationist and the other socialist — it’s a choice between the lesser of two evils. Compared to what Obama and his party stand for, and are doing, creationism is definitely the lesser evil. Rubio’s a creationist, and therefore a fool, but almost all politicians are fools. I would have voted for Rubio if he had run against Obama. I’ll vote for him four years from now if he runs against an Obama clone.

  22. Gabriel Hanna

    Anyway, the reason Marc Rubio was asked about creationism is the same reason that Stephanopolous asked Mitt Romney about birth control–to paint a Republican as a theocrat. No Republican presidential candidate then had any interest in making birth control illegal, and no Republican presidential candidate now has any interest in implementing creationism at the Federal level.

    If a Republican president ever did manage to implement creationism, it would only be possible because progressives created a Federal Department of Education and are accustomed to using it. If you give the national government the power to do something, sooner or later someone will get in who will use it in a way you don’t agree with.

  23. Gabriel Hanna

    @SC:How did I give you that idea?

    Because you are looking where they want you to look, and discussing the question on their terms.

    There has been no Federal budget in three years, thanks to the efforts of Senate Democrats who have killed or voted against every budget since 2009, and the largest buyer of government bonds right now is the Federal Reserve, which is no different from printing money.

    http://en.mercopress.com/2011/06/27/federal-reserve-will-remain-biggest-buyer-of-us-treasury-bills

    Compare and contrast the amount of attention given to this issue in the media with, say, the Real Housewives of Centcom.

  24. Gabriel Hanna: “If you give the national government the power to do something, sooner or later someone will get in who will use it in a way you don’t agree with.”

    Agree 100%. Same is true for state governments as well.

  25. Gabriel Hanna says: “Because you are looking where they want you to look, and discussing the question on their terms.”

    Creationism is mostly what we talk about here, so I report it where I find it. I doubt that this humble blog has the power to affect election results. If I changed the whole focus of the blog to discussing my objections to Obama and his crew, I’d be ranting uncontrollably most of the time. That’s not what I want to do. It’s sufficient that I let it be known that I’m a Republican, one of the nearly extinct type from before the social conservative invasion of the party.

  26. SC: “…I’m a Republican, one of the nearly extinct type from before the social conservative invasion of the party.”

    More of a hijacking, wouldn’t you say? We need to kick ’em out and let them form their own third party — the “Theocratic Party”.

  27. It’s sufficient that I let it be known that I’m a Republican, one of the nearly extinct type from before the social conservative invasion of the party.

    See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve accepted the framing of people who oppose everything else you believe in. Who got behind the nominations of Mitt Romney and John McCain? They were not the first choice of the social conservative Republicans, nor the second choice, and they are not social conservatives themselves. Who was talking about women losing birth control? Not Republican candidates. Who made a big deal about the bizarre tenets of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism (while maintaining a mysterious silence about the Senate Majority Leader, a Mormon and a Democrat)? Not evnagelicals, who voted for Romney despite his Mormonism, when all the progressives HERE assured us that could never happen.

    Furthermore, the Democrats have never shed all of THEIR social conservatives, or their creationists for that matter–we all here know by now that roughly half of Democrats are creationists in the sense described by President Obama’s and Marc Rubio’s quotes, in that they think God had something to do with it and that the Bible is in some sense true. Who provided the votes for Proposition 8 in California that amended the constitution to forbid gay marriage? Hint: one of Obama and the Democrats’ most loyal constituencies. There’s not enough Republicans in California to be responsible for that outcome.

    Creationists are dangerous at the state and local level–and at that level Democrat officials are very nearly equally culpable, especially in the South. Yet the narrative says that the Republicans are the party of nutty theocrats. What party does Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church belong to, and always has? Not the Republican party. What Senate primary did he run in and get 31% of the vote in the 90s? Not the Republican party.

    What is going on is that there is a narrative. The college-educated, agnostic, socially progressive wing of the Democratic party, in this narrative, represents the whole. The stump-toothed Jesus-shouting hillbilly wing of the Republican party, in this narrative, represents the whole. But the reality is that the vast majority of the supporters of each party are not all that different from each other and never have been.

  28. Gabriel Hanna: “If you give the national government the power to do something, sooner or later someone will get in who will use it in a way you don’t agree with.”

    Agreed. So are we going to privatize defense?

    I thought not.

    Perhaps because private industry may also do things you don’t agree with, and do them with less oversight and accountability.

  29. We had privatized defense: Blackwater Security.

    Also, through the ages there have been private armies; they’re called mercenaries. In cities they’re known as vigilantes. Personally, they’re known as bodyguards. Unofficially, thugs and criminals.

    Easy to give a guy a gun. More difficult to control what he does with it!

  30. docbill1351 says: “Easy to give a guy a gun. More difficult to control what he does with it!”

    Calm down. There are lots of private security forces. Banks have guards. So do lots of places. Ever see a Brinks truck? Do you panic at the sight?