GQ to Marco Rubio: How old is Earth?

posted at 5:22 pm on November 19, 2012 by Allahpundit

You need to read the full interview to appreciate how much of a non sequitur this question was. He’s going back and forth with the author, Michael Hainey, about the standard post-election fare — Obama, 2016, his biography — and then, out of nowhere, “How old do you think the Earth is?” It’s not organically part of the conversation but suddenly there it is, and Hainey doesn’t follow up on it. It has a distinct check-the-box feel to it, as if either he himself or his editors wanted to make sure that the question was asked but weren’t particularly interested in the answer. Which, actually, is exactly the point of a question like this. They want to put Rubio on the spot by seeing if he’ll risk alienating religious conservatives before the 2016 primaries by rejecting Young Earth creationism. If he does, then he may have a problem in famously evangelical Iowa. If he doesn’t, then the media can start hand-wringing over the next big Republican star supposedly pandering to creationists. The point is to discomfort him politically, not to explore the subject. As Bryan Preston says, it’s a small early effort in the project to destroy Rubio before 2016.

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.

Someone on Twitter today pointed back to this poll from over the summer, which suggests that the partisan split on this subject might not be as partisan as the media thinks:

That’s a different question than Rubio was asked but the politics are the same, to gauge which side rejects scientific consensus on religious grounds. Fun fact: Even among Democrats, you’ve got a plurality who reject evolution and nearly three-fourths who see some sort of divine guiding hand in the rise of man. This is why, when you hear conservatives grumble that Obama rarely gets questions like Rubio got, it’s no idle complaint. Coming out strong for Darwin is potentially perilous politically for him too.

Then again, is it? How many Christian Democrats are switching their vote if they find out that The One believes in evolution? How many Iowa Republicans, however religious, would vote against a candidate as strong as Rubio in 2016 simply because he thought that the Earth is five billion years old? I read endless stories online last year about how Romney’s faith would cost him dearly on election day when a critical mass of evangelicals inevitably stayed home in protest of a Mormon candidate. In fact, Romney received as much evangelical support as Bush did in 2004 as a share of the electorate against Obama. Arguably the primaries are different, with Rubio having to worry about Huckabee and/or Santorum potentially outflanking him with evangelicals in a dispute over an issue as tangential as the true age of the Earth. But (a) Huck and Santorum will have to worry about non-religious voters too and frame their answers accordingly and (b) it’s hard for me to believe after the bitterness of this year’s loss that Republican primary voters would let their ballot turn on an issue that has virtually no policy implications and which might lead to a candidate they otherwise prefer losing a key primary state. If you’re a religious conservative who thinks Rubio’s not only the best man for the job but also the GOP’s best bet to win the general, are you really voting for Huckabee or Santorum to make a statement over how old the Earth is? After eight years of Democrats owning the White House and with Hillary potentially waiting in the wings?


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Yeah, that was pretty funny. I really liked how he simply provided the relationship between days and years as if that provided some sort of explanation about time.

blink on November 20, 2012 at 12:36 PM

So give us the age of the Earth in years. I think it’s funny that you won’t.

But this is just a typical dissemination exercise from you. You’re unwilling to answer simple questions that you understand the meaning of but pretend you don’t for the sake of filibustering.

Just give a number. Still waiting.

Good Lt on November 20, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Let’s go further, What thinking killed the most people in history? Atheists.

Examples:

Vladimir Lenin
Joseph Stalin
Mao ze dong
Pol Pot
Castro

Let’s not forget all of the people in history murdered in the name of invisible skybeings.

Nobody kills in the name of atheism. They kill because they’re psychopaths. Being religious doesn’t inoculate you from being a psychopath. Is this news to you?

Good Lt on November 20, 2012 at 1:06 PM

dissemination dissembling exercise

Whoops! Wrong term.

Corrected.

Good Lt on November 20, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Policeman: “Buddy, do you know how fast you were going?”

blink: “Ha! In order for me to answer your question, you must first define the concept of time, which is merely an arbitrary philosophical abstract that we cannot understand without first relating it to the epistemological…”

Policeman: “Oooohkay. Just come along quietly, sir.”

HTL on November 20, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Let’s go further, What thinking killed the most people in history? Atheists.

Examples:

Vladimir Lenin
Joseph Stalin
Mao ze dong
Pol Pot
Castro

Let’s not forget all of the people in history murdered in the name of invisible skybeings.

Nobody kills in the name of atheism. They kill because they’re psychopaths. Being religious doesn’t inoculate you from being a psychopath. Is this news to you?

Good Lt on November 20, 2012 at 1:06 PM

You forgot Hitler…Then the entire human race is psychopathic is this what you are trying to say? :)…I don’t disagree…

jimver on November 20, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Here’s the best answer to the question I’ve heard, wishing I’d thought of it myself:

I respect the Scientific Method which teaches us to favor any hypothesis that has not been proven false yet, and to always keep an open mind for new information that might prove our hypothesis false, based on a properly designed and repeatable experiment.

Designing an experiment to prove the age of anything ancient is self-evidently impossible because of the constraint of non-repeatability.

Nevertheless, we are reasonably certain of the age of the universe based on our measuring stick, the speed of light, and light’s red-shift measurements that reveal the expansion rate of the universe.

This assumes that the measuring stick — the speed of light, has been constant. But we know that this cannot be true, as the Big Bang theory, which the red-shift phenomena reduces to, declares that all matter started from an almost infinitely massive motionless (pure mass)beginning — from a standing start. This requires light to “come up to speed” after the big bang banged — and we have no clue how long that took, nor have any measuring stick by which to measure it. In other words, how long time’s been at today’s observable speed is unknowable.

What we do know, is the speed of light at this point in time, and our measurements — and all the applied mathematics hold up to at least the particle-level understanding of sub-atomic physics.

The second problem, bringing up the Genesis seven-day account is we have only an approximate translation of it’s ancient Hebrew. The Talmudic commentaries are the oldest known approximation of what these texts mean, and there are compelling narratives that suggest the text was never to be taken literally, in any scientific sense. So to attack the Genesis account as a scientific hypothesis is to attack a straw man. (For a brilliant treatment of this, read “In the Beginning” by H. Moose (a Kabbalist commentary on the first six chapters of Genesis).

Mr. Reporter, what we know is science and politics are a dangerous thing. The most advanced scientific society — Nazi Germany, in the 1930′s and early 1940′s exterminated millions of brilliant scientists and scholars because of their ethnicity, believing, for example, melanin (skin pigment) defined mental function. It is better for society to believe the simple mortal truth claim of Genesis — Thou Shall Not Murder.

So what one believes about the cosmos is not nearly as important question is how one behaves. And giving correct scientific answers does not define or predict a proper social contract.

Rosey on November 20, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Oh, and I have a graduate engineering degree from Stanford, have read a great deal on the topic, and am teaching my 3 kids the science behind the young earth theory, and if a republican alienates my views, I will not vote for them. Kills ya, doesn’t it?

rose-of-sharon on November 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM

“the science behind……..” HA!

I can picture it in my head right now.

“OK, kids, I’m now going to show you all the scientific evidence the Earth is only a few thousand years old.

*crickets*

The end! Questions?”

alchemist19 on November 20, 2012 at 1:39 PM

You know, I’ve always found that if you want to have a cordial, intelligent, debate about issues with another adult, you don’t use childish phrases like “flying spaghetti monster”. Crazy, I know.

The Zoo Keeper on November 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

“the science behind……..” HA!

I can picture it in my head right now.

“OK, kids, I’m now going to show you all the scientific evidence the Earth is only a few thousand years old.

*crickets*

The end! Questions?”

alchemist19 on November 20, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Luckily, we continue to add to the stunning preponderance of evidence that people who worship “Science!!” are giant ****ing douchebags.

Good Solid B-Plus on November 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Rose-of-Sharon:

You think young earth science is actually stronger than natural science?
Young earth science requires supernatural exceptions to the laws of physics to have occurred by te hand of God to make the data of deposition, erosion, etc fit in a biblical time frame.

If this is what you think, I’m horrified.

Allahs vulva on November 20, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Silly argument. Why would God submit himself to our time frame? When He formed the earth He was not in earth time. There was no earth time. And God is still not on our time schedule.

Scripture describes how man bothers himself with such trivia yet ponders not his own salvation.

I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. Such trivia is only used by the unbelievers in attempts to discredit Christianity thereby making themselves feel better about their unbelief.

Hey, if its all just fantasy just shut up and go about your lives. Unlike Islam, Christianity demands nothing. Except a conscious choice of belief or unbelief. And grace is a free gift. And asks that you love your neighbor as yourself!

My, my, my, isn’t that a terrible thing? Why does that bother anyone? Could it be a sinister force in the world trying to defeat good?? Naaahhhhhh!

artman1746 on November 20, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Rose-of-Sharon:
You think young earth science is actually stronger than natural science?
Young earth science requires supernatural exceptions to the laws of physics to have occurred by te hand of God to make the data of deposition, erosion, etc fit in a biblical time frame.
If this is what you think, I’m horrified.
Allahs vulva on November 20, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Yes, I believe there is stronger scientific evidence for the young earth theory than for the one claiming the earth is billions of years old, scientific evidence that does not require supernatural exceptions to anything that happen after the 7th day of creation. That is the conclusion I have come to after my own curiosity on the matter led me to do a great deal of reading and research on the matter from a wide variety of sources. That what I believes horrifies you is of no consequence to me and other peoples reactions has no influence on what I believe and the process to how I get to those beliefs.

I did not comment on this post to pursuade anyone else what to believe or to defend my beliefs, but only to state how politicians’ answers to the question will effect my vote as one of the oh-so-reviled young earthers that make up 58% of the republican party.

rose-of-sharon on November 20, 2012 at 2:22 PM

You know, I’ve always found that if you want to have a cordial, intelligent, debate about issues with another adult, you don’t use childish phrases like “flying spaghetti monster”. Crazy, I know.

The Zoo Keeper on November 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Yes, that is crazy! :)

People who beclown themselves in such an oblivious manner should only be laughed at, and not taken seriously.

Anti-Control on November 20, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Geez, there are some touchy people around here………. very thin skinned………and very, very close minded. Especially the libtards.

ultracon on November 20, 2012 at 4:54 PM

Questions like “How old is the earth?” are not resolved because you can harness nuclear power.

BoxHead1 on November 19, 2012 at 10:46 PM

It’s not just the technology, it’s the principles behind the technology and our understanding of nuclear decay. It’s this understanding that allows us to do things like properly shield a nuclear reactor, or give give a person chemotherapy drugs without completely rotting out their insides. Radiometric dating relies on the same principles.

HarryBackside on November 19, 2012 at 11:03 PM

The same principles, and a lot of generally reasonable but unprovable assumptions, like the assumption that the “child” isotope they’re measuring is there only because of decay from the ‘parent’ isotope, which assumes a) there was none of the ‘child’ isotope existing in the substance when it was new, and b) none of the ‘child’ isotope came into the substance from an outside source, and therefore c) every bit of the ‘child’ isotope must have come from decay of the ‘parent’ isotope. That, of course, also assumes that the decay rate has remained constant over all that period of time, and that there are no conditions that could have caused it to vary even temporarily.

If, as seems quite possible, some substances at the time of creation already contain the ‘child’ isotope, then the estimated age of the object will necessarily be extended by the length of time it would have required the ‘parent’ isotope to decay enough to produce that original quantity of ‘child’ isotope.

And now, the dirty secret about the age of the earth: Radiometric dating methods often give varying and unreliable answers, and it’s commonplace to date the age of rocks based not on radiometric dating, but based on the believed age of fossils found in those rocks. IOW, scientists using scientific radiometric dating methods will often make corrections to the measured age of rocks based on the expected age of those rocks.

Seriously, there is no reason why a politician needs to weigh in on the age of the earth.

tom on November 20, 2012 at 5:22 PM

It never fails to amaze me how much energy book worshipers and committed atheists will consume arguing over unknown and unprovable trivia. I probably would have gone with “I don’t know, why do you ask?”, or “The earth of now didn’t exist a moment ago.”, depending upon how much of a smart-axe I felt like at the moment.

S. D. on November 20, 2012 at 9:08 PM

No wonder the Boy King avoids ‘pressers’ like the plague. He’s skerred of the tough questions.

socalcon on November 20, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that.

The earth was created in six literal days.

It’s not because I don’t believe in uniformtarianism, nor because I don’t buy into a priori conditions, nor because I don’t believe science’s so called assumptions … nor anything else of the like.

I simply take God’s word to be true. Six days.

AZ_Redneck on November 20, 2012 at 11:43 PM

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