In a new interview with GQ, Florida Senator Marco Rubio was asked how old he thinks the planet is. He let fly with this quote that's getting quite a bit of attention:
"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. ... 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 seven days, or seven actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries."
- "How can you read that and not think 'Iowa'?" declares David Weigel for Slate. He references a January 2011 poll that found that 68% of GOP caucus-goers believed Earth was created in six days and 45% think the planet hasn't hit its 10,000th birthday yet. That makes his answer, that the Earth was created in "seven days or seven actual eras" a pretty clever one.
- Rubio's continued reminders that he's "not a scientist" hint that he actually does believe science over the Bible when it comes to the age of the earth, writes Dan Amira in New York. But Rubio would "rather straddle the fence between the religious right and the science-believing wings of the GOP and fall back on a this isn't about the economy so it shouldn't concern me evasive maneuver." But it just makes him sound ridiculous.
- Actually, this was probably the right move, writes Alex Altman in Time. Yes, Rubio's answer "will horrify liberals—not to mention scientists," but it could be "shrewd politics" when it comes to appealing to many GOP voters. Then again, if the "pragmatic faction" of the Republican Party regains control, Rubio may have just "tether[ed] himself to a know-nothing strain of conservative politics that is bound to be expurgated as Republicans reckon with what went wrong this year."