WASHINGTON, November 20, 2012 — In case anyone out there doesn’t know it, here’s a fact: the Earth and the rest of our solar system is about 4.54 billion years old. That’s with a B.
Earth was here a long time before what we identity as modern human beings began to appear, which was a mere 200,000 years ago.
However, it appears that Republicans looking towards 2016 and the chance to be the next president of the United States have trouble with those numbers and the science of evolution.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is only the latest Republican squirming in an interview in the December issue of “GQ” magazine. He was asked point blank:
“How old do you think the Earth is?” Rubio did a little linguistic tap dance, saying he’s not a scientist and “I’m not qualified to answer a question like that.”
But then he added: “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.”
“One of the great mysteries?” Did the good senator from Florida ever take biology when he was in high school? That’s Bio 101: We do know how to date Earth’s ancient rocks, we do have something called carbon dating, we do know that simple cells appeared about 3.6 billion years ago, and we do have an abundance of fossils to study. We also know that dinosaurs and humans didn’t share the same jungles. Thus we know Earth took longer to create than seven days or seven eras ago.
So why this fear of science? Basic science at that.
Yet Senator Rubio is not alone it seems. If you thought Rubio was dancing around while trying to find an answer, just look at what the other Republican wannabe presidents have had to say.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: Back in 2011 during a press conference, Christie was asked if he believe in evolution or creationism and he bellowed back, “That’s none of your business.” However, earlier that same year at town hall meeting, he told a constituent that he though the teaching of creationism should be made at a local level.
In other words, it’s ok for local school boards to allow the teaching of creationism side by side with evolution, even though creationism is Bible-based, claiming that God created the Earth and all life on it in seven days, variously described as literally seven days or up to 10,000 years.
So why not teach the Earth is flat? That unscientific theory was believed since the beginning of time, until explorers like Christopher Columbus proved it untrue by not sailing off the edge of the Earth.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul: Paul is the darling of the Libertarian crowd and whose daddy, Congressman Ron Paul, made a run for the presidency in the Republican presidential primaries. Two years ago when the younger Paul was a guest speaker at of Christian Homeschool Educators of Kentucky (CHEK), a parent asked him:
“Question: Was there a point in life where you became a Christian […] and also, how old is the world?
Sen. Paul: I forgot to say I was only taking easy questions (crowd laughs). […] I’m gonna have to pass on the age of the earth. I think I’m just gonna have to pass on that one.”
Gee, is that a hard question to answer? Guess so. The audience gave him a pass and laughed with him, understanding perfectly what he was really saying.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: Here’s a man who definitely should know better. He majored in biology (biology, for Pete’s sake!) at Brown University and is a Rhodes scholar. He has not only endorsed that creationism should be taught in Louisiana schools, he has said that teaching creationism is like teaching a scientific theory, adding that he wants his kids to learn both creationism and evolution. Not to do so, he admonished, would be subjecting them to “political correctness.” (See video below)
For the record, this year’s Republican presidential nominee, former Gov. Mitt Romney, is under no such delusions. In fact as governor of Massachusetts, he opposed the teaching of intelligent design, a form of creationism, in science classes along with evolution, deeming it a philosophical matter and not science.
During the Republican presidential debates back in 2007, the candidates were asked to raise their hands if they did not believe in evolution. Unlike the others, Romney did not raise his hand.
In a later interview, he elaborated: “I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe. And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body.”
In fact, Romney went even further explaining how as devout Mormon he reconciled his faith with science: “True science and true religion are on exactly the same page. They may come from different angles, but they reach the same conclusion. I’ve never found a conflict between the science of evolution and the belief that God created the universe. He uses scientific tools to do his work.”
Now if only our next batch of Republican nominees had the courage to speak up and not be afraid of the Christian right and/or real science. They have four years to match Romney in the courage of his convictions. Or will they continue to dance around the topic, telling voters what they think they want to hear.
To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.
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