Rubio clarifies age of the Earth answer
December 5th, 2012
10:26 AM ET
1 year ago

Rubio clarifies age of the Earth answer

(CNN) - Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida attempted to clear up Wednesday his controversial answer to a question about the Earth's age last month.

"Science says (the Earth) is about 4.5 billion years old. My faith teaches that's not inconsistent," Rubio said at a Politico Playbook Breakfast in Washington. "God created the heavens and the Earth, and science has given us insight into when he did it and how he did it."

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"The more science learns," he continued, "the more I am convinced that God is real."

Rubio was asked how old the planet was in an interview with GQ magazine published November 19. The senator, who's considered to be weighing a 2016 presidential bid, replied saying the Earth's age is "one of the great mysteries."

Emphasizing he "was not a scientist," Rubio said "whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that."

His comments received fierce pushback in the liberal blogosphere and brought renewed attention to the debate between creationism and evolution.

On Wednesday, one morning after he gave a high-profile speech, Rubio said he doesn't "regret" his answer but wishes he had given "a more succinct" response.

"We were talking about hip hop and the guy pivoted to the age of the Earth," the junior senator said. "I'm not a robot." He added that if he had 30 minutes to sit down and write out his thoughts, he would have provided a better answer.

"It's not the worst thing that's ever happened to me," he said

Rubio said he was originally talking about the "theological debate" over the Earth's age-not the "scientific debate," which he said has definitively established the planet is at least 4.5 billion years old.

He emphasized it was a matter of "how do you reconcile what science has definitively established with what you may think your faith teaches" and further maintained his stance that parents should be able to teach their children whatever they believe.

He also pointed to then-Sen. Barack Obama's answer to a similar question in 2008.

"My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live, that that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true," Obama said at a CNN presidential forum. "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."

A Roman Catholic, Rubio also attends Baptist services and added Wednesday that he sometimes goes to both churches in one day.

Asked why he thought his original comments caused such a stir, Rubio argued that he enjoys it when something he says triggers conversation but added he didn't think the dialogue made it far beyond the Beltway.

"Not a single person at the supermarket asked me about it on the day before Thanksgiving," he said.

– CNN's Dan Merica contributed to this report.

READ MORE: Sen. Marco Rubio's religious journey: Catholic to Mormon to Catholic to Baptist and Catholic


Filed under: 2016 • Faith • Marco Rubio
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. 78% of Americans are deluded & believe in Angels

    Really pathetic!

    December 5, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Pat Robertson changed his mind

    Hahahahahah!!!

    Last week Pat Roberson gave Rubio and the Republicans cover by saying the earth is older than 6000 years old – Robertson preached that the world was 6000 years old for all of his career on the 700 Club but changed his mind wgen the GOP lost the election. The Republicans have been taking an anti-science position with increasing frequency over the years and now that Romney lost they are beginning to realize how out of touch they are, and they are now trying to change their anti-science image.

    Isn't it interesting that Rubio only came out with this remark AFTER Robertson came out and said that the earth is millions of years old???? They must think that we are stupid, or that we don't pay attention.

    December 5, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. JonathanL

    Arguing with religious scientists (is that what scientology is?) is no fair. They don't care if their facts are true or not. That gives them a huge advantage. There was no beginning. The earth was made from material leftover from a super nova that was around billions of years before the earth formed. Time does not go in a straight line or in any particular direction but is more or less a quality of space time that allows change at a relative rate (no real forward or backward here). But that is all meaningless if you think the sun goes around the 5000 year old earth which is flat.

    December 5, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. TimSul

    Keep digging, Marco... The hole will eventually get so deep the GOP will never get out.

    December 5, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. Think About It

    Actually you can determine how old the Earth is according to the Bible. Using the Bible you can determine that the created world is about 6000 to 7000 years old. When looking at Genesis we see that the creation week took 7 days and not 7000 years. How can we be sure about this? Well the Bible tells us that Adam was created on the sixth day (Genesis 1). Then in Genesis 5:5 we are told that Adam lived a total of 930 years before he died. So if Adam was created on the sixth day of creation week and he died before he reached 1000 years old, the creation week could not be made up of 1000 year days. Because if each day of creation was 1000 years or more, Adam would be over 1000 years old when he died.

    Therefore, logic tells us that each creation day had to be less than 1000 years if Adam died at 930 years old and was created on the 6th day of the creation week. It's impossible for the creation week to be in the thousands and/or millions of years. Adam's death at 930 says it can't be. Because there was still the 7th day that Adam lived on after being created on the 6th day. So if each day of creation was 1000 years, and Adam lived the full day of the 7th day, Adam would have to be over 1000 years old. Therefore, anyone saying that the Bible's creation week is over 1000 years does not read the Bible. For it says Adam died before turning 1000 years and it also says Adam was created on the 6th day.

    Now if you don't believe in the Bible, ask yourself this: Why does science always say things are millions of years old? Why can't we find anything that's 40,000 years old or 50,000 years old? Why do we only find things that are 4000 years old, and then everything else is 10 million years old? Why can't they find any of those missing links? Why can't we find anything that has evolved if it took millions of years? You see, if we have millions of years of evolution why can't we find one piece of evidence that supports that? The Earth should be littered with missing links if it took millions of years to evolve.

    Lastly, the Bible says that the Earth was without form and void before we get to the 7 DAYS of creation. Therefore, the Earth could have looked like Mars for millions of years and then God could have created life on Earth 7000 years ago. Therefore, the created/formed Earth is only 7000 years old (trees, animals, people), but the Earth's structure is actually older.

    Genesis 5:5" So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died."

    Much love

    December 5, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. Marshall

    Chad Darwin did not get everything right. Some things he got wrong as revealed by the NOVA Science Now program "What Darwin Never Knew." (it's available for less than $30). For example we now know that evolutionary changes sometimes take place rapidly rather than a gradual transition. Fields that were in their infancy or did not exist in Darwin's day, evolutionary genetics and modern paleoanthropology for example, confirm the essentials of evolution. There are no "recent discoveries that validate the theistic claim." You are referencing creationist literature.

    December 5, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. Dan

    Interesting Kathy of Minnesota... your comment implies that Cubans are "brown." Wonder just how much you know ? I'm sure that Cubans would be thrilled that you have stereotyped them.

    December 5, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. DogHaus

    On Dec. 22 we won't care how old the earth is! ;-)

    December 5, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. Adam

    When reached for comment, the pitiful Creator of the Universe that Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida professes "faith" in, replied in a long wail, "I'M SHRIINKING!"

    December 5, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Mirza

    While I am not a fan of Mr Rubio or any of his friends in the republican party, the interview that he refers to was a "gotcha" interview. It was in GQ, and the interviewer jumped from Rap to "age of the earth" without any grounds for context. So...I will give Rubio the benefit of the doubt. For now....

    December 5, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. John

    Expect nothing less than what you get if you seek an answer to such a question from senators and presidents. These individuals are neither religious scholars nor scientists, but rather politicians. It is religious zealots and atheists who wage this battle and they strive to know on which side politicians stand as though it would somehow affirm their own position on the matter.

    While the people of various religions were dancing around under the moon, the people of science were landing on it.

    December 5, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Nina

    Mr. Rubio will need to learn to think more quickly on his feet if he thinks he would make a good president. 30 minutes to collect and write down his thoughts will not fly when it comes to diplomatic exchanges and crises.

    December 5, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. LittleBearFN

    People are so short-sighted and simple-minded. God lives outside of time. A day to God can be a split second, or billions of years... Enough said.

    December 5, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Jesus Christ Superstar

    freedom
    @ Rudy NYC
    You are brainwashed. And the first female African American Secretary of State was appointed by George W. Bush. Her name is Condoleeza Rice. He also appointed Colin Powell. Republicans are not racist. Obama and his administration are, and they have succeeded in poisoning minds like yours. He has incited racial warfare, when he had the opportunity to be a great president. He has tarnished his reputation forever. Fox is a very credible news source, and has the highest cable news ratings. Others bash them because they are threatened. My facts are sound, my thinking is sound. I disagree with you on every level.

    So Obama and his admin are racist... And who are they racist against exactly? Ohhh, they're not and it just sounds good to say that to make them sound bad?

    Ohh, and foxnews has hire ratings so that means it's supreme? Well Here Comes Honey BooBoo got higher ratings than the RNC, so you're saying we should run Honey BooBoo next election for the Republicans?

    December 5, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. If you are so smart...

    The number of brilliant scientists on these message boards is mind boggling! Shouldn't you be out solving world hunger or something? Oh wait... it couldn't be that you don't actually understand the details of the science yourselves and are taking on blind faith something you were taught... nah... that's for the other side! Hint: Screaming "FACT!" loud enough doesn't change a theory – and one that constantly evolves as new information is discovered – into a fact.

    December 5, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Nietodarwin

    Rubio is on the science committee.

    “Scientists do not join hands every Sunday and sing "Yes gravity is real! I know gravity is real! I will have faith! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down, down. Amen!" If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about the concept.”
    _ Dan Barker, Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists

    Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops.
    Richard Dawkins

    December 5, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -freedom

    @ Rudy NYC
    You are brainwashed. And the first female African American Secretary of State was appointed by George W. Bush. Her name is Condoleeza Rice. He also appointed Colin Powell. Republicans are not racist. Obama and his administration are, and they have succeeded in poisoning minds like yours. He has incited racial warfare, when he had the opportunity to be a great president. He has tarnished his reputation forever. Fox is a very credible news source, and has the highest cable news ratings. Others bash them because they are threatened. My facts are sound, my thinking is sound. I disagree with you on every level.
    ************************************************
    High ratings have nothing to do with quality or accuracy of information. The only service FOX does is supply you with your daily dose of conservative affirmation and propaganda, not information that allows you to make an informed choice. Also, please explain exactly how Obama's administration is racist, because the constant stream of subtle and not-so-subtle comments coming from conservative media, blogs and email blasts leave anyone with any sense of objectivity that the GOP has been playing to crude racial stereotypes. Emails and cartoons that show the president and his wife morphing into apes, references to "gangstas"; the list goes on and on. The GOP, led by its drug-addicted court jester ERush, declared that Obama was to become a one-term president, and damn the country. You reject it because your whole sense of reality is built on you being a victim, when in reality you are not. Just because Colin Powell and Condi Rice were the first African Americans to hold the post of Secretary of State means nothing, when the GOP refuses to accept a black man as president. The growth in white racist organizations since 2008 can be attributed to the GOP's collective refusal to accept Barak Obama as president BECAUSE HE DOES NOT LOOK LIKE THE OTHER ONES. Grow up.

    December 5, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Ol' Yeller

    "The more science learns," he continued, "the more I am convinced that God is real."

    So he currently has doubts?

    "how do you reconcile what science has definitively established with what you may think your faith teaches" and further maintained his stance that parents should be able to teach their children whatever they believe.

    Definivitively established, versus 'what you may think'. Hmmmmmm.....
    Of course parents should be able to teach their kids whatever they believe (or trick them with Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, because you teach them these things but you don't really believe)... but you cannot force your beliefs on our children by mandating government paid for services to teach them 'what you may think'.
    I have faith that in this new age of information and the children being exposed to the truth earlier and earlier and quicker and quicker, that this will just accellerate the death of organised religion. There is no 'war on religion', it just no longer serves the purpose for which it was created (control of the masses) because education and enlightenment is the death knell of ignorance... and as ignorance goes, so do the ignorant.

    December 5, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. TheVoice2

    Who cares! We know now Rubio will never be President. That was fast!...lol

    Elizabeth Warren 2012

    December 5, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. BostonBruins02110

    It's true, Florida really is a sunny place for shady people!!

    December 5, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. md22mdrx

    Is Rubio running for President? .... of the Flat Earth Society?

    December 5, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Canuck

    @freedom
    "Fox is a very credible news source"

    You lost all crediblity right there.

    December 5, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. Educator 36

    Mr. Rubio misrepresented the facts when his parents left Cuba for the U.S. He said they fled from Castro which is not true–we all know that. So how can we believe anything he says now.

    December 5, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. GE in MD

    Rubio's real answer: The earth is no older than than necessary to get me thru the next election hurdle.

    December 5, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. Astonished

    I believe the world will end on December 21 2012, now, doesn't that sound just a bit kooky? Well, someone(a human) told me it would and it must be true! again, just a bit kooky? A book (written by a human) is all the evidence I need! kooky, indeed!

    December 5, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
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