Rubio clarifies age of the Earth answer
December 5th, 2012
10:26 AM ET
2 years 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. Max

    How is that pertinent to his job and who gives a rip. Its thisis the kind of cr@p that makes people despise the media. Then of course this brings out the "I hate God" part of the Democratic party which is a lower life form within itself for whatever reason they think God has persecuted them.

    December 5, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Madison

    Der Fenstergucker – He didn't saw science proved God is real, he only said that the more science learns the more HE BELIEVES God is real. So what? I get it, you don't believe in God or religion. That's fine. Unfortunately for you, millions and millions and millions of people in this country do, including the President. But you are trying to manipulate what he ACTUALLY said into what you want to make into a talking point.

    December 5, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Thorry

    I asked Thor how old the earth was and he said "None of my bidness." I love Thor.

    December 5, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    ""His comments received fierce pushback in the liberal blogosphere..."

    So, according to the writer, everyone who believes in science is a member of the "liberal blogosphere". And she apparently believes that criticism of Rubio's remarks was limited to the "liberal blogosphere". Seriously? All criticism of him came from "liberals"? Give me a break."
    ==
    That's neither what the author said nor what was intended. All it meant was that liberals like myself had a field day flinging turds at his epic fail idiot comments. That's all. I'm sure the 2-3 GOPers out there who still believe in science found his comments to be very silly too (/wink).

    December 5, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. snowboarder

    the bible is a collection of occasionally noble myths.

    December 5, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. UncleM

    Atheists dont hate god because god doesn't exist. And many atheists are independents or republicans.

    December 5, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. conoclast

    Rubio's dilemma: allow science to make its claim about the age of the Earth - but continue to speak in code-words to assuage the religious right who can't see past their own superstitions. That "christian" throwbacks are even involved in the discussion regarding provable scientific fact is patently laughable! But you continue to walk that tightrope, Mr. Rubio - these are your people (until their preacher tells them otherwise).

    December 5, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. steveb

    It is absolutely pertinent because we need leaders who pay attention to facts.

    December 5, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Eric

    Not "at least 4.5 billion years old." It's just 4.5 billion years old. Nobody thinks it's 5.5, or 7, or 13 billion.

    December 5, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. CP in FL

    Rubio does not want to offend the part of his base that believes the bible is a true account of history. The bible is a book of fairy tales written by men thousands of years ago. Religion is the biggest and oldest scam. Most likely there is no god and the universe was formed by natural processes.

    December 5, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Most of the whack-jobs in the Republican Clown Car during the primary election avoided that question in hopes of capturing the Evangelical vote. It's a litmus test for me. Anybody stupid enough to believe the Earth to be less than 6000 years old is not qualified to be a leader of our nation.

    December 5, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. CP in FL

    Rubio does not want to offend the part of his base that believes the bible is a true account of history. The bible is a book of fables written by men thousands of years ago. Religion is the biggest and oldest scam. Most likely there is no god and the universe was formed by natural processes.

    December 5, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. Cynthia L.

    Used to be people were burned at the stake for presenting scientific evidence. Some people need to use their bibles to thump themselves on the head. Rubio should do it publically. And, soon.

    December 5, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. CP in FL

    Rubio does not want to offend the part of his base that believes the bible is a true account of history. The bible is a book of fairy tales written by men thousands of years ago.

    December 5, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. cedar rapids

    'i12bphil – and for scientists it is merely guess at best'
    It isnt, it really isnt you know. To claim that its just a guess is not only ignorant of science but insulting.

    '{ ! } – But the question seems awfully important to members of the Liberal Inquisition when grilling Rubio'
    Oh jeez, less of the hyperbole please. GQ is the 'liberal inquisition'?

    'Bob Bigelow – Why is it that the same person that would deny the existence of a creator, in the day of a calamity, is first to call upon God for help?'
    Interesting claim, care to back that up with evidence?

    'Jesse – The nuclear burn rate of the sun tells the "scientist" that it is impossible for earth to be billions of years old, because it would be much too close to the sun and would have simply burned up. All scientists know this, but they have to keep the grant money flowing. No one knows the age of the earth, and probably never will, but it is nowhere near billions of years old and everyone hear at Goddard knows that.'
    ok, trolling right? because no one in their right mind would actually believe the nosense you just spouted. I am going to assume trolling.

    December 5, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. CP in FL

    Religion is the biggest and oldest scam. Most likely there is no god and the universe was formed by natural processes.

    December 5, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. ironman59

    Just another right wing fanatic that sees facts as irrelevant if they can't support his point. However, this is the first "twist" of the far right starting to talk about "7 eras" to twist their religion to what is now scientific fact. That is the core of religion that it twists itself to fit whatever answer best suits it's needs. It's also why we need to stop voting for people based on their flavor of religion.

    December 5, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. common sense

    So, basically, like most politicians, he's having it both ways

    December 5, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. Carol Johnson

    The Bible says that to God a day in no different than a thousand years, so we do not have any idea how God created the earth or how he created it how long in our years or days it took. But to God a day is like a thousand years or a thousand years is like day!!

    December 5, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. PD Gupta

    Marco Rubio is nothing but a cunning fox. If this wacko Rubio ever gets sick, his Bible has no recipe for any cure. People study Science for knowing the unknown and this thirst for knowledge has nothing to do with Bible or any Religion. If Rubio is correct, then Bible has to be older than the Universe itself because his God had to write the scripture before creating the Universe. Rubio's belief in Religion is motivated by his aspirations in politics that does not need any education or College degree for successes. At this time of his life, Rubio does not need any pure Science education for his survival, but people of Florida certainly need it for this country to make it a better place in the whole world.

    December 5, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. ritmocojo

    30 minutes to think about it? Really? What if it's that 3am phone call on the Red Line at the White House?

    December 5, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. electric52

    All I can say is whether the person is a Democrate or a Republican, their religious beliefs can be their own because I don't care. As long as the person's experience and history show the person to be responsible and sensitive to others, then WHO CARES about their religious beliefs. I'm fed up with others trying to shuve their belief or disbelief down my throat. But I can tell you that REPUBLICANS DEFINITELY have a fanatical religious segment as bad as the Tea Party. But that's OK because that's why THEY WILL LOSE IN 2016.

    December 5, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. Scythodemes

    I was once a devoted christian, but it's hard to stay devoted in such a secular world. I was born being taught about Genesis and Evolution; Big Band, and these ideas have been always conflicting as I grew more curious. I had a passion for mathematics but at the same time I had heart for Christian. I grew more and more diverting from religion as I began to realize how many wars (flame wars included) and how much hatred that has been caused by intolerance and belief. I just couldn't find myself in a position in which a secular chemist who creates a vaccine to cure millions, will die in hell; but a forgiven criminal to be dwelling in the palace of God.

    December 5, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. aktap

    The guys a Catholic and his belief system learned to live with the question of the Earth's age a long time ago. Its only the Evangelical Christians in America that are flipping out over this. The age of the earth is basically a scientific fast for most other faith based groups. But after the shock of this Election any republican not towing an Evangelical party line is in trouble. I see a big split in the GOP this next election as the money men rethink how joined at the hip they are to a Religious right. A right, that maybe's not so right after all? Truth be told Rubio could pull my vote in favor of the GOP in 2016, but sadly don't think the right's wing nuts will ever give the guy a chance?

    December 5, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. Ken in MD

    "He added that if he had 30 minutes to sit down and write out his thoughts, he would have provided a better answer."

    I'm sure. Once he had time to write out his thoughts, re-read them, determine the political impact, and refine his answer, he might have come up with something realistic and usable. What a politician.

    If someone asked me how old the Earth is, my answer would be a quick "4.5 billion years." Facts don't need to be thought about. If he were asked what color the sky was, would he need time to think about that as well?

    December 5, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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