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. RR

    Simple ~ Aleins were out sourced to earth after God finished his creation gig and placed oil, artifacts and dino bones in certain places so when we uncovered them we would be misled and believe the Earth is older than it really is.
    I feel I am ready to run for office.

    December 5, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Larry

    Right – he was misinterpreted. The bible feels the same way. Let's change them both. Remove the references in the bible that refer to how long ago the earth was formed – why? It was misinterpreted when written.

    December 5, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Andrew

    Are we STILL talking about Creationism in this country? I mean really....REALLY? And no. Parents should not be allowed to teach their children what they want. The children should be taught the TRUTH.

    December 5, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. TC

    I am not so concerned as to what he believes the age of the earth is in relation to his religious beliefs; but I am concerned about if he actually lives out the religious beliefs he professes since most politicians do not. I question his sincerity since he attends baptist and Catholic services – the two are extremely different in terms of Christian theology.

    December 5, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Erik

    It's sad the GOP have completely rejected and excluded science.. One of the party's many, many challenges.

    December 5, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Dan

    "Rubio changes age of the Earth answer"

    There, I fixed that for you.

    December 5, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Jerry5555

    Here we go... The MSM is already trying to bring this guy down because he MIGHT run for pres in the future...

    December 5, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. Johnny L

    The assertion that the earth is 4.5 billion years old is a hypothesis. It is impossible to prove, and we have no mechanism in which to both measure this and to confirm that our measurements are accurate. This has nothing to do with religion, or the Bible. This is what the Scientific method requires. I am totally amazed by most of what science has done and the wonderful discoveries it makes, but I simply do not think that they have the capability of measuring this. The added problem now is that the 4.5 billion figure is like a scientific holy grail, and anyone who questions it is labeled a nut, so other scientists who don't agree, and there are many, just keep quite so they won't treated like Rubio was, and possible lose grants, prestige and promotions.

    December 5, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. ThinkDefyUnite

    Anyone that believes that an invisible, all-powerful being created the earth in 7 days less that 6,000 years ago should be immediately disqualified for running for any public office, and additionally should be regarded as an ill-informed "wish believer" who's thoughts are not to be taken seriously by anyone with half a mind or more.

    December 5, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. EddyL

    Typical right-winger NON ANSWER.

    December 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. Dean

    The MSM is full of crap. Obama gets a pass on a lousy presidency, while the media focuses on something as inane as this? The idiot in the White House, since the election, has doubled the amount of money he wants to spend from $800 billion to $1.6 trillion. And the media blames the GOP for not giving in? 2016 cannot come soon enough. Unfortunately, many (mostly Democrats) will suffer.

    December 5, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Johnny L

    he assertion that the earth is 4.5 billion years old is a hypothesis. It is impossible to prove, and we have no mechanism in which to both measure this and to confirm that our measurements are accurate. This has nothing to do with religion, or the Bible. This is what the Scientific method requires. I am totally amazed by most of what science has done and the wonderful discoveries it makes, but I simply do not think that they have the capability of measuring this. The added problem now is that the 4.5 billion figure is like a scientific holy grail, and anyone who questions it is labeled a nut, so other scientists who don't agree, and there are many, just keep quiet so they won't treated like Rubio was, and possibly lose grants, prestige and promotions.

    December 5, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. JoeProfet

    This entire topic is really a mute point for all of us at this time. What do we stand to gain knowing the exact date or rough estimate of when the earth was formed. Sure, religion tries to explain one way and science the other. It is this kind of rhetorical controversy that leaves us with our wheels spinning. Honeslty, what would the harm be to just agree to disagree and move on to much, much more important things that we TODAY can influence instead of worring about stuff that basically is information only with know actual value to us scientifically or religiously. Who cares how old the earth is? Why don't we use our scientific knowledge to CREATE a solution that provides everyone in America with the means to survive for the next 100 years, both individually and collectively. Then we can EVOLVE that knowledge to encompass other parts of the world as we set the example. Shouldn't we be spending time figuring out how to (getting past greed and political motivations for deliberately stalling clean energy) harness the wonderful natural resources we have with gizmos and widgits and gadgets so everyone can have reusable power that leaves a clean footprint! Maybe, we could also use that scientific knowledge to learn how to grow enough food to sustain everyone say in the U.S. first...and then teach these methods in other regions of the world so they can survive too? Or, is all of that know-how linked to not knowing how old the earth is? This way both evolutionists and creationists can just agree to disagree on that rediculous issue. I'm a Christian, by the way, so you can bash me all you want for that, but logically you know that I'm right...we need to move on and get going for a better tomorrow.

    December 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. sununucoward

    he got slammed by the liberal blogosphere? how about just intelligent people. and when was it ever okay to be so, so stupid about fundamentals in science for the president of the "greatest" should he seek such an office?

    December 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. duke

    I have a biger problem with him complaining that the questioning changed abruptly. "I am not a robot" The ability to think on your feet and adjust to a situation is imperitive for a president. Sorry, Marco, you fail that one.

    December 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. Rubio

    "It seems that voters want me to change my answer. Fine. I changed my answer.....I am not a flip-flopper though. This is consistent with what i have said before!"

    "Hopefully, the public is dumb enough to buy this......"

    December 5, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. Jared

    So wait, the stories of Noah's Ark, Jonah and the Whale, Tower of Babel, Firey Furnace, Eve being one of Adam's ribs, a talking snake that was Satan, Lazarus rising from the dead, the blind being made healed to see, virgin birth etc are all true too? I don't care what how a man or woman interprets a book that is thousands of years old. How can you help solve the problem of global warming or something more important. For now, shut up about all of this stuff. Arghhh.....

    Greece, thousands of years ago... it could have been called religion
    Now we call it ancient Greece, their religion.... now called Greek Mythology.

    December 5, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    freedom wrote on page 3:

    Why isn't GQ or CNN, namely Candy Crowley, scrutinizing anything that Susan Rice, Hilary Clinton, and President Obama said about the Benghazi attacks? ...
    -------------–
    The executive branch can limit the amount of information is given to the public in the interests of national security. At no time did any administration official say anything definitive during the first week after the incident. All remarks included disclaimers to indicate that nothing was certain, and that there could be alternate explanations in the future.

    December 5, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. The Jackdaw

    The idea that politicians in this country can say something that is not just a little wrong, but so wrong that it defies logic and screams that they lack all possible understanding of the world around them. Comments like these should be alarming to everybody, not fuel for debates of fantasy vs. reality. Fantasy is fantasy, no matter how many times you hit me with your book.

    December 5, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. mistamista

    Sadly, intelligence does not approve of what Mr. Rubio says. Science disproves the existence of "god" and man pluralizes that fact by way of his actions. The Earth is billions of years old and we are NOT the center of the universe. Let's move forward with the next christian hypothesis.

    December 5, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Joe M.

    First mistake – sitting down with Rolling Stone to begin with. The magazine is garbage and won't be around in 5 years.

    December 5, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. Corey

    God didn't tell us that a man did. Just like this man tries to justify his faith. Not only was the bible written by man it was edited by man with all his flaws and prejudices and fears. The age scientist age the earth doesn't come from one field. It comes from many different fields of science. And to think that they all collaborated some how to disprove the bible is laughable. Science is about data. Science doesn't have a secret agenda. They collect the data, analyze it, let it get peer reviewed and then they state what they find. And a lot of what they find disagrees with the bible. So if you want to belief a book written thousands of years ago by uneducated men be my guest. I on the other hand will believe what can be proven by mathematics and science.

    December 5, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. Freddie

    I love how the media tries to make a story out of this when what Senator Rubio did was about the same answer as what Obama gave when he asked the same ?

    December 5, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. John D

    He attends Catholic AND Baptist services?

    Don't those organizations have incompatible doctrinal views regarding... When to Baptize people?

    December 5, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. reasonablebe

    ok, so he believes in science– we think. good for him. he learned something in school. move on.

    December 5, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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