Marco Rubio: Earth is 4.5bn years old, but schools have right to teach 6,000 years

A few weeks ago, GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio told GQ that the age of the earth, which has been determined to be 4.5 billion years, is “one of the great mysteries.”

But this week, Rubio told Politico that the earth is in fact 4.5 billion years old.

Oh, but it gets better.

Rubio then seemed to suggest that even though we know the earth is 4.5 billion years old, people should have the right to teach their kids that the earth is only 6,000 years old, and apparently that right extends to stopping schools from teaching kids the truth about science.

He said, “There is no scientific debate on the age of the Earth. I mean, it’s established pretty definitively. It’s at least 4.5 billion years old.”

But then he hedged: “I just think in America we should have the freedom to teach our children whatever it is we believe. And that means teaching them science. They have to know the science, but also parents have the right to teach them the theology and to reconcile those two things.”

So in other words, Marco Rubio is bi.

First off, every American has the right to tell their kids, at home, that the spaghetti monster is god.  That’s an idiotic point for anyone to make.  Obviously parents have the “right” to tell their kids whatever they want at home.  No one – no one – has ever suggested that we ban parents from telling kids whatever they want at home. It’s such a banal point, it’s not even worth making.  So that’s not the point Rubio was making.  Rubio thought he was making a novel, counter-factual argument.  And the only counter-factual argument, when it comes to the true age of the earth versus the Biblical age, is teaching the Bible in school science classes.

What’s remarkable isn’t simply that Rubio still seems to be suggesting that we teach kids that people played with pet dinosaurs a few thousand years ago, but that Rubio is proposing it even though he knows it’s wrong.


Galaxy via Shutterstock

You don’t ever hear the flat earth society admit that they’re actually wrong.  It’s one thing to want to teach your kids “the truth,” even though your truth is flat out wrong – the thing is, you don’t realize that it’s wrong. But it’s quite another to realize that it’s wrong, but you still want to teach it to kids anyway.

And while I’m not a big fan of parents teaching their kids phony science at home, whether in the name of religion or anything else, when they insist on doing it in a public school, to my kids (had I kids), then that’s an entirely different ball game.

Interestingly, at the end of the Politico interview, at about 4 minutes in, Rubio suggests that the age of the earth proves that life begins at conception.  Really, Marco?  I mean, you’re convinced that the age of the earth is 4.5 billion years, but people should have the right to teach their kids something else.  So you’re basically pro-choice on the age of the earth.

But you’re also convinced that the age of the earth proves that life begins at conception.  But you don’t think people have the right to disagree about when life begins, which is much tougher question than how old the earth is.

Not to mention, when exactly did science agree that life begins at conception?

POLITICO: When does life begin?

RUBIO: At conception.  And I think science has established that definitively as well.

Not so fast.  There was a recent op ed in, of all places, the Republicans’ favorite far-right cult-founded paper, the Washington Times, arguing that in fact life does not begin at conception:

Some hardline anti-abortion rights activists strongly believe that life begins at the instant of conception. If one is to seriously consider this idea, then all cells operating within a person’s body are alive as well, whether they be in a strand of hair or an appendix. Severing either of these, in turn, becomes murder….

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, a growing percentage of ethicists think that life begins at sentience. This denotes the ability for consciousness, which is not present in any meaningful fashion until long after birth. Under such a code of morality, terminating a nearly month-old infant is completely acceptable.

Rubio then goes on to suggest his weird theory that the age of the earth proves that life begins at conception.

Basically, Rubio is trying to pull a Romney and be all things to all people.  Let’s hope it serves him as well as it did his mentor.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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