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

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 | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • http://fighttherightwingnuts.blogspot.com/ mike31c

    And this is the problem with Flori-duh when stupid politicians make statements that schools can lie out of their assess to the students and teach bull$hit for science.

  • cole3244

    and this is the shining light of the gop, the dark side is hard to deny when you are a republican and science is a dirty word.

  • Asterix

    More than anything, I’m alarmed that the people who we call our “leaders” have such ill-defined thought processes. Maybe it goes with the job…

  • A reader in Colorado

    There is such a thing as being goddamn sensible.

    “Life” from the perspective of human life and not a collection of cells or potential, begins at birth.

    It’s not so much that a fetus isn’t fully developed as an infant and potential person. the day before pregnancy comes to its natural conclusion. It’s just that birth is a natural place for sensible persons to consider the start of a human life. As a “working marker”.

    I don’t know of any ethicist saying that infants ought to be considered non persons for purposes of terminating their lives or anything else. Who the hell said that?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I think Runio is referring to his 4.5 billion brown nose grey cells.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I doubt it is even that sophisticated. Critical thinking is simply an unpopular option scattered among the pleasures of magical thinking and since it requires effort and pain along the way ,is discarded. Thus, dummies accept what may be real, but not true—-that is the basis of all commercial advertising that creates our society of ever changing spectacle.

  • djny10003

    Do schools also have the right to teach that one race is superior to all others?

  • UncleBucky

    Nice summary. On reflection, are there any other items? Guns? Taxes? Regulations? :)

  • UncleBucky

    Marco Rubio is NOT bi. He’s SCHIZO! Hahahaha!

    The many political faces of Marco. Why, he’s related to Mitzy.

    Mitzy Rubio. You all may use that. {snicker}

  • http://www.facebook.com/damiano.iocovozzi Damiano Iocovozzi

    Another GOP rising star? It’s going the way of the Whigs. The GOP bottomline remains basically one big goose egg: women have no right to their uterus, the US is a Christian nation, theories are really hypotheses, sexual orientation is a choice, global warming is a hoax, US health care is #1 in health outcomes, the USA is exceptional in all things, the US can invade sovereign nations for natural resources.

  • datsneefa

    GOP is main reason why America is lagging behind other top countries in education.

    Problem is that an educated citizenry is hard to convince, while ignorant sheep can be influenced via the bark of one dog.

  • lynchie

    Yeah it seems strange that so many of them talk to God. Must have conference calls. Hell he even had time to talk to GW. However in shrub’s case it might have been the snakes or pink elephants doing the talking.

  • lynchie

    Agree. It is about spouting a belief that resonates in tired, scared people who will rush to give them money. Same way the Tammy and Jimmy Baker scam worked. “Here is a chance for you to get a front seat in heaven send me money”. “Place your hand on the tv and say what you want and send us a gift of love”. The scam has been good for centuries, raking in the cash and the politicians never met a priest or cardinal or a Graham or Warren they couldn’t cozy up to to try and get a vote or money just by prostituting themselves.
    .

  • HolyMoly

    Funny thing is, I think it was Rush who once went on a rant about liberals giving ribbons/trophies/whatever to kids who come in last place because we don’t want to hurt their feelings. And now the conservative position seems to be that we should teach “competing theories” even when we know they’re bunk so we don’t hurt Ma and Pa Kettle’s feelings and confuse the hell out of their children. Quite ironic how things turn out sometimes.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’d wager a lot of ‘em don’t really believe what they’re peddling, but see it simply as a way to keep fleecing a deliberately mal-educated gullible populace.

    They hate people who can think critically and who know when they’re being scammed.

  • TheOriginalLiz

    Uneducated people who live in fear of a sky fairy whose capricious will can only be interperted by the the new elite – very comfortable existance for those elite. A whole nation of willing slaves. It’s quite an impressive plan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001426939279 Carl Kerstann

    No Marco they don’t have the right to teach nonsense. That’s how people end up as ignorant as you are.

  • Naja pallida

    These idiots will never back off until they get entirely what they want: an ignorant, god-fearing populace that does whatever they say without question. They’re not interested in a logically negotiated stance on these issues, where we teach children to have an open mind and decide matters of faith for themselves, and examine facts with regard to science. If they had any kind of respect for education, or even self-determination for that matter, they would be suggesting comparative religion classes as part of a regular curriculum, where a number of faiths are discussed, and let people decide for themselves. No, they want you to believe what they believe without question, no matter the cost.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Sadly, the debate these days in America seem to be whether to throw out most science in the name of maintaining kids’ indoctrinated religious beliefs, or to teach garbage like Creationism alongside real science.

    And the rest of the world laughs as we hurtle headlong into the past, seeking to undo the Enlightenment one step at a time.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    As ever, it’s not what they say, it’s what they leave out.

    ‘Life’ doesn’t begin at conception. It exists in every single biological process, and even an unfertilized egg or sperm cell is, scientifically, considered to be ‘alive.’ It just so happens that like a great many things the human body sheds regularly, these cells don’t stay alive. Life and death happen all the time, and if ‘life’ was sacred — well, we’d all die pretty quickly because we depend on living plants and animals for sustenance. It’s not really about ‘life.’

    The theocratic argument against reproductive freedoms, including contraception and abortion, also has little or nothing to do with sentience either. Even the most ardent anti-choice advocate will admit that a freshly fertilized egg has no brain with which to think. Their basis is a belief in two things — the soul and the potential for a fertilized egg to reach maturity and have a successful birth. Neither of these are certain, and the former — the existence of a soul — cannot be proven, and neither can it be proven even if souls exist, the exact moment when one enters a growing human life form. Again, it’s an article of faith for them that the soul enters at the exact moment of conception, but they can’t prove it. Oddly enough though, they rarely speak to this point, probably because they’d rather it be accepted as moot that souls exist. So it’s always life-life-life and not what it really is — a religious position about (1) the existence of a special thing called a soul and (2) whether or not all assumed-to-be-ensouled pre-natal human life is to be so valued as to take precedence over all else, including a human adult female’s life. (Well…except for access to health care if a pregnant woman can’t afford it. For some reason, they don’t seem to care so much about that part.)

    Thus Rubio isn’t really saying “life” begins at conception. It’s sloppy logic anyway, and for him to claim that science backs him up is laughable. What he means when he uses the word “life” is not provable one way or the other by science. Ensouled human life is what he means. But we’re not allowed to have that particular debate — because it would go nowhere. They’re deliberately using confusing language like that, to divert the debate from what it’s really about.

    With respect to teaching kids science, they say it’s about parental rights to teach their kids religious beliefs that are at odds with provable scientific reality. What they’re not saying is they also want their children not to have reality-denying indoctrination contradicted by anyone, especially not in public schools. For the sake of their children being able to maintain easily disproven beliefs, they want to deny all children the right to be taught real science. Or only those parts of science which don’t contradict their mythological belief systems.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    He’s bi with respect to reality.

  • Richard_thunderbay

    These idiots might back off if science teachers were given the go ahead to explain in EXPLICIT DETAIL how, piece by piece, the biblical story of creation came to be rejected by scientists. After all, you can’t discuss creationism from a truly scientific viewpoint without explaining why it’s not valid. Along those lines, I remember back in high school chemistry class that we had a series of classes about the two competing theories of combustion, the phlogiston theory, and the oxygen theory, culminating in an explanation.as to why the phlogiston theory was abandoned. It was a great lesson on how science actually works. Teaching about the failures of creationism would perhaps be even more instructive, as it involves a number of branches of science- geology, biology, physics, you name it.

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