20121119

Florida senator Marco Rubio confused about the age of the Earth

Before I start this post, I want you to read this quote very carefully:
I'm not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I'm not a scientist. I don't think I'm qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries.
You did? Great. Now read it again, then laugh and/or weep. Since you are reading this post, I'm gonna presume you know how to read. From that, I'm gonna extrapolate that you have some basic education. Assuming you're not deliberately ignoring a century of scientific work, by this point in your life you should very well know that the age of the Earth is somewhere around 4.5 billion years. If you want to be precise, it's 4.54 billion years ± 50 million years, with an accuracy of 99%. And we know this because a huge number of scientific areas converge and agree on this point. So when you read a quote that says something along the "I don't know" lines, what you should do is smirk and ignore it, or, if you're into that kind of stuff, react by trying to educate the person who originated the quote. And all stops there, you try, succeed or fail, and move on. But when a quote like this comes from a senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, you should probably start worrying about the state of this civilization. The quote comes from an interview published by GQ magazine, and it's the reason why I've been both laughing and crying since I read it a few hours ago. What's worse, Rubio  sits on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Oh the irony.
"The age of the Earth, you say? Hmm... Nope, I have no idea. You should go ask my priest."
So lets just analyze the quote for a moment. Rubio starts off fair by saying "I'm not a scientist, man," thus reaching the point where his answer should end. Instead, he continues to presenting the age of the Earth as a theological problem, completely (and I'd say deliberately) ignoring all the scientist and sciences that for years worked on this problem ("[...] I think that's a dispute amongst theologians [...]"). He then blatantly diminishes the significance of science by saying "I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that." Seriously, mister senator? Guess what: we've answered that a long time ago. So I would suggest some reading and studying, before making yourself look uneducated and ignorant in front of the whole world.

I'm not gonna preach about this any more. But I want you to think about this, and figure out in your head how much do you want people like this to lead your nation, country, city, village or whatever. Bear in mind that the people you vote for have an immensely important role in your life, and not just your own. And that it is you, the people, who vote for them. So I suggest being a little more careful the next time.

2 comments:

  1. Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/04/pulpit-in-classroom-biblical-agenda-in.html with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

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    Replies
    1. I like both your post and your art, it's very impressive. It's a great shame that laws like those you described even get considered, let alone become valid. It's a strange world we live in...

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