David H. Bailey: What on Earth Do They Think? U.S. Politicians on the Age of the Planet


In an interview with GQ, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who has been mentioned as a rising star and potential U.S. presidential candidate in 2016, was asked “How old do you think the Earth is?”

He responded:

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.

Keep in mind that Rubio sits on the Science and Space Subcommittee in the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which oversees by far the largest scientific research budget in the world.

Yet Rubio is hardly the first U.S. politician to express such a view. In October 2012, Paul C. Broun (R-Ga.), who serves on the U.S. House Science and Technology Committee, declared his views in these jaw-dropping terms:

All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.

At least one of the recent presidential candidates (Texas Governor Rick Perry) similarly responded when asked how old the earth was: “I don’t have any idea, I know it’s pretty old,” but then added that he wasn’t sure whether anyone knew “completely and absolutely” the age of the earth.

Along this line, presidential candidates Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Ron Paul labeled climate change “a hoax,” even as the scientific evidence for global warming continues to mount, and the need for world governments to take action grows more pressing.

Is this based on ignorance or political expedience? As the New York Times writes about Rubio, “if his response was more proof of cunning than idiocy, it was still ludicrous.”

Written By: David H. Bailey and Jonathan M. Borwein
continue to source article at huffingtonpost.com


  1. I’m less concerned with Rubio’s half baked ideas than what qualifies you to get on the science committee.

  2. Exactly.  What criteria are used?  Did they just need a seat-filler?  If this guy’s knowledge of science is sufficient to make decisions about US spending on science and space, then I’m so overqualified to run NASA that I laugh at the thought.  

  3. If  it’s deviousness it is patronizing in the extreme; if ignorance, terrifying.

  4. Unfortunately, I think you’ll find the selection process to be 100% political. 

    So many of these committee members are attorneys I can only wonder if they would want people without JD’s to be able to legally practice law.

  5. Yikes!  Boggles the mind that these people are running entire countries.

    I’m a Canadian and I know that you can find similar politicians who think the same (or should I say fail to think at all) but aren’t quite as vocal about it.

    I’m new to the whole atheist conversation world, although I’ve been an atheist all my life, and I’m finding that I’ve taken it for granted! Kind of like someone who smokes pot and thinks everyone else does too! I’m an atheist and assumed that a lot of people are! I’m realizing how much of a minority I really belong to! Pretty sobering thought.   Pretty terrifying indeed!

  6. Sigh!

    We had a know nothing party once in this country, in NY I think. Why have another go at that nonsense?

  7. Yet again someone in the public eye is misrepresenting the word theory in the scientific sense.  I am sure people must be pulling them up on it, but are the majority of the general public listening?

  8. From “Clown Prince” to “Rising Star”… HAH!  I’m afraid this failed supa nova can’t even manage brown dwarf  on the HR scale! When the GOP finally ditch Jesus, as surely they will, who will they have instead?   The new 49ers’ quarterback from Turlock, California, perhaps?

  9. Why is it that in American politics you can always get away with neglecting Science? this whacko sits on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee FFS.

    If he had said he didn’t know exactly how big the national debt was, that there was still theological debate over whether it was a few billion or a few million*, his incompetent ass would be kicked off the pluche at once.

    Perhaps he believes we should teach both sides of the controversy that is the distance by train between NYC and Washington DC? No one can tell exactly tell, how would you possibly measure that? Might as well take the Bible’s word on that too..

    *I know it’s in the trillions, just trying to approach the order of magnitude he was off the actual answer.


    David Heffron
    I’m less concerned with Rubio’s half baked ideas than what qualifies you to get on the science committee.

    It would appear that the prime qualification, is to be a total noddy, who will smile at the public, get elected,  and do whatever the paid lobbyists tell him to do!

  11. It seems to be if you can leave your sanity in a bucket by the door you get on the committee

  12. Hello Enthus…I too am a Canadian. You are aware of course that our Minister of Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear (my MP unfortunately) thinks the earth is 6000 years old…..could not bring himself to admit evolution is true. When asked by the press whether or not he believes in evolution (not whether he accepts the proofs of it…important point) he gave religious answers….this from our science minister. Total moron….this also is the world view of much of our government.

  13.  I know it’s in the trillions, just trying to approach the order of magnitude he was off the actual answer. 

     Right; so, to be off by a factor of (4.5 billion)/6000, which is just under a million, he’d conflate trillions with millions or (if it were really billions) billions with thousands; he wouldn’t conflate billions with millions. The exact comparison, by the way, is $16.3 tr vs. $21.6 m.

  14. The quickest way to reduce the US national debt is to legislate for a move to a European numbering system. The $16 trillion dollar debt then instantly becomes a $16 billion dollar debt and your political leaders can brag that they’ve reduced the burden by a factor of 1,000. This seems to me to be politically expedient and therefore no worse than denying scientific evidence for climate change and evolution because of Bronze Age beliefs.

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