Scientists agree: the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. But don’t tell that to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) — he thinks the age of the Earth can be discovered by studying the Bible.
In an interview with GQ magazine, Rubio suggested that the age of the Earth was “a dispute among theologians” and that there is no way to know the truth about the age of the Earth:
GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
RUBIO: 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.
The age of the Earth isn’t much of a mystery to scientists, who use methods like radiometric dating to determine how old the Earth is with relative precision. To suggest we can’t know how old the Earth is, then, is to deny the validity of these scientific methods altogether — a maneuver familiar to Rubio, who also denies the reality of anthropogenic climate change.
Rubio isn’t the only figure in his party to challenge the scientific approach to the age of the Earth. Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) said “I don’t have any idea” how old the Earth is, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) suggested “we just don’t know.”
Rubio may not think that he’s a scientist, but he is a member of the Senate’s Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee.