Rubio is no Scientist, it Would Seem

As Weigel puts it:  Marco Rubio Drops Some Science About the Age of the Earth.  In an interview with GQ, the Senator from Florida answered the question “How old do you think the Earth is?” with the following:

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.

This is a rather telling answer, because it is clearly about what Rubio thinks about many of his supporters and potential supporters.  If this answer was about his own views he would not have hedged.  If he was truly a young-earther, the answer would have been a lot less circuitous.

He clearly wants to change the subject, but also clearly does not want to offend hardcore traditional Christians who might adhere to the notion the the Earth is only thousands of years old, rather that several billion, as any number of scientific disciplines demonstrate.

That Rubio feels the need to hedge on something like this helps to further the notion that there are large swaths of the GOP that are utterly uninterested in evidence and science-based understanding of the universe around us.  It is disheartening, but it also does seem to be an ongoing theme.

Speaking of evidence, Weigel notes why Rubio might be taking this position:

How can you read that and not think "Iowa"? We don’t have a ton of polling on this topic, but back in January 2011, Strategic National Consulting asked potential GOP caucus-goers about the origins of the earth. Sixty-eight percent of them believed the planet was created in six days. Forty-five percent believed that the earth was less than 10,000 years old — something Rubio does not say here, but something that implies all human history can be known from counting the eras in the Bible.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Religion, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Markey says:

    “I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.”
    ——————

    Circuitous with a Teabag.

  2. Personally, the only thing I care about here is if a politician wants to see Creationism taught in science classrooms. The rest of it is rather irrelevant to me.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    That Rubio feels the need to hedge on something like this helps to further the notion that there are large swaths of the GOP that are utterly uninterested in evidence and science-based understanding of the universe around us. It is disheartening, but it also does seem to be an ongoing theme.

    Strategic National Consulting asked potential GOP caucus-goers about the origins of the earth. Sixty-eight percent of them believed the planet was created in six days. Forty-five percent believed that the earth was less than 10,000 years old…

    Further the notion? Ongoing theme? Seems to me like a simple statement of fact.

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    When in Rome you do as the Romans do. When running inchoately for president in a system that allows Iowa of all places so much sway — a state in which the GOP’s caucus demographic is a collection of thumpers — you proceed accordingly. Politics 101. Sad but true. Unfortunate but necessary.

    For a very young guy who’s only run one statewide campaign you actually have to give Rubio here a lot of credit. Read that response again, very carefully. Even a veteran politician would not have been able to tap dance so well on the head of that pin. Bill Clinton couldn’t have done any better. And Wild Bill was a master politician back when Rubio still was picking zits off his face. Politically speaking Rubio already is way ahead of the curve.

    Speaking of which, this really goes without saying, but nonetheless it’s worthing mentioning: For obvious reasons Rubio is anathema to the left-wing media-academe cabal. He also poses an obvious political threat for the ’16 election cycle. Ergo there will be a lot of Rubio bashing over the next few years. C’est la vie.

  5. @Doug Mataconis:

    Personally, the only thing I care about here is if a politician wants to see Creationism taught in science classrooms. The rest of it is rather irrelevant to me.

    Rubio is directly pandering to those who want creationism taught in the classroom.

  6. @Steven L. Taylor:

    And? In the end it’s a wholly irrelevant question posed to a United States Senator. Last time I checked, they don’t write biology textbooks there.

  7. Ben says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It’s not irrelevant Doug. This guy is on the frickin Science commission, for crying out loud. It’s not just about teaching creationism in the classroom. It is more fundamental to his job of representing the people. It shows that he is either:

    1.) An ignoramus who fundamentally lacks any sort of curiosity about the world around him, or any desire to understand the world with logic, reason, and critical thinking

    or

    2.) So craven that he is scared to repeat the views of either his religion or a gigantic consensus of scientists because he fears that fundamentalist Christians will throw a hissy fit if he answers one way, and everyone else will throw a hissy fit if he answers the other way

    or

    3.) So cynical that he will spout pure circuitous nonsensed in an attempt to avoid answering a question that gets to your worldview in a very basic way, because answering questions directly is a good way to lose a primary.

  8. @Doug Mataconis:

    And?

    It seems to me that it is not irrelevant to note what specific politicians will pander concerning. It gives some insight into the intellectual honesty of the politician in question and it tells us what he thinks about the voters who will support him.

    Also: if the goal is to get a more scientifically oriented GOP, then surely noting and criticizing things like this has some usefulness.

  9. @Steven L. Taylor:

    Perhaps I’ve grown too cynical, but news of a politician pandering to an interest group in his or her party doesn’t really surprise me. It’s really part of their nature.

  10. Scott says:

    @Doug Mataconis: This is too much compartmentalization for me. These folks are running for school boards at both the state and local levels. Here is Texas it is a constant fight to teach proper science. Like zombies they keep coming. It matters that Rubio panders.

  11. Jen says:

    Well, we now have the GOP playbook for the near future. Tap-dance around issues in a way that sorta-kinda placates the base, while not saying anything very direct that the broader public can wrap its hands around. Jindal is doing the same sort of thing on the abortion issue. It boils down to: if we don’t say it out loud, we can maintain credibility with the public while not ticking off the base.

    And, I disagree that this isn’t important. Pandering to a base that is that anti-science and ill-informed leads to pushes to introduce legislation that promotes this sort of nonsense. Whether it’s the formation of charter schools wherein this *is* the “science-y” curriculum, or further attempts to erode the separation of church and state through challenges they hope to get before the Supreme Court, this stuff matters. It should simply matter that we, as a nation, look like buffoons when polls like the one @gVOR08 posted come out. Having intelligent, reasoned people in high office come out and say “that’s nonsense” is exactly what we need. Even if it isn’t politically expedient.

  12. If this answer was about his own views he would not have hedged. If he was truly a young-earther, the answer would have been a lot less circuitous.

    Not necessarily. If he knows his own views would make him unelectable in the sane parts of the country, he every well might hedge if he actually were a young-earther.

  13. @Doug Mataconis: So, your position is that citizens should never call out shameless pandering because, after all, it is what politicians do?

    And we should especially ignore it when it is emblematic of a serious problem in politics?

  14. @Doug Mataconis: Also, and back to a point above, if you are truly concerned about creationism being taught in school you have to recognize that the reinforcement of these views by a potential 2016 presidential candidate only empowers those who seek to influence the curriculum. The more mainstream acceptance, the easy fro the school board to push back against science.

  15. @Steven L. Taylor:

    You assume that the American people dislike pandering. The history of American politics indicates otherwise.

  16. Moosebreath says:

    Steven,

    Doug’s a libertarian, so whether a person’s beliefs have any relation to the actual workings of the real world are irrelevant to him. It’s the only way one can keep such beliefs in the face of thousands of years of history showing how wrong they are.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    It is not irrelevant.

    1) A Senator, let alone President, has decisions to make on scientific appropriations. Abject ignorance is no more helpful here than it would be in foreign policy.

    2) If Rubio knows better then as a leader of his party he should be trying to lance this boil of stupidity, not deepen the problem.

    3) He’s not just speaking to Iowans over the age of Republican, he’s also speaking to students in his onw state and he’s speaking to a degree at least to the world at large.

  18. @Doug Mataconis: This is one of those interchanges wherein I wonder (and we have had this interchange before) why you think that there is any point in political commentary at all.

    I also, have to admit, I always find it a tad amusing that you will a) comment on, and then b) argue about something you deem “irrelevant.”

    If this is all “irrelevant” then why bother? 🙂

  19. gVOR08 says:

    The question is a dog whistle. It means, ‘Are you planning to run, and if so will you shamelessly pander like Romney did?’ Rubio replied, ‘Yes!” So, lose the Romney campaign, rinse, and repeat.

  20. Jen says:

    There’s a piece on Business Insider (says it’s via the Economist) that makes the case that this is relevant to the economy, stating: “So while the age of the Earth is not directly relevant to America’s economy, it’s useful as an indicator of the country’s belief in and study of science, which is germane to any discussion of GDP and growth rates.”

    It further states:

    More broadly, there are those who would like to call a truce between science and religion, and based on his attempt to dodge the question, perhaps Mr Rubio is one of them. But the senator’s comments are the reason why there can be no truce. If the status quo allows a leader like Mr Rubio to benefit from claiming that accepted science is in fact mystery, then science is losing. When divine explanations and scientific truths are given equal footing, no armistice can be accepted. Rather, science must continue to forcefully rebut religion’s unsubstantiated claims in public battles like this. And smart politicians must be made to feel profound discomfort when dealing in the absurdities that appeal to some faithful voters.

    In other words, the GOP’s march to irrelevance will continue as long as they refuse to acknowledge science and math–whether in the form of “skewed polls,” a young Earth, or magical thinking that somehow cutting taxes and increasing defense spending will somehow eliminate the deficit.

  21. @Steven L. Taylor:

    Perhaps because I wish we had a political media that asked relevant questions and not silly questions.

  22. Ben says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    This is a relevant question. It is a clever way of not just asking, but testing the answerer on the question “Do you think rationally, listen to reasoned arguments, accept evidence that may be contrary to your intuition, and apply that evidence to inform your worldview?” That is a very important question for a legislator to not just answer, but to be forced to answer truthfully.

  23. @Ben:

    In your opinion, not mine.

    In the words of Washington Nationals rookie Bryce Harper, it was a clown question, bro.

  24. @Doug Mataconis: I do not see how you can reconcile your concern over creationism with the notion that it does not matter how a US Senator and potential presidential candidate thinks on this subject.

    And, more importantly, how you can find it irrelevant that he finds it necessary to pander on this topic is confusing to me. If you are truly concerned about science education, then you need to be concerned about how truth is spoken, or not spoken, by power actors in the public square.

  25. @Ben: Agreed.

  26. @Doug Mataconis: That is a ridiculous position. It is not that complicated a question. He answer is telling.

  27. aquanerd says:

    @ Doug

    The fact that he sits on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, it should concern and be relevant to everyone.

  28. @Steven L. Taylor:

    As I said, all that matters to me is his position on teaching creationism in schools. His personal opinion on the matter, absent any specific policy positions he advocates or has voted in favor of (or against), matter as little to me as what kind of ice cream he likes.

    I’m not necessarily a Rubio supporter, but this has nothing to do with my evaluation of him.

  29. Rafer Janders says:

    Is the earth round or flat? Who really knows? I’m not a scientist, man.

    Does the earth float in space, or is it turtles all the way down? Again, I’m not a scientist, man.

  30. Alex says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    In the end it’s a wholly irrelevant question posed to a United States Senator. Last time I checked, they don’t write biology textbooks there.

    However, they do write and pass national education bills. It was a Senator (Rick Santorum) who attempted to attach an amendment to the No Child Left Behind bill that had been authored by the Discovery Institute and would have linked Federal education funding to teaching students to “understand the controversy” around biological evolution.

  31. rudderpedals says:

    Don’t forget Crist and Meek (Meek is a good man but a legacy candidate) split the Dem vote. Rubio is unlikely to get another Florida election delivered on a silver platter. 2016 is going to be an up-or-out for the Senator and at his age he really has no choice but to try for the promotion.

  32. Rafer Janders says:

    That Rubio feels the need to hedge on something like this helps to further the notion that there are large swaths of the GOP that are utterly uninterested in evidence and science-based understanding of the universe around us.

    It doesn’t “further the notion” because it’s not a notion, it’s a reality. The fact is there ARE large swaths of the GOP — in fact, more than large swaths, it’s the overwhelming majority of the GOP — that are utterly uninterested in evidence and science-based understanding.

  33. Scott says:

    @Jen:

    call a truce between science and religion

    This is another problem. There is no war or conflict between science and religion. There is conflict between certain factions of religion. My Christian denomination has no conflct. The Catholic school where my daughter goes happily teaches evolution and science. Unfortunately, the conversation has been taken over by the fundamentalists.

  34. @Doug Mataconis: Indeed, It is just like his ice cream preference.

  35. aquanerd says:

    Maybe a more relevant follow up question could have been… “Do believe in hydrocarbon pyrolysis and do you understand that this process takes millions and millions of years instead of just “poofing” out of thin air?”

    I mean, being that this party panders to that industry… at least they should be able to understand the science that gives back to their pockets.

  36. @Alex:

    That’s Santorum, who isn’t even in the Senate anymore. And, there you have an example of the policy positions I was talking about. I’m not aware of anything similar in Rubio’s record.

  37. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    ps I’ve grown too cynical, but news of a politician pandering to an interest group in his or her party doesn’t really surprise me. It’s really part of their nature.

    It’s one thing to pander on policy issues. It’s another thing to pander on fairy tales.

    Democratic politicians don’t pander to their voters on basic facts about reality, and, more important, Democratic voters don’t demand that their politicians pander to them about that.

    The really key point here isn’t that Rubio is an intellectual coward, it’s that Republican voters are so far gone that he’s afraid to tell the truth about commonly-accepted scientific reality for fear it will hurt him at the ballot box. That’s appalling, and evidence of deep degeneracy on the American right.

  38. Kingdady says:

    The real age of the earth IS relevant to the economy. The scientific method leads us to understand the planet in exactly the same way as it leads to insights into the economy. And where do the scientific advances that power economic growth come from? Not from an opinion pulled out of someone’s ass.

  39. Rafer Janders says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I also, have to admit, I always find it a tad amusing that you will a) comment on, and then b) argue about something you deem “irrelevant.” If this is all “irrelevant” then why bother? 🙂

    And somehow he finds the motivation to write two dozen posts on Benghazi….because it’s not shocking when politicians lie to their voters about science, yet it’s shocking, shocking when politicians supposedly lie to their voters about an isolated terrorist attack in order not to tip off the terrorists.

  40. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    In your opinion, not mine.

    Now you’re just being deliberately stupid, as you always tend to do when you sense yourself backed into an intellectual corner. Try to come up with an argument above playground level, man. Have some respect for yourself and for those who read this site.

  41. Jen says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’m not aware of anything similar in Rubio’s record.

    The link to the original piece in Florida Baptist Witness appears to be down, but LGF covered this in Oct. 2009. Rubio suggested the FL House was “open to a fix” on teaching evolution. Then he equated it to communism:

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/34830_Karl_Rove_Endorses_Creationist_Florida_Candidate_Rubio

  42. @Kingdady:

    The real age of the earth IS relevant to the economy. The scientific method leads us to understand the planet in exactly the same way as it leads to insights into the economy. And where do the scientific advances that power economic growth come from? Not from an opinion pulled out of someone’s ass.

    Indeed.

  43. Bart Wallace says:

    I find it odd I am sorry. I am a devout Christian and you can be a Christian and believe the earth is round, the earth is older than 10,000 years and believe in evolution. Many denominations do, the Catholic Church is the largest of these denominations that do. It is the evangelical Christian vote that does not and they come out in droves and drive intelligent people to pander to them. But yes I would be more concerned with what he wants to have taught in the classroom than what he believes personally.

  44. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Personally, the only thing I care about here is if a politician wants to see Creationism taught in science classrooms.

    If a Republican congressman proposed a bill that would eliminate federal education funding to all states that did not allow the treaching of creationism in schools, do you think Rubio would vote for or against such a bill?

  45. mantis says:

    Despite Doug’s apparent claims that anti-science wingnuttery doesn’t matter unless it’s on a local school board deciding the biology curriculum, it matters an awful lot. When the Republican Party (and it is the entire party) decides that the Bible is the only science they need, it can have very negative policy implications at every level of government. For instance, states are deciding they don’t need to prepare for the sea rise that the current, empirically proven warming trends will bring, because Jesus controls the oceans and not Al Gore.

    Global Warming Text Was Removed From Virginia Bill on Rising Sea Levels

    Sea Level Bill Would Allow North Carolina to Stick Its Head in the Sand

    It’s easy and reassuring to wave this away as simple harmless pandering, but ignoring science can have dire consequences and huge costs, both monetary and in human lives. You enable shitheads like Rubio, who clearly know better but have no courage, at all of our peril.

  46. CSK says:

    I come from a part of the country where Republicans tend to be fiscal conservatives and foreign policy conservatives who are libertarian on social issues and pro-science and pro-technology no matter what their religious beliefs might be. Nobody’s pushing creationism in the schools here. So it’s difficult for me to estimate just how large and influential the ignoramus faction is in the country as a whole.

    As for Iowa–Obama won the state, didn’t he? Did they vote for him because they managed to convince themselves he’s really a young earth creationist?

  47. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    His personal opinion on the matter, absent any specific policy positions he advocates or has voted in favor of (or against), matter as little to me as what kind of ice cream he likes.

    Well, thank god then that politicians never let their personal opinions influence the policy positions they advocate, or vote for or against….

  48. @Doug Mataconis:

    In regards to education, I happened upon this via TPM:

    Rubio’s comments to GQ were unsurprising when compared with Rubio’s rhetoric on creationism in the past. Facing creationist protests, the Florida Board of Education wrestled with curriculum standards in 2008 that accepted evolution as scientifically sound. Eventually, the board ruled that evolution should be taught, but only as a “scientific theory.” It was a compromise decision that drew criticism from the scientific community who said it underplayed evolution’s acceptance as the basis for biological science and criticism from creationists worried that it didn’t go far enough to allow their theories about the creation of the world into the mix. Then-state House Speaker Rubio was on the side of creationists.

    After the state Board of Education ruling, Rubio told the Florida Baptist Witness that he’d support legislation modeled on a proposal allowing teachers who so desired “to engage students in a critical analysis” of evolution. His reasoning, from the Witness:

    The “crux” of the disagreement, according to Rubio, is “whether what a parent teaches their children at home should be mocked and derided and undone at the public school level. It goes to the fundamental core of who is ultimately, primarily responsible for the upbringing of children. Is it your public education system or is it your parents?”
    Rubio added, “And for me, personally, I don’t want a school system that teaches kids that what they’re learning at home is wrong.”

    Rubio then “made a comparison to the strategy employed by the Communist Party in Cuba where schools encouraged children to turn in parents who criticized Fidel Castro.”

    “‘Of course, I’m not equating the evolution people with Fidel Castro,’ he quickly added,” according to the Witness.

    This sounds very much like a case in which his view have policy implications.

  49. Rafer Janders says:

    @CSK:

    So it’s difficult for me to estimate just how large and influential the ignoramus faction is in the country as a whole.

    It’s 27%.

  50. @CSK:

    As for Iowa–Obama won the state, didn’t he? Did they vote for him because they managed to convince themselves he’s really a young earth creationist?

    The Iowa relevance is, of course, linked not to the state as a whole,but to the base of the GOP who would be potential voters in the 20126 Republican caucuses.

  51. @Bart Wallace:

    you can be a Christian and believe the earth is round, the earth is older than 10,000 years and believe in evolution. Many denominations do,

    ’tis true,

  52. Rafer Janders says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Rubio added, “And for me, personally, I don’t want a school system that teaches kids that what they’re learning at home is wrong.”

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster has revealed to me, in a personal visitation, that 2 + 2 = 5, and I’m raising my children in that belief. So for me, personally, I don’t want a school system that teaches my kids that what they’re learning at home is wrong.

  53. Rafer Janders says:

    When you hold an obbject in your hand, and then release it, does it fall to the ground, or does it float in mid-air? Can’t answer that — I’m not a scientist, man.

  54. Folderol & Ephemera says:

    “I don’t want a school system that teaches kids that what they’re learning at home is wrong.” – Marco Rubio

    Around 18% of Americans believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth. How dare schools teach those kids that what they’re learning at home is wrong!

  55. Rafer Janders says:

    Rubio is, as he claims, no scientist. But he’s also not an economist, either. So why does he feel qualified to give his opinion on economic issues when he’s just claimed that you need specialist knowledge to answer a question as well-established as the age of the Earth?

  56. Gustopher says:

    One of my favorite explanations for the discrepancy between the measured age of the Earth, and the biblical age of the Earth is that 10,000 years ago, God created an Earth that was 4.5 billion years old — he can do that, because he’s omnipotent. By this logic he could have done it last Thursday too, but that’s not what the bible says, so we know that’s not true.

    It’s a way, way better hedge than Rubio’s non-answer, allows him to claim to sincerely believe both sides of the “controversy” and gives not a single clue as to what he might do in office.

    I want better pandering, evading and waffling.

  57. Folderol & Ephemera says:

    In all seriousness, I think that the “I don’t want a school system that teaches kids that what they’re learning at home is wrong” quote is actually very illuminating, and is relevant to the debate about epistemic closure on the right.

  58. michael reynolds says:

    I love the difference in standards we apply between foreign leaders and our own. We expect the head of Hamas to plainly tell his people they’re never getting back to Jerusalem. We expect the Chinese to admit that everything since Mao was a mistake. We expect Japanese leaders to confess to the Rape of Nanking. We expect the Turks to own up to the Armenian genocide.

    But it’s asking too much to expect one of our aspiring leaders to admit to a belief in science.

  59. anjin-san says:

    It’s really part of their nature.

    Ah, so both sides do it. Well, this is something of a breakthrough.

  60. gVOR08 says:

    @Jen: I checked your link. OMG, cancel my pandering comment above. Rubio actually believes this nonsense. And he does want creationism taught in the schools. And he did compare evolutionists to Cuban commies (with the usual, I’m not comparing them to commies, but…). Doug, now can we point at him and laugh?

    Rubio said, “And there are parents that passionately believe in this and they should be given the opportunity to teach that to their children without someone undoing it,” Rubio said. There are parents who passionately believe that modern medicine is a sin and they must rely on faith healing. Fortuitously we have courts that occasionally undo that.

  61. JohnMcC says:

    As pointed out by — I think — Dr Krugman, we have a science-based and knowledge-based economy. The age of the earth is irrelevant to digging coal and pouring steel. But things like geology, astonomy and physics are sort of relevant to how the US economy works — at least in a non-libertarian world.

    Mr Pete Wehner has a column up @ Commentary http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/11/19/marco-rubio-v-science

    As much as it pains me to link to Commentary (they black balled me at Contentions for trolling) I think reading the comments section is enlightening. Mr Wehner refers at some length to conservative Christians and Jews who understand modern science and have reconciled that with their conservative religious convictions. He proposes an answer to the question that Sen Rubio could have made. He apparently becomes thereby a leftist who hates God and favors abortion.

    The Republiican party is doomed as long as it must win the primary votes of these people.

    Which probably means the IS a God.

  62. gVOR08 says:

    If you think this stuff doen’t matter, please plug “Lysenkoism” into Wikipedia.

  63. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Doug Mataconis: He’s been expressing his opinion on teaching creationism (shocker – he’s for it) since at least 2009: http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/34830_Karl_Rove_Endorses_Creationist_Florida_Candidate_Rubio

  64. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Bah. Jen beat me to that one.

  65. @Gromitt Gunn:

    Much like his nutty counterparts on the right, I’ve stopped reading Charles Johnson’s paranoid nonsense long ago.

  66. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Doug Mataconis: How does Mr. Johnson’s interpretations of the primary source document affect the veracity of the primary source document?

  67. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    That’s not a good answer. Most of Johnson’s post consists of a quote from a news article. What does your opinion of Johnson have to do with whether the article is an accurate representation of Rubio’s statements and actions?

  68. MM says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: It doesn’t. But Doug decided upthread that Rubio being creationism friendly doesn’t really matter, so any evidence that is provided will be dismissed out of hand for whatever reason is convenient at the moment. Especially if it can involve being ultra defensive and deploying multiple logical fallacies.

  69. Rafer Janders says:

    @MM:

    And despite Doug writing above that “Personally, the only thing I care about here is if a politician wants to see Creationism taught in science classrooms.” Now that he’s shown evidence that Rubio does indeed want to see creationism taught in science classrooms — or is at the least creationism-curious — suddenly that won’t be something he cares about…..

  70. Rafer Janders says:

    If I take a plane that leaves from LA and flies west over the Pacific Ocean to Tokyo, will I actually be able to land in Tokyo, or will the plane fly off the edge of the Earth into the yawning nothingness below? Don’t ask me, man, I’m no scientist.

  71. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @MM: Oh, I am fully aware of his intellectually lazy arguement construction and frequent goalpost moving. But much like Charlie Brown and the football, I cling to an ever-dashed hope that Doug will eventually decide to engage in good faith arguments.

    I think Dr. Taylor and I have that in common.

  72. Rafer Janders says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    But much like Charlie Brown and the football, I cling to an ever-dashed hope that Doug will eventually decide to engage in good faith arguments.

    Much like Dr. Johnson’s comment on second marriages, it is the triumph of hope over experience.

  73. jukeboxgrad says:

    scott:

    These folks are running for school boards at both the state and local levels. Here in Texas it is a constant fight to teach proper science.

    Yes. This is a good moment to remember this: “We oppose the teaching of … critical thinking skills.”

    It’s all part of the GOP war on reality.

  74. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Much like his nutty counterparts on the right, I’ve stopped reading Charles Johnson’s paranoid nonsense long ago.

    That’s a clown answer, bro.

    Also, too, not all politicans pander. Can’t imagine BHO giving that answer, no matter how he would like to peel off some evangelical votes.

  75. mantis says:

    @stonetools:

    Also, too, not all politicans pander. Can’t imagine BHO giving that answer, no matter how he would like to peel off some evangelical votes.

    I believe Obama’s stance on gay marriage in 2007-2008 was pandering. I doubt he really believed it.

  76. Rafer Janders says:

    @mantis:

    Yeah, that’s true. If Obama didn’t believe in the right to marriage equality in 2007-2008, he had to be one of the very very few liberal, Ivy-League and law-school educated attorneys who didn’t.

    I mean, no way he was in reality to the right of Ted Olsen on that issue. No way.

  77. stonetools says:

    @mantis:

    Should have said, “Not all politicans pander all the time.” :-(.

    Also too, Obama has gone against the liberal base a number of times.
    But its likely he was pandering on marriage equality. I want to take him at his word and give him the benefit of the doubt on that, but I understand whjy you wouldn’t.

  78. Alex says:

    @stonetools:
    For an example of a BHO anti-science pander, here’s something he said during the 2008 race:

    We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.

    Now while he wasn’t explicitly endorsing anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories in that statement, he was certainly pandering in their general direction.

  79. jukeboxgrad says:

    Some context:

    Obama may not have been referring to himself when he said that “some people” were suspicious about a connection between autism and childhood vaccinations. The video shows the candidate pointing to someone in the audience when he adds the words, “This person included.”

  80. swbarnes2 says:

    @Alex:

    We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.

    “This person” wasn’t Obama. He was pointing at a guy in the audience. And his next sentence is “We can’t afford to junk our vaccine system,”.

    The fact is that evolution denial and climate change denial are pervasive among Republican office-holders, and they make harmful, stupid policies based on those ideas. There’s simply no comparison to Democratic officeholders, or the kinds and numbers of polices they put forth.

  81. mantis says:

    There is a difference between pandering and respectfully disagreeing with a questioner’s viewpoint.

  82. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Damn. I had to work today. Again. Once again I could not pile on Doug. No fun….

  83. Argon says:

    Keep f***ing that chicken, Doug.

  84. bill says:

    what if he said 13 billion yrs old and he was off by a billion? lame question, it’s all theory and changes every decade. he took the safe way out though, that’s a question you’ll never hear asked of a democrat.

  85. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Let’s turn this around and ask some questions that will never get asked of Democrats, putting them on the spot for their beliefs. Let’s choose, say… abortion.

    At what point do you believe the fetus has developed enough to enjoy basic human rights?

    Do you support partial-birth abortion? And could you define the procedure as you understand it?

    While a State Senator, President Obama supported a bill that allowed hospitals to deny treatment to any fetuses that survived an abortion. Do you agree with that?

    Currently around the world, abortions are chosen for such reasons as sex selection (mainly to eliminate girls), minor disabilities, and other reasons. Do you support that as a valid option?

    There are many people who believe homosexuality is genetic. If so, and a prenatal test could detect it, would you support a woman choosing to abort her fetus because it would likely be gay?

    Those are just a few, off the top of my head. I invite any of the readership here to answer them.

  86. swbarnes2 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    At what point do you believe the fetus has developed enough to enjoy basic human rights?

    Here’s a hint;

    If you would answer your question exactly the same way whether the fetus is severely impinging on a living, feeling, thinking woman, or in a stainless steel incubator, then you think that women, no matter how physically developed, have the same moral status as a stainless steel toaster.

    So you tell us, at what point, when Savita Halappanavar was dying of her pregnancy, had she developed enough to deserve to save her own life with an abortion? Because as much as pro-life people whine that of course they would support abortions to save the lives of women, empirically, we observe that they do not. Actions speak louder than words.

  87. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @swbarnes2: You’re answering my questions with questions of your own about a story from Ireland?

    Nearly all pro-lifers agree with an exception for “the life of the mother.” And it says a LOT that you have to go to Ireland to find an example to bolster your argument about US policy.

    Finally… you refused to answer my question, and instead asked yours. Why the hell should I answer your questions, when you won’t answer mine?

    Here’s a hint on YOUR question: look up what the Irish Supreme Court said about abortion 20 years go.

  88. Jen says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I have no clue how or why you dragged abortion into a discussion about evolution, but the case in Ireland is important because it’s where a lot of pro-lifers would like the US to be. The key there is that it was not clear that the mother’s life *was* in danger at the point when the abortion was requested. These are not always clear cut cases, which is why it should be up to the woman to determine when to terminate the pregnancy.

  89. aquanerd says:

    @jenos Idanian

    Your question isn’t even on topic… this discussion is merely pointing out that Rubio either doesn’t understand basic reality, flat out rejects it, or panders to his base. Your scenerio is highly subjective with no real scientific answer. Your question is purely political and ethical not scientific. Science doesn’t deal with ethics or morality just observations and experiments… understanding facts or conjecture pertaining to science and whether you reject them or accept them is the relevant question… those are not up for debate… just because you don’t accept certain things in science because it goes against your faith doesn’t make it wrong or debatable. Facts are facts whether you like them or not.

  90. Rob in CT says:

    There’s some old video of Obama answering the same question that’s making the rounds on the liberal blogs today, pointing out that Obama hedged too. He hedged better, remembering to affirm that he buys into evolution and the scientific method and all, but he still hedged. Because he’s a politician, and we have a lot of religious voters. Or perhaps because that’s is actually how he deals with it his own mind. Neither gives me the warm fuzzies. Once again, he’s the LOTE.

  91. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Jen: I have no clue how or why you dragged abortion into a discussion about evolution, but the case in Ireland is important because it’s where a lot of pro-lifers would like the US to be.

    The evolution thing is a “gotcha” question because it has absolutely no direct relation to governing at the federal level (you gotta go about three degrees of Kevin Bacon to make it relevant), and it’s only ever used as a way to harass conservatives. My abortion questions are of a similar bent, but aimed at the other ideological direction.