The entire left side of the blogosphere had a good, hearty chuckle yesterday at the answer given to a GQ interviewer's question by Great Republican Hope Marco Rubio:
GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?Har har har! The Republicans just lost an election by relying exclusively on their old white Bible Belt voter base, and now here's the guy they think will save them four years from now, and he demonstrates that he's an ignorant throwback! Har har har!
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.
Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. Belief in young-earth creationism is not the same as rejection of Planned Parenthood or advocacy of self-deportation. According to a Gallup poll from June of this year, belief in creationism is actually going up (click to enlarge):
Yes, GOP voters lead the way -- the belief that God created human beings in their present form within the past 10,000 years is held by a majority (58%) of Republicans -- but the belief is shared by 41% of Democrats and 39% of independents.
You'll say, "Oh, but that's Gallup." Well, a 2007 Newsweek poll found that 48% of Americans were young-earth creationists. It was a majority in CBS polls in 2004, 2005, and 2006. A 2006 Pew poll found that 58% of Americans "generally favor or oppose teaching creationism along with evolution in public schools." (All results from Polling Report.)
And, well, we had a president who talked the way Rubio does: George W. Bush. Here's Bush in November 1999, as the 2000 campaign was getting under way:
I'd make it a goal to make sure that local folks got to make the decision as to whether or not they said creationism has been a part of our history and whether or not people ought to be exposed to different theories as to how the world was formed.In 2005, he expressed support for teaching intelligent design. There was this, however, in 2008:
Asked about creation and evolution, Bush said: "I think you can have both. I think evolution can -- you're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president. But it's, I think that God created the earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty and I don't think it's incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution."In tone, he sounds almost exactly like Rubio. His message is somewhat different -- but Rubio could probably just switch to "Oh, yeah, I believe in both" at any time, in just this way, and get away with it. America is making progress, but not in this way.