The peculiarity here is that Barack Obama pitches some ignorance onto the question of how old the earth is, but then professes a belief in evolution. Evolution in six days? Now there’s a trick.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has been blasted for walking a line between science and theology as equal answers on one of the “great mysteries” of the universe: How old the earth is. For anyone who has ever pondered sediment layers on a cliff, it is pretty clear that six days doesn’t cut it.
Science and religion don’t have to be always at odds. The facts are facts. Beliefs are beliefs that vary. People in India, Egypt and Germany can hold different religious views, but they all believe in the law of gravity. That’s an easy one because no religion disavows Newton’s theory. Yet when it comes to evolution and geology, then that science straddles on blasphemy.
There are only two choices: the Bible is literal or it is not. If one wants to take it literally, then it must be taken literally in its entirety. Taking the argument that the earth was created in six days means taking literally that General Petraeus should be stoned for adultery, gays for sodomy, slavery is not such a bad thing, eating shellfish is a sin and the moon does create its own light, not just the sun’s reflection.
Rubio may profess ignorance about the earth’s creation, but so far he hasn’t put a shellfish ban on his platform.
Rubio is trying not to alienate the Republican base, which is unabashedly creationist. What he truly believes is hard to pinpoint. He does take the position that parents should teach their children whatever they want, whether that is their faith or science. Of course, no one is seriously advocating that the police monitor what parents teach their children on religion or science.
As I mentioned earlier, science is not about belief. It is about facts. Rubio’s position is one of ignorance. That’s not comforting for a senator who sits on the Subcommittee on Science and Space.
Q: Senator, if one of your daughters asked you—and maybe they already have—“Daddy, did god really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say?
A: What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.
Let me just make one last point on this. I do believe in evolution. I don’t think that is incompatible with Christian faith, just as I don’t think science generally is incompatible with Christian faith. I think that this is something that we get bogged down in. There are those who suggest that if you have a scientific bent of mind then somehow you should reject religion, and I fundamentally disagree with that. In fact, the more I learn about the world, the more I know about science, the more I am amazed about the mystery of this planet and this universe—and it strengthens my faith as opposed to weakens it.
Those words, minus the second paragraph, are uncomfortably close to Rubio’s:
Q: How old do you think the Earth is?
A: 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.
There are some differences. Rubio states that scientific knowledge like the age of the earth doesn’t matter when it comes to the economy. That’s fine as long as things like geological formations don’t mean anything for oil exploration or the trail of DNA through human evolution doesn’t concern medical research. It’s clear Rubio really hasn’t thought out the ignorance that he spouts.
Speaking of not thinking things through, along comes then Senator Obama who doesn’t do much to express his own capability to reason on the subject.
Believing in God and evolution is not the problem. A Christian, deist or any believer can hold that a Supreme Being created the universe and evolution proceeded on its own or through the guiding hand of that being. Science hasn’t been able to prove what impetus placed the raw material for the Big Bang at the creation of the Universe. It’s fair game for everyone to conjecture and doesn’t necessarily put someone at odds with known science. As long as evolution and the Big Bang is accepted the rest of the details aren’t that big of a problem.
The problem is how Obama makes his argument for creation and evolution. He clearly states, “I do believe in evolution.” Yet, in the sentence immediately preceding that Obama states, “Whether it [creation] happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.”
Really? Obama is up in the air whether the earth is created through the Big Bang or created in six days. If the Bible is read literally, the Universe can’t be 13 billion years old and the earth 4.5 billion. A day or even six aren’t that long. Just about everyone who embraced the six-day theory of creation also believes the earth is but a few thousand years old. How can evolution work in that context? Evolution has been going on for millions of years, not just since a few centuries before the Great Pyramid was built.
If Rubio is missing the boat that basic science doesn’t matter to the GDP, Obama’s missed the entire dock with his hint evolution could happen in six thousand years.
Let’s go back to the first sentence Obama expressed in his answer to his daughters.
“What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe.”
At the end of his statement, Obama said that he “doesn’t presume to know” what he earlier states he believes – that the six days “may not be 24-hour days.”
This is mumbo-jumbo contradicting itself. At least Rubio is more straightforward. He clearly embraces the position of ignorance. On the other hand, Obama can’t give a straight answer or at least one that jives with his other comments. That leaves one likely explanation to Obama’s vagueness: He’s lying.
This is why a great technological society like ours totters with a broken economy. Prosperity is based on science, but the ideological divide has left the United States with politicians who profess ignorance because they don’t want to believe and others who lie because they don’t dare embrace science for fear of offending the Americans who think geology and biology are as Rep. Paul Broun says, “straight from the pit of hell.”