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I'm not a scientist, man.
November 19, 2012 7:28 AM   Subscribe

GQ interviews Senator Marco Rubio
posted by roomthreeseventeen (149 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
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.

Recent image of Sen Marco Rubio
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:30 AM on November 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


I think that the entire exchange is worth quoting.

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?

Marco 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.

posted by goethean at 7:38 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that

So let me get this straight, the two theories he knows of are both wrong?
posted by Ad hominem at 7:41 AM on November 19, 2012 [34 favorites]


"My mother went into the Peace Corps when she was sixty-eight. My one sister is a motorcycle freak, my other sister is a Holy Roller evangelist and my brother is running for president. I'm the only sane one in the family.”

-Billy Carter
posted by clavdivs at 7:42 AM on November 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Glad to see mefi back up to cheap hit-posts on politicans.
posted by clavdivs at 7:43 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


[South Carolina Senator and Tea Party favorite] Jim DeMint. He's a great source of wisdom as a person who's had to make decisions that have made him unpopular in his own party. Jeb Bush is another guy I admire for his ability to analyze issues and call them for what they are.

Oh my.
posted by vkxmai at 7:43 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is a great illustration of how incredibly hard it's going to be for any individual to achieve both of these necessary things:

1) Take the Republican party to the center, including an acceptance of scientific consensus, so it can substantially appeal to the demographics who demolished them in the last two presidential elections

2) Get the votes of the traditional Republican base, who are still going to be the only people voting in the Republican primaries in 2016.

I'm not sure it can be done. While I'd love to be given a genuine choice between two reality-based parties, I'm willing to accept a continuously-imploding GOP as a consolation prize.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:43 AM on November 19, 2012 [39 favorites]


Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
posted by Splunge at 7:44 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I guess it's never too early to start your bid for president?
posted by rtha at 7:45 AM on November 19, 2012


I'm not a scientist, man.

If he had stopped there, this would have been a perfectly reasonable answer. Of course, he did not.
posted by brain_drain at 7:46 AM on November 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


This is actually a very important time for the prospective 2016 GOP nominees, because in the wake of their loss they are allowed to say things that were heretical a couple of weeks ago. Hence Bobby Jindal seemingly joining the Occupy movement. Clearly Jindal foresees the GOP moving to the center, which is what John Huntsman incorrectly calculated a few years ago. Romney correctly thought they would stick to the far right, and was able to do a lot of shape-shifting before the primaries.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:47 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


BUT GUYZ HE LOVES TUPAC MARK RUBICO FOR PRESIDENT 2013
posted by chasing at 7:48 AM on November 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


I love how on gay marriage and abortion he is all silenced all my life. Say whatever you want, fuckwit, just keep your crazy ideas from fucking with me.
posted by angrycat at 7:50 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Marco Rubio is the pool game of choice at the RNC.
posted by inturnaround at 7:51 AM on November 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Glad to see mefi back up to cheap hit-posts on politicans.

Is it really a hit piece if it's just a record of some stuff he said, where the stuff said is objectively ludicrous? It's not like he was goaded into it.
posted by subtle-t at 7:51 AM on November 19, 2012 [35 favorites]


Actually, what gets me about that exchange is the followup question about social issues. Earth science has "nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States" and "has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow," so who cares? On the other hand, opposing gay marriage is important, despite its irrelevance to the economy, because "a significant percentage of Americans feel very strongly about this issue."
posted by whitecedar at 7:54 AM on November 19, 2012 [30 favorites]


BUT GUYZ HE LOVES TUPAC MARK RUBICO FOR PRESIDENT 2013

I have this vision of the next RNC featuring Hologram Tupac debating an empty chair
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:54 AM on November 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Is it really a hit piece if it's just a record of some stuff he said, where the stuff said is objectively ludicrous? It's not like he was goaded into it.

It's not gotcha journalism to memorialize stupidity.

And it wouldn't be an issue if he wasn't so prominent.
posted by inturnaround at 7:55 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


that assumes I'm refering to the article...ok....BILLY CARTER.
anyone can set up the cans, but who shall wield the BB gun, yes.
posted by clavdivs at 7:56 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow.

In and of itself, maybe not. But it goes to the type and quality of education America will have, which has everything to do with the success of any society.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:56 AM on November 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


Q: Who are some of the smartest people in your party?

Democrats' A: Russ Feingold. Elizabeth Warren. Al Franken.

Republicans' A: Mark Rubio. Paul Ryan. Bobby Jindal.

Does anybody else see a difference here?

( Rubio is PLAINLY just another politician who dodges and weaves, slices and dices, trying to appear "adult" and "somewhere in the middle". Why the right can't see that is beyond me.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:56 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Where's the lolRepublican tag?
posted by Infinity_8 at 7:57 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jindal is way funnier then Franken. IMO.
posted by clavdivs at 7:58 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow.

That's the quote that gets me and the biggest problem that I have with Republican world view. If they can ignore empirical data about how the universe works why should we trust them to know how the economy works?
posted by octothorpe at 8:00 AM on November 19, 2012 [33 favorites]


For a split second I thought East Manitoba (etc)'s link was going to a version of this image.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:07 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]



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.

Recent image of Sen Marco Rubio


Can you imagine being a politician and having to deal with this question? The base of republican part puts that millstone around Rubio's neck and he still manages to swim with it and he manages to reframe it as if, you the questioner is dealing in trivial topics while the Republicans are concerned with serious issues.

You are mistaking strength for weakness here. Rubio is a really talented politician.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:11 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


He is not a scientist but he IS an economist?

...man.
posted by edgeways at 8:12 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:13 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


So..."Tea Partier says something that appeals to anti-science Tea Partiers", or am I missing something insightful here? Clearly he's pandering, but that's not a surprise. He is being touted as his party's (the GOP's, not exclusively referring to the Tea Party) last, best (only?) hope of getting some Latino votes back, ignoring of course the minor fact that Cuban-Americans may not have the same interests as Mexican-Americans or the other groups of Latin-American voters.
posted by Stoatfarm at 8:14 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rubio is a really talented politician.

^That. I hope I'm wrong, but I already bet on Rubio to win in 2016. If anyone wants to additional action I will take 20-1.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:14 AM on November 19, 2012


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.

Today's Doonesbury strip seems uncannily topical in view of that answer.

Glad to see mefi back up to cheap hit-posts on politicans.

Rubio called the age of Earth and the universe "a dispute amongst theologians". He doesn't appear to believe that geologists, paleontologists or astrophysicists have a say in the matter.

It is, of course, also a dispute amongst theologians. The Catholic Church, for instance, is perfectly cool with an old universe. Indeed, the Big Bang was first theorised by a Catholic priest. Marco Rubio is supposed to be a Catholic himself, isn't he? Nice to see that he's really to renege his own religion and embrace a most un-Catholic literalist reading of the Bible in order to get those sweet, sweet Evangelical votes...

It is worth noting that Rubio attends both a Roman Catholic and a Southern Baptist congregation, which is quite indicative of the strength of his convictions...
posted by Skeptic at 8:17 AM on November 19, 2012 [30 favorites]


If he wins the primaries expect him to add Unitarian Church
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:21 AM on November 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Never too early to look ahead when you've decided to ignore the present:

GOP 2016 primary, initial blush -

Santorum
Palin
Rubio




going to be a long 4 years.
posted by edgeways at 8:24 AM on November 19, 2012


I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow.

However, it is a decent litmus test for rational thought in politicians.
posted by brundlefly at 8:26 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Two signs a person is hot to run for presidency:
1. writes book about his cuddly life
2. visits Iowa because shopping is good there or something.

The GOP wants to get the Hispanic vote next time but they do not yet know that Cuban Americans tend to dislike other Hispanics and vice versa.
posted by Postroad at 8:27 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


However, it is a decent litmus test for rational thought in politicians.

Well, he's being rational enough: he has a snowball's chance in hell to win the Republican primaries if he alienates the evangelicals. It is his voters who are irrational, not necessarily the politician...
posted by Skeptic at 8:38 AM on November 19, 2012


He is not a scientist but he IS an economist?

I see no contradiction there.
posted by ook at 8:38 AM on November 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


It's the year 2012 and the question "How old is the Earth?" is a hot-button political issue.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:39 AM on November 19, 2012 [57 favorites]


I learned nothing from that article and might even be stupider. Not exactly how you want an interview with a presidential hopeful to go.
posted by fshgrl at 8:42 AM on November 19, 2012


I learned nothing from that article and might even be stupider. Not exactly how you want an interview with a presidential hopeful to go.

That's EXACTLY how the GOP wants their electoral base to go, tho. 'Low-information voters' are their core demographic at this point.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:45 AM on November 19, 2012


My sense is that he would be troubled by the promise that more government can deliver. I'm not making any comparison between Barack Obama and Castro from Cuba—

From Frank Luntz' fingers to Marco Rubio's lips. Just another Republican replicant with a thicker coat of poly, a post-pubescent Bobby Jindal. Call me when you find ANY Republican who can actually think for themself.
posted by any major dude at 8:49 AM on November 19, 2012


I learned nothing from that article

Not true for me. I had to google "foam party". So, I learned that. Which is something.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:49 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Potomac Ave., from my perch on Sherman Ave. I will take those odds, and lay $25 against them.
posted by oneironaut at 8:50 AM on November 19, 2012


Today's Doonesbury strip seems uncannily topical in view of that answer.

Wow there's still Doonesbury. Wow, it's still awesome and insightful.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:51 AM on November 19, 2012


I also learned that Pitbull is no Tupac and will never be writing poetry.
posted by drlith at 8:51 AM on November 19, 2012


Potomac Ave., from my perch on Sherman Ave. I will take those odds, and lay $25 against them.

So your $25 to my 1.25? Consider it booked.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:51 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will put money against Rubio winning anything if he continues down the path of a young Earth. I think we’re going to see some crazy climate sh*t in the next four years.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:51 AM on November 19, 2012


That's EXACTLY how the GOP wants their electoral base to go, tho. 'Low-information voters' are their core demographic at this point.

This claim is the liberal version of Romney's "Obama gave his voters 'gifts' so they'd vote for him" comment. I imagine most smart GOP people can see the problem for their party with 'low-information voters' moving forward, and aren't EXACTLY happy with that path... More apt to say that they're stuck with them than that they're excited about them.
posted by DynamiteToast at 8:52 AM on November 19, 2012


So your $25 to my 1.25?
I read your odds as my $1 fetches your $20. Guess I should spend more time gambling.

Rubio will be 45 years old in 2016. Tender Teddy Roosevelt years; he will not be the Republican candidate in 2016, excepting the most extraordinary circumstances.
posted by relish at 9:09 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rubio called the age of Earth and the universe "a dispute amongst theologians". He doesn't appear to believe that geologists, paleontologists or astrophysicists have a say in the matter.

No, he called the interpretation of the Biblical account (and reconciling it with science/history) "a dispute amongst theologians":
GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?

Marco 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...
Marco Rubio is supposed to be a Catholic himself, isn't he? Nice to see that he's really to renege his own religion and embrace a most un-Catholic literalist reading of the Bible in order to get those sweet, sweet Evangelical votes...

Except of course, that he hasn't done that, he doesn't embrace a literalist reading of the Bible in the interview.

It is worth noting that Rubio attends both a Roman Catholic and a Southern Baptist congregation, which is quite indicative of the strength of his convictions...

He reportedly goes to Mass every Sunday and is raising his children as Catholics. Assuming that's true, that he also attends services at a Southern Baptist-affiliated Church with his wife and other family members is not the kind of confusion you seem to think it is.
posted by Jahaza at 9:10 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


clavdivs: "that assumes I'm refering to the article...ok....BILLY CARTER.
anyone can set up the cans, but who shall wield the BB gun, yes.
"

he who pays the carnie shoots the BBs.
posted by boo_radley at 9:16 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rubio will be 45 years old in 2016. Tender Teddy Roosevelt years; he will not be the Republican candidate in 2016, excepting the most extraordinary circumstances.

I will also bet on Rubio being the nominee at 10-1. Listen to the panic in the voices of the right wing Pundits. "We gotta get ourselves a minority!" says some rich donor. And voila. Politics is just a charisma-off right now, and I don't see a democratic candidate emerging this cycle who's got enough of it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:18 AM on November 19, 2012


Potomac Avenue: " Politics is just a charisma-off right now, and I don't see a democratic candidate emerging this cycle who's got enough of it."

Slow down, you're going to cramp.
posted by boo_radley at 9:21 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


*Use as directed. Batteries Not Included. Predicitions may cause violent whiplash, vomiting, hives, white stripes, and disco biscuits.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:24 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


ITT: People so starved of horse-race presidential politics they just can't stop.
posted by georg_cantor at 9:24 AM on November 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Frankly I've been really bored by the 2012 pres race. It's been not that close for a long time, and this seems like an appropriate thread to start the engines of speculatin'! Also I have a bit of the oollld Gambling Addiction.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:29 AM on November 19, 2012


Politics is just a charisma-off right now, and I don't see a democratic candidate emerging this cycle who's got enough of it
The dems will nominate a sane white guy and they will win.
posted by fullerine at 9:30 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself. Basically, it's made up of two separate words — "mank" and "ind." What do these words mean? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind."
posted by symbioid at 9:36 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


10-1 sounds okay. Although if we stick the money in escrow for four years, you should make the odds more favorable to me; at least make the odds more attractive than a municipal bond.

I'd expect the current Republican governors of Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are all better positioned to be the 2016 nominee than the junior U.S. Senator from Florida, even though he clearly understands how to position himself.

Republicans don't run rock stars; it's much more about where you stand in the queue.
posted by relish at 9:40 AM on November 19, 2012


ennui.bz: "Can you imagine being a politician and having to deal with this question? "

Yeah, I can. Maybe don't pander? Try to learn something? Fuck him.
posted by notsnot at 9:40 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Jahaza, I don't think that the "that" in that sentence refers to "what the Bible says", unless he's as grammatically challenged as he's scientifically illiterate by his own admission. Anyway, he says he can tell you what the Bible says, so there doesn't seem to be any theological dispute on his mind on that subject.

As for his attitude towards a literalist reading of the Bible, although "embrace" may be too strong a word, he certainly shows an acceptance that is most definitely not kosher in the eyes of the RCC.

Assuming that's true, that he also attends services at a Southern Baptist-affiliated Church with his wife and other family members is not the kind of confusion you seem to think it is.

By his own account, he's maintained his relationship with Christ Fellowship (which he considers an "excellent" church). The Southern Baptists and the Roman Catholic Church aren't exactly on the best of terms, you know. Of course, the SBC and the RCC do occasionally find themselves in agreement on some issues. Mostly on what they dislike (apart from each other). Prominent among what they both dislike are the Mormons...of which Rubio also was once a member!
posted by Skeptic at 9:42 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorta related to the subject, here is a video (faux news, sorry) of more soul searching in the Republican Party. I was amazed by how much their song has changed.

Of course, a lot of the usual rubbish was said, but these things were also mentioned in this FOX NEWS interview with two republican governors (!!!):

"We gotta stop making stupid comments"

"If we want people to like us we have to like them first"

"We don't start winning elections by insulting voters"


About the republicans' refusal to extend tax cuts for the middle class: "Why wouldn't the middle class voter say "these guys are all about protecting the rich"?"

"Bill Kristol said it wouldn't kill the republicans to raise taxes on millionaires a little bit...is he wrong?"
(the answer was yes, but at least mentioned the possibility)

"The rich can protect themselves"

About immigration..."this country is based on immigrants and we need to welcome them to the American dream"

"We can be true to our principles, but at the same time we must be respectful of other people's beliefs. We don't need to demonize those that disagree with us, we need to respect the fact that others have come to different conclusions based on their own sincerely held beliefs, and have a civil debate"

I have hope.

I think some people in the Republican party are noticing that Democrats and liberals in general want good competition. We want a good conservative party so even when our party lose, we at least know the country is moving forward! Please republicans, come back to earth!
posted by Tarumba at 9:45 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seems like "I'm not a scientist" is a non sequitur unless he believes that scientists know the answer.
posted by Flunkie at 9:47 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The next presidential election is four years away. Is it not possible to have a six month break at least between the last one and campaigning for the next one? Oh right, I know the answer to that.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:57 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


So..."Tea Partier says something that appeals to anti-science Tea Partiers", or am I missing something insightful here? Clearly he's pandering, but that's not a surprise.

Seems to me that most of the post-election Republican hand-wringing can be summed up in We can't let the Tea Party/White Evangelicals bully us - we'll lose! and We can't alienate the Tea Party/White Evangelicals - we'll lose!

My prediction is that their strategy for the next four years will be How to pander to the Tea Party/White Evangelicals without, you know, appearing to pander to the Tea Party/White Evangelicals.
posted by space_cookie at 9:58 AM on November 19, 2012


Jindal is way funnier then Franken. IMO.

Just to piss off clavdivs, I'd like to point out that Al Franken's 2005 book The Truth remains one of the best ways to turn a young apathetic into somebody engaged and passionate about politics. The Truth dedicates its first half not to political position, but to dirty tricks politicians use in the media to trick and deceive the public, and its second half focuses on the hypocritisy of various Republican congressmen and lobbyists (and ex-presidents) who actively do that which they publicly proclaim to be un-American. It's readable, funny, and its focus on hypocrisy rather than on arguing what the "right" political stances are make it less threatening than books which spend their time making the case for their side.

I've been saying it since mid-2011 and two weeks ago I was validated: the Republican Party is fucked. It's slid over the last 30 years from subtle media manipulation by clever people to more blatant manipulation by less clever people, and now that the other side has learned to play ball with the media and use the Republicans' dirty tricks against them, the remaining Reps are too stupid or to young to've figured out the rules in the first place. They're not smart enough to change the rules by themselves – they're not even smart enough to know the rules aren't working anymore. It's like watching an eight-year-old boy play Battletoads.

I know little about Rubio, but anybody dumb enough to sound like this in an interview has no hope of becoming president. Not against today's Democratic Party (it is really weird that I'm able to say that).
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:05 AM on November 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think the bigger challenge that we face, and that we continue to face, is that we have not done a good enough job of communicating to people what conservatism is.

Ah, so he's one of those dicks who thinks we're not smart enough to know what conservatism is, when all of us have been trying to get through one of the most conservative social, economic and political eras of modern American history. What a dick.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:15 AM on November 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


Seems like "I'm not a scientist" is a non sequitur unless he believes that scientists know the answer.

It's a non sequitur anyway. If GQ asked "do you think the Earth is flat or round?" and Rubio said "I'm not a scientist. I don't think I'm qualified to answer a question like that. ... I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that," what exactly would he be trying to say? I'm really not sure. Maybe he's saying the evidence is so mixed that only scientists are capable of understanding it well enough to hazard an informed guess, but they're so far from certainty that the rest of us have to forge ahead without any clue?

Or maybe he's not saying anything, other than "I am unwilling to commit to the position either that science has determined some facts about the universe with great confidence or that the fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible is literally true, or to acknowledge that a position on that question is relevant to governing a modern nation, so here are some sentences that don't mean anything can we move on now?"
posted by jhc at 10:19 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a difference between "You'd have to be a scientist to know whether the earth is flat or round!" and "I don't know how old the world is, but I believe that scientists do". I have a hard time believing you'll find many people at all who honestly believe that the world is flat. I have no difficulty believing you'll find many, many people who don't know how old the earth is, but I bet that a lot of those people would be confident that scientists know.

To be clear, I'm not claiming this is the thing that Rubio was intentionally meaning to put forth. Rather, I'm claiming that it seems like an unintended insight into what he might honestly, but not publicly, believe: "The scientists know what they're talking about; the dumbasses I pander to do not."
posted by Flunkie at 10:24 AM on November 19, 2012


Jahaza, I don't think that the "that" in that sentence refers to "what the Bible says", unless he's as grammatically challenged

I think "that" refers to an implied referent about the (purported) dispute between science and theology about the age of the earth that is obviously what the questioner was trying to get at.

as he's scientifically illiterate by his own admission.

Yeah... that's an unhelpful exaggeration. "I'm not a scientist, man." is not the same thing as "I'm scientifically illiterate." I bet lots of people who are not "scientifically illiterate" can't give you an exact number for the age of the earth (I couldn't. I'd have said, "Six Billion Years?" which is relatively close for most purposes, but nowhere near exact.) A politician for obvious reasons of wanting to avoid a gaffe isn't going to give you an exact number if he doesn't have to... it's obvious that he understands that there's a difference between certain readings of the Bible and science. He wants to avoid irrelevant gotchas from either side.

Anyway, he says he can tell you what the Bible says, so there doesn't seem to be any theological dispute on his mind on that subject.

Well there isn't any theological dispute about what the Bible says, but about what the Bible accounts mean there's plenty of dispute. He invokes some of the varying theological explanations and 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." If "there doesn't seem to be any theological dispute in his mind" he wouldn't say that.

As for his attitude towards a literalist reading of the Bible, although "embrace" may be too strong a word, he certainly shows an acceptance that is most definitely not kosher in the eyes of the RCC.

He's really just not said enough for you to pin him down even at this revised level. There's not a required Catholic line on this question to the extent that you seem to think there is.

By his own account, he's maintained his relationship with Christ Fellowship (which he considers an "excellent" church).

The man goes to Mass every Sunday. That's the relationship the Catholic Church cares about. Going to services with his wife at the other Church doesn't change that relationship. Catholics can read non-Catholic authors, attend non-Catholic services, and learn from them without any great moral or ecclesiastical difficulty.

The Southern Baptists and the Roman Catholic Church aren't exactly on the best of terms, you know.

I think the situation is more complex than your (old) article make it out to be. The Southern Baptist Timothy George just addressed the Synod of Bishops in Rome, for instance. Catholics and Evangelicals generally and Southern Baptists in particular work together on a lot of things.

Of course, the SBC and the RCC do occasionally find themselves in agreement on some issues. Mostly on what they dislike (apart from each other).

They mostly agree on a bazillion different things: Trinitarianism, the Incarnation, the creation of the world ex nihilio. It's not just or "mostly" on what they dislike. Whether certain Southern Baptists (and certain traditionalist Catholics) want to endorse it, this is the outcome of the modern ecumenical movement, the understanding that there is broad agreement, even though there is substantive disagreement.
posted by Jahaza at 10:27 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have no difficulty believing you'll find many, many people who don't know how old the earth is, but I bet that a lot of those people would be confident that scientists know.
In fact, I myself may very well be one of those people. I want to say "five billion years", but I don't know for sure without looking it up. Maybe it's four billion. I don't know. I do know that science has figured it out.

The comparison to flat earthers doesn't really hold, in my opinion.
posted by Flunkie at 10:27 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


The man goes to Mass every Sunday.

Reportedly, blah, blah, blah not my personal vouching for him.
posted by Jahaza at 10:28 AM on November 19, 2012


Not against today's Democratic Party

I hope so. But he'd better be pretty exciting too. People in VA like their Tim Kaine. But while his politics have substance, his hairline does not! Cameras are shallow. Voters are cameras.

Meanwhile, the implosion of the left over issues that don't matter to average voters (international politics, identity politics, just plain old infighting) has already begun.

If anyone wants to join my splinter group of small-government hawkish non-crazy Democrats, I'll be over here making Obama 2016 posters in MS Paint.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:29 AM on November 19, 2012


The dems will nominate a sane white guy and they will win.

So Biden's out then?
posted by goethean at 10:29 AM on November 19, 2012


The next presidential election is four years away. Is it not possible to have a six month break at least between the last one and campaigning for the next one? Oh right, I know the answer to that.

I agree. I know people like the US political threads, and many are facing a massive withdrawl situation after the last 18 month binge, but it's a little early to start on the next cycle, isn't it? I mean, there is about even odds for any candidate to end up in an insane scandal with peculiar sexual and/or fiscal overtones, right? Let's take a deep breath and wait for each crisis as it comes. No FPPs will be left behind, I am sure.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:37 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm interested to see how the GOP plans to keep their primary process from screwing up the race for the eventual candidate. They'd have to have a primary lineup of nothing but centrists, I think. Even if they made sure that the Chosen One's opposition is drooling idiots who should have no chance of knocking them out of the race, that person would still have to pander hard right to get out of the primaries safely and that would hurt them in the general.

And you're still going to see GOP Congressional candidates saying stupid Akin-esque shit that attaches like barnacles to the Presidential candidate.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:43 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


It pleases me to see that the GOP is gearing up for another loss in 2016.
posted by waving at 10:52 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The dems will nominate a sane white guy and they will win.

So Biden's out then?


I often think Biden is the only sane person in DC.
posted by fshgrl at 10:55 AM on November 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


"I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow."

This is flat out wrong - and encapsulates the problem. Our knowledge of the age of the Earth (4.6 Billion) depends on our understanding of the basic principles of Physics, Chemistry, and Geology. Most our economic growth depends on our understanding of the principles of Physics, Chemistry, and Geology.
posted by spaceviking at 11:14 AM on November 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Our knowledge of the age of the Earth (4.6 Billion) depends on our understanding of the basic principles of Physics, Chemistry, and Geology. Most our economic growth depends on our understanding of the principles of Physics, Chemistry, and Geology.

That is not what he said. He didn't say, "knowing the fundamentals of physical science is economically irrelevant". He said that one particular datum (the age of the earth) had zero to do with economic growth.

Now, "zero" is probably an overstatement because I imagine people could sell books conveying this information, but knowledge of the earth's age is not something upon which "most of our economic growth depends". The entire Industrial Revolution took place with scientists being wrong by orders of magnitude because they didn't know about radioactive decay.
posted by Tanizaki at 11:29 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Our knowledge of the age of the Earth (4.6 Billion) depends on our understanding of the basic principles of Physics, Chemistry, and Geology. Most our economic growth depends on our understanding of the principles of Physics, Chemistry, and Geology.
A = Our knowledge of the age of the earth
B = Our understanding of basic principles of physics, chemistry and geology
C = Most of our economic growth

You're saying:

(1) A depends on B
(2) C depends on B

From those, you seem to be concluding:

(3) C depends on A

That's simply not proper logic.
posted by Flunkie at 11:37 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Paul Krugman: Views Differ on Age of Planet
But here’s what you should realize: when Rubio says that the question of the Earth’s age “has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow”, he’s dead wrong. For one thing, science and technology education has a lot to do with our future productivity — and how are you going to have effective science education if schools have to give equal time to the views of fundamentalist Christians?

More broadly, the attitude that discounts any amount of evidence — and boy, do we have lots of evidence on the age of the planet! — if it conflicts with prejudices is not an attitude consistent with effective policy. If you’re going to ignore what geologists say if you don’t like its implications, what are the chances that you’ll take sensible advice on monetary and fiscal policy? After all, we’ve just seen how Republicans deal with research reports that undermine their faith in the magic of tax cuts: they try to suppress the reports.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:45 AM on November 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Look, the logic isn't that damn hard. If you are an elected politician and you really have no idea whether the Earth is billions of years old or thousands of years old, you're straight up saying Science Is Bullshit. Ok? Now if you want to make some torturous argument about how logically one can say Science Is Bullshit and still have a functioning economy, go ahead, but you're missing the whole damn point.
posted by kiltedtaco at 11:46 AM on November 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't know if that was directed at me or not, kiltedtaco, but if it was, please note that I'm not making an argument, tortuous or otherwise, about how logically one can say science is bullshit and still having a functioning economy. I'm saying that the logic that someone else used to attempt to say the opposite is highly flawed, regardless of whether you or I agree that it resulted in the right conclusion.
posted by Flunkie at 11:49 AM on November 19, 2012


On the other hand, opposing gay marriage is important, despite its irrelevance to the economy, because 'a significant percentage of Americans feel very strongly about this issue.'

"The Williams Institute at UCLA Law reported Monday that wedding spending by same-sex couples in [Maine, Maryland, and Washington] to approve gay marriage may generate more than $166 million over the next three years."

Gay marriage boosts NYC's economy by $259 million in first year

Study: Same-sex marriage has positive economic impact for Iowa
posted by kirkaracha at 11:49 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's simply not proper logic.

Ok, really don't want to get into a formal logic debate here - but the argument goes something like this:

We don't know the age of the Earth without Physics (A depends on B)

We don't have a good economy without Physics (C depends on B)

Therefore if you don't have B then you don't have EITHER A or C.

Now I agree I made a bit of a jump - Rubio said that "the age of the Earth" wasn't important. And that is true (because it is just a number) - but that wasn't what the context of what he was asked - he was asked what "he thought" the age of the Earth is. In that context I think you can conclude that he was also talking about how we know what the age of the Earth is.

But if you think that is too big a leap - then I'll agree I was technically wrong to conflate them. But we all know that he was talking about the "how" just as much as he was talking about the "what".
posted by spaceviking at 11:56 AM on November 19, 2012


Yeah... that's an unhelpful exaggeration. "I'm not a scientist, man." is not the same thing as "I'm scientifically illiterate."

Perhaps, but "I really don't know whether the universe was created in seven days or seven eras" is as close as you can get to a straight-up admission of complete scientific cluelessness as you are going to get from anybody, let alone somebody who very openly aims to become the next President of the United States of America. But the worst is not that he doesn't know, is that he doesn't care, and doesn't even seem to understand why anybody should care.
posted by Skeptic at 12:04 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Of course you don't have A or C if you don't have B and need B for both A and C. That's not in question. In fact it's pretty much what "need B for both A and C" means. And if all you're wanting to say "Science is important for the economy", I bet that Rubio wouldn't disagree. But what you actually said was not that science is important for the economy. What you actually said was that he was wrong to claim that knowing the age of the earth is important for the economy.

Whatever. I'm not going to waste more energy just to result in being bizarrely misinterpreted as defending Rubio. I'm done here.
posted by Flunkie at 12:13 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Skeptic: "Perhaps, but "I really don't know whether the universe was created in seven days or seven eras" is as close as you can get to a straight-up admission of complete scientific cluelessness as you are going to get from anybody"

He's answering a different question than most people thing he's addressing. I get that we're all pretty indignant that he didn't just say "it's science, lol", but there's a doctrinal point of contention between "seven literal actual days" and "seven arbitrary timespans we call eras" in Christian faith.

Super disappointed that it's not just "well, science, obvs" and that we're hearing about his three-legged dog named Creationism. But it's relatively sophisticated pandering for what the message actually is.
posted by boo_radley at 12:17 PM on November 19, 2012


The age of the earth is important for the economy because acknowledging that the earth is a certain age means an acknowledgement that science is a valid endeavor, one that rates knowledge over deliberate ignorance, and which is therefore critical to ensuring the success of humanity and human progress — which in turn helps drive economic progress.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:19 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Flunkie, I see your point and I think we come at this from different perspectives. For me the "how" part of this is simply understood - If you dispute the age of the Earth then you are automatically disputing how we understand it. Because if you agree that the principles of Physics are correct and that the scientific endeavor is broadly accurate, then it would be impossible to dispute the age of the Earth since it is embedded in almost every field of science.

The only way (to dispute this scientific finding) is to suspect some sort of mass failing by science on a broad scale. Of course that isn't what Rubio would claim but therein lies the whole ignorance of how science works that I was trying to point out originally.

The proper follow up to this question (how old is the Earth?) that the reporter should have asked is - "why do you think scientists have it wrong?"

You were right to challenge my original statement because the logic was flawed - I needed to explain it better.
posted by spaceviking at 12:33 PM on November 19, 2012


The proper follow up to this question (how old is the Earth?) that the reporter should have asked is - "why do you think scientists have it wrong?"

That would have been a bizarre follow up since he didn't say he thought that scientists have it wrong.
posted by Jahaza at 12:38 PM on November 19, 2012


Well, why the hell he thinks a scientific question requires a theological answer, then.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:42 PM on November 19, 2012


Ok, now you guys are just f-ing with me... Cmon: "Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that"

The "non-bizarre" follow up: Scientists claim that there is a very clear answer to the question of whether it is 7 days or 7 eras, why do you think scientists have it wrong?
posted by spaceviking at 12:49 PM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


this is just depressing, maybe you people aren't old enough to have watched a half-demented B-list Hollywood actor make mince-meat of the Democratic political establishment.

Let's parse Rubio's response:
Marco 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.
Translation: Liberals who ask these sorts of questions are more interested in trivial matters than the important issues.
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.
Translation: I am an open-minded person interested in a diversity of opinions. Why are "liberals" always so close-minded and afraid of debate?
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.
Translation: {dogwhistle} I know the code the liberals don't. Secretly I'm on your side{/dogwhistle}

This is how Reagan destroyed this country.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:52 PM on November 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


The "non-bizarre" follow up: Scientists claim that there is a very clear answer to the question of whether it is 7 days or 7 eras, why do you think scientists have it wrong?

Why do you think that the scientific explanation for the creation of the earth conflicts with a symbolic explanation that divides the process of creation into seven eras (of undefined length or even relation to temporality?).

Translation: {dogwhistle} I know the code the liberals don't. Secretly I'm on your side{/dogwhistle}

I'm so sick of the term "dogwhistle." When George W. Bush said in the State of the Union that "there is power, wonder-working power, in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people" that's a dog-whistle. When a politician is asked about the age of the earth and discusses the theology and the purported theological/scientific controversy that makes the question interesting that's not a dog-whistle, that's responding to the question... I mean, many of the "questions" in the interview aren't even questions, it's not a deposition. That some people don't understand the theology doesn't make it a "dog-whistle" in the context of the discussion of the theology.
posted by Jahaza at 1:02 PM on November 19, 2012


When George W. Bush said in the State of the Union that "there is power, wonder-working power, in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people" that's a dog-whistle.

Because it's an out-of-context allusion. An explicit discussion of the matter being discussed can't be a dog-whistle.
posted by Jahaza at 1:03 PM on November 19, 2012


Jahaza: "That some people don't understand the theology doesn't make it a "dog-whistle" "

But it is, or so close to one as to be the same. What's impressive to me about it is that it works neatly with two different doctrinal camps based on their particular creationist beliefs and then seeks to move past them.
posted by boo_radley at 1:22 PM on November 19, 2012


Question: How old is the Universe?

Non-Dog Whistle Answer: That's not something I'm competent to address, and not relevant to the problems facing our country. Next question, please.

Dog Whistle Answer: Here's what the bible says. Also, that's not something I'm competent to address, and not relevant to the problems facing our country. Next question, please.


If the second answer doesn't sound dog-whistle-y to someone, it's likely that they are part of the target audience. It should almost be one of those initially-absurd-but-on-second-though-very-true jokes: Q: What does a dog call a dog-whistle? A: A whistle.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:29 PM on November 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


Why do you think that the scientific explanation for the creation of the earth conflicts with a symbolic explanation that divides the process of creation into seven eras (of undefined length or even relation to temporality?)

The problem is that Rubio posed this as an "unanswered" question - we know for certain (or as certain as science gets) that it is definitely NOT seven days - so by simply stating that this is a "mystery" yet to be solved, Rubio is saying that scientists have it wrong.

Read Phil Plait, he explains it better.
posted by spaceviking at 1:31 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


That some people don't understand the theology doesn't make it a "dog-whistle" in the context of the discussion of the theology.

He doesn't discuss theology, only acknowledges that there are theological responses. The "dog-whistle" is specifically the phrase "seven eras." The casual listener won't have any idea he's referring to a very particular theological view, by referencing that view he is signalling to people who do care about the theology that he also thinks it's important. Which manages to neatly contradict his implication before that anyone who cares about such things doesn't care about the important issues.
posted by ennui.bz at 1:32 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why do you think that the scientific explanation for the creation of the earth conflicts with a symbolic explanation that divides the process of creation into seven eras (of undefined length or even relation to temporality?).

That's a blatant non-sequitur: this is quite obviously not what spaceviking thinks. The scientific explanation for the origin of the Earth ("creation" is also a blatantly loaded term) does however clearly conflict with the "seven days" alternative. Scientifically, there isn't any question whatsoever between seven days and seven "eras". Please stop equivocating.
posted by Skeptic at 1:43 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


GQ: So, Pitbull's too cheesy?
Marco Rubio: His songs are all party songs. There's no message for him, compared to like an Eminem. But look, there's always been a role for that in American music.


I guess Rubio isn't familiar with some of Pitbull's older work. (Profanity and disturbing war images inside)
posted by rollbiz at 1:52 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the bigger challenge that we face, and that we continue to face, is that we have not done a good enough job of communicating to people what conservatism is.

Ah, so he's one of those dicks who thinks we're not smart enough to know what conservatism is, when all of us have been trying to get through one of the most conservative social, economic and political eras of modern American history. What a dick.


This is what I've been saying for a while. This innate Republican need to lecture, to hector, to believe that the people will see the light if only their reactionary ideas can be explained better, is going to be their albatross for a long time. Too much talking and not enough listening.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:59 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jindal is way funnier then Franken. IMO.

Perhaps. But not on purpose.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:30 PM on November 19, 2012


It's one of the great mysteries.

:iiam:
posted by sparkletone at 2:31 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I keep looking at this headline and going "I'm not a science-man, I'm a SCIENCE, MAN!"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:32 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huntsman is not a moderate. Though it is sad that acknowledging the existence of climate change moves one substantially in that direction.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 3:04 PM on November 19, 2012


Digby points out another example of Rubio's hostility toward science:
Rubio said there also could be activity in the legislature by evolution proponents who wish to remove the theory compromise language. "I think there's still going to be folks out there talking about this - on both sides. ... I think this will be a battle that will go on for quite some time," he said.

The "crux" of the disagreement, according 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, a Cuban-American, 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, while noting that undermining the family and the church were key means the Communist Party used to gain control in Cuba.

"In order to impose their totalitarian regime, they destroyed the family; they destroyed the faith links that existed in that society," he said.
I agree with those who've said he's just doing all of this to pander to the religious right, but that doesn't make it any less dangerous. This guy seems like one hell of a political operator, and I hope the Democrats have a plan to deal with him as he tries to burnish his moderate credentials while still appealing to the hard right base of the party.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:14 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?

Marco Rubio: I'm not a scientist, man.


GQ: Your three favorite rap songs?

Marco Rubio: "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A. "Killuminati" by Tupac. Eminem's "Lose Yourself."


And, presumably, "Miracles" by Insane Clown Posse.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:04 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


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.

Translation: I am an open-minded person interested in a diversity of opinions. Why are "liberals" always so close-minded and afraid of debate?


Another translation, perhaps, is that Rubio wants schools to be able to teach, say, that evolution is false, among other theological bullshit. It's a coward's way of dog-whistling to religious extremists — a way of taking an anti-science stance without coming out and saying so, because he knows the grown-ups would laugh him out of the room as a dummy, if he ever stopped making false equivalences and used straightforward language to say what he really wants to say to his constituents, in order to get reelected.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:01 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


After clicking through to spacevikings link, I found my way to the index to creationist claims.

I believe in evolution. But I have never really paid much attention to the claims creationists make because 1) I think they're a little crazy, and 2) There is probably no way we are going to come to a meeting of the minds.

This site is super detailed and addresses (and rebukes) probably every claim against evolution, citing multiple scientific studies, with links. I personally had no idea that the theory that men have fewer ribs than women was even a thing, and that it is somehow used as an argument against evolution. Really interesting.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:07 PM on November 19, 2012


GQ: Your three favorite rap songs?

OK, I'll admit it - I first read that as your three favorite rape songs...
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:30 PM on November 19, 2012


The Republican part is the Republican party. The Democratic party is learning how to beat the Reublican party. Finally.

The Republican party is pissed off that the Democratic party is (finally) understanding their bullshit.

The Republican party has a chance to remake themselves and make the discussion about change.

The Republican party keeps doing the shit that makes them the idiot party.

Nothing to see here. At least for a couple of years...
posted by Splunge at 7:40 PM on November 19, 2012


Paul Ryan Is Not Going Anywhere
posted by homunculus at 10:37 PM on November 19, 2012


By the way, isn't there a certain pattern in Rubio's interviews?

"I'm not making any comparison between Barack Obama and Castro from Cuba—but..."

"Of course, I'm not equating the evolution people with Fidel Castro,"

Maybe it is time to formulate Rubio's Paradigm, as a corollary to Godwin's Law:

"Whoever is pointedly not compared to Fidel Castro by Marco Rubio is most likely right."
posted by Skeptic at 12:56 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


OK, I'll admit it - I first read that as your three favorite rape songs...

Wrong Republican senator.
posted by Skeptic at 12:57 AM on November 20, 2012


A noun, a verb, and Fidel Castro.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:40 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


> The "crux" of the disagreement, according Rubio, is "whether what a parent teaches their children at home should be mocked and derided and undone at the public school level ..."

Note the elision of "undone" with "mocked and derided" there.

Telling someone a fact is not the same as mocking a fiction they had previously been told.
posted by kyrademon at 4:01 AM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


OK, I read most of this thread at 4 am in the midst of insomnia, so I might not have been too coherent, but in the light of day but I too read "seven eras" as a code of some sort. Is it an attempt to relate the 7 days to Mesozoic, Jurassic, Triassic,etc. eras, or something more complicated?
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 5:28 AM on November 20, 2012


I've encountered some creationists who consider the 7 "days" mentioned in the Bible to be metaphorical or much longer than 24 hours. I'm not sure why they accept that the universe may be older than Genesis would suggest but can't make the jump to biological evolution, but whatever.
posted by brundlefly at 5:57 AM on November 20, 2012


Ah, apparently it's called day-age creationism.
posted by brundlefly at 6:01 AM on November 20, 2012


Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...

Senator, what do you think of abortion?
- I am not a doctor. Or a woman. That has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow.
posted by londonmark at 6:54 AM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Al Franken's 2005 book The Truth remains one of the best ways to turn a young apathetic into somebody engaged and passionate about politics.

riiiggghhttt....try hunger, games or an affinity for self-mutilation as motive to turn a young apathetic into somebody engaged and passionate about politics.

I know, The Hungergames

The Republican part is the Republican party. The Democratic party is learning how to beat the Reublican party. Finally.


sorry spluge, well your right to extent, but it was the republicans who stole the dems thunderstrokes back in the day. I have said for 20 years a real republican is a fiscal conservitive and a belives in social progression.
posted by clavdivs at 7:55 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rubio doesn't even get his mythology right: the Biblical universe was created in six days, since on the seventh God rested.
posted by nicwolff at 9:09 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rubio doesn't even get his mythology right: the Biblical universe was created in six days, since on the seventh God rested.

What a moocher. I bet he was waiting for handouts, too.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:16 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


sorry spluge, well your right to extent, but it was the republicans who stole the dems thunderstrokes back in the day. I have said for 20 years a real republican is a fiscal conservitive and a belives in social progression.

So by your logic there are no real Republicans left in the Republican Party. Probably no real Scotsmen in Scotland either.

I've encountered some creationists who consider the 7 "days" mentioned in the Bible to be metaphorical or much longer than 24 hours. I'm not sure why they accept that the universe may be older than Genesis would suggest but can't make the jump to biological evolution, but whatever.

I actually really like this interpretation of Genesis. First springs existence from nothing, then matter from void, stability from fluidity, life from aridness, animal life from more stationary life, and finally consciousness and thought and self-recognition. It couples beautifully with the sentiment of Genesis 3, which is that we are only aware of death because we recognize ourselves as living.

For my Christian friends, it is extraordinarily easy to jump from those "7 days" to a recognition that evolution fits in perfect step with all the rest. Which is why I suspect more conservative sects are so adamant that seven days is NOT a metaphor – that's a "gateway interpretation", so to speak.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:07 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


What Rubio should've said.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:22 AM on November 20, 2012


The Rude Pundit (via): 1. In one of your favorite rap songs, "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A., Eazy-E says, "So what about the bitch who got shot? Fuck her!/ You think I give a damn about a bitch? I ain't a sucker!" Do you believe this is a succinct description of Republican policies towards women?

2. You cite Tupac Shakur's "Killuminati" as another favorite, a song rapped from 2Pac's Makaveli persona. 2Pac flows, "Visions of over-packed prisons, fiends and niggas thug livin/ Pressures and three strikes, I hope they don't test us." How do you square 2Pac's obvious displeasure with prison overcrowding and mandatory sentencing with your own ties to corporations who profit from those very things?

3. The last favorite you list is "Lose Yourself" by Eminem, one of the most popular rap songs ever recorded. Towards the end, Em lays down, "All the pain inside amplified by the/ Fact that I can't get by with my nine to/ Five and I can't provide the right type of/ Life for my family, cause man, these God damn/ Food stamps don't buy diapers." What kinds of programs would you propose so that young men with full-time jobs, like the song's narrator, can have the financial means to support their families?

4. Finally, Senator, you say in GQ, "People forget how dominant Public Enemy became in the mid 80s. No one talks about how transformative they were." Considering all the votes you've cast that directly contradict everything that Public Enemy ever rapped about, why hasn't Chuck D punched you in the balls?

posted by Drinky Die at 4:10 PM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


As a Republican voter, I must admit that I am disappointed by the response. The more general problem is that I suspect the majority of Americans, no matter their ideology, could not get the answer right within an order of magnitude. Similarly, I could imagine a similar interview exchange with a politician that liberals like:

Q: Do you accept the theory of evolution?
A: Yes, of course.
Q: What is an allele?
A: Er, well...

(don't worry, this exchange will never happen)

The other problem is that why liberals like to portray themselves as science-minded, there is no shortage of woo that they gobble up such as the outright rejection of GM food or anything "unnatural" with zero rational thought. Take a stroll down the "health" section of Whole Foods sometime and see how much of it is homeopathic sugar pills.

The General Social Survey indicates that on the whole, self-identified conservatives do slightly better with scientific literacy than liberals and independents. The main outlier is evolution, where liberals poll better. Independents are the dumbest overall.
posted by Tanizaki at 11:08 AM on November 21, 2012


President Obama Not Much Better Than Marco Rubio on the ‘Age of the Earth’ Question
posted by homunculus at 11:09 AM on November 21, 2012


The other problem is that why liberals like to portray themselves as science-minded, there is no shortage of woo ....

The difference is that, while there are plenty of science-ignorant people all across the political spectrum, Republicans put them in the Senate where they use their ignorance to drive their legislative agenda. I hope no-one is claiming that there is equivalence between the two parties, because there isn't.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:15 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


The difference is that, while there are plenty of science-ignorant people all across the political spectrum, Republicans put them in the Senate where they use their ignorance to drive their legislative agenda.

Allow me to introduce you to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA).
posted by Jahaza at 11:26 AM on November 21, 2012


Allow me to introduce you to Senator Tom Harkin

Well dog my cats, I might be wrong there.

There is a question as to whether or not advancing "alternative" medicine is being science-ignorant. There definitely are people who cling to alternative medicines despite evidence and experience, and really get into the "western medicine = conspiracy" stuff. That's plainly ignorant. But you can think that our current way of doing medicine misses somethings and not be anti-science. I myself use some herbal remedies and Tai Chi to maintain my health (because I've tried them and they work).

And just to pull a Tom Harkin quote from that article:
It is time for America’s health care system to emphasize coordination and continuity of care, patient-centeredness, and prevention.

And it is time to adopt an integrative approach that takes advantage of the very best scientifically based medicines and therapies, whether conventional or alternative.

This is about giving people the pragmatic alternatives they want, while ending discrimination against practitioners of scientifically based alternative health care.
He does clearly want and believe that more "alternative" medicines should be approved:
One of the purposes of this center was to investigate and validate alternative approaches. Quite frankly, I must say publicly that it has fallen short. It think quite frankly that in this center and in the office previously before it, most of its focus has been on disproving things rather than seeking out and approving.
So it's worth keeping an eye on him because he's showing a bias there. But it's not even in the same league of science-ignorance as Sen. Jim Inhofe: "Inhofe often repeats his claim that human influenced climate change is a hoax and impossible because 'God’s still up there.'"
posted by benito.strauss at 12:06 PM on November 21, 2012


Harkin does seem to have bought into some junk science, but as far as I can tell, that comes from his own idiosyncratic beliefs, not from a party and funding apparatus that's built to crank out politicians hostile toward science. And Harkin is just one (albeit powerful) guy, whereas a majority of the GOP is hostile toward science in one way or another.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:15 PM on November 21, 2012


But it's not even in the same league of science-ignorance as Sen. Jim Inhofe: "Inhofe often repeats his claim that human influenced climate change is a hoax and impossible because 'God’s still up there.'"

Inhofe also once said that the 9/11 attacks were divine retribution against the U.S. for failing to defend Israel. The man is batshit crazy.
posted by homunculus at 1:04 PM on November 21, 2012


The difference is that, while there are plenty of science-ignorant people all across the political spectrum, Republicans put them in the Senate where they use their ignorance to drive their legislative agenda. I hope no-one is claiming that there is equivalence between the two parties, because there isn't.

Yes, Democrats never do this. They would never put through laws such as the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, which allow much of the quackery on the shelves of Whole Foods's "health" section. Jahaza already mentioned Harkin.

Oh, and let's not forget nuclear energy. Do you think any Democrat who is cool on nuclear energy could explain the difference between alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, or what fission is? What scientific insight to you think informed Harry Reid's opposition to Yucca Mountain? Do you think he knows what the 238 in U-238 stands for?

There is a question as to whether or not advancing "alternative" medicine is being science-ignorant...I myself use some herbal remedies and Tai Chi to maintain my health (because I've tried them and they work).

Not amongst scientists. How do you know that herbal dust and tai chi "work"? If the reason is, "I swallowed herbal dust and did tai chi to harness my chi and then I got better", you are not qualified to discuss what is scientific. How is claiming that you can use tai chi to manipulate fictional "chi" any more scientific than Inhofe saying, "God is up there"?
posted by Tanizaki at 7:43 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


They would never put through laws such as the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994...

Why should the government restrict what people can put in their bodies? I don't know the details of that law, but I'm guessing it dictates those "This is sold as a dietary supplement" labels I see. If people aren't being poisoned or lied to by vendors, and aren't harming third parties (e.g. no-vax bullshit), why should the government interfere with them?

Oh, and let's not forget nuclear energy. Do you think any Democrat who is cool on nuclear energy could explain the difference ....

You are conflating not knowing all the true things with believing false things.

How do you know that herbal dust and tai chi "work"? How is claiming that you can use tai chi to manipulate fictional "chi" any more scientific than Inhofe saying, "God is up there"?

Well, for one I try to be conscious of my body. Also, I'm not discussing what's scientific, I'm saying what works for me — I know that willow bark extract helps make my headaches go away. I also tried echinacea for when I got colds, and it didn't seem to help, so I don't use it any more. That's scientific enough for my own consumption. But I don't claim that my experience should dictate what others should or may do, or that my experience will be repeated with them.

It's different when it comes to senators setting public policy — repeatability and verifiability matter. That's why Harkin needs to be held to his repeated claim that all therapies must be scientifically based. Inhofe says that things that are happening aren't actually happening because god. Does anyone actually think these two are equivalent in their attitude towards science?

Chi has struck me as an honest attempt to explain what happens in the body made by Chinese scientists that finds no support in any of the physical anatomy we have discovered. I know that when I do the exercises regularly my back feels better (which is easy to explain), and my sinuses tend to stay less congested (which I can't explain, and makes no sense to me, but reliably happens). So I use the descriptions of flowing chi as a way to guide my exercise, kind of like imaging a line along the shaft of an arrow leading to the bull's eye. It doesn't actually exist, but it's useful in making one more effective. That's not how Inhofe is using god.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:13 PM on November 21, 2012


Why should the government restrict what people can put in their bodies? I don't know the details of that law, but I'm guessing it dictates those "This is sold as a dietary supplement" labels I see. If people aren't being poisoned or lied to by vendors, and aren't harming third parties (e.g. no-vax bullshit), why should the government interfere with them?

It is apparent that you do not know the details of the DSHEA, because it has nothing to do with "putting things in people's bodies". The DSHEA makes it pretty much impossible to regulate "supplements" as drugs. The FDA can't ban them unless they are actually proven unsafe. Thus, a useless "supplement" can be legally sold as "supporting heart health". Consumers are harmed if they are buying useless products in the mistaken belief that they "support" their health in some way, yet it is perfectly legal for someone to sell sugar pills and call them a homeopathic remedy. (you can check YouTube to watch videos of people "overdosing" on homeopathic sleeping pills) A more pressing problem are supplement that contain harmful ingredients. Under the current legal framework, the government cannot protect consumers from false or deceptive supplement claims.

I represent an FDA-regulated client. I also represent a client who makes "supplements". The difference in their day-to-day business is staggering. The FDA client never knows when FDA inspectors might appear on a moment's notice to takes product samples and poke in every desk drawer. The supplement manufacturer has no such worry. The FDA's regulation of them is left to adverse reports from consumer. This effectively means that thousands of products are left unsupervised. When I look at a list of ingredients on a bottle of herbal capsules, I haven't the slightest idea if it is accurate, and there is no government oversight to ensure its accuracy. The right to "put what I want into my body" is no right at all if the manufacturers aren't required to tell me what I am putting into my body.

I don't know why you congratulate yourself for taking willow bark extract to treat headaches. Do you know what most people call willow bark extract? Aspirin. You're taking the same active ingredient as in Bayer, with the difference being that the Bayer must comply with strict FDA regulations regarding dosage and the like. You have no idea the dosage of your bark capsules. You claim that your n=1 anecdata is "scientific enough", but it isn't scientific in the slightest.

You are conflating not knowing all the true things with believing false things.

These are often two sides of the same coin. Ignorance of the truth fosters belief in the false. What false beliefs are keeping supplements without FDA oversight? What false beliefs kept a new nuclear power plant from being built in over 30 years? (earlier this year was the first approval of a new plant since 1978)

Chi has struck me as an honest attempt to explain what happens in the body made by Chinese scientists that finds no support in any of the physical anatomy we have discovered.

Right, and the Genesis creation account is an "honest attempt" by some desert dwellers to explain their existence. See how that works?

Chi was not something "discovered" by Chinese scientists because there was no such thing as a scientist when the idea came about. I've read the old texts that explain why a bunch of chi in one place makes a boulder rather than a hamster. It is nonsense. Traditional Chinese medicine claims that chi flows through meridians in the body, which is the underlying basis for acupuncture. Despite decades of real science, no one has manage to find a meridian in the human body or measure chi or any other sort of mystic life force in the human body.

Feel free to believe that you can do kung fu to release the flow of chi to heal various ailments, but do not think for a second that "I did kung fu to improve chi flow, which cured me" is any more scientific or logically sound than "I prayed to be healed, which cured me".
posted by Tanizaki at 8:30 AM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is apparent that you do not know the details of the DSHEA,

Well yeah, I said, quote, " I don't know the details of that law", so it is pretty apparent.

What false beliefs kept a new nuclear power plant from being built in over 30 years?

The details of the implementation of technology are not the same thing as the facts of the underlying science. I'm guessing the beliefs relate to the ability of American utility companies to safely handles the wastes over very long timelines. There are no scientific truths that determine this.

(Thanksgiving calls, so I don't have time to write up more. Enjoy your turkey, everyone!)
posted by benito.strauss at 10:06 AM on November 22, 2012


I heard about this the other day, and I the thing is there is a pretty obvious connection between the age of the earth and the economy, and not just in a vauge 'respect for science' way.

Republicans have been going on and on about the need to drill for oil. Well, where do they think oil comes from? Does marco rubio think that the methods geologists use to find oil is reliable? If those same methods say that the earth is 4.54 billion years old, what does that say?

Also, enough with this alt medicine derail. Yes, some liberals have weird ideas about food and health. Its annoying, but Those views don't really affect anyone else.
posted by delmoi at 2:17 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


> "Its annoying, but Those views don't really affect anyone else."

Having formerly worked in the "Natural Health" industry, I have to say ... this is not true. Believe me, there are people working tirelessly to get laws passed that would endanger your health (yes, I mean you) based on their nutty beliefs.

That being said:

1) While it is viewed as a set of beliefs on the left, this is not always entirely true. The people I worked for, for example, were Libertarian types who wanted government regulation out of their supplements and thought Ron Paul was going to be their savior (he's a Doctor, you know.)

2) Even if, given that, it is a set of beliefs held in greater numbers by those on the left, which may be the case ... At least so far, it has not nearly been as successful a War On Science as has been visibly waged from the right. Kids are not even close to being taught in school that homeopathy works, but evolution is a war zone. I personally think this is because there is less nutty support for homeopathy than there is nutty opposition to evolution. "I support homeopathy" is not a litmus test for a Democrat, even if some do. The lack of belief in evolution evidenced in the Republican presidential primaries this year was chilling.

3) As a side note, I really wish that every kind of opposition to nuclear power, in every form, were not also so often characterized as baseless Woo these days. There have been several major nuclear power plant disasters in my lifetime. One has left a 19-mile radius circle uninhabitably dangerous for 26 years, before any other effects are considered, and a more recent one looks likely to do the same. A "safety first" approach to nuclear fission is not actually by definition insane.

Baseless beliefs and bad science are baseless beliefs and bad science no matter which side they come from, and it is not a good idea to deny that the ones that might come from your side genuinely are damaging. Nonetheless, I think the anti-science crowd on the right beats the anti-science crowd on the left hands down if you're talking about numbers and political power.
posted by kyrademon at 4:05 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Grand Old Planet
posted by homunculus at 4:52 PM on November 23, 2012


Tanizaki: "As a Republican voter, I must admit that I am disappointed by the response. The more general problem is that I suspect the majority of Americans, no matter their ideology, could not get the answer right within an order of magnitude. Similarly, I could imagine a similar interview exchange with a politician that liberals like:

Q: Do you accept the theory of evolution?
A: Yes, of course.
Q: What is an allele?
A: Er, well...

(don't worry, this exchange will never happen)

The other problem is that why liberals like to portray themselves as science-minded, there is no shortage of woo that they gobble up such as the outright rejection of GM food or anything "unnatural" with zero rational thought. Take a stroll down the "health" section of Whole Foods sometime and see how much of it is homeopathic sugar pills.

The General Social Survey indicates that on the whole, self-identified conservatives do slightly better with scientific literacy than liberals and independents. The main outlier is evolution, where liberals poll better. Independents are the dumbest overall.
"

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: Yes.
Q: How tall is Satan?
A: Errrr...
posted by Splunge at 5:19 PM on November 25, 2012


If Pat Robertson Can Go There Why Can't Marco Rubio?:
Pat Robertson is turning heads with a 700 Club segment this week in which the televangelist apparently recommended that Christians stop trying to harmonize Genesis with mainstream paleontological and geological history
Welp.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:46 AM on December 1, 2012


Bill Nye tells us how old the earth is
posted by homunculus at 1:35 PM on December 1, 2012


Marco Rubio Believes in Science Now
posted by homunculus at 9:36 AM on December 5, 2012


Marco Rubio Believes in Science Now

Not really. Listen to what he says, and think about how he could spin it when speaking to the god-botherers. When asked "How old is the Universe?" he answers "Science says ....". He doesn't say he believes what science says. What he does say he believes in is what the bible says, and science is not inconsistent with that, and so he's okay with science there. Think about that for three seconds and you will realize that on the next question where (his interpretation of) the bible conflicts with something else (e.g. science, fairness, freedom), something else is going to be the loser.

For more fun, think about that interview. The interviewer didn't press Rubio on this, and it allowed Rubio to appear to be walking back from his statement (at least by the standards of New York Magazine). Who would do such lazy journalism? Surprise, it's Politico, "Tiger Beat on the Potomac", to quote Charlie Pierce.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:05 AM on December 5, 2012


Self-link!
During the interview, Rubio was asked how old he thinks the Earth is. And his response began with:

"I’m not a scientist, man."

OK. Hold on, sparky, don’t freak out yet. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. That’s not necessarily the beginning of an outrageously stupid answer, because he might follow it up with, "But some people actually ARE scientists, and they all say 4.5 billion years old, so I’ll defer to them because they know what they’re talking about and I’m a moron."
posted by davidjmcgee at 2:06 PM on December 6, 2012


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