The media are in full freak-out mode over Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s comments about the age of the Earth.
“I got a chill when I read Rubio’s statements,” Phil Plait, an astronomy blogger, wrote in a story at Slate.
It all started when GQ magazine published an interview with the Republican senator on Monday that included the question, “How old do you think the Earth is?”
Scientists estimate that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, though Christians cite the Bible in saying the Earth is younger. It’s the sort of question meant to give insight into whether someone believes in evolution or creationism — or both.
“I’m not a scientist, man,” Rubio responded to the question from the GQ reporter, going on to explain that the question is “one of the great mysteries.”
“I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow,” Rubio said. “I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that.”
News outlets – ranging from the Washington Post to Politico – drew attention to the remarks. Liberals and left-leaning outlets subsequently mocked Rubio for it.
“As I like to say, the GOP doesn’t just want to roll back the New Deal; it wants to roll back the Enlightenment,” the liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote.
“Scientists agree: the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. But don’t tell that to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) — he thinks the age of the Earth can be discovered by studying the Bible,” a blogger at the left-wing ThinkProgress wrote.
Conservatives, other the other hand, dismissed the inquiry as a “gotcha question” and the subsequent response as manufactured outrage designed to make Rubio, viewed as a future star of the Republican Party, look bad. (RELATED: At Iowa governor’s birthday event, Rubio sets fundraising record)
Rubio aides, however, don’t seem to be sweating it.
“We thought it was a good interview, so it’s great people are talking about it and (hopefully) linking to it,” spokesman Alex Conant told The Daily Caller.