Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Are You Smarter than a Texas Governor?


For Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the answer is no. If we followed the rules of the television game show, Rubio would be obliged to acknowledge his ignorance publicly.

Steve Benen discussed Rubio's response to the question, "How old do you think the Earth is?" from an interview in GQ by Michael Hainey. Not only did Rubio fail to answer the question (he is, after all, a politician), but he also demonstrated that he has absolutely no understanding of the basics of science--its fundamental ideas, unifying principles, or methods. He is a politician...but he's also on the Senate Science committee. And that's scary.


UPDATE: Crooks and Liars reports that CNN's Soledad O'Brien interviewed Jeb Bush Jr., and she remarked that Rubio's response seemed a "multiple non-answer" that pandered both to scientists and creationists. Jeb Junior thought the question was strange (really?) and gave his own non-committal response, insisting that Rubio was definitely pro-science. Raise your hands, Republicans who think Creationism is a valid alternative to science!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Pema Levy and Evan McMorris-Santoro at TPM present a roundup of potential GOP presidential candidates and, yep, shades of lineups past, it looks like another group of science-illiterates ready to raise their hands. That post also notes that Marco Rubio has a more Creationist-friendly past than his most recent statement would suggest. 

STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: Paul Krugman disagrees with Rubio's contention that "the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow,"  asking 
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.
Well, technically, it doesn't matter to economic growth whether the Earth is 4.1 billion years old or 4.5 billion years old; but it does matter if economic policymakers believe facts and evidence matter or if the universe is governed by unknowable magic fitted to preconceived beliefs.

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