Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Big Blue Marble (Mouth)

Slate's Daniel Engber tries to compare Marco Rubio's pitiful "How old is the Earth?" dodge this week to an earlier Senator Barack Obama statement from 2008, and declares both parties are just as awful on science.  No, really.  Slate pitch ahoy!

I've no doubt that these critiques of Rubio are sound. But I'm hesitant to let the crown prince of the Tea Party be singled out for blame. His shameless dodge and pander on the matter of the Earth's creation don't mark him as a radical, nor even as a soldier in the war on science. They mark him only as a mainstream politician.

Beware, for thou that judgest doest the same things: Members of both parties have had to squiggle through elections by appealing to a hazy sense of geo-history. In fact, the Antichrist himself—Barack Obama—has had a tendency to get a little soft with science. 

Here's the Obama quote when he was asked what he would say to one of his daughters if they asked him if the Earth was really created in six days:

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.

Please note that Barack Obama was asked a question about theology and specifically how he would respond to his young daughters.  Marco Rubio was asked a question about science and specifically what he himself believed about the age of the Earth.  Comparing the two are apples and allegories featuring talking foliage made of fire.

Here's what Obama said next:

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.

Which is what a colossal number of Americans think.  Funny how that works.  The other major difference between the two men is Obama's second statement, an unapologetic and full-throated defense of evolution, which Marco Rubio won't give you either.

So no, not the same.  Go figure, Slate.

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