What is the implication of the story and headline?
Here are the possibilities:
Marco Rubio is an idiot for not knowing how old the Earth is;
Marco Rubio knows how old the Earth is, but is being coy because he doesn’t want to turn off the Republican base of evangelicals who believe it is younger than some scientists say;
The L.A. Times is unaware that no scientist knows the Earth’s age with any certainty and that speculations about its age range in terms of billions of years;
It’s just an attempt by the L.A. Times to discredit Marco Rubio, an up-and-coming Republican star;
All of the above.
Here is the key response to the question from Rubio. You tell me if you think he’s an idiot or whether the folks at the L.A. Times are the intellectually and journalistically challenged party: “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. Whether the Earth was created in seven days or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”
He’s exactly right.
No one can be 100 percent certain, though I subscribe to the idea that the Bible is literally true and that the Earth and the universe were created in seven actual days about 6,000 years ago.
They should have a good yuck about that over at the Times.
But what do they believe?
How did the universe come into being?
Almost all scientists agree on one thing today: The universe had a beginning.
Something brought all matter and energy into being. Almost no scientists still prescribe to the theory that it always existed.
So what caused it?
How did we get from nothing to a complex universe and a life-supporting Earth? And how did life emerge from non-life?
Science has no real answers, despite the arrogance of the L.A. Times and what its team learned at universities of higher learning.
While the L.A. Times might think it came up with the ultimate “gotcha” question for Republican politicians like Rubio, I think he handled it remarkably well. And, from a journalistic point of view, I’m still trying to figure out how they got the idea there is a news story in a politician’s honest statement that he doesn’t know how old the Earth is.
This was an attempt by the L.A. Times to contrive what I call a “Todd Akin moment” for Marco Rubio.
I think he deftly handled the question better than most politicians would or could.
But it provides some insight into what we can expect from the press for the next four years. The media are gloating right now over the 2012 election results. And they are working overtime to ensure similar results in 2014 and 2016.