Politicians Caught Between the Rock of Ages and a Hard Place

The New York Times, Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Science Times: Essay

Between Rock of Ages and a Hard Place, by Nicholas Wade

“It was the standard political interview, about ambition and the right size of government.  Then came the curveball question to Senator Marco Rubin of Florida from Michael Hainey of GQ magazine: ‘How old do you think the earth is?’

Senator Rubin, a possible contender in the 2016 presidential race, gave the following answer: ‘I’m not a scientist, man, but 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.’  He went on: ‘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…”  

Mr. Wade, the author of the article, then speaks to religious interpretations, scientific theories and their teaching.  “By allowing that evolution is a theory, scientists would hand fundamentalists the fig leaf.  They, in return, should make no objection to the teaching of evolution in science classes as a theory, which it is.”  The author does not like Senator Rubin’s answers, but I think they are not bad for a politician.

A curveball is a difficult pitch to hit and may confuse the batter.  In this instance, the baseball idiom identifies the question Senator Rubin was asked as a difficult one to answer.  Mr. Wade thinks that Senator Rubin had “15 back flips and a hissy fit” when asked a simple question about the age of the earth.



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