GQ asks Marco Rubio how old the earth is. Rubio's instantly meme'd answer is worth drinking in fully.
I'm not a scientist, man. 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 and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. 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. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries.
How can you read that and not think "Iowa"? We don't have a ton of polling on this topic, but back in January 2011, Strategic National Consulting asked potential GOP caucus-goers about the origins of the earth. Sixty-eight percent of them believed the planet was created in six days. Forty-five percent believed that the earth was less than 10,000 years old -- something Rubio does not say here, but something that implies all human history can be known from counting the eras in the Bible.
So this answer, as confounding as it is, turns out to be pretty clever. Rubio is mushy on the "age of the earth" itself, which would cast him forever as a scientific know-nothing. But he posits that the Earth was created in "seven days or seven actual eras" -- and that these are the only possible options. That's a popular position!