Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Quote of the Day


"There is no scientific debate on the age of the earth. I mean, it’s established pretty definitively, it’s at least 4.5 billion years old. I was referring to a theological debate, which is a pretty health debate. And the theological debate is ... how do you reconcile with what science has definitively established with what you may think your faith teaches. Now for me, actually, when it comes to the age of the earth, there is no conflict. I believe that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And I think that scientific advances have given us insight into when he did it and how he did it, but I still believe God did it... I just think in America we should have the freedom to teach our children whatever it is we believe. And that means teaching them science, they have to know the science, but also parents have the right to teach them the theology and to reconcile the two things."

-- Marco Rubio, "clarifying" his earlier position that because he's not a scientist, man, he couldn't tell you the age of the Earth

Here's the pertinent part of the quote: "I just think in America we should have the freedom to teach our children whatever it is we believe." Let me see if I can translate that for you: We should be able to teach our kids, and believe for ourselves, whatever the hell nonsense pops into our heads, no matter how utterly divorced from provable fact it is and expect to be taken seriously and have our beliefs deferred to. Sure, there may be science, math and hard evidence that contradicts the magical stories we've been told by a 2,000-year-old book written by people who for the most part believed that the world was no more than a couple of million square miles wide, but so what?

This is what I mean when I talk about taking issue with faith as a general concept and why I think its acceptance is dangerous. If I told you that I was teaching my four-year-old daughter that she should ignore science and instead believe that the world was created by a giant insect that rides a comet across the night sky, you'd not only think I was nuts, you'd discount the belief system entirely and wonder what the hell I was doing to my kid. There's no way in hell you'd show my belief, no matter how understanding you might be, any kind of respect whatsoever. And rightfully so. Yet if I tell you that I'm teaching my child that the world was created in six days, 6,000 years ago -- there are those out there, like Marco Rubio, who would tell me not only that it was acceptable but that it was my right as an American. It's my right, in other words, to be wrong.

This is why I can love and respect people of faith, but I have a very hard time respecting the faith itself.

By the way, in looking over a few things for this post and others on faith-based religion, I came across this -- and it is so jaw-dropping in its hilarious insanity that I'm pretty sure it could represent the event horizon of pure irony.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is not how I read it at all. He's saying we should teach the science in schools and that parents should have the freedom to teach their children whatever faith they want and figure out how to fit that with science.

I am surprised to see a concession that large being made by the faithful, and I do not disagree that parents should be able to (try and) indoctrinate their kids however they like alongside the science classes.

To the parents, I can only say good luck. The job of reconciling faith and science is getting bigger as time progresses.

Chez said...

It's sad to think that that's how low the bar is -- that being a Republican and admitting that science should be taught is considered noteworthy bordering on revolutionary. My issue stands: parents can of course teach their kids whatever they want -- and I agree that watching them try to reconcile science with faith will be a barnburner, which is one of the reasons the right is so desperately to see religion taught right alongside science in school -- but it's still saying that it's acceptable to give kids crappy information, non-information actually.

Anonymous said...

Here's the pertinent part of the quote: "... and have our beliefs deferred to."

I have no problem with folks teaching their kids whatever they want, no matter how nonsensical. As long as (and here comes the pertinent part of MY quote) it isn't taught in the public schools or presented as factual in public debate.

At least in the part quoted in this article, I didn't see Rubio suggesting that a particular theological belief be deferred to. On the contrary, he said kids have to know science, and theology had to be reconciled with it.

Anonymous said...

Here's the pertinent part of the quote: "... and have our beliefs deferred to."

I don't see that Rubio said that. Personally, I have no problem with folks teaching their kids whatever they believe, even if it's utter nonsense. As long as (and here's the pertinent part of my quote) it doesn't have to be deferred to and isn't presented as fact in public debate.

From what you've quoted here, Rubio didn't call for deference from anyone. On the contrary, he said kids should be taught science, and that theology should be reconciled with it.

Chez said...

I figured just for the hell of it I'd print all of your comments so that you could compare, if you choose, the minor changes in each. It's kind of like one of those "Spot the Differences" picture puzzles.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I missed the "your message will be posted as soon as it's through being reviewed" note and assumed it hadn't shown up because I only type one word in the "prove you're not a robot" field. (Didn't realize the number in the photo had to be typed, too.)

My bad.

Marc McKenzie said...

"This is why I can love and respect people of faith, but I have a very hard time respecting the faith itself."

Well said, Chez.

Mart said...

My problem is how the faithful reconcile the differences with the kids. I think it is child abuse to tell kids there are scientific "theories" and Biblical truths. Neighbors were bragging that their daughter disrupted science class during a global warming lesson. They were proud that their girl was able to shout down the teacher with the earth is actually cooling, more snow is falling at the poles, and how does man make a bigger impact than volcanoes talking points.