To read some of the reactions to Senator Marco Rubio’s comments on the age of the earth, you’d think that he’d proposed rounding up scientists and imprisoning them in gulags. Liberals apparently think this is a plank in the vast right-wing “anti-science” conspiracy. At the very least, a man who refuses to swear a blood oath to the current orthodoxy that the earth is 4.5 billion years old is not fit to hold any job that requires any more intellectual heft beyond knowing the proper temperature for grilling burgers.

In case you missed it, Rubio was interviewed by the great intellectual journal men’s fashion magazine GQ. No doubt interviewer Michael Hainey is congratulating himself for asking the first “gotcha” question of the 2016 presidential campaign and is contemplating where he’ll display his Pulitzer Prize. In the middle of the interview, Hainey asked the random, drive-by question, “How old do you think the Earth is?” Rubio’s response:

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.

Rubio, widely regarded as the GOP’s rhetorical Wunderkind, tried to walk the politi-religious tightrope by giving a non-answer answer because he could smell his own blood in the water. Blowing up the campaigns of conservatives with controversial questions has become the favorite sport for left-wing (so-called) journalists, a contest that conservatives have sadly begun to participate in.

Aside from the goal of derailing any future political ambitions of Rubio, the basic premise behind Hainey’s question is “Do you believe in God or science?” — as if they are mutually exclusive. It’s actually an insidious question, rooted in the Progressive philosophy which demands that “progress” and the evolution of history be seen as superior to Natural Law, our Judeo-Christian heritage, and antiquated notions of God.

Hillsdale College professor Ronald Pestritto describes the competing visions of Progressives and the Founders:

The founders had posited what they had held to be a permanent understanding of just government, and they had derived this understanding of government from the “laws of nature and nature’s God,” as asserted in the Declaration of Independence. The progressives countered that the ends and scope of government were to be defined anew in each historical epoch. They coupled this perspective of historical contingency with a deep faith in historical progress, suggesting that, due to historical evolution, government was becoming less of a danger to the governed and more capable of solving the great array of problems besetting the human race.