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DoubleQuoting Rubio and Obama

[ by Charles Cameron — one fault-line in current American political tectonics runs through the age of the planet ]
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I thought Daniel Engber‘s piece in Slate doublequoted Rubio and Obama very nicely the other day:

The top quote is from Sen. Rubio, the second from then-Sen. Obama, and indeed, they both hedge their bets, as Engber goes on to suggest:

1) Both senators refuse to give an honest answer to the question. Neither deigns to mention that the Earth is 4.54 billion years old.

2) They both go so far as to disqualify themselves from even pronouncing an opinion. I’m not a scientist, says Rubio. I don’t presume to know, says Obama.

3) That’s because they both agree that the question is a tough one, and subject to vigorous debate. I think there are multiple theories out there on how this universe was created, says Rubio. I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part, says Obama.

4) Finally they both profess confusion over whether the Bible should be taken literally. Maybe the “days” in Genesis were actual eras, says Rubio. They might not have been standard 24-hour days, says Obama.

In light of these concordances, to call Rubio a liar or a fool would be to call our nation’s president the same …

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I don’t however think Engber is right in saying of Sen. Rubio — and by implication of Pres. Obama too:

By arguing that every viewpoint has a claim to truth — that the geologists and theologians are each entitled to their own opinions — the senator gave up on dealing with reality at all.

This runs deeper than the “age of the earth” question, it seems to me, and the two sides currently facing off on a whole slate of issues seem to articulate, respectively, these two questions

  • Doesn’t anyone recognize the truth of Revelation when they see it?
  • Doesn’t anyone recognize the truth of Science when they see it?

  • My own question — which I think has the capacity to reconcile the two — would be along the lines of:

  • Doesn’t anyone recognize the truth of Poetry when they see it?

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    An afterthought:

    Current American political tectonics: an issue of homeland security?

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