The real question is, ‘Do you believe in science?’

Updated
Photo: AP/Charlie Neibergall
Photo: AP/Charlie Neibergall
Charlie Neibergall

The head of the influential Tea Party group FreedomWorks is sticking up for Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who came under fire this week after saying he doesn’t know how old the Earth is.

Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of the organization, said on Tuesday’s Hardball, “I happen to not know how old the Earth is,” either.

msnbc host Chris Matthews said “The question [to Rubio] was really ‘Do you believe in science?’” He pointed to Lucy, the famous fossil discovered by scientists to be over 2 million years old and asked how lawmakers could separate that fact from what’s said in the Bible. Scientists consider it a fact that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Many religious conservatives, on the other hand, point to the Bible’s creation tale, with many insisting that the Earth was created in a matter of days by God some 6,000 years ago.

Kibbe argued Rubio “doesn’t deny science. I mean that’s ridiculous.” And he wondered why Americans would care what politicians think about the issue, in any case.

Former DNC chair and governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell jumped in. “It does matter,” he said. He added that many Republicans, especially Tea Partiers, don’t believe that humans have played a role in global warming. “If you deny that, it means you’re not going to take steps to prevent it, so it is important.”

When Kibbe asked if there’s only “one science,” Rendell pounced, saying “98% of scientists tell you that what we are doing to the environment has an effect… If you haven’t seen the changes in weather in the last 20 years in your life time, then you are oblivious.”

The real question is, 'Do you believe in science?'

Updated