Florida’s presidential candidate Marco Rubio on the teaching of evolution

Presidential candidate Marco Rubio, a current U.S. senator representing Florida, was asked about the teaching of evolution yesterday. The question starts at about 55 seconds in the video.


Here is my rough transcript of the exchange:

Reporter: You mentioned education standards upstairs and your role in pushing for those as house speaker. Where are you at on evolution?

Rubio: It’s a scientific theory that should be taught. I think the kids should learn from their faith what their faith teaches and schools should teach them all the theories that are out there. Most faith-based schools do that. They teach all the theories that are out there. You want to know my personal belief. I don’t think they’re in conflict with my faith. […] Science can explain to us the biological processes by which life on earth developed but at the end of the day I believe God is the one that guided it.

Reporter: Should teachers have to point that out?

Rubio: At a faith based school they do. And non-faith based schools they can inform students and should be able to about the fact that there are other theories out there that exist as well. If you want to give them truly a rounded education you should explain to them that there is a theistic creationism that exists or theistic evolution theory that exists out there that the Catholic church has adopted. It teaches that science and faith are not incompatible.

[Updated to add:]

Rubio was much harsher on evolution back in 2008:

The “crux” of the disagreement, according Rubio, is “whether what a parent teaches their children at home should be mocked and derided and undone at the public school level. It goes to the fundamental core of who is ultimately, primarily responsible for the upbringing of children. Is it your public education system or is it your parents?”

Rubio added, “And for me, personally, I don’t want a school system that teaches kids that what they’re learning at home is wrong.”

Rubio, a Cuban-American, made a comparison to the strategy employed by the Communist Party in Cuba where schools encouraged children to turn in parents who criticized Fidel Castro.

“Of course, I’m not equating the evolution people with Fidel Castro,” he quickly added, while noting that undermining the family and the church were key means the Communist Party used to gain control in Cuba.

“In order to impose their totalitarian regime, they destroyed the family; they destroyed the faith links that existed in that society,” he said.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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9 Responses to Florida’s presidential candidate Marco Rubio on the teaching of evolution

  1. Pierce R. Butler says:

    Rubio has insisted, ever since his days in the Florida legislature, that schools should not teach anything that disagrees from what parents say.

    I’ve long wanted to ask him what he would advise a teacher with students who claim “Daddy says penguins live at the North Pole and Mommy says the North fired the first shots in the US Civil War.”

    Rubio’s approach would limit each class, or maybe entire schools, to the level of the most ignorant parent of any student attending. After a couple of generations of that, about all a teacher could do would be to stand up in front of the class and belch.

  2. Michael Suttkus, II says:

    Oh, okay, well learning that there are “other theories out there” would mean that what I learned at home was wrong, so Rubio must clearly object to ever mentioning anything but evolution in the classroom. I certainly learned that only evolution was a valid scientific theory at home. He wouldn’t want schools contradicting that, now, would he?

    The position is incoherent. How do you not teach students on any subject without contradicting something some parent has taught? But he doesn’t want all things learned at home protected, only the subset that he, well, really, the rubes he’s hoping to convince to vote for him, agree with.

    Maybe someone should ask, given that some parents are holocaust deniers, do we teach that Hitler was responsible for the murder of 6 million Jews or not? Since some parents think females shouldn’t be educated, do we let girls into schools thus, by their presence, contradicting what they learned at home? Let us know, Rubio, how you intend to teach anything at all, ever, under this rubric.

  3. Chris says:

    Perhaps you should ask Rubio your question.

    Could you give us some examples where psychological damage was done to a child who had parents claiming penguins lived at the North Pole.

    I think you’ll find the problem is not ignorant parents, but ignorant teachers regurgitating governmental mandated propaganda as history and science.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says:

    Chris –

    Rubio and I don’t travel in the same circles. And – you may not have noticed this – when politicians of the teabagger persuasion can’t get out of going to places with educated people (such as Gainesville), they carefully avoid attending events with a public question-&-answer format.

    Has it ever occurred to you that ignorance and disinformation have harms beyond the “psychological damage” level? (Actually, considering the well-known overlap between ignorance and bliss, you in particular might well see it oppositely.)

    No, I think the problem is ignorance, period – a problem that schools are meant to solve (or at least mitigate). Teabaggers – Rubio in particular – seem to see it as an infinitely renewable resource.

  5. Chris says:

    Pierce, You said, “Has it ever occurred to you that ignorance and disinformation have harms beyond the “psychological damage level?” Absoulty. Keeping people ignorant and misinformed is what you’re proposing. The idea that every thing is here by chance on it’s own is not, can not, and has not been shown to be anything other than belief. Herein lies the problem. The forced indoctrination of this ignorant ideology shows higher percentages in and fewer objections to genocide, suicide, murder, abortion, cannibalism ext. Not everybody can suck this up. Statistics show it can takes years of indoctrination to become a true believer and able to ignore select facts.

    Rubio was clear. He said there are other explanations besides evolution. Those being theistic evolution and theistic creationism. He didn’t mention the Civil War, penguins or Billy Beer.
    Your objection to Rubio is a good sign he might be good for the country.

    I take it from you opposition to the Tea Party you’re in favor of Barack Hussein’s advancement of socialism and government control. The Obama administration’s destruction of the country may be well underway, but there are still a lot of folks who believe our culture of freedom can be saved. The Tea Party is one of those groups.

    You might be a little mixed up. It’s Hillary who avoids attending events with unscripted public question and answer formats.

  6. Pierce R. Butler says:

    Chris – Your degree of mistakenness seems to have risen significantly since our last dialog.

    For example, I have not “proposed” anything in this thread, never mind your incoherent notion that “…every thing is here by chance on it’s (sic) own …”, nor have I endorsed either Barack Obama’s actual programs or your hallucinations thereof.

    If you choose to argue with the Pierce R. Butler in your head, that can be done without bothering with anything posted on this blog or elsewhere. Have funsies!

  7. Chris says:

    Pierce, Your reference to what I assume is the Tea Party as ‘teabagers’ leaves you open to a large number of assumptions. Future belching teachers might be a proposal or prediction.

    The ignorance problem schools are meant of solve or mitigate as you said was not Rubio’s issue. His issue was indoctrination, not education.

    I think you dead on about ignorance and disinformation, it can be harmful in many ways.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says:

    Chris – Just about any statement can leave one “open to a large number of assumptions.” Spell out what you mean or keep your silence.

    Future belching teachers might be a proposal or prediction.

    Playing dumb as a rhetorical strategy has certain advantages, but gets tiresome quickly.

    Rubio’s issue… was indoctrination, not education.

    Quite so. He speaks out in favor of one and against the other with great frequency.

  9. Joe Wolf says:

    Chris, when you make statement like: “The forced indoctrination of this ignorant ideology shows higher percentages in and fewer objections to genocide, suicide, murder, abortion, cannibalism ext.”
    You had better present some extremely good evidence to back up the statements. You make pretty strong accusations there.

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