In response to a question on the age of the Earth, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said something that may one day adorn T-shirts: "I'm not a scientist, man." Spoken like a true politician.
The question was posed during an interview with GQ magazine, and the Cuban-American lawmaker expounded: "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."
Many consider Mr. Rubio, who was on Mitt Romney's short list for vice president, a rising star in the GOP. He's already a contender for the party's next presidential nomination.
What Mr. Rubio is not is a profile in courage. His reluctance to take on a question that is simple to answer in a fact-based world is revealing. The scientific consensus is that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. But for many of the religious conservatives who dominate the Iowa primaries, the planet is less than 7,000 years old, according to their interpretation of the Bible.
Three years before the first primary of 2016, Mr. Rubio could have been the first Republican candidate to go on record as accepting a noncontroversial scientific fact. Instead, he chose to ignore scientific consensus for the sake of political gain.
No one is fooled by Mr. Rubio's dodge that the Earth's age is shrouded in mystery. There is science and there is dogma. Anyone who doesn't know the difference should not be thinking of a run for the White House.
Fortunately, Mr. Rubio has time to make a course correction. His cowardly faux pas won't be remembered in 2016 if he will tell the truth to voters who believe dinosaurs and humans shared this planet until most of them were wiped out by Noah's flood. Mr. Rubio can be a leader now or a failed politician later.