He responded:

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.

Keep in mind that Rubio sits on the Science and Space Subcommittee in the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which oversees by far the largest scientific research budget in the world.

Yet Rubio is hardly the first U.S. politician to express such a view. In October 2012, Paul C. Broun (R-Ga.), who serves on the U.S. House Science and Technology Committee, declared his views in these jaw-dropping terms:

All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I've found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don't believe that the earth's but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That's what the Bible says.

At least one of the recent presidential candidates (Texas Governor Rick Perry) similarly responded when asked how old the earth was: "I don't have any idea, I know it's pretty old," but then added that he wasn't sure whether anyone knew "completely and absolutely" the age of the earth.

Along this line, presidential candidates Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Ron Paul labeled climate change "a hoax," even as the scientific evidence for global warming continues to mount, and the need for world governments to take action grows more pressing.

Is this based on ignorance or political expedience? As the New York Times writes about Rubio, "if his response was more proof of cunning than idiocy, it was still ludicrous."