When asked by GQ, Marco Rubio stumbled around the age of the universe, saying that how to reconcile the "multiple theories" including "recorded history" and "the Bible" "on how the universe was created" is "one of the great mysteries." After being widely mocked, he clarified that he actually shares Obama's view. According to Krugman, this is an illustration of a general Republican attitude: "If evidence seems to contradict faith, suppress the evidence."
The reality is, of course, that no one has first hand knowledge the age of the universe. Any answer is, structurally, an appeal to authority. On one side is the empirical materialism -- science -- that has given us cell phones and moon landings. On the other, for some of us, is the (biblical) faith that gives our lives structure, meaning and purpose. The evidence of religious faith, denied by Krugman, is powerfully experienced by believers. As Strauss taught, the attempt to reconcile "Athens" and "Jerusalem" -- what Rubio appeared to be doing in mixing "theologians" and "theories" -- bastardizes one or the other. For most of us, no longer 17 or 18, it is enough to understand that human truth is, by nature, limited and unstable -- an understanding shared, in other contexts, with liberals.
It is easy to note that conservatives have no monopoly on bad science. Beyond the obvious: While conservatives may deny global warming, progressives demand costly and by any scientific measure ineffective "solutions". When it suits them politically, liberals deny that science is capable of progress (and conversely..). In the end, Science mixes poorly with politics for the same reason it mixes poorly with religion: Politics in practice, as religion, requires tribal loyalty and fidelity to dogma.
Its important not to lose sight of the political issue at the heart of this: Whether, or to what degree, public schools ought accommodate the beliefs of parents.