So, what is Rubio actually talking about? The earth was not created in seven days or seven eras. Neither is a scientific view. First, geologists commonly identify 10 eras in Earth's history (this is not a fixed number, and some geologists sub-divide some eras). So no, there were not 7 eras, and the earth was not created in them in any case.
So what is Rubio actually referring to in this quote...cause it ain't a distinction between geology and creationism? What Rubio is referring to is a long-standing debate within creationist circles between biblical literalists and those who think the 7 days of creation are more metaphorical. In the terminology of creationists, this is the difference between young-earth and old-earth creationists. I prefer to call the two schools creationism and creationism-lite. In practice, this division also tends to separate the old-school creationists and the 'intelligent design' folks.
At some level, this quote makes sense in terms of Rubio's upbringing. Rubio is a Catholic, and the Catholic Church does not advocate for Biblical literalism. The Church has long argued that the Bible is metaphorical and allegorical. The Catholic Church has also come out explicitly in favor of evolution (I think they want to avoid another Galileo debacle). By a nifty bit of logic, the Catholic Church holds that truth cannot contradict truth...and since both the Bible and evolution are true, they cannot contradict each other. By arguing that the seven days of creation are metaphors rather than literal days, the Church believes they can dodge the problem. Its bullshit, but its not the same as the Biblical literalism of the Southern Baptists and other Fundamentalist Protestants. All that said, what we have in Rubio's quote is a debate between two types of creationists--the more metaphorical lite-creationism of the Catholic Church and the more literal creationism of Protestant fundamentalists. What is not present is a debate between science and religion.
So, when reading Rubio's quote, do not fall into the mistake of thinking he is advocating that both scientific and christian views on geology should be taught--he is not following the long-standing "teach the controversy" line that republicans often use. Rather, Rubio is suggesting something far more problematic. He is advocating teaching students two variants of the creationist, Christian view of history. Make no mistake, 7 eras is not a scientific approach, only a creationist-lite approach.
Rubio is not being more moderate with this statement--he is being even more doctrinaire than Bush, Romney and others. Rubio is advocating wholly removing the scientific perspective from the classroom.
Creationists know about these two conflicting views...they know what Rubio is really saying. Let's make sure we all do as well.
2:48 PM PT: Some of the posters in this diary seem to be, IMHO, mixing up a few things here. This is not an attack on religion. This is an attack on the 'seven eras' line of bullshit trying to pass itself off as science. Let me be clear...this
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 ¶ And God said, Let there be light: 2 Cor. 4.6 and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 ¶ And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. 2 Pet. 3.5 And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 ¶ And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14 ¶ And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 ¶ And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 ¶ And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26 ¶ And God said, Let us make man in our image, 1 Cor. 11.7 after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Mt. 19.4 · Mk. 10.6
28 And God blessed them, Gen. 5.1, 2 and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Didn't happen, whether we are talking days or eras.