Those who doubt traditional believers (and I don’t mean only Christians) are under attack in the elite media just aren’t paying attention.

In particular, they missed the lead commentary in the Maine Sunday Telegram’s Insight section this week, which took Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to task for giving an indeterminate answer to a question about the age of the Earth.

Rubio, a Catholic who narrowly missed being Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick (perhaps a sign of his extraordinary good fortune), appeared unready to deal with an interviewer for GQ, an upscale men’s magazine heavy on clothing advertisements and advisories about muscle tone and grooming.

Clearly not expecting a question that came out of left field (what does the age of the planet have to do with our current crises?), Rubio floundered somewhat in giving a response that some on the left say raises serious concerns about his leadership ability.

The rest of us wonder why he was offering an obviously hostile venue a shot at his back, but that was his decision, so he should have been prepared.

Clearly, however, he was not. He began with, “I’m not a scientist, man,” and ended with, “I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”

Predictably, writer Phil Plait, whose Telegram commentary originally ran in Slate, an online progressive journal, said Rubio’s answer was “tragic” and “very, very dangerous,” because science is the only way we have of knowing what is true and what isn’t.

That is, of course, nonsense. Science isn’t going to tell us if our families love us or determine if we should change careers or describe why some of us like poetry and others detest it or any of a thousand other things that are parts of our daily lives.

It also isn’t going to tell us what the Iranians will do if they build a nuclear bomb or what will happen if we don’t complete the Keystone pipeline or what we should have done in Libya to keep our murdered ambassador alive.

In fact, Rubio was asked this gotcha question only because he is considered an attractive conservative presidential candidate, and leftists think he needs to be taken out early.

But suppose that the question was a harbinger of things to come, and consider what might be in store for believers if that were true.

As Shawn Mitchell, a writer for Townhall.com, a right-wing website, put it, “Do you believe in the virgin birth? Then how can we trust you with oversight of HHS programs …? Did Moses part the Red Sea? You must be kept away from the National Weather Service. Do you believe Jesus walked on the water …? Then how can you oversee a Navy that relies on conventional physics to design its ships?”

And then look at what one U.S. senator said when asked what he would tell his children about the Bible’s story of creation:

“What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … It may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part.”

He continued, “My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live — that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.”

That obviously proves Barack Obama’s views are “tragic” and “dangerous,” too, because what he said in 2008 about creation is essentially what Rubio finally ended up saying about the age of the planet: God did it, and it’s a mystery.

As another Slate writer noted about the Rubio flap, in 2009 Obama “appointed Francis Collins, the brilliant geneticist, to head the National Institutes of Health. Collins is a thoughtful Christian who happens to believe in the virgin birth and the resurrection. … This man runs a $30 billion program in biomedical research, and he runs it pretty well.”

Clearly, the president thinks believers can be effective public servants.

So, what is the age of the Earth? Since the Bible makes no claim to a specific date (and I certainly respect those who offer various interpretations), my thought is that God created it, and scientists say it’s very old, and beyond that, for once I agree with Obama:

“It’s a legitimate debate.”

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at: mdharmoncol@yahoo.com