By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Televangelist Pat Robertson challenged the idea that Earth is 6,000 years old this week, saying the man who many credit with conceiving the idea, former Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher, “wasn’t inspired by the Lord when he said that it all took 6,000 years.”
The statement was in response to a question Robertson fielded Tuesday from a viewer on his Christian Broadcasting Network show "The 700 Club.” In a submitted question, the viewer wrote that one of her biggest fears was that her children and husband would not go to heaven “because they question why the Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs.”
“You go back in time, you've got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things, and you've got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas,” Robertson said. “They're out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don't try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That's not the Bible.”
Before answering the question, Robertson acknowledged the statement was controversial by saying, “I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this.”
“If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,” Robertson concluded.
Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup in June. That number has remained unchanged for the past 30 years, since 1982, when Gallup first asked the question on creationism versus evolution.
The Gallup poll has not specifically asked about views on the age of the Earth.
Ussher’s work, from the mid-1600s, is widely cited by creationists as evidence that Earth is only a few thousand years old. Answer in Genesis, the famed Christian creationist ministry behind the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, cites Ussher as proof of Earth’s age. They describe the archbishop as “a brilliant scholar who had very good reasons for his conclusions concerning the date of creation.”
For Christians who read the creation account in Genesis literally, the six days in the account are strictly 24-hour periods and leave no room for evolution. Young Earth creationists use this construct and biblical genealogies to determine the age of the Earth, and typically come up with 6,000 to 10,000 years.
Most scientists, however, agree that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 14.5 billion years old.
The idea of creationism has been scorned by the mainstream scientific community since shortly after Charles Darwin introduced "The Origin of Species" in 1859. By 1880, The American Naturalists, a science journal, reported nearly every major university in America was teaching evolution.
The question about Earth’s age has been in the news recently. Earlier this month, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida attempted to walk the line between science and faith-based creationism in remarks that that provoked the ire of liberal blogs and left the door open to creationism.
“I'm not a scientist, man,” Rubio told GQ’s Micheal Hainey. “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.”
– CNN’s Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.
Creationists have explained the conflict in Earth's age by positing that God created Earth by gathering materials from planets already in existence. Among this material were dinosaur bones, fossils, etc. Meanwhile, I'm saddened that 46% of Americans will buy into the Earth being less than 10,000 years old. One can be a scientist and a Christian – they are not mutually exclusive. But, if you want to interpret the Bible literally with respect to Genesis – then you interpret the entire Bible literally. So it's ok to smite your neighbor, sell your daughter into slavery, kill those who work on the Sabbath, and so on.
II do not believe that 46% of America really believes this nonsense. I think they are going through the motions of Christianity and following party lines. The alternative is to believe they are mentally handicapped. I mean – Really?
I hear that 13% of this blog don't believe that you don't believe that 46% believe in Creationism.
The earth and universe are old – God
"For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water"
Well now he's going to hell. Oh wait you can't loose your salvation. So it doesn't matter what he believes any more. He's in. So no point sounding foolish.
Ussher was one man who followed God. Darwin was one man who did not. Ussher did not invent creationism-God did, when he called Himself Creator. There is no proof of evolution anywhere. And the bible does mention dinosaurs, actually, as coexisting alongside man. Which is proven in places like Texas where there are dinosaur footprints alongside human ones. Robertson needs to read his bible and leave whatever children he is afraid of losing in God's hands.
Usher? Like Usher the hip-hop heartthrob?
But seriously, the Theory of Evolution (note the capitalization) has been scientifically examined and proven. Any claims to the contrary are complete bunk.
"There is no proof of evolution anywhere."
First, science doesn't deal in "proof" that is logic and court rooms.
Second there is plenty of evidence supporting evolution
Fossils like Tiktaalik, Archeoptyrx, Ambulocetus, etc.
Biochemistry like Cytochrome-C
Biogeography like marsupials, penquins, etc.
Genetics like Endogenous Retroviruses (ERVs), Human Chromosome-2, etc.
Experiments like Lenski's long term e.coli experiment
No proof of evolution???!!!
...ever wonder why its harder and harder to fight even common colds???
...ITS BECAUSE THE VIRUSES AND BACTERIA ARE EVOLVING TO BE IMMUNE TO TODAYS MEDICATIONS, YA DOLT...
...one thing that has absolutely NO basis in fact is creationism...
And those footprints who speak of (Paluxy Riverbed) were proven to either be a) a misinterpretation and were actually just the middle toe of other dinosaurs or b) outright forgeries
The bible is a book, like the koran, upanishads, etc. they're works of fiction written for simple people in simple times. Let the christians live without modern technology, the amish and the rest of the anabaptist kind do without modern inventions or use very little. Go back and live in the bronze age you worship. Maybe they'll find one of those dinosaurs to ride on.
I am sure you never even read the bible and have labeled it fiction, nor you have read Koran or upanishad ? The prophecies and all historical accounts in the bible match to other historians of their time and archaeological evidence of the present corroborate them. The evidence only supporting the claim none disputing. #ReadTheBible
What is the number one selling "book" of all time, and will continue to be after you and I are gone? Who is likely to be in a tombstone, Tombstone?
Actually, quite a few of the "historical facts" and "prophecies" listed in the Bible have been factually and historically proven WRONG.
Take for instance, Ezekiel prophesying that King Nebudchennezar II of Babylon would destroy Tyre, Lebanon, and it would never, ever, ever be built again.
Not only did this not ever happen, but Tyre, Lebanon is still a quite well-populated city to this very day. In fact, the dear king never made it to Tyre, but was instead defeated and turned back on the mainland after an 11-year siege. Tyre was not conquered for several hundred more years, and that was by Alexander the Great, who tore down only the walls of the city and used them to build a causeway from the mainland to the island, and then filled in one of the harbors so it could be defended more easily.
"For Christians who read the creation account in Genesis literally, the six days in the account are strictly 24-hour periods and leave no room for evolution"
Hello here's what the bible says about time:
2 Peter 3:8
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
Our time is not God's time....
Ah, yes. The good old-fashioned "My god operates outside the laws of your mundane understanding. Therefore, no argument can be made against him. Therefore I win."
I don't know... it is pretty specific:
"And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day." (Gen 1:5)
"And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day." (Gen 1:8)
"And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day." (Gen 1:13)
except plants came before the sun.... a thousand years without sunlight? pretty tough for a plant to survive those conditions..... I believe in a 6 day creation, because that is what the Bible says. Faith and science do not always dovetail, but that is why it is faith. I know people will call me blind, but I am not ignorant. I know plenty about science; I just know what I believe as truth.
So is one of Gods days equal to 1,000 of our years, or is 1,000 of Gods years equal to one of our days?
"I believe in a 6 day creation, because that is what the Bible says."
Interesting, how do you reconcile the sun and stars not showing up till day 4, I think?
Or, birds before land animals?
It was nice of Paul to add that little bit after people started questioning why Jesus hadn't already returned like he said he would.
You know... they freeze dry good ol' Pat every night and thaw the crazy bat before each show. He also drinks banaca for that extra kick of energy.
Pat's popularity has been slipping, nice move on his part to get his viewership up...
Hilariously, nobody can actually quote a verse that says how old the earth is, because it isn't in there. The end.
ROFL!!! And science CAN'T tell us EXACTLY how old the Earth is either.
Actually, science is pretty solid on the age of the earth. Is it supposed to be ironic that you're named for Darwin's ship? Or is it just supposed to make your lack of education that much sadder to witness?
HMS is trying to be such a clever Poe...
There is an exhaustive listing of genealogy in the Bible which doc.uments each generation from Jesus to Adam. But then you would know that if you read the Bible from an unbiased point of view.
So religious people want to take us back to before 1880! Awesome! That's only a century and a half of progress to roll back.
Its a moral issue. People look for excuses not to believe (doesn't matter if you’re in the 1st, 21st or 30th century), people will always look for a way not to believe, and justify the lack of morality in their lifestyle.
The fact is that scientists still can't explain how the universe went from no mass to mass from a point of singularity. This is where the realm of math and physics ends and your belief may begin. I'm not religious at all and more agnostic than anything, but I can't emphatically state that there is no god or spiritual being. It's this doubt that makes it so wonderful in the first place. Doubt is divine. Certainty is not.
There is no evidence that there is any supreme being. I don't need someone to present me of the evidence of this supreme being's non-existence for me to assume that this being doesn't exist.
Look up Russell's Teapot.
I think you need to learn the difference between an agnostic and an atheist .... and many other things.
First, atheism relates specifically to religion. When I say there is no God I am specifically talking about the god of the bible. I can say with equal as.surance there also is no zeus, or Thor and so on. That is what makes me an atheist. What makes me an agnostic however is I can not (nor can anyone else) state with as.surity there is no higher power that might have been involved as an external agent to begin the expansion as described in the big bang. There very well could have been and I will not discount that there might be some sort of being out there.... probably not, but it's not impossible.
i think i will die damned
I think Chuck makes a good point. Specifically, there's no inherent conflict between evolution and belief in a god. Because if there is a god, he/she could have planned everything to happen via evolution. Maybe someday science will be able to explain the singularity, but the recent scientific thinking is that something was there before the big bang regardless. If that's true, then one day we'll have to figure out what and how that got there, etc etc. Either way, it could have been a god's plan all along.
because evolution is a process frilled with errors there is a legitimate implication that god is not that perfect after all.
Science never claims to know everything. It is a method of learning more. This is far preferable to religious faith, which invents an explanation that cannot be proven, and insists it is true even when available evidence discredits it.
Atheists do not believe in god, meaning that they have not been shown conclusive evidence that there is god (or gods). Agnostics are people who believe that the existence or non-existence of god cannot be known. In common usage, the term is used to weasel out of answering the question, "Do you believe in god?". That answer IS knowable, because it is a question about you, and what you believe, right now. Do you believe there is a god, or do you not believe it? It isn't the same question as "Is there a god?". It's whether you believe, not whether you can prove.
Be careful, because if you believe there is an all-powerful, all-knowing god who will send you to eternal hellfire for sinning, you'd better shape up! You'd better never sin again, otherwise you may suffer eternal pain, courtesy of your all-loving god! Even if you believe in forgiveness, because you can't be forgiven if you committed the sin with a plan to get forgiveness. Better not leave the house, because temptation is EVERYWHERE!
@Chuckles.. my fellow Charles.. I am definitely an agnostic. I don't believe in religion but I believe that their may be a God. I'm not arrogant enough to be as certain of my beliefs as our evangelical friends we like to vilify.
Ah, but is it really "arrogance" to not believe in something that someone else does? Is it arrogant of me to correct someone who says 2+2=5? I contend that everyone atheist you talk to is an agnostic, but agnosticism and atheists are commentary on two different (but intertwined) subjects. Just because I'm sure there is no God does not mean I'm sure there is no god. Get my meaning?
@Chuckles... very true. The problem is that 2+2=4 only up to the point of our understanding. At the time and place in space of the big bang.. 2+2= Infinity Math and science break down and there is no real way to observe beyond that point other than with theoretical physics. This is why both science and religion are limited. In my opinion , its also where the two meet.
" ... So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don't try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That's not the Bible."
Hang on. Let me reel my jaw back up off the floor. There we go. Pat Robertson said this??? Whoa ... Maybe there's hope for old boy yet.
Though Atheists try to push it constantly, no one really cares how old the Earth is. It is not a question on job applications, and not required knowledge for any hi-tech non-science related job. It only seems to matter if you are an atheist...
And yet people who honestly believe that the earth is 6,000 years old can be universally described as uneducated. And they certainly aren't qualified for any job that would require higher thought processes.
Ahh dumb troll. Only a blinded fool would believe that Atheists are the only ones who cares how old the Earth is.
It's a non-issue, clearly the earth is 4.5 billion years and yet there are some people (you) that some how take offense to this and make a probelm....
Wait, did I say you were right? Wrong, I meant you are wrong.
We need lots of dumb religious folks. SOMEONEs got to work at the chik-fil-a...
No. It matters whether or not you are a rational thinker. All physical evidence points to the earth being about 4 billion years old and the universe as 13.5 billion years old , give or take a few hundred million years. That's fact. Not some irrational ideology getting in the way of fact.
ROFL!!! I have been a corporate executive and worked at an Ivy League school. Not once did evolution or the age of the Earth EVER come up... It just doesn't matter....
It only matters if you care about reality and want to understand, as well as possible, how the world works.
Other than that, no, it doesn't matter.
My apologies. But as a certified international man of mystery, I clearly outrank your corporate-executive-professor position. Isn't the internet wonderful?
Actually, you have to accept science if you are applying for a scientific job. It's nothing like the clergy, where you have people who don't believe in god lying to their congregations. If you can't actually DO science (which means that you gotta believe in it), then you can't get a job doing it.
lol 'corporate exec'...that takes soooooo much intelligence rofl
Worked at an ivy league school...as a janitor?
HMS you claiming to be an executive just proves that you have never been one.
Did creationism or "intelligent" design come up? Does it really matter? It appears that only religious nuts care about creationism!
If you are trying to weigh the evidence on global warming its a pretty big issue. And on some job aps it certainly would be relevant...I wouldn't pay someone to looks for oil who thought the earth was only 6,000 old; they'd hardly have an efficent understanding of where and how it would have developed.
You poor young, under-educated children. To bad that the liberals have taken over our schools. But if you actually read you may still have hope...
Or a creationist Christian nutjob.
Hey HMS you just proved that you are very uneducated. There are no such things as liberal or conservative schools. Just schools you political idiot.
Why don't you go ask those Harvard biology professors if they believe in evolution... It's called intellectual curiosity my patronizing HMS Beagle. Something that's orders of magnitude more important than making money as a morally challenged executive.
Good one HMS Beagle.
He has turned to science. He had to since science paved the way for his reanimation.
why "Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs."? the answer is simple, Bible is a B I B L E, not a science book.
Wait...Pat Robertson said something that was reasonable, and defended science? I am so confused right now.
I know, I had to double check to make sure I didn't accidentally click on an Onion article.
@sam, China Daily fell for the Onion the other day; it would be kind of funny if CNN fell for some new equivalent. But no, I think he's genuine.
In other news: Hell freezes over.
He is disagreeing with Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher view on how old things are.
Aaaaand . . . so what?
There are no atheists in a foxhole.
Search for "Military Atheists".
Then the bullets start to fly and they cave the first looking for that god that they claim doesn't exist...
Right, because they don't hide in holes praying, they run out and fight and save their comrades.
HMS Beagle maybe you should see a doctor.
I'd rather have an atheist in a foxhole than a crazy ideologue wishing for his death. At least you know the atheist is going to do everything possible to save the squad since he values life more.
As a vet with three deployments under my belt, I can assure you that that is utterly false.
Was there a study on that somewhere? I must have missed it.
I am an atheist. I have two combat Infantry tours. I put my faith in my training and the training of my brothers. THAT IS ALL I PUT FAITH IN!!!
I was, and still am.
Who ever told you that is a moron, and so are you.
My god we are dumb. Half the US believes this garbage? Neanderthals didn't die out, they're still walking the earth.
I think they all got on a boat 30K years ago and landed at present day Houston Texas.
Why insult Neanderthals like that? :-)
Get rid of religion, and all the power hungry asses that "lead" the flocks!
Half the people who are foolish enough to give their demographic data to strangers asking questions over the phone.
2 Timothy 4:3 – 4
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
The Bible absolutely accounts for dinosaurs in agreement with archaeological findings of ancient cave drawings clearly illustrating dinosaurs AND men in the SAME picture. How come some scientific “discoveries” are accepted while other scientifically certified archaeological findings are not accepted.
Pat's opinion don't really mean a hill of beans to me. I'm not thinking about lynching him. I couldn't care less what he believes.
And yet the cave drawing was debunked by real scientists. Funny how that happens every single time that you morons come up with something.
@deadlyserious, the same as other "real" scientists have "debunked" carbon dating right??? In case you didn't know, carbon dating was also tested on living creatures that were determined extinct. So much for your "real" scientists. :-)
Please educate yourself on how carbon dating actually works (here's a hint: don't try it out on living things), then go back to middle school and take 6th-grade biology. Once you've done that, you can talk about these things as if you have even an ounce of authority on the subject.
@deadlyserious, Examples of abnormal C14 results include testing of recently harvested, live mollusc shells from the Hawaiian coast that showed that they had died 2000 years ago and snail shells just killed in Nevada, USA, dated in at 27,000 years old. A freshly killed seal at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, yielded a death age of 1300 years ago.
A petrified miner’s hat & wooden fence posts were unearthed from an abandoned 19th century gold hunter’s town in Australia's outback. Results from radiocarbon dating said that they were 6000 years old.
IT DOESN't WORK.....Get over it!!!! Doesn't matter WHAT you test it on. Living or Dead. I have more than an ounce of authority. I just gave you a whole pound. READ ABOVE!!!! :-)
Sorry, the cave drawings you refer to are not real. There is no evidence man and dinosaurs co-existed. The Bible actually does make reference to creatures that could be interpreted as dinosaurs (beasts with tails like tree trunks, giant sea creatures that are not fish-like, etc.), but when they are mentioned it does NOT say they existed at the time those scriptures were written, it just says God created them and they once lived. There is one school of Bible interpretation that says Genesis 1 does indeed account for an old earth: God created a the heavens (univererse) and earth, but the earth BECAME void and formless (this is believed to be the result of Satan's pre-history fall), darkness prevailed, and the earth then had to be redeemed, giving us the 6 days of the creation (actually re-creation). The dinosaurs would have existed during that original state, which could have lasted millions of years. The sudden extinction would have been the result of the pre-Genesis fall.
Radiocarbon dating is not and has never been used to determine the age of dinosaur remains. That would make no sense: the half-life is around 5,700 years.
“Extinct” means there are no living specimens. So, by definition it is impossible to determine that a living creature is extinct. Furthermore, radiocarbon dating does not determine an organism’s extinction status; it determines the age of organic remains, usually from archaeological sites.
I realize you probably knew the second part (definition of extinct), but your use of scientific-sounding yet wildly inaccurate terminology indicates a muddled understanding of the issue.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.