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Pat Robertson challenges creationism
Pat Robertson: "There was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible."
November 29th, 2012
04:04 PM ET

Pat Robertson challenges creationism

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.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Creationism • Evolution

soundoff (4,408 Responses)
  1. Emperor Vadik, CA

    Sometimes I wish I was a sociopath like these Christian leaders are, I could rake in the hard earn money off of sheep who believe nonsense...

    November 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  2. Herm

    Really in the whole scope of things-WHO CARES how old the planet is. It's the here and now that I'm most concerned with

    November 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Saraswati

      If you are trying to study the effects of various changes on climate it is very important how old the earth is. The age makes a world of difference in the calculations and as a result in our plan of action.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • CA Liberal

      I am one of those scientific type guys and I care about a lot of things that I will never see and have no bearing on my day to day life. But I find them incredibly interesting. The history of the Earth is written in it's rocks. That's the real go to book for the earth. But like any foreign language you have to learn how to read them. The language of the Universe is Mathematics. Certainly a very difficult language. I applaud Mr. Robertson for seeing the earth for what it is. The earth has turned out to be a far more ancient planet than anybody had imagined.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  3. kent

    by golly i think pat robertson is evolving.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • isolate

      Best comment yet.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  4. nonPCrealist

    "Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years".. I don't want to live on this planet any more.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Paul

      I wouldn't give much credence to the Gallup poll. At one point Gallup was predicting that Romney had a 7% lead in the popular vote over Obama. The Gallup poll was once considered reliable but I don't think they are reliable now.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • emfalcon

      or 46% of the people in the US needs to be taken out back and shot?!

      November 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Athy

      No need to shoot them, just take their fucking bibles away.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      46% of Americans who are willing to tell as stranger on the phone how much money they make.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  5. TomGI

    God must have one heck of a sense of humor to create this kook. What's with that big Chiclets denture smile? Did he just rip a f@rt?

    November 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  6. emfalcon

    Mr. Pat Robertson has earned back quite a bit of the respect in my eyes that he has lost over the years with just 1 statement.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  7. /sigh

    no wonder americans are so dumb, 46% sheesh, that explains why every other person I meet in the U.S. seems to be mentally retarded.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • snoozie

      LOL!

      November 29, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • blame our 'culture'

      US society values someone who is a cut-throat, striving, status-seeker (you know... a 'people person') above all others. You don't need intelligence to sell yourself... just shrewdness and selfishness. You don't learn those things (our culture's most-valued traits) in school... so where's the motivation to become educated in the old way?

      November 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • John A

      Actually, 100% of Americans will die and be accountable to God.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  8. JJ (Johnson and Johnson)

    It is very simple thing just remember that Adam was created after the animals not the other way around. So, Adam was created 6,000 years ago while animals and this planet were created 10 Billlion years ago. Adam and Eve, animals and this earth were created by God the Father almighty maker of Heaven and Earth. God Bless You all and marry XMAS.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      DNA proves humans have been here for at least 200,00 years.
      Happy holidays.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • shutter

      What ever you say Tooth Fairy

      November 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Not in Genesis 2:5-7

      5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground,
      6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.
      7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

      It's really interesting how inconsistent Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are from each other.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Athy

      JJ, that's just plain silly. No one in his right mind would believe that. You've been totally biblewashed.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • emfalcon

      Zeus will strike you down, and Hades will take you to the underworld!

      November 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      Not really. One came from Southern Israel, and one from Northern Israel. They stuck em together during the exile. It's an ancient cut and paste job. It's called the Docu'mentary Hypothesis. No scholar disputes it.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • emfalcon

      Snake OIl: to bad he is quoting parts of the bible, you know the parts that were stolen from the Torah and mutated to fit what they they wanted it to say rather than what it actually says!

      November 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Dr.Whom

      'Modern' Humans (With Language, Art, Music, stone age tech or higher), has been around 50 million years.
      The Earth has been around for 4.5 Billion.
      The Universe for 14.5

      Facts. Deal with them.
      6000 years is psuedo-science that is discredited no only by various scientific disciplines, but by the majority of theologians, including the Catholic church itself!

      November 29, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Brendo

      Haha, riiiiiiight.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  9. nostrildamus

    “If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,” Robertson concluded.

    Wow. Common sense from Robertson. Now I KNOW the world is ending on December 21st.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  10. shutter

    We humans, mankind, man or whatever were dropped off on this rock when the dinosaurs were already here. Now "who" dropped us off is a matter of contention. Modern technology is thousands of years old. We lost it somehow along the way and had to start all over...so here we are wondering where we all came from.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • nonPCrealist

      o.0

      November 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Dr.Whom

      You've been watching the new Battlestar Galactica again.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  11. chumlee

    religious people and their absolutely stupid beliefs are are just that.....STUPID......never in billions of years has even one snake uttered one word yet the catholics would have you believe that a snake spoke to adam and convinced him to eat the apple.....and NO woman was not created from a rib of a man as thy would also have you believe........only sheeple and people not smart enough to think for hemselves will believe that garbage.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  12. Strawberry Field

    I always understood that Biblical time was measured differently than modern time measurement, thus making creationism and evolutionism compatable. (Although I highly doubt the apes of today are our brethern).

    November 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Athy

      Creationism and evolution are totally incompatible. One is an unprovable fairy tale, the other is the truth with tons of evidence in its favor.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • emfalcon

      You can believe god/allah/zeus created the big bang or all the stuff in the universe and the rest evolved and using creationism and evolution in tandem.. but that's about it.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Paul

      You're probably right. The apes don't kill each other by the thousands so they're probably much smarter than we are – how could we possibly be related?

      November 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      Every bit of evidence possible suggests that we are close cousins of chimps, bonobos, gorillas, and other great apes.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Athy

      Including DNA.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  13. Liqmaticus

    For once, pat and I agree. Why would God create and earth with bones of creatures that never existed? To confuse us? I would say not. Unfortunately the Christian extremists get all the headlines and make the rest of us Christians look like idiots.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Athy

      Well, we've got to hand it to Pat. He's a little slow, but he finally came around, at least part way.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  14. Steve

    So first the big G created microorganisms and millions of years later created metazoans and millions of years later created dinosaurs and millions of years after they were gone he created Adam and Eve and a crafty snake. Is that the way old-earth creationism works?

    November 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Strawberry Field

      I would explain it to you, but you would doubtless refuse to understand.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Athy

      Strawberry. Give it a try, we all need a good laugh.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  15. Luiz Penalva

    Sad to see that half of the population in the States still lives in medieval times.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • isolate

      Even sadder is that they have the same vote as science-educated people....

      November 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  16. redoran

    Christians are just trying to collect more members for their cult of lies.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Rhiannon

      What a sad, empty shell of a person you must be. I pity you.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • quite right

      What a wise person you are. I admire you. God has given you wisdom to see through the oversimplified kindergarden-level dogma that cults feed the innocent... such as the one commenter who 'pities' you.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  17. Emperor Vadik, CA

    Look, people are just not too bright, and there is nothing you can do...

    ...they'll believe 3000 year old nonsense over their own eyes, but why are we surprised???!!!

    ...there are people that have seen planes fly into world trade buildings, yet still believe it is some kind of a Government controlled demolition using dynamite and flying never before seen rockets...

    ...as I said, stupid will be stupid...

    November 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Athy

      Sad but true.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  18. xirume

    Man, there are some professional eeeegnorants out there !!!!

    November 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  19. bankkiller1

    "Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years" Ignorance abounds! Religion is a dangerous thing....especially today when people say "god" told them some thing that they use as a reason to war, beat their wife or kill their kid. FREEDOM FROM religion is what makes America great....your STUPID (yes, I said that) religion isn't being forced down my throat....doesn't keep me out of job....or out of store. Get it? You CAN believe anything you want as long as you keep your religious nonsense to yourself.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Calvin

      Freedom from religion will kill the USA. Although I will tell that God didn't tell me to tell you that. Faith drove people in our land to do great things. Freedom from religion just keeps people looking at government for their god.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Hemp is Harmless

      I highly dispute that 46 percent number. No one I know believes that nonsense.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • DemFromSC

      Thank you for your comments. I could not agree more. If enough of us continue to speak out against this rampant silliness, perhaps the world will eventually become a better place; the Sunnis and the Shia's will not continue killing each other, the Israelis and the Palestinians can make peace, India and Pakistan will no longer threaten each other with nuclear annihilation, etc., etc. Let's improve THIS world, and not worry about the nothingness that comes later.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • TheRationale

      Calvin
      Freedom from (and to) religion is one of the reasons everyone hiked across the Atlantic to begin with. Read a history book.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • emfalcon

      Calvin: And in God We Trust was on our original coinage too right?

      November 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  20. Kansas Slim

    Living here in the Bible belt, I find Robertson's comments quite significant. It makes one wonder what, if any, impact they will make on all the died-in-the wool Christians and creationists. These people tend to be quite narrow-minded about so many things. You wonder how well they will be able to hear this from a guy who has been pretty much of a nut case himself for so many years. Maybe it's just a part of the New Republican enlightenment and maybe it will enable some of these lock-step Republicans to have the courage to think for themselves a little bit too. (And expressing that wish is probably enough for me to be considered a certifiable nut case too.)

    November 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • the fox

      Right on Kansas Slim

      November 29, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Miss Demeanor

      Remember: you can't fix stooopid... some other jack-leg televangelist will seize the 'opportunity' (to attract easily-misled simple, trusting folks so he can pick their pockets)... just wait a week or two.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
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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.