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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. John

    Nowhere in the Bible does it declare the earth is 6000 years old. There could be millions of years between the 1st two verses of Gen 1. People (so called religious leaders) not willing to use a common sense approach to scriptures cause Christianity much ridicule. Gen 1:1 says God created the heaven and earth; then in verse 2 it tells us the earth was without form and void. The wording could mean the earth "became" without form and void.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • ME II

      Hmm...
      One problem is that the Heavens, i.e. the universe, were created about 9 billion years before the Earth, so how were they both created "in the beginning"?

      November 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      The order of creation in Genesis is screwed up. God created day and night (Gen 1:3-5) before creating the sun (Gen 1:14-17). God created plants (Gen 1:11-12) before creating creatures in the seas (Gen 1:20-21), which is contradicted by genetic and fossil evidence.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  2. memestryker

    How refreshing. And this from the man who, in the early 1990s, said someday soon all U.S. schools would be run by Christians.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  3. R Burns

    Thank you, Pat Robertson! Finally a prominent Christian leader who has the courage to stand up to doctrines that are giving people second thoughts about Christianity. Maybe now we can get back to what is right about faith.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Athy

      Is there anything "right" about faith?

      November 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      Faith in the god of the gaps. As more evidence pours in that disprove the claims of various holy books, god becomes smaller and smaller, until *poof*, no more god.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • John A

      You are incorrect. He is making reference to Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher view on creation. People are spinning this as they like. Some people who have called themselves "Christian" have used James Ussher view on creation in terms of how old the universe and/or Earth is. I believe God made the universe in 6 days (not man days, but in his own day/timeline).

      November 29, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • sam

      It's just that the dinosaurs kept eating everything and couldn't be 'saved', so god had to start over.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • == o ==

      I'm guessing the A after John stands for Apologist as in, I'm apologizing for having to do all this crazy math to make creation not sound like its true nature – fable.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  4. David from Nor Cal

    First Robertson says he thinks pot should be legalized, and now this? I think becoming senile is actually having a reverse effect on him, its making him MORE sane! He is actually beginning to acknowledge some shred of a little thing the rest of us like to call REALITY.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  5. lol??

    Hurry up and prove evilution before it's voted on.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      Evolution has been and continues to be proven.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • ME II

      Science does not deal in "proof".

      November 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  6. ToldUso

    Perhaps the Mayans were right- the world must be coming to an end if I think Pat Robertson is both right and unafraid to ruffle his flocks' feathers. Note to self..... quit job..... buy whiskey....... enjoy remaining few days on earth......

    November 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • memestryker

      You said "perhaps." I think you'll be in this for the long haul.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  7. caesarbc

    Watch "Inheret the Wind" with Spencer Tracy. It will explain all this mumbo jumbo about creation and how we are simply witnessing a constantly recurring threat by Christian zealots to alter our educational system.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • memestryker

      And always only inches away from doing so. If you look at Iran, it was one of the most modern and progressive countries on earth, even affording women education in the sciences and engineering before U.S. colleges routinely did. And then came Komeini, and they got knocked backed to the 7th century. It *could* happen here if the ignorant gain enough power.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • LinSea

      Are you serious? 'Inherit the Wind' is a PLAY made into a MOVIE. It is a dramatization of a historical event, using parts from the trial to present the story the playwright wanted to tell. I've seen the play, and iInherit the Wind' is more about the people involved in the Scopes trial than it was about the actual trial. Do you understand at all the difference between entertainment and fact? Are you at all aware of how playwrights and screenwriters adapt and adjust historical events to suit their story and their points of view? You can obtain the actual transcript of the trial online. Try reading that.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  8. KRHODES

    "Most scientists, however, agree that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 14.5 billion years old."

    Most agree..notice they do not say know or can prove. Interesting atheist and others will jump all over that as if it is "gospel" all the while ridiculing folks who do the same thing. No one knows the age of the universe or the planet for that matter. It is the same with evolution...that word is expanded and contracted depending on the situation. There is no reason to believe all life originated from a single source into the diversity we currently observe. The idea that many believe it is as ridiculous as me stating my belief is true because many believe it. These ideas are little more than appeal to authority. but somehow one is celebrated while the other ridiculed.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      hinduism, hypothesis and not any different than in bible.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      The Big Bang is proven fact. The age of our universe has been determined by mathematical and scientific method. Denying it is just silly.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Nice job running away from the other thread. But either way, there's a difference here between cosmology, biology, and your religion. One has actual evidence backing it up, and stands up to falsification (science), the other makes assertions based on more assertions based on a single assertion with no evidence (your religion).

      November 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      Uh, actually there are many reasons to believe that life originating from a single source expanded into the diversity we see today. Just because you don't understand high school-level biology doesn't make it not true.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • caesarbc

      So long as we have people like you, there will always be teachers teaching evolution through observation, hypothesizing, collecting data, testing data, replicating data making testing empirical, and ultimately culminating into theory.
      Facts are baseless without theory. You would believe that the world is flat if it weren't for Newton's Principia.
      But, it's just nonsense, and just another person who came along to challenge authority.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • KRHODES

      ShannonCT

      "Uh, actually there are many reasons to believe that life originating from a single source expanded into the diversity we see today. Just because you don't understand high school-level biology doesn't make it not true."

      I always like an atheist response...they have some kind of mental need to throw in an insult. It is actually kinda pathetic given how smart they think they are. Anyway...do we have evidence that all life originated from a single source?

      November 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Only by hinduism, hypothesis, nothing of fact.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • CJ

      Scientists never claimed to 'prove' the age of the earth. Very little is absolutely provable, apart from mathematical theorems. What they say is all of the data from plate techtonics, nuclear physics, astrophysics, and molecular biology all converge on the earth being billions of years old and the universe at least twice that or morel likely, three times that. And it is not the same as religious belief. The do not take the age of the earth revealed fact and chant dogmatically about it. Scientific truths are open to revision as new facts arise. Religious 'truths' are not. And it is not an 'appeal to authority' when the person making the claim is an expert in that field and has mountains of facts and data. It is an appeal to authority when you cite an expert in computer science or some other area and tout there belief about the age of the earth. The world is very old and life is all related. Get out of the bronze age.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • caesarbc

      Have you ever stopped to ponder why insults are consistently being hurled at you? Maybe because it is your lack of understanding of basic science(?). But of course, you could never be wrong. Afterall, you are you, and everyone else is out to get you.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • KRHODES

      caesarbc

      "So long as we have people like you, there will always be teachers teaching evolution through observation, hypothesizing, collecting data, testing data, replicating data making testing empirical, and ultimately culminating into theory."

      Well if we have empirical data that macro evolution occurred (which we don't) then we do not have theory but a fact...you people amaze me.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • memestryker

      Science is always open to improvement, and is not based on belief. So even if scientists do change their understanding of some aspect of Nature over time, they aren't worried they'll be damned for it. They may require a lot of convincing evidence, but that's also science.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • KRHODES

      caesarbc

      "Have you ever stopped to ponder why insults are consistently being hurled at you? Maybe because it is your lack of understanding of basic science(?). But of course, you could never be wrong. Afterall, you are you, and everyone else is out to get you."

      Because you guys will do anything to defend your religious dogma. Your entire belief is built on logical fallacy and you really have no argument other than to keep on doing what you know..using fallacious arguments. Hence using ad hominem attacks on those who challenge your beliefs.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @KRHODES,

      your absolutist nonsense is showing again.

      No we don't *KNOW* for absolute certain how old the earth is. As Sen. Rubio says, we weren't there to record it. However, the estimates haven't materially changed since 1953 and there is a lot of consensus on this number.

      For all we know, someone fifty years from now will come along with a new measuring technique and define the earth as 5 or 6 billion years old.

      But we DO KNOW with 99.99% confidence that the earth will never again be estimated to be <10,000 years old.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • KRHODES

      hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      "Only by hinduism, hypothesis, nothing of fact."

      I know i have made it...you finally commented on something i posted. Thanks for the honor!

      November 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      And here comes the creationist nonsense about "macroevolution". Genetics, biogeography, the fossil record, and controlled experimentation all provide massive amounts of evidence for "macroevolution" of all life from single-celled organisms.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @KRHODES

      And yet you never give specifics. You continue to make claims against science, but never actually address the points brought against you. One more thing, it's not an ad hominem if your claims are refuted within the same post, it's just emphasis on your lack of understanding, not to mention your unwillingness to actually engage in honest discourse.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • KRHODES

      I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @KRHODES,

      "your absolutist nonsense is showing again."

      So you don't believe in absolutes?

      November 29, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • KRHODES

      hawaiiguest

      @KRHODES

      "And yet you never give specifics. You continue to make claims against science, but never actually address the points brought against you. One more thing, it's not an ad hominem if your claims are refuted within the same post, it's just emphasis on your lack of understanding, not to mention your unwillingness to actually engage in honest discourse."

      I have made claims against science? I have however disputed what science "believes" not what it can prove.

      Ad Hominem : Attacking your opponent's character or personal traits instead of engaging with
      their argument.

      See there..you did it again..now you are calling me a liar...it is sad.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • KRHODES

      ShannonCT

      "And here comes the creationist nonsense about "macroevolution". Genetics, biogeography, the fossil record, and controlled experimentation all provide massive amounts of evidence for "macroevolution" of all life from single-celled organisms."

      Macroevolution is a perfectly valid term to describe a disputed idea regarding evolution...many including atheistic scientist use it. Massive amounts of evidence, you know that is pure nonsense...you believe it because you want to...just like many others. The fossil record nor anything else for that matter gives proof of macroevolution...it is an extrapolation of what we do know about descent with modification...their is no reason to believe we and everything we observe evolved from a single source.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @KHRODES,

      No, I don't believe in absolutes.

      There are facts:
      We breathe oxygen. There are 7 billion humans living today. We will all die. George Washington was the first President of the United States, etc.

      There are theories, backed up by evidence.
      Our universe began with the big bang, 13.8 billion years ago. The earth is 4.5 billion years old. Humans evolved from primates. The end of the dinosaurs was coincident with a meteorite collision 65 million years ago.

      There are opinions:
      Raising tax revenue from the richest 1% will help reduce the deficit.

      There are morals:
      Killing, lying and stealing are wrong.

      There are beliefs:
      There is one God – the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit

      None of these are absolute – except perhaps for death and taxes.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @KRHODES

      And there it is. Science does not deal in proofs, it creates models that best explain observed facts. I have no idea how many times this has been told to you, yet you completely ignore it every single time.
      Science, a methodology, does not have "beliefs".
      Gee, didn't I just say that it's not an ad hominem if your posts are refuted as well as you being insulted because of your lack of understanding, and your unwillingness to engage in honest discourse? Well thank you for the very good example of both of those things.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • caesarbc

      I am convinced that you and your people are absolutely hopeless.
      Let the rest of the world evolve, while your lineage becomes a cladogenic line of inbreeding.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      Krhode apple
      The Big Bang was proven in 2006, and the Nobel Prize was awarded to the two scientist who proved it. Science DOES deal in proof when available, and most medicine and technology are based on it.
      Science deals in proof whenever possible, and strives for proof always.
      Religion deals in ignorance and has to adjust every time science proves religion wrong.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      "their is no reason to believe we and everything we observe evolved from a single source."

      Except the common molecular basis for all life, including RNA, DNA, and the same amino acid; conserved developmental genes (e.g. HOX) over hundreds of millions of years, molecular clocks...

      November 29, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bring em

      I think this is another definition issue, like theory in and out of science. Proofs doesn't really have a place in the sciences, but observed fact does.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      Hawaii
      I understand what you are saying, but at some point, many theories move into the fact category, and many more get turned into the discredited theory category. The silicon chip was a theory, and now the world runs on them, bacteria can be good or bad, and now we have thousands of medicines based on them. Not all science will end with proof and fact, but some does, and as a scientist, I am overjoyed when we can advance actual knowledge. it is what science strives for. Truth. There is a reason that there are theoretical science departments and applied science departments. In 2006 The Big Bang moved from theory to fact, and there was much rejoicing.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bring 'em

      I see what you're saying, and I think that it all stems to the relationship between fact, evidence, theory, model, observation and hypothesis. Science education is so lacking that an alarmingly large percentage of our population have no idea how to put these things in their proper places.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Pete

      KRhodes, it ought to tell you something when the only person who agrees with you is the crazy hindu guy.

      November 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  9. yeahItsMe72

    Well at least it's a step towards reality.

    Then Jesus can take his place next to Odin, Zues, etc as just another god myth from a time before people were formally educated and had a clue how things work.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      All of them hinduism, fabrication of hindu's, lairs.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • hindu something something

      hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu
      hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu
      hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu

      November 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • memestryker

      Jesus, Odin, and Zeus all may have been more than mythical gods. They may have been people who were so effective or did such amazing deeds that their names lived on as part of cultural myths. They are still excellent stories to teach people ethics and the history and lore of their culture. And all offer a central point to join in cultural expression. We're learning that humans crave such connections. It probably explains why so many in the U.S. believe the evangelical version of Christianity and so many in Islamic theocracies are so attached to ancient Muslim teachings.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • John A

      What year were you born yeahItsMe72? Let me guess 1972 or maybe another year (correct me if I'm wrong). Interesting, that many use a calendar based on the life of Jesus still. Sorry, I don't see one for Odin, Zues.... or Darwin.

      November 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Interesting, that many use a calendar based on the life of Jesus still. Sorry, I don't see one for Odin, Zues.... or Darwin.'

      yeah i mean its not as if we use such names as Tuesday (tyr's day) Wednesday (woden or odin's day), Thursday (thor's day), Friday (Freya's day) or Saturday (the god Saturn's day).
      Or January (god janus), March (god mars), May (godess maia) June (godess juno) or anything like that, else that would be very awkward.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • John A

      cedar rapids – I'm referring to the year and 7 days. Long after you and I are gone, it will still be used. Denying Jesus didn't exist, you choose to be foolish.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  10. David

    What is this? Some kind of stupidity contest? I really can't imagine rational people engaging in this idiotic exchange.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  11. Lordy, Lordy.

    Slim.trailer park cats in Heaven Sent"s park may carry disease.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  12. Samps

    I am a Christian, but I also have faith in science. Sometimes I do feel these two beliefs contesting each other but at the end of the day, I believe in a God who wants his people to use science, reason and logic to solve their problems.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      Biggest problem you have is the belief in god.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      No faith required in science. A theory either conforms to the evidence, or it's just a failed hypothesis (like Intelligent Design).

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

      Then why believe in god at all? Aren't logic and common sense enough for you?

      November 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Lordy, Lordy.

      Good verry good, it is the contribution, not so much the belief that makes a difference, keep on giving, Armani suits start at $1500.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      science is a medium not the initiator nor the end, but a tool to understand truth absolute, constant of a matter, dependent on human brain.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • memestryker

      I don't think religion and science conflict at all, when reality is brought to bear on what people believe. It's only when cultural myths are taught as fact that any problem arises.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  13. BobBahBlaw

    wow 46% of america thinks we were created within 10,000 years... Romney should have switched lazy with stupid and he's be right

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

      This 46% were his base

      November 30, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  14. harinder

    that is exactky the vote GOP in the election. Go figure that out.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  15. lol??

    Are the evilutionaries makin' up fer lost time with their bullyin'?

    November 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • sam

      Boooooring troooooll

      November 29, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      No bullying here...tom, tom is presently absent.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  16. DaveLake

    I am rather shocked that Pat Robertson said that. Is he coming to his senses? Hopefully in a year he will state-whoops I was wrong with religion also. Never mind!

    November 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  17. Extremophil

    Maybe he bought a calendar and realized that it isn't the 15th century anymore.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • John A

      Why are you making it a time issue. Its a moral issue. People look for ways to justify ones lifestyle and look for loopholes not to read, believe and follow the Bible.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  18. Jeff

    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended that we forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge that we can attain by them"
    ~Galileo Galilei

    November 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Athy

      Your point?

      November 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Jeff

      Why would God give us all the pieces to the puzzle that the earth is billions of years old and life developed through the process known as evolution, if it was all false?

      November 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • sam

      Point seemed pretty obvious...

      November 29, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  19. Herm

    The dude behind him , with the dark glasses on,,Must be his guardian angel

    November 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  20. Herm

    He's smiling cause he's on the way to his bank!

    November 29, 2012 at 6:30 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.