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. rbanka

    Though some may still actually listen to this life-long huckster,I feel he might simply be trying to appeal a larger audience as he speaks of this new found knowledge and understnding of the scientific methods used to date Dino fossils, Please take note. It's quite possible this is just more of the same old shell game these Elmer Gantry folks have been playing all along. Old Robby should have had a more informed revisionist on his team since he is now claiming that we date Dino fossils using carbon 14. Then he wouldn't continue to sound like one knows nothing about science. This is just ploy to lure a few more gullible folks with open check books into the tent. BAD MINISTER – No Holy Water for a week.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • timelord7202

      Gotta agree...

      November 29, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Tom Andersen

      The mountains of evidence for evolution are backing him into a corner. There will always be TV evangelists because they interpret the holy scriptures. Given the high school education of 3/4 of America, someone like him will have to interpret the new scriptures of evolution, astronomy, physics, paleontology, chemistry, and anthropology, and explain it to the masses in a way that is meaningful and emotionally satisfying. If he doesn't evolve, he will become irrelevant, and he's used to being relevant and important. He and his followers can change their minds about accepting evolution at any time, just watch as Religion 2.0 brings the faithful back to integrity.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  2. RichS

    The man is drifting away for Bible teachings, preferring instead to defend fantasies of why it isn't so. Carbon dating is a fun thing to contemplate., but there is abundant scientific evidence to back up the 6000 year old creation time as outlined in the Bible. To think that the Creator could not do what he said he did is indeed an abomanation. By their fruits you will know them and he has rotten fruit.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Athy

      Give us just one tidbit of your "abundant" scientific evidence.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Dave 666

      There is no "creator", so...all his fruits are indeed rotten;-)

      November 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      What a fvcking moron. There is ZERO scientific evidence to support the ignorant idea that the earth is 6,000 years old. How stupid.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      We all live amid two chasms of cosmological orders. We have the inner-cosmos and the outer-cosmos. The inner-cosmos is atomically made and is the universal construct of the outer-cosmos. One could not have an outer without an inner. Both are synonymously of the same natures. It stands to reason the inner-cosmos was made first and the outer-cosmos came into being only after the passive finalization of the inner-cosmos was made near complete. The inner-cosmos is transcendent and fixed while the outer-cosmos is ascendant and malleable in their dualities natures.

      The third cosmos is of life itself made from the inner-cosmos decidedly living upon the terrestrial faces of the celestial outer-cosmos. This third cosmos is the celled cosmos or the cellular cosmologic orders of all life forms made anywhere cellular life can gain a foothold to evolve and gain in the abundant natures toward the evolution of its structures ever evolving. Without the two main Cosmos coming into existence; living cellular cosmologies could not exist.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      There is not a shred of evidence to back that crap up. Geology alone proves the Earth is billions of years old. DNA, (which YOU would use to get out of prison if YOU were there unjustly), proves humans are hundreds of thousands of years in development. Idiot. Go get an education. Americans are so fvcking stupid.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Michael John Anthony

      God said "what" now?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  3. JC1

    This comment addresses Christians only: the topic discussed here is one that is not essential in our faith. The only essential topic that we should be worried about when it is placed in question is that of Jesus being our Lord and Savior and that through faith in Him is the only way of our souls salvation after physical death. Everything else can be agreed and disagreed upon, but not this.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Dave 666

      JC..(appropriate handle, I must say)...I disagree

      November 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God!" and John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world!" kind of makes one lean to Mormonism precepts doesn't it?

      November 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      No one in the Old Testament believed in immortality. The Jews in the OT certainly did not.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Tom Andersen

      Oh yes it is very important, it greatly affects the credibility of the bible. In Religion 2.0, salvation occurs when you come to integrity, when your worldview aligns with reality. You may come to the altar now and give your life to the reality of evolution.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Nothing but an appeal to fellow delusional believers to ignore the man behind the curtain. . . To maintain the lies. . .

      November 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  4. Lejaune

    II noticed Pat has become more pragmatic over the years. He became environmentalist believing that global warming is real. Then, he advocates legalization drugs, now he is challenging the traditional Christian doctrine of genesic creation. I say go Pat go!

    November 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Because he is a hindu, political, what ever keeps him in lime light and fills his pocket. Religion has been a good business for him.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  5. Michael John Anthony

    This could mark the beginning of a movement among Christians away from untenable positions that fly in the face of modern science. I think it will probably strengthen their numbers in the long run. I can only imagine how many believers they are losing who cannot reconcile what is being taught in their churches with any textbook on geology, archaeology, biology or physics.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Hopefully you are correct. Every time The Babble is shown to be wrong or unjust, or when what was once supposed to be taken literally is now to be read figuratively, the credibility it unrightfully has will be diminished, and it will be more viewed as the complete piece of crap it actually is.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      The vanities of vain rationalisms is subjective and dependent upon tea totalitarians wanting to squeeze their tea-p bags rather then prod them! :-)

      November 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      Nah, the church is losing its traditional Western power base, and getting on board the reasonable train decades late is not going to stop that. Time to convert more third-world heathens Pat.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Bruce Mc

      But what will happen to the Creation Museum in Kentucky??

      November 29, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Tom Andersen

      Welcome to Religion 2.0. In Religion 2.0 the creator is the universe. The implications of this are enormous. Where does this leave Mr Robertson and his followers? If the creation story, the first words of the Bible, are only a figurative story not to be taken literally, what else should be taken figuratively? It all falls apart like a house of cards. This may help the older faithful stick with him, but it opens a can of worms for the young ones that aren't invested in it yet. Worldview earthquake starts now.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  6. Moby Schtick

    First he says marijuana isn't necessarily evil, and now this?! Go Robertson!

    November 29, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Remarkable isn't it?

      November 29, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Bill

      I may be an atheist, but I'm now convinced that hell has indeed frozen over.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • == o ==

      Maybe someone just upped his dose of Ginko.

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

      Not surprising really. As these charlatans age the money becomes less important and they become immune to their flocks disdain while they reveal their true selves.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  7. diana horton

    everyone has his own thoughts on their creator. they have that right. even early man buried their dead with things he may need in the next life. i don't have a problem with my religion nor do i have a problem with someone who thinks different than myself. i do not think the world is only 10'000 years old. my common sence tells me other wise. the only problem i have is someone pushing their religion on me.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • John Lubeck

      No one has a problem with opinions except when they defy all logic, all facts, all common sense and all reason. In a nutshell, when it's the GOP.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  8. Martin

    Wow, first the Pope says Jesus was not born in December, now Robertson sides with science.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • == o ==

      Maybe the Aztec calendar is correct, with its crowned face in the middle with tongue hanging out, a clear foretelling of the zombie apocalypse, slightly eclipsed by the Diamond Jubilee.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      The old men are having hormone surges.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  9. D-Nice

    When Pat Robertson is more progressive than 46% of the country, there is a problem. We have people in this country that are stuck in the 1600's?? The dumbing down of America continues...

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

      I've never met a fellow Christian who believes dinosaurs are fake and the earth is only a few thousand years old. Ridiculous premise that the majority of Christians believe that.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Josh

      "Ridiculous premise that the majority of Christians believe that."

      Correct...indeed it is.


      November 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  10. say what

    Only Bible literalists believe that.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • say what

      dammit I was replying to lyonlylamb.

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

      Are you labeling bible fascinations of the literal kinds being or rather becoming a commonality in today's rationalisms?

      November 29, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • John A

      It not about Bible literalists believing that, its about some people adopting a 1600's view of a short creation period (i.e. Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher). I believe God made the universe in 6 days and rested on the 7th, but on his definition/timeline of what he called a day (i.e. one of God's days could be 2 billion years). Everything God did in creation was/is on a grand scale, we try to box God in our misunderstanding or arrogance.

      November 30, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  11. lionlylamb

    Why do people think a solitary universe is all there is of outer space? Why not a vast cosmos of universes in immeasurable abundances?

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

      Oh I dont, I am sure there are other intelligent species out there that we have not found or have not made contact with us. We are not alone lol

      November 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Johnny Anonymous

      For some reason this made me think of Brian Cox TED presentation.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • T

      They don't, even Billy Graham put forth the idea of intelligent God-created life on other planets many years ago.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  12. zombie

    the almighty magical zombie man above will not approve.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  13. Patti in Dallas

    As a Christian and as a lifelong student of science, I have never had a conflict between the theory of evolution and a belief in God's hand in the creation of our world and universe.

    Bible "literalists" seek to box God in, they seek to limit God's knowledge & power, they seek to portray God as finite and small within their own minds so that God fits within the tiny-ness of the relative handful of words in the modern Bible that they know of God.

    Science is a continuous human-race-long journey of gradually uncovering ignorance of God to reveal God's handiwork. Science is a gift from God. To bury one's head in some sort of 6.000 year old sand in order to try to ignore and thus to deny God's gift of science is simply to ignore and to deny God.

    Pat Robertson is a supreme flake, but it would not surprise me in the least if he has always rejected Creationism's severe limitations on God in order to further his own agenda.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Shakira

      I am Muslim and like you have had zero issues balancing my faith and science.

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

      Then I guess you reject Genesis as being the inspired word of God, since science has disproved the account of creation given there, even if you try to stretch out the first 6 "days" into 6 "ages".

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

      Shakira, how do you deal with Islam's disproved creation myth?

      November 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Bob

      Science has put for theories, or beliefs, and that is fine if that is where your faith is it. But it is that, faith.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • T

      ShannonCT – I personally don't take the Bible word for word. After all it was written by men, copied by other men, organized by more men and translated many times over by other men. I think you just have to take the essence of what is said. For Christians, the New Testament is really what's important anyway.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      T – If you take the New Testament to be an accurate account of Christ's words and actions, and you believe Christ divine, then you cannot ignore the Old Testament. See Matthew 5:18.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  14. Shakira

    My goodness Pat Robertson using logic...for the most part. Has Hello frozen over yet?

    November 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  15. sybaris

    Religion and the worship of god(s) is a filthy perverted disease of the mind

    November 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • John A

      That is why Jesus came to save us.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  16. Just call me Lucifer

    I've been trying to lynch Pat Robertson forever. God knows he deserves it.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  17. sybaris

    "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's pretty freakin scary.

    It's no wonder the U.S. doesn't even rank in the top 10 for global academic achievement

    November 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • mike johnson

      ... actually sybaris ... the US ranks number one in University level academic achievement.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Dudus57

      But that only because the university level research (Doctorate programs) is about 60% non-US citizens that know our resources allow for a better eduction. Had these people stayed in the US after university you would not need the word "University" in your comments. But alas we prefer to ignore the obvious truth and site statistics that just prove why we fail miserably. Enjoy that.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  18. Nick

    Perhaps I am being too cynical, but this sound merely like a departure from "Young Earth Creationism" rather than a radical change in his ideology or views about science.
    Perhaps this a strategic move to attract more youths to Social Conservatism (and/or the Republican Party – sorry... I hate to drag politics into this.)

    Then again... Perhaps hell has actually frozen over and he starting to think rationally.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      Someone must have told him that the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury acknowledge evolution as fact. He didn't want to be the last moron on the Creationism ship.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • stanmill

      your first take on this is right.
      im afraid hell is still hot.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  19. Little Baby Jeebus

    Wow! Robertson decided to stop lying to his lemming followers.

    It's a miracle!

    Thank you Jeebus!

    November 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  20. jweller

    Amazing, he actually used some reasoned thinking to come to that conclusion, bravo. I wonder how he handles this cognitive dissonance.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • sam

      Lots of good ganja.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Bill

      Speaking of...I gotta get my relaxation on!

      November 29, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      The reasoning was the delusional mother loses her children and more importantly, the cult risks losing members. No cult can afford to give up market share.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:13 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.