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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 • Evangelical • Evolution

soundoff (4,401 Responses)
  1. hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

    where is the beef, just pork ism, hypothesis, or hippothesis, did you know skuns, Thin Allah created dianasoures, and Thin Allah killed them all, in just one stroke, too goons

    November 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  2. Bob Knippel

    Evolution is not a matter of theology any more than the fusion which powers the sun, or the physics involved in the electronic circuits of a cell phone, or the movement of continental plates along the surface of the earth. People who believe the world is 6000 years old in the face of anatomically modern human skeletal remains which are 50,000 years old need a reality check.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  3. JBullets

    Ahhh, the Christian playbook in action. Maintain your unbelievable and out of touch point of view with absolute vigor until you reach a tipping point and can't argue your position with a straight face, re-calibrate, change your stance to something a little more palatable, and defend it staunchly for 20 years or so, and repeat.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • John A

      Not as classic as the unbelievers playbook. Make excuses for your moral lifestyle and party it up because there is no hope at the end.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      I think you mean immoral lifestyle john a, you keep getting it wrong.
      But then again you keep getting it wrong in thinking its an excuse for such a lifestyle so I'm not surprised

      November 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  4. inconvenient

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

    WOW.....not only is it remarkable that he was just, what? Too tired that day to keep up the charade, and just went for the blunt answer? But his statement quoted above is far more prophetic (yes, pun intended) than probably even Robertson realized when he said it. "Losing your children" by fighting science isn't just limited to creationism vs. evolution, folks....it's the whole wretched, brainless, mind-numbing mess.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  5. Joke

    Supporting legalizing marijuana, supporting evidence of human activity vis a vis global warming, and now creationism...in the throes of senility Robertson is beginning to discover Reason. These really are the 'End Times.'.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  6. Moby Schtick

    What? You may want to try that again.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  7. hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

    Humans, Pat Robertson is a secrete hindu, political agent, he would say what ever keeps him in lime light and fills his pocket with money, like my father, street Thug of Daristan, Religion has been a good business for him, for me and my father, goons.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  8. Susie T. Bean

    Same old get pathetic out....OH! that's NOT what the Bible says! Oh no, no, no. The bible only contains TRUTHS.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      What? You may want to try that again. (reply meant for this location)

      November 29, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  9. jack

    religion is myth / folklore. Study cosmology to learn about creation. Deities, demons are all pretend.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Charles

      Either way, it takes faith.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  10. badbunny

    jesus...he is a series of tubes, a big truck you put stuff in.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • John A

      He is actually a King, and of mankind will be judged by his words.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  11. Apple Bush

    Alice Cooper is in town tonight and can't go dammit!

    November 29, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Akira

      My sympathy.
      I know how much you like him.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Did ya know that Alice Cooper has been a Christian for several years now?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Someone told me that. I don't keep up with his personal life. He likes golf too I hear. I know for a fact in restaurant in Phoenix has the biggest chili dogs in the history of man.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Akira, it sucks. I was driving my daughter home from a lesson and heard that AC was playing tonight. Tickets went on sale in June. I am slipping. School night so I couldn't take the kids anyway. Sad Face.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      AB, internet says he is performing on Saturday 08 December 2012 with Johnny Depp, if you live in Phoenix!!!

      November 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  12. #1JesusFan

    "They're out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles "

    STOP RIGHT HERE!!!!!!!

    Dinosaurs are NOT reptiles

    November 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • sciencerules

      they are actually! They are just not yet fully known as to whether or not they were cold or warm blooded.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @JesusFan

      Oh this I need to hear. What were they then?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Athy

      Dinosaurs are not considered to be reptiles.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      They are the ancestors of some modern reptiles (i.e. birds).

      November 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Susie T. Bean

      Dinosaurs are lobbying the UN for membership status, and nibbling the head off delegates who keep peddling the god trick.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      They were reptiles, but not "lizards" as some people call them.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Biology is not an exact science, therefore is open to argument and dispute regarding some of the classifications.
      Math is an exact science (last time I heard).

      November 29, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • You're wrong, again

      Dinosaurs are most likely the ancestors of birds, therefore they are NOT reptiles. Simple studies of the hips indicate they have bird hips, not lizard hips.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      Birds are reptiles. To use the term reptile in a way to exclude birds is poor taxonomy.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  13. John Cleary

    "...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.” "

    REALLY? That is one of this woman's biggest worries? That is what keeps this woman up at night? Bloody hell, I want her life. Mind you, I don't also want to be CRAZY like her.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • JPX

      "Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years". How depressing.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Bob Knippel

      The bible does not explain dinosaurs because people wrote the bible, and two thousand years ago nobody knew of dinosaurs.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  14. NukeTim

    What a f0000000000000000000l....

    November 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  15. C. Kenneth Rockwell

    Check out: http://kenrockwell.blogspot.com/2007/10/life-after-first-flood.html
    After you go there for the article, you can also watch the three-part video found in the right column.

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

      Don't bother. Ignorant humans who appropriated ancient creation stories from the Sumerian myth knew nothing about geology, nor could they be expected to. The old book is simply wrong. Get over it.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      Nice use of selective reading to try to make Genesis fit the evidence. Too bad you had to ignore all the parts of Genesis that are clearly contradicted by the evidence.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      Some people will go to ANY length to make their old book look like it's true.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • dan

      you might want to either grow a brain or go back to school... and I am not talking of sunday school.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  16. sciencerules

    I just want to make it clear that it was not shortly after Darwin's publication of his theory contributing to evolution that the scientific community denounced creationism. The Royal Academy of Science in London was closely married to their faith in the Church of England, including creationism when Darwin published his then "blasphemous" book, according to the Academy. It took decades for the scientific community to really accept Darwin's findings and consider creationism no longer a part of scientific thought, and that doesn't mean that some scientists don't still believe in a god who created mankind.

    Whats wrong is that people want to perpetuate lies because they think it harms their faith. All it really does is make those with blind faith look foolish.

    I respect for religion, but I choose not to believe in a god. If you do, that is great, it very likely gives you peace and a humble nature, as well as an understanding to your perspective on life. That does not however make it ok to tell others they are going to hell, that this mother so sincerely believed her family would go to hell for believing in science over faith is why this country is still struggling with the problem of evolution in the classroom after it has been established 150 years ago!

    Keep your faith, just don't let it block the developing minds of Americans.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Humanist11

      Excellent post sciencerules.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Susie T. Bean

      ((I have respect for religion,)) What exactly is there to respect? Phrases like this one get tossed in to placate the feelings of believers in nonsense science. Ask the millions who have suffered and died at the hands of one fanatics of one myth religion of another. Google suicide bomb and see how many religiously motivated slaughters there were in the past 30 days.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  17. Kevin

    Not all Christians are "fundamentalists" or "biblical literalists". They never have been. It's the media that limps all Christians into things like this. I am an agnostic but it seems to me that to be fair to Christians you should be honest when looking at what they believe and think. I went to a very conservative Christian college but most of the religion professors were not fundamentalists.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The polls that show how large a percentage of US citizens believe crazy sh!t like not believing in evolution and a literal, six-day creation.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      If one is not fundamentalist in ones belief, how does one decide which part of the holy book to ignore?

      November 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Susie T. Bean

      @ShannonCT: You use "rationalist fundamentalism". Deep isn't it.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      And "evidential fundamentalism".

      November 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  18. blessedgeek

    REALLY?

    November 29, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  19. mary

    The bible says a thousand years is as one day to God.. But it does not say it is actually a thousand years..
    I think the fact the earth could be much older than man should be a non issue..
    Using the scientific data to determine the earths age.. Still does not discount the bible or that there was a creator.
    I was taught creation days were 7,000 years each..Making the earth almost 48,000 years..
    Everyone has their opinion.. And science is not infallible.
    The thing that should tell us there was a creator is that we are by design.. There has to be iintelligence behind it all.. To think otherwise is in my opinion.. Not thinking clearly.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Why is it "not thinking clearly" to suggest that we may not be "designed?" Why do you insist that "there must be intelligence behind it all?" Nobody designs snowflakes, yet they are ordered and appear to have been "designed." Why not our universe?

      November 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      If you think life was designed, then the designer is an idiot. There are all sorts of examples of individual species and ecological systems that are poorly designed. Nerves and body vessels that are wastefully long. Species competing with each other to the detriment of all of them. Vast amounts of pain and fear and death.

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

      Who designed the designer?

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

      It's all crap. We simply don't know. There could be billions of universes. We will never know what caused them. Certainly the writers of Genesis had no clue either.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Fundiot: But everything's sooooo cool and nifty!! There just MUST be a designer!!
      Rational person: So is your god not cool and nifty, or do you change the rules whenever it comes to your own pet theories?

      November 29, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • mary

      Have you ever studied the complexity of how our body functions? What about math? There is a order, a balance, a design that should leave no doubt..
      If you take your hands off the wheel of your car, it will run off the road.. Yet people would choose to believe that every cell in our body functions perfectly without having been planned. With no mind having set them on their course..
      Left alone they should do the same as the car, total disorder.. Yet that does not happen. Millions of cells functioning without a driver?
      DNA is design.. A code.. Without which the body should be just a lump of flesh, or less or who knows what~!.. Yet it follows this code to form into a fully functioning , human being.. Developing and growing. Into an exact copy of the parents.. And its species.
      I simply can not believe life is random with no creator.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      Then take a course in Chaos Theory. Order arises spontaneously. No "god did it" it necessary.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hmm. Do tell, mary. Then why do cells become abnormal and develop into cancer? Why are babies born with spin bifida? Why do people develop Alzheimer's and Parkinson's?

      If your god is omnipotent and designed everything in the cosmos, how do such anomalies occur?

      There is absolutely no evidence that a "designer" created the universe.

      And your car analogy is just plain silly.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Athy

      And all this is good evidence for evolution. Bad designs eliminated, good designs retained. No intelligent designer required.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Mary, just because something appears designed doesn't mean that it was. You bring up math, and that's good. Now consider why there's so much disagreement on what god had done and wants to do and how much agreement there is among mathematicians and chemists. You MUST do math right and chemistry right or else it doesn't work. But anyone can believe anything about a designer. So why did god choose to communicate math and chemistry so clearly but not his own will?

      Our body has all sorts of stupid additions that we don't need. Why do we have genes for gills that are simply "switched off?" That doesn't make sense under a model of design. Yes, millions of cells (many of them harmful) functioning without a "driver." The genes are all out for themselves, trying to get passed on to another generation (cancer is good at this). If the cells didn't function in an orderly way, they'd die far too quickly to reproduce as they do. Nobody is saying you should believe that life is "random." But to suggest that there must be a certain type of creator is pure conjecture. We don't know, and it seems pretty stupid of god not to make himself as obvious as math or chemistry which we understand fairly well and certainly enough to be in agreement over.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Susan Satterfield

      What you were taught is creationism. Dating fossils and minerals has been a tested and reliable means to show occurrences of volcanoes, tsunamis and yes, dinosaurs. They were reptile and tetrapods or birds for some of you. Seven thousand,million, billion years, all theories from the church. Evolution is simply the changing of creatures genetically to adapt to a new environment. So what you are denying is the change in the Earth and the splitting of the continents. That is also the churches way of trying to get out of saying that we all came from the equator area or yes, Africa. Deny, deny, deny. It is very absurd. Don't let one man dumb down a population. If God hadn't wanted us to know about evolution, he would have left us with the birds brain.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Susie T. Bean

      (The bible says a thousand years is as one day to God..)) WHERE?
      Bible math is such a pain.
      1 day = 1000 years.
      48000 years = 1 creation unit.
      1 God = 1 silly old codger the same age as John McCain.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Humanist11

      Mary......I understand your logic about there having to be a creator. It does kind of make sense. When we humans build a new airplane or spaceship it is designed in painstaking detail and still is not perfect, but it usually works pretty well. That is how the human mind works. Science has shown us that the physical world does not work the same way and it is harder for us to grasp than a straight design. Science has a very good track record of getting to the truth of how things work in our universe, even though it is not perfect and we sometimes have to backtrack and adjust findings. As humans we must look at all sides of complicated issues, examine the evidence, develop our opinions and start the process over again to continually update our beliefs. Whether we like it or not, science has the evidence that most accurately describes our universe's origins. The bible and religious leaders have stories passed down the generations that were written by people who did not have access to the scientific data we have today. Evolution really makes verifiable sense if you are honest enough with yourself to really learn the facts.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      Sorry Mary but when you were taught creation days were 7k years why didn't you turn around and ask why god needed that much time? Why, if he is a god, didn't he create everything fully working in an instant?
      If a god needs time to do things then how is he a god?

      November 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Pete

      Mary, nobody is an exact copy of their parents. Hence Evolution, every generation is slightly different than the previous one.

      November 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  20. Pam

    What happened to Pat Robertson? Well, whatever he's smoking, it's working. I had no idea the man could be the least bit rational and it turns out, he kinda is! Good pot makes for rational thinking!

    November 29, 2012 at 7:46 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.