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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. darrell bowman

    It's about the garden of Eden. Man was made to live forever and didn't age in the Garden. The age given for adam and eve are after they were kicked out and started aging. How long were they in the Garden? The fact is no one knows, and he's not a God of confusion. He didn't make things appear old so he could trick us. There is no contradiction between an old earth and creation. Of course in Genesis we have a shapeless, dark and void earth He works on some more. God doesn't make imperfection, so how old was the original earth that Satan messed up. It was there and then God created it perfect again. READ IT.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      In Genesis, the earth exists before the creation of the sun and other stars. Flowering plants are created before any creatures in the seas. Clearly this was written by a 3000-year-old nomadic tribe of sheepherders, and clearly not inspired by the creator of the universe. Inconvenient fact disproves Genesis completely.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      Of course make imperfection, the bible itself tells us so.
      How else would Satan be able to rebel in the first place?

      November 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  2. DougNJ

    to Chad and Leonid7, I was raised Catholic and have always been able to have a duality with science and faith. They are not mutually exclusive. A few years ago a priest said the bible is a book about man's relationship with god, it is NOT a history or science book, just theology. After all Genesis has two distinctly different accounts of creation, the six day plan in which man and woman were last. And the Eden bit in which Adam is the first life form created. David was introduced to Saul two different times [perhaps Saul was senile and forgot]. Also Matthew and Luke have very different number and names for Jesus' ancestors. Basically the bible had no continuity checker. The bible is ONLY good for theology.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      The Bible's not even that good for theology, also for the fact that there was no continuity checker. And even if it contained a consistent theology, why would you trust a book whose pronouncements on the natural world have been proven wrong? How do you decide which parts of the Bible were and were not inspired by the creator of the universe?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  3. David Crosby

    42 percent of Americans probably believe in the tooth fairy....Where is Jesus..? Produce him or be quiet....You cannot expect to control the World for another 1000 years with a dead god as head of your church...

    November 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • darrell bowman

      Christ is in a lot of history books by people who had no use for him. You can ridicule the wind, but it will destroy you while you laugh. Try a little Jewish history, and they didn't want Him to exist.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      "You can ridicule the wind, but it will destroy you while you laugh." Typical Christian/Muslim fascist, taking a little too much delight in the thought of divine punishment of those who don't enslave themselves.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  4. Barry Shanley

    I believe in a superior intelligence that created the universe, an intelligence still beyond our comprehension. God, Metaphysical First Cause, or whatever you want to call it. I see no conflict with science. Cherish it as much as we do, we must remember the Bible was written by man. And, sadly, we must also remember that every time a story is told over the generations, it can and usually does change dramatically. Meanwhile, why don't we stop quarreling and just be more appreciative of the universe we have and the great diversity within it, and thereby learn tolerance if not even respect. If we could just do that wouldn't we show our thanks to both science and to the Creator as I think both would greatly appreciate?

    November 29, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Athy

      Why do you believe in such nonsense?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Dumb

      Go ahead and believe in a "creator" if you want. Just don't tell anyone that you know what he, she or it wants us humans to do with our lives, how to act, who to sleep with, what to eat, etc.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  5. Robert

    We may some day come to know with great accuracy the actual age of what we call "this" universe. Given that our theories change as our ability to see improves, and our technical vision continues to improve, we can agree that we do not yet know all there is to know about it. Not that long ago we thought that the Milky Way was the only galaxy. Not that long ago we had no proof of a history of water on Mars or of the existence of other planets outside our own solar system. These are just a few basic facts that have only recently emerged, and many exciting discoveries await us. Still, we have more than enough directly observable evidence both on and off the Earth to place the biblical descriptions of Earth's formation along side the very many other (and seldom mentioned) creation stories of various cultures across the planet; they are all equally valid or invalid, depending on your personal background. Judeo-Christian-Islam people still fighting this appear to believe that any doubt about anything biblical is to ask for a ticket to Hell rather than Heaven (two more biblical constructs very much lacking any evidence). When all come to realize that there is nothing to fear from God – whether one is a believer or not – then fear of Bible-doubting can come to its proper end.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  6. timtseng63

    Reblogged this on Tim Tseng and commented:
    “If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,” Robertson concluded.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  7. Elle

    Ya know, I'm not the most educated person on earth, but I simply cannot fathom how anybody could believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old. It's like hearing the sky is pink, or the moon is made of blue cheese. To me science and religion are two different things. My mother was a the strictest Catholic you ever saw, but she was also a scientist. She believed in creation; none of her children could understand why. I guess we were blessed to have been raised with the kind of logic her own parents (not their fault, that's just how it was then) didn't raise her with. I don't hate people who believe this, it just dumbfounds me, that's all.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      it's like believing there's a giant sky-fairy living in cloud kingdom above our heads, watching our every move to see if we're naughty or nice... it's all equally ridiculous.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  8. Brian

    The sooner these evil people like Pat Robertson are ignored so that they cannot fleece the ignorant out of their money the better.

    The whole idea of Christianity,Judaism and Islam is wicked and immoral. If you all took the time to read your bibles you would see that god instructs his chosen people to a) Stone to death naughty children. b) Indulge in Slavery c) Commit Genocide d) Treat women as property.

    What is wrong with people that they invest so much of their lives in the nonsense.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  9. Slambo49

    Pat supported a worshiper of other gods in the last election and as a result has lost my respect for him as a Christian, as a pastor and as a "biblical authority". He showed true colors – and that color is green – as in money. He as those like him who have the massive money engines that they call churches are the real problem with Christianity today. Christ abhored people like him in Bible..................

    November 29, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • == o ==

      Slambo49?? LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      See this is why they threw you out of Pat's Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer's boot camp.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  10. Tom Sawyer

    Continuing to rely on the calculations of an ignorant (I don't mean stupid) 17th century bishop and dismissing scientific discoveries that don't conform to his ideas has been the main reason fundamentalists have made themselves look irrational. Good for Pat Robertson for hopefully starting a trend toward religion accepting that science is not an enemy.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • DougNJ

      Tom, the Vatican has a science dept which has a SETI program. The Vatican knows that science does NOT threaten faith. After all, if god created everything then the physics of existence were wrote by the creator.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  11. Dr. B

    Wow. Miracles DO happen!

    November 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  12. Liz the First

    Who are you and what have you done with Pat Robertson??? can't believe he's said something that sensible. so many people believing in creationism in this country is a grim testament to the failure of public schools to overcome the intrenched ignorance of the evangelical movement. how can a country survive with that many ignorant, gullible people, especially when so many of them are in government? scary!

    November 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  13. Believer

    I have no idea how old the earth is. The Bible doesn't tell us that. Bible only tells me how long Man has been on the earth. While evolution is evidenced around us, I'll trust the Bible that says God made man and woman about 6 thousand years ago evolution not necessary.
    As for radiocarbon dating and dinosaur bones; Christ turned water to wine. I got no problem with him making some fossils or radiocarbon in the dirt. How he did it is irrelevant to my faith in him and my following of his teachings.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • gary

      Why was he so intent on getting everyone drunk?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Athy

      Believer, you're unbelievable!

      November 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • John A

      gary you don't get drunk if you have a glass of wine. Nice try.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • gary

      Maybe- but many an or gy starts with just a glass of wine.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      actually, the bible does tell you how old the earth is. you can reverse the genealogies from jesus (at year zero) back to adam and eve, the "first humans". it adds up to about 6k years.

      and you believe someone really turned water into wine? really? you believe ridiculous fairy tales like that but ignore tangible proof. read the introduction in any high school science book - congratulations, you now have more knowledge than is offered in the entire bible.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      So god put vast amounts of evidence on earth that suggests man is millions of years old to do what? Test our faith, and let reasonable people burn in hell? Why would you believe in a god that sounds like a complete d-bag?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Believer

      Nothing to do with getting drunk, everything to do with a manifestation of his power.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      So no amount of evidence would convince you that you have a bunch of made up crap. That's known as insanity. Go see a shrink.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Believer

      I have evidence in abundance that he exists: the planets in their orbits, the air that I breath and miracles that I have experienced and continue to happen. If you want to believe the God of science that is fine, I have faith in the observations of science but not in the explanation provided. I certainly put more faith in the Bible and God than in a high school science book.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      The observations of science are that man is far older than 6,000 years. Just do yourself a favor and admit that you believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible and reject all evidence to the contrary.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      'i certainly put more faith in the Bible and God than in a high school science book.'
      And you seriously have no clue how dumb that sounds do you? None at all.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's "BREATHE," you moron. I'll bet you tell people that you "bath the dog" every week.

      You nuts do yourselves no favors when you display your stupidity and ignorance while braying about your beliefs. Just about everyone of you is dumber than a brick.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  14. gary

    Pat looks awfully chipper with that new found att itude. Maybe one of the Spi ce girls stopped by and had a little "chat" with him.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  15. bignikel

    Finally, this A@#$%^! agrees to something logical.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • montyross

      you dont believe mary jane should be legal?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  16. Alexander

    Mary makes a lot of sense. The chances of the complexity of the human body coming to existence by random mutation is nil. Random changes do not, cannot produce intelligence. It seem likely evolution had a hand in the creation, but that could only have happened when a higher intelligence was guiding that evolution. So in my opinion, to reconcile evidence of the evolutionary process from archeological findings with a source of the design that rules such evolution, you need both evolution and a type of intelligence that resides in a subtler plane than the ones of atoms and molecules. Some may call that God, and others may not have give it a name yet, but this world has clearly a design that came from somewhere.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Athy

      Mary makes no sense. Where did the magic designer come from? Give me a logical answer, please.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How exactly do you conclude that intelligence is the result of evolution? Provide your sources. The Bible doesn't count.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sorry. That should read: How do you conclude that intelligence cannot be the result of evolution?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How can you know that evolution didn't cause the size of our brains to increase over eons? Why do you imagine that requires a designer?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • gary

      Which Mary? The mother, the girlfriend or the wife?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      If life was designed, the designer is clearly a moron, and not worthy of worship. Evolution produces the unintelligent design that we actually find in nature.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      Wrong. You simply know nothing about probability, and Evolution. You use "god" as an ignorance "plug in", as you have no better answer. You have an "app for that". UNfortunately if you knew about probability and how evolution works, you would change your mind. Have a deluded life. There is a reason 85% of the National Academy of Science is atheist. They are all smarter than you, and do NOT see the "designer" as necessary.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  17. smart man

    like watching children argue over imaginary friends

    so so silly to make allegorical myth into reality. ABSURD.

    religion is both infantile and dangerous

    God Is Imaginary dot com

    November 29, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • John A

      Yes very dangerous. It causes people to serve the poor (even in 3rd world countries), teaches married people to be faithful to their spouses, keeps people from messing up their lives in drugs. Yes, very dangerous.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Tired of Christian Lies

      you are right God is the imaginary friend of the intellectually disabled.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Tired of Christian Lies

      @John A: more people have died in the name of religion than any virus or disease known to man.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  18. The Great One

    Robertson isn't denying creationism here, he's denying the ill-conceived notion of young Earth creationism.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ummm ... yes?

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

      So he's straddling the line between fact and fiction.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  19. Eric

    If you are an uneducated poor person with no access to information in a third world country, you may be excused for believing incorrect things about the natural world and how old it is because your only source of information may be religious leaders who have their own agenda and reasons for misleading you.

    However, if you're living in the USA, and have a computer and access to the internet, and can read, you have NO EXCUSE. You have access to the greatest store of information ever assembled in the history of mankind, and you can educate yourself and learn the science and the facts for free. The fact that a huge number of people still believe in a "young Earth" in this country is proof that people prefer fantasy to reality.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  20. Eric

    "Most scientists, however, agree that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 14.5 billion years old." WRONG! ALL scientists agree that the Earth and Universe are around this old because that is what the observable evidence demonstrates; the "scientists" who believe the Earth is 6,000 years aren't scientists, they are professional morons.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Professional morons? I had no idea there WAS such a thing. It explains a lot about the comments on this blog.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Athy

      You mean I could be a moron and get paid for it?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I know, right?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      TT, the morons on this blog are amateurs. The professional morons, like Pat Robertson get paid and paid well.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:49 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.