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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. freethinkr

    Sorry bob, that a bunch of nonsense.

    "Atheists can no longer dismiss God as "unscientific" or as a "childish delusion". A mechanism for God's existence is well-supported by science."

    That last sentence denotes a total lack of knowledge. Can you please demonstrate one tiny bit of how science "supports" gods existence? "Childish delusion" stands until you do. I won't hold my breath. Try again.

    November 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  2. Dan

    Remove brain. Insert dogma.

    November 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  3. Dan

    Too stupid to understand science? Try religion.

    November 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • bob

      Too stupid to know about the innovations in science and technology such as tissue and genetic engineering, nanotechnology, the Alcubierre drive, and fusion power that provide a mechanism for God to exist? Try atheism, not science.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Dan

      Bobo, until you have proof there is no god. I could sit here dream up all kinds of absurd, magical nonsense but I wouldn't expect anyone to believe me without some proof.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Gawd

      Stop leaning on your crutch Bob.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • kenny

      bob, god is NOT supported by science... that is the whole friggin point you ignant moroon. god is fairy tale for adults who can't handle reality and the end of their existence. you have sooo much fear in you that you WOULD do the most HEINOUS things in support of your delusions to surpress the fear of the end. you won't even know it when you die so stop being a COWARD and accept reality...

      November 29, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      A god who "needs a mechanism" is no god.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  4. Dan

    You religious nuts have no idea how foolish you sound debating whether your imaginary friend exists or not. It's like debating if the tooth fairy exists. An invisible person looks just like a make-believe one.

    November 29, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  5. Bill

    Didn't Pat Robertsone say that the people in Dover Pa shouldn't pray to God b/c they were against intelligent design>?

    November 29, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  6. Gary Duits

    Somebody wished me happy holiday's today,you know what ,i am staying home and have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    November 29, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I am waiting for the punch line....

      November 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I hope you're kidding and that no one is staying home during the holidays based on how someone greeted them. Enjoy life...you may only have one.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Dippy

      It's "holidays," not "holiday's."

      November 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • kenny

      is your faith so weak that anytime you come across someone who doesn't follow it, you doubt it yourself and the fear sets in which turns to anger, hate and finally your own suffering in the one life you will ever have because deep down you know there is no god or heaven and your existence will just end? come out of the closet my atheist friend and accept it, you'll feel better.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Know What

      Maybe Gary Duits is a Brit. They "go on holiday(s)", which is like when Americans "go on vacation".

      Certainly you know both meanings, Gary!? Don't be dense.

      Dippy is correct about your error in pluralization. Where in the heck did these folks learn that greengrocer's plural?

      November 29, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  7. Creation ?

    Palestine is the begging and the end of creation ?

    November 29, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  8. freethinkr

    OMG, Pat Robertson said something sane? Maybe there is a god after all.

    Nah.

    November 29, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  9. hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

    I am great Daristani cornholio

    November 29, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  10. Martin

    Wow, amazing finally a religious person with a brain.
    If only the rest would realize how dumb they look when they go against science maybe they would get somewhere with younger generations.
    Too bad that usually they just mumble some bible verse or some completely non sense argument back at you and then they complain why people make fun of them. Just imagine somebody walking up to you and trying to convince you your car runs on magic squirrels, and no matter what you tell them or show them they keep trying lol that's how most religious people are nowadays.

    November 29, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Athy

      Saying he has a brain may be a bit of a stretch. But at least it's a step in the right direction.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  11. Dana

    Hey Pat. Congratulations for taking your head out of the sand. How does it feel?

    November 29, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • freethinkr

      I'm not sure its the sand he took his out of, but its a start.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  12. hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

    Guys spit on my face, I am ashamed to be a Daristani Satan

    November 29, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  13. Dana

    Maybe he saw this.

    November 29, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • bob

      Thank God someone did this (and no, there is no irony in this for all you atheists who think so).

      November 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  14. Dana

    The earth is not flat and the sun does not revolve around the earth either.

    November 29, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      So try to make it hindu atheist, ignorant self centered, every body knows it, except hindu gentile, ignorant slave Christians.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Athy

      And that took hundreds of years to become generally accepted.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • bob

      Hinduism, one of the most tolerant and scientifically accepting religions on Earth, is maligned in favor of an extreme form of Christianity? Go into a science classroom, please.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      bob, spit on my face, I am ashamed to be muslim

      November 29, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • bob

      Then find yourself a different religion. Islam is a religion, not a race or ethnicity.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  15. bob

    This doesn't have to be an atheist/agnostic field day. There are many religious people who agree with science and evolution, and the only reason that in the Bible Belt there is a much lower belief in evolution is that people are trying to make it seem like it conflicts with religion (it does not). Tried and true science does not have to be in direct conflict with theology, which shows God as the ultimate goal of our species. Why else do so many religions on the Earth talk about salvation, reaching the Kingdom of God, or some variant? Reaching this goal requires both scientific advancement and ethical advancement (which, while discussed in religion, is corrupted to a large extent by the ruling classes of the time. They have been judged.)

    We need to realize that God is why the Universe exists in its present state; science explains how it got there. (I'm not of an Abrahamic religion, just so you know.) By the way, many of the properties of a God (biological immortality, creation of the Universe and of life [through evolution of course], access to large amounts of energy, faster-than-light transport through interstellar space [by the Alcubierre drive], etc.) can be created through science which we are currently discovering, and it is through this method that I believe God derives His powers.

    Atheists can no longer dismiss God as "unscientific" or as a "childish delusion". A mechanism for God's existence is well-supported by science.

    November 29, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • CatSh

      You miss the point.
      Religion operates on faith. And faith can only exist with doubt.
      In other words, if God appeared tomorrow, all religion would perish because faith would no longer be required.
      To have faith is to tacitly acknowledge that you may be wrong.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • == o ==

      You probably didn't get the memo, bob, but this was supposed to be National Atheist/Agnostic Field Day.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • bob

      @CatSh:

      None of this means that God does not exist at all.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • CatSh

      Bob, that idea was proposed by Catholic theologians some time ago.
      It goes to the understanding of why Christianity as a religion depends on there being no evidence of God's existence.
      Without doubt, there can be no faith. They realized that one cannot have faith in God without also facing the doubt of God's existence.
      Pity more Christians don't read beyond the Bible.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • bob

      @CatSh:

      For me, that doubt is nearly nonexistent. Religion is not marked by faith but as a system to get one to a spiritual goal.

      November 30, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  16. Gawd

    These religious nuts will eventually have to back-pedal on everything that is in their fictional bible.

    November 29, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, but they're only going to do it one step at a time. Truth is only realized an inch at a time.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • bob

      @Athy:

      This doesn't have to be an atheist/agnostic field day. There are many religious people who agree with science and evolution, and the only reason that in the Bible Belt there is a much lower belief in evolution is that people are trying to make it seem like it conflicts with religion (it does not). Tried and true science does not have to be in direct conflict with theology, which shows God as the ultimate goal of our species. Why else do so many religions on the Earth talk about salvation, reaching the Kingdom of God, or some variant? Reaching this goal requires both scientific advancement and ethical advancement (which, while discussed in religion, is corrupted to a large extent by the ruling classes of the time. They have been judged.)

      We need to realize that God is why the Universe exists in its present state; science explains how it got there. (I'm not of an Abrahamic religion, just so you know.) By the way, many of the properties of a God (biological immortality, creation of the Universe and of life [through evolution of course], access to large amounts of energy, faster-than-light transport through interstellar space [by the Alcubierre drive], etc.) can be created through science which we are currently discovering, and it is through this method that I believe God derives His powers.

      Atheists can no longer dismiss God as "unscientific" or as a "childish delusion". A mechanism for God's existence is well-supported by science.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • johnsvuk

      Long before science told that earth is flat not the bible..Know the bible and then comment please..

      November 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • bob

      @johnsvuk:

      You epitomize the far right of religion. Never heard of Erasothenes, have you?

      November 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Athy

      Bob, it's really quite simple. There just isn't any god. The whole idea of a god is preposterous. No evidence, no proof, no need, no reason. Just accept it and everything will fall into place.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • bob

      @Athy:

      Like the fine-tuning of the Universe just "fell into place"?

      The way you completely ignore my proposed mechanism is unscientific.

      November 30, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'Atheists can no longer dismiss God as "unscientific" or as a "childish delusion". A mechanism for God's existence is well-supported by science.'

      no it isnt, not even close. There is no scientific support for a supernatural being that can exist outside of the universe and create everything just by thinking about it and that has the powers and abilities that apparently a god has.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  17. Dan Johnson

    For all those literal bible types. Can you tell me when the bible was put together and by whom? How many times has it been translated in English? The message is an important one. To lose it in trying to make it an absolute 'word of God" book is just silly.

    November 29, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      It took long time for hindu's crooks to justify hindu Mithra sim, savior ism called Christianity and a lot of blood shed to turn humanity in to gentile, slaves.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • CatSh

      Christians didn't use a Bible for 200 years. Then a group of bishops got together and decided THEY needed to define Christianity and stop all these people searching for God and finding a different answer.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  18. Nietodarwin

    Knock me over with a feather!!!! This is wonderful news. I now agree with this nut on two things, (because he also said pot is not harmful) THIS WILL HELP A LOT OF KIDS . “If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,” Robertson concluded. This will help our country, our bad test scores This is what Bill Nye was talking about few months ago. Wow, it feels weird to let go of (some) of the hate for ole' Pat.

    November 29, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  19. hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

    spit on my face, I am ashamed to be muslim terrorist, come here and curse Americans, Pat Robertson like I am smart Daristani cookie

    November 29, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • bob

      Hinduism is not Islam, and neither are "terrorist religions." All religions are corrupt in some sense because they were contaminated by evildoers who inserted anti-human rights messages into religious books, but there is much good to be found in all religions. Have you ever looked at the commonalities of all of these religions? It is to reach the Kingdom of God or some variant thereof. To me, this is done not by rapture but by scientific and ethical advancement of our species.

      And yes, I believe in God. Quite strongly.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  20. Dan

    “A thorough reading and understanding of the Bible is the surest path to atheism” – Donald Morgan

    November 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • bob

      A thorough understanding of many fields of science is the surest path to understanding that there are ways in which God can exist that we are discovering right now.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Gawd

      Bob, keep believing in your imaginary friend. Don't forget to give 10% of your income to the child molesters at your church this weekend.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • bob

      I don't derive my methods for God existing from any religious text. Have you heard of tissue engineering, nanotechnology, genetic entineering, fusion power, the Alcubierre warp drive, and parallel universes? These are all active areas of research that point to a mechanism for God existing. If you haven't heard of any of these you live in what I like to call "the Dawkins delusion."

      November 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • bob

      PS I'm not Catholic, or even Christian. Remember, what some people do or believe has nothing to do with God's existence. I think it is complete BS to stop believing due to some transgression by some person in the church. Find a different religion.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Fernando

      I agree Bob. And given time for us to evolve as a species, we may transcend a mere scientific understanding of God's mechanisms of creation and graduate to a working mastery of creation. When our omnipotence finally rivals that of God, I can only hope that we are benign and magnanimous Beings so that we do not unleash our wrath upon Him as He hast upon us.

      November 30, 2012 at 12:44 am |
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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.