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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)
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    November 30, 2012 at 7:55 am |
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    November 30, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  4. heliocracy

    Most scientists agree that the universe is 13.75 billion years old, not 14.5 billion.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:54 am |
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    November 30, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  6. Bible Clown©

    Yeah, how can these bozos even pretend to believe the 'young earth' theory? It requires a meddling god who pretends to be gravity and erosion just to dupe his creations, or a super-satan strong enough to create most of the world himself as a joke. Give up and admit we live in a real, physical world, and our minds are just electro-chemical activity; then you can wonder how we come up with imaginary realities like love, loyalty, and respect which are as actual as any mountain . . .

    November 30, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  7. Fact based

    Science and religion answer different sets of questions. Science cannot, nor is it intended to, answer questions about why I am here, what happens when I die, or any other similar questions. Religion, likewise does not, nor is it intended to, answer questions about how the world works–how species adapt, how tornadoes or hurricanes form, or how volcanoes form. The thing is, when we talk about "truth," there is no way for us to determine any truth about religious beliefs here on Earth. If there is a hereafter, we'll learn it there but until then we take those beliefs on FAITH, not fact, as facts are based on actual experience or observation of things that are known to exist. Science, on the other hand, provides plenty of truth and FACTS for us in the here and now.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Science has PLENTY of answers as to why you are here. "FAITH" is NOTHING but a religious word for "I don't know and I'm too afraid to keep asking why. FACT; Humans share MOST of our DNA with chimps, the small percentage of difference is what leads to chimps being chimps and humans humans. FACT most humans have some Neanderthal DNA in them as well, (this is to say the "missing link" is NOT missing, it's PART of us. FACT If you look at evolutionary links, all life is related. If you look at this certain protein, we are closer to a dog than a chicken. If you look at a different protein, we're closer to a cow than a dog. It's complicated. Evolution is as certain as gravity or the atomic bomb. The guy below who wrote what an embarrassment this is for the USA is right on the money. “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. Religion IS harming our children and our country . Some christian probably will kill Pat for having said this, that's what they do best, kill those who disagree. How do you think this nonsense has stayed so powerful all this time.

      November 30, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  8. lloyd roberts

    What you also should have told your viewer Pat was that if we keep on teaching our children creationism, they will never compete in science and biology with children from Europe and Asia. No more doctors, no more physicists. Just a generation who's only jobs will be, "welcome to Wal-Mart".

    November 30, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  9. Ro Laberee

    Oh, thank you Pat Robertson. And, now, as with the flat Earth and geocentric universe, slowly, slowly the truth can emerge from the clutter of man-made falsehoods.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  10. Paco del Guacho

    Religion has a long history of opposing science, and science has won each of those debates. Surprisingly, religion eventually had to accept that the sun was indeed the center of the solar system.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Matt

      Respectully, science has not won the debates. Science has not refuted what the Bible says. It most often confirms it, or is neutral. The purpose of Genesis is not to give a scientific explanation of how the earth was physically formed. It is to show that God lovingly created us for relationship, we screwed that relationship up, and He restored it by sending Jesus.

      November 30, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      " Science has not refuted what the Bible says. It most often confirms it, or is neutral. " Sure, buddy. You go right on believing that. So far the world ain't flat, bats ain't birds, the sun don't move, etc, etc. I can' t think of much in the Bible that's actually true, except the names of some towns. Except in the GOP primaries where it said Cain would be cursed and go on wandering forever, that was spot on.

      November 30, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  11. Ishmael

    The bible as it stands today is neither God's word nor Jesus Christ's. It was written, rewritten, edited by others – including Emperor Constantine – after Jesus who did not authorize it. Jesus could have asked the scribes who existed in his times to put down on paper his teachings (gospel) but he did not ... and for a reason. Jesus Christ – who never created a religion – and his followers were ironically not christians. They were jews, lived according to jewish traditions and died as jews. God and his prophets love us. Those who build a religion around them as an instrument of power are the problem.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:35 am |
  12. wolfyb

    It is difficult to believe that the US is the only advanced country in the world seriously debating this issue. This debate is an indictment of the education system in this country and the political structure that supports it. Politicians and religion have something in common, they are very short on facts and long on fantasy.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • Evenstar13

      You may be right, but what is most apparent is that you are quite short on faith!

      November 30, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  13. Big Man

    It is beyond me why seemingly intelligent society continue to believe/honor the psychotic scribblings of a band of ragged carpetbaggers that roamed the deserts of the levant 3000yrs+ ago.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • Get Real

      Ragged carpet baggers can be more intelligent that you. Their appearance has nothing to do with anything. You sound like a superficial tw@t.

      November 30, 2012 at 7:49 am |
  14. Dick46

    OMG, I'll have to rethink evolution now that Pat has embraced it.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • j791

      I have always laughed at the fact you can walk into a museum and see dinasour bones which most believe existed but when you walk over to the exhibit showing the eveolution of man, complete skeletons and all, well that doesn't apply as evolutionary proof.

      November 30, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • theboomboomroom

      i made a lol. nice.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  15. JellyBean

    And again, good ol' Pattie-boy surprises me.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:24 am |
  16. david

    Most of the problem with the creation vs evolution problem is a mis-translation of the original Greek and Hebrew into English long ago. Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 were two separate events. In the original Hebrew, the passage in 1:1 uses a word that means to "create out of nothing". The passage in 1:2 uses a word that means to "create out of something that already exists". I do believe in God and the Bible. I also believe that the original translators meant well, but from time to time did not have the cultural knowledge of the Jews to understand the context of some of what they were trying to translate into English. Yes, the Earth is millions of years old. But, God did a re-boot of his creation 6-10K years ago.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • Mirosal

      NO part of the old testament was written in Greek. That came later in the new testament. And Greek is still spoken. So is Hebrew. You run into the problems with dead languages of the old testament like Aramaic and Coptic. Do you speak either one? No, you don't. No one does.

      November 30, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Mirosal

      oh, and why a "re-boot"?? Just what was "re-booted"?

      November 30, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Big Man

      Gee, you mean the bible wasn't originally written in kings English?

      November 30, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Primewonk

      david wrote, " But, God did a re-boot of his creation 6-10K years ago."

      Please post the citations to the peer-reviewed scientific research that supports this.

      November 30, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      " But, God did a re-boot of his creation 6-10K years ago." The article gives the impression that Robertson was talking sense, when in reality he went on to make up some of this stuff about a second genesis. Yes, God created the world twice, just like it doesn't say in the Bible yet. Why does any Christian listen to this obvious psycho?

      November 30, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  17. Russ

    Genesis 2
    1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. 4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

    Exodus 20 (The 10 Commandments)
    8 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

    Seems Clear to me. If I accept the idea that God is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent, shouldn't I then accept the idea He could create the world and the universe and all that is in it with a thought? Or does he need time?

    November 30, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • Quadg

      "space" and "time" are indivisible. you can't have one without the other.
      why its called space time..
      so if god created space. he had to create time as well..
      or, with enough "time" a molecular cloud could accrete into a sun and a load of planets, just under the effect of gravity.
      no one need create anything.
      the problem most people have is they cant imagine a million years, yet alone a billion... something to do with out puny 80 year life spans.. the understanding is beyond our horizons.
      same with evolution. its a process that occurs at the level of populations and generations. hard to understand for us short lived individuals who are trapped in it. we have nothing to compare it with...

      November 30, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  18. bob

    +1 for Pat Robertson. While I generally dislike the man I'm glad to hear some common sense come out of his mouth.

    Religion and science can co-exist. Too many people try to put them at odds with each other, and that's just not how it is. Religion is science for the soul. The two deal with completely different issues. Some people need to accept the validity of science and its study of reality and leave religion to the study of the soul. The bible is a religious guidebook, not a textbook. People need to stop trying to pick apart the bible and use it to guess the age of the world because that was never its purpose.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • Evenstar13

      Creationism and evolutionism are two different sides of the same coin. As a Catholic who has read the bible many times I can say that nowhere in the bible does it say one of Gods days are 24 hrs. Think about it, God has been around forever and will be around forever. He created time, so, whats a day to him? It makes sense!

      November 30, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Primewonk

      Evenstar – Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. You got the first part perfect – the whole god and time bit, but you failed miserably at the second part.

      November 30, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Jesus

      Creationism and evolutionism are two different sides of the same coin

      No they are not.

      November 30, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Creationism and evolutionism are two different sides of the same coin." What does that mean? One's right, one's wrong. That's not how coins work. It's like saying life and death are two sides of a coin. Creationism is wishful thinking – attempts to "prove faith." Listen up, you need faith to get to heaven; proof destroys your faith. If God is real, you'll never know until you die. Be true to your own beliefs and stop looking for proof; what's true is true.
      If we are evolved monkeys, then Jesus became one too and hung on a cross with us, ok? If we dragged ourselves out of the sea and then upright, the bush still burned, right? What we are, we are. Have some of that faith you preach and just accept it.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  19. gymnast46

    We're told that 46% of American's believe the earth was created in the last ten thousand years. How can this stat be true? In 66 years I can't recall ever meeting a single person that stupid.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Mirosal

      It was the same 46% who saw Elvis as the new greeter at Wal-mart on black Friday

      November 30, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • Saraswati

      One part people point to is that these folks are all congregated in backwards areas like Texas and Mississippi. But I think there are a few things skewing the dats, too. First, most reasonably intelligent folks understand that answering phone surveys that ask about things like family income is dangerous. This leaves, in all target syrvey groups, the less knowledgable and skeptical. Second is the general numerical ignorance...anything over a couple of thousand is the same to a lot of folks and they're likely not to think about it much when asked the quesion in a survey (maybe not less scary).

      I've lived all around the US and have a master's in the social sciences and also find this number a bit dubious. I'd put the number at maybe 20%.

      November 30, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • Bibletruth

      Dont you know at least 1 Christian in all your 66 years..lol

      November 30, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Primewonk

      It's even worse. This poll has been repeated several times going back many years. The results show a slight worsening in fact. Most of the rest of the respondents stated they beleived in "theistic" or god guided evolution. Only 15% actuually stated that humans have evolved from earlier hominid species over millions of years with no god involved. When it was broken down by political party, only 5% of republicans understood evolution.

      November 30, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Prime

      I don't really care how many believe in intelligent design, as long as the put science first. I don't follow that belief, but the fact is we can't even know we aren't someone's lab experiment. Just don't teach any of those theories in a science class room, because they aren't science.

      November 30, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Primewonk

      Saraswati – every year a dozen or more states try and enact legislation to "teach the controversy" – code for teaching ID and creationism. States like Louisiana pass voucher programs allowing fundiot nutter schools to get state funding to teach creationism.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      " In 66 years I can't recall ever meeting a single person that stupid." I have a co-worker getting an online degree in this nonsense. Geology only takes hours to happen, dinos were in Eden, electricity is made by angels flapping their wings. I meet people like that every day. Medieval peasants with smartphones and cars.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Prime, I agree they shouldn't get money for any program that doesn't teach proper science. If vouchers are used at a school it should be required to provide a secular option or opt out of vouchers. I also agree with pointing continuously exposing people to the science that conflicts with these biblical ideas – such exposure has had an impact on people like Pat and those many Christians who don't believe in the literal interpretation. But it's not fair to throw all theories into the same pot. The young earth theories that conflict with science are very different from the ID theories that posit a guiding hand or initial plan. These latter theories should also not be taught in school, but really there's not much to teach. Ridiculing those theories just makes us, who don't believe in them, look silly, because they aren't anymore falsifiable than verifiable. The good news is their proponents aren't the ones driving the push for alternate theories in school. Once the literalist young earth types are gone, the hard push for ID in the schools with be gone too.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • John A

      100% of Americans will die. Nobody has your back outside of God after that.

      December 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  20. fred

    The bible is not to be taken literally. It's a book of uplifting and inspiring stories that itself has evolved over the years. You can certainly be religious and believe in God, but also believe in science and evolution.

    November 30, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • Mirosal

      How can a static book that hasn't changed since its "birth" 1700 years ago at the Council of Nicea "evolve"? That's like discovering new words in Latin.. it's a dead language. Your book was written, compiled, and then not touched... ever again. How can you say that a book evolves?

      November 30, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      The only thing that evolves with respect to The Babble is man's interpretation of a book of (bad) fiction by men, largely in response to modern science. Any change is intended to maintain a cult's market share in the highly competitive human sucker market.

      November 30, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Trajk Logik

      The only thing that evolved was the interpretation of the word of God when seen through new scientific evidence. Religion has evolved to adapt to the new discoveries science makes about the universe and our place in it.

      November 30, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • LMO

      The bible is the earliest work of science fiction.

      November 30, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Bibletruth

      The reality is that the bible is the truth. It is the truth that folks have trouble with. Within the bible is such overwhelming proof of its divinity (think prophecy) that one wonders what folks would accept as proof. Jesus said if you dont believe Moses, etc. you wouldnt believe even if one were raised from the dead before your eyes. And when Jesus raised Lazarus (4 days dead and in the grave) before there eyes, what was the response of the leaders, lawyers, and scholars? They sought to kill Christ AND Lazarus!
      Strange infatuation this unbelief before such overwhelming evidence. And this same thing goes to Christians that deny the Seventh Day Sabbath and still talk about "ten commandments". Strange infatuation.

      November 30, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • heliocracy

      Bibletruth, you talk about what the Bible says as being proof that the Bible is true. If I wrote a book about a giant spaghetti monster creating the universe, could I then cite my book as proof of the spaghetti monster's divinity? Things don't work that way, and only a fool would seriously think otherwise.

      November 30, 2012 at 8:53 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.