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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)
  1. Fabjan

    God didn't give man his reckoning of time until AFTER Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden (which may not have even been here on this planet). Only then did they begin to reckon their years as we do today. Any length of time could have preceded this here on the earth.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • ShannonCT

      Even if you string out the first 6 days to 6 eras, you're still left with the obvious problem that the ORDER of creation in Genesis is contradicted by the evidence.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Missy

      And maybe the unicorns were in charge of keeping the calendars, oh please!

      November 30, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • PaulB

      If Bible "days" are "eras" then the Sabbath only comes around after every 6 million or billion years? If the weekend already seems like it takes FOREVER to get here, can you imagine if this interpretation was true?

      November 30, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Jake

      I will never understand why people like you go to such great lengths to make up wild explanations as to how the stories in the bible could possibly be true, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Wouldn't it be so much easier just to admit that the stories are blatantly false? That's all you have to do to make sense of the bible! It doesn't take such a creative imagination.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Rev. Hosea Kellog

      Oh, goose gizzards. Days is days, and years is years, son. The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.

      Now, this feller, name of Usher, he done figured up all the genealogies of the Bible, and using all of the mathemtical wisdom at his disposal (which was considerable I'm told), come to the conclusion that the earth is some 6000 yars old. Now, tinker with the algebry if you will son, but thar ent no way you're gonna end up with millionsof yars, much less the billions of yars that the socialists claim.

      This feller USher had him more mathematics and algebry than you son, you'd be a fool to question his figurin.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Momof3

      Not on this planet? See...NOW you're just making sh!t up!

      November 30, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Pete

      PaulB, yeah, but that would make for a nice long weekend when it did come around. You could get quite a bit of yard work done in an era.

      November 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  2. PandoraDoggl

    What sense does a 24-hour day even make outside of the context of the Sun and of the Earth's rotation?

    November 30, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • ShannonCT

      The uneducated nomads that wrote the creation myth in the Bible 3000 years ago had no concept of the earth's rotation around the sun, but they knew what a day was.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • mama k

      What sense does the Bible make outside the context of ancient writings based on rehashed ancient mythology?

      November 30, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  3. CoFl;yBoy

    46 Percent of Americans believe something based on a book written by someone 1500 years ago; this book completely devoid of scientific evidence. When they wrote this book, humans did not have the tools and science available we do today. It is a BOOK, people! We could believe Dr. Seuss' writings are the laws as well... because it is a BOOK people!

    November 30, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Tanker

      HOW DARE YOU!

      Dr. Seuss' writings are the WORD OF GOD!

      Remember, the Star Bellied Sneeches died for your sins...

      November 30, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Saraswati

      We saw it happen with Scientology in just the last decade ... it's pretty easy to move from fiction to belief. But in the case of the bible most of the stories evolved over a much longer time and likely were believed for the most part in each rewriting.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  4. pillsville piper

    pat shouldn't have spouted all that blasphemy, some good christian may have to hunt him down and kill him

    November 30, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • CoFl;yBoy

      ...and if Christians are good at anything, it would be killing in the name of God. Kinda like Islamists.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Tanker

      There is a big difference between fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Islamists...

      And as soon as I think of what it is I will tell you...

      November 30, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  5. whatyouwant

    Why can't a belief in evolution be a way of explaining God? I've never understood that, but I was also never a believer in evangelic Christianity. Mainstream Christianity doesn't seem to have a problem with evolution or at least it didn't when I was growing up.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • U.B. Wrong

      Mainstream Christianity doesn't seem to have a problem with evolution

      November 30, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • snowboarder

      ouwant – without a literal interpretation of genesis, there is no original sin and no reason for a messiah. therefore the house of cards that is the christian doctrine falls.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Because it is a fallacious "argument from ignorance".

      You are answering the question with "god" and you don't know if that is actually the answer or not. Humans hate to have questions without answers and that is why "god" is used...as a catch all.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  6. OBAMA PHONE

    Never thought I'd see the day when Robertson wasn't a total lunatic.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      He still thinks he can decipher natural disasters as a message from his god and know exactly what the "message" is. What is scary is when he is the voice of reason because the other voices are so unreasonable.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  7. pillsville piper

    he parted the red sea, he turned the water into wine, he raised the dead, he raised himself from the dead, he instantly healed 10 lepers, he gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, as a sign to one of his prophets, he turned the earth backward 10 steps on the sundial(think of the scientific processes that had to be reversed to do that), he walked on the water, as did his disciple peter until he lost faith, he ascended from the earth and will come again in like manner, he will judge the nations, he is lord. anybody have trouble believing that? i fully understand, but it is my prayer that his spirit will trouble you, convict you, and lead you to his salvation. as much as i love science, nothing can make me doubt that he is lord, that he shed his blood to redeem us, and that he is waiting with arms open wide for all who will come unto him.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Huebert

      Silliness.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • mama k

      This is best left as a movie where we remember the things we really didn't like about Charlton Heston (and then forgotten about until they repeat the darn thing).

      November 30, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      I think he's referring to Penn and Teller.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Tanker

      Think of the thousands of gods men have worshiped.

      Men did not worship Zeus because they did not believe in him, or Odin, or Kali, or Shiva, or the River Spirit.

      Everyone swears their god is the true god, or the best god, or the only god.

      Its all jibberish, its all a delusion. Welcome to the 21st century.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Anotherview

      May I have some of that stuff you're smoking or some of that water you're drinking? It certainly must be some of the finest hallucinogenic material I've ever seen.

      BTW, whilst you're at it......Please provide explicit proof outside of the bible that the claims you make are true. I'll get the popcorn and our regular drinks and sponsors while we wait.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • snowboarder

      piper – all just fanciful stories. if a literal person named jesus lived at best he was a decent philosopher and his life was grossly embellished by his followers or at worst he is entirely fictional.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • ShannonCT

      As long as we're talking about the things attributed to Jesus by secondhand accounts, let's not forget that Jesus endorsed all of the laws in the Old Testament that called for capital punishment for trivial offenses, genocide, and slavery.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • CoFl;yBoy

      Don't forget: he also fed a thousand people with a single tuna sandwich.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • WachetAuf

      God was created just for you. You are the center of God's universe. And you are a narcissist. The irony of ironies about "Christianity" is its central theory that we inherit "eternal life" only when we abandon all effort to survive in either this life or the next and, instead, simply "believe" that Jesus is God, that he was resurrected and achieved "eternal life" for us through his sacrifice. To appreciate the irony a more fundamental question must be asked. Just what is it that drives us to seek the "prize" of "eternal life" in the first place? The driving force is the Darwinian instinct for survival. Darwin, not Jesus, is therefore the moving force in every version of every model of every theory. If we abandon Darwin, we abandon Jesus. If we abandon Jesus we abandon Darwin. If we embrace Jesus, we embrace Darwin. If we embrace Darwin we embrace Jesus. Only if we remove both Darwin and Jesus from our "belief' systems and our minds entirely, and learn, instead, to live in the moment, without reference to past events or future consequences, will we actually have placed our survival fully in the hands of some force which is external to ourselves.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  8. Bill

    Here's another example of religous hipocracy............ they say were alone in the universe and theres no possibility of other life forms or habitable planets, you believe in God don't you?........... not human (that makes god an alien life form) you belive in angels dont you?...... not human (that makes them alien life forms) you believe in heaven dont you?............ its not here on earth (that means there is an alien world out there were this place exists) so religion believes in alien life forms and other planets were life exists as death is not the end? but science is wrong....... Hipocracy at it's finest!

    November 30, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • George Martin

      "They" who say there can't be aliens? There's no mention of this in the Bible and no mention in any church I've ever attended. The subject of aliens doesn't really come up in most religions. As far as I'm concerned, there is no "they" who have ever told me the Bible says there aren't aliens.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Saraswati

      A lot of Christians believe in aliens (other than god or angels) ... I don't think the bible touches on it at all, and many wo read and watch sci fi are Christians. The mormons actually outright describe gods as aliens.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • J

      I don't think there is any established traditional Christian doctrine that believes we are alone in the universe. Maybe the crazy fundies believe that, but they are a relatively new and mostly American phenomenon that result from mixing Christianity with the American cowboy loner I-can-do-it-all-on-my-own ethic. Also, nowhere in this article does it mention anything about life on other planets, so where the heck did you pull that out of your hat? Stay on topic.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • lol??

      Why are you looking for crybaby aliens?............"Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." ........They might be a little ticked at H saps.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  9. Progressive Cynic

    "Most scientists, however, agree that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 14.5 billion years old." No, ALL scientists accept the FACT that the Earth is at least 4.5 billion years old.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  10. right4life

    I know from reading God's word, I can't say "Go to page 278 and you will find out how old the earth is".

    The Earth being round, or that the universe is expanding have been proven by science. All of this can be found in The Bible.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Huebert

      Where in the bible?

      November 30, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • mama k

      Gullible's Travels is the word of which god?

      November 30, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  11. sonny chapman

    Halleluiah !! Pat Robinson has declared, 'Let There Be Science To Better Understand The World Created by God, Allah, Yahweh".

    November 30, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • lol??

      You were taught to a test by nietdarwin.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • John A

      Spin it as you may, you are still going to be accoutable one day for your lifestyle on Earth.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      John A
      No we're not.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • John A

      Let time tell who is wise and what is foolish. There is zero hope for those outside of God in the afterlife.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      John A
      You are right about zero hope in the afterlife, because there is no afterlife.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  12. Chris S.

    Ok, I'm not siding with anything these religious nuts are saying. But the article states that 46% of Americans believe God created humans sometime in the last 10,000 years. It didn't say that the same percentage of people believe the earth is 10,000 years old, right? Do Christians think that the earth was created at the same time as humans? Not a rhetorical question, I really don't know what those lunatics believe.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Huebert

      Some Christians do believe that humans were created on the sixth day.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • cooper

      Saying when something was created doesn't determine its age. The creator determines its age. Example. If I say that God created Adam yesterday, I'm not saying that Adam is a newborn baby, but stating when he was created. So, no, it doesn't mean that you believe the earth is less than 10,000 years of age simply because it was created in the last 10,000 years, but the opposite. It means that you believe that the earth was created aged, just as if it was a man created.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • ShannonCT

      Either way, they're wrong by a factor of at least 10. It's like believing that a flight from New York to Paris will take less than an hour on a commercial jet.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Primewonk

      " It means that you believe that the earth was created aged, just as if it was a man created."

      This would mean that you believe in a trickster god, more akin to Loki, the Norse god of mischief.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  13. Deez

    Questioning is a good thing, but you have to go the extra step of looking at evidence that backs your claims. Science main focus is on questioning, reproducing, learning, and questioning again. There's no judgement there. The problem with religion is that, from the very beginning when Eve ate from the "Tree of knowledge", religion makes it a sin to even question the world we live in; that even knowledge is a sin.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Saraswati

      I think you mean Christianity, not religion?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  14. Ron

    Well God told Adam and Eve to stay away from the tree of knowledge. Looks like fundamentalist Christians are keeping true with that commandment even today. Glad to see Pat Robertson is able to break away from the Young Earth cult.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  15. Danimal

    Wow! The world really is coming to an end! That the first thing Pat has said that sort of makes sense!

    November 30, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  16. Kerry

    “If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,” Robertson concluded.
    So true. People are no longer ignorant. They have knowledge at their finger tips. Unless religion finds a way to tie in science the number of believers in faith are going to continue to drop. Humans, for the most part, are logical.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Deez

      "people are no longer ignorant", the article says 46% of Americans believe that God made them within the past 10,000 years. Based on that, yes, people are still ignorant.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Rev. Hosea Kellog

      Thar ent nothing logical in believing humans sprung forth from the loins of a gorilly, or reckonin that frogs was once horses. Darwinism is allwet son, and will lead you to hell, sure as thars red clay in Georgia and whitewater in Tennessee.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • PaulB

      In this case, people are ignorant because the Bible is ignorant, and they choose to believe the Bible. In all fairness, the Bible writers cannot be blamed for not knowing what we do now, given their limitations, but we have advanced quite a bit over the past couple thousand years. What you mean to say is that people have no excuse for being ignorant any more.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • snowboarder

      kellog – you are just plain funny.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  17. TeaPatriot

    Yaay! Missisippi uses procedural maneuvers to shut down the only ab0rt1on clinic in its state. This should be a model for all pro-life activists in the country.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Roger that

      Yay for regression. Next on the list, witch trials.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • asdrel

      How is that relavent to the topic in this article? I wish people would stay on subject.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Primewonk

      Wrong fucking board moron.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  18. n222s

    At the end of the day, who cares how a person thinks about the age of the world? If you don't let it affect anyone's pursuit of scientific fact, who cares? That should be the concern, not the belief of a person. The problem with any ancestors who believed in a flat earth stemmed from disallowing alternative theories NOT with the belief. If I believe the moon is made of cheese, who cares if I don't let it affect anyone else or my pursuit of knowledge? I'd like to think my belief would change but if I don't force anyone else to hold that view and I don't let it stop my pursuit of the truth, who cares?

    Too many on the left and right easily swallow whole what is fed to them because the person spouting the bull has a D or an R next to their name. It isn't simply a problem with science. It is a problem with our political system as well. For example, the notorious Obama phone lady. I'm guessing she doesn't believe in creationism. However, she does believe her Obama phone is free. Free to her, perhaps, but somebody is paying for it. The problem isn't her belief in evolution. Her problem is the belief that she is given anything without somebody first generating the wealth that allows her the free phone.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Ron

      Because ignorant fools get to vote too. Morons in uneducated areas try to keep schools from teaching science, they want fairy tales to get "equal time". It really does matter if people are educated or not.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • PaulB

      Ah, but it does interfere in the pursuit of scientific fact, unless you think that all this poisoning of public opinion about the merits of scientific research doesn't affect grant funding of research and doesn't turn promising minds away from pursuing science as a career?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Maurice Reeves

      It matters because science cannot advocate for itself. Science needs defenders, and it needs people able to speak on its behalf. If we continue to let people push for Creationism, without challenging them on it, and without standing up for science, knowledge is lost, critical thinking is lost, and we risk pushing ourselves into a second Dark Ages.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • n222s

      And the three posts responding to my initial post reflect my belief that ignorance abounds. I did not express the belief that people should vote for, or support anything that limits the pursuit of scientific truth. I didn't say Creationism should go unchallenged. I don't believe a belief in Creationism will result in anyone being deterred from pursuing a scientific career IF, as I postulate, they are open to all facts and seek the truth and are not afraid of it (which was my central point). People should not be afraid of the teaching of Creationism if it is not presented as undisputed fact. For example, (and not to equate the two), should Nazi theories not be mentioned in school for fear of someone adopting their warped beliefs? No. We shouldn't be afraid of that teaching if the flaws (to put it mildly) are laid open to the students.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • PaulB

      Maurice Reeves
      Unfortunately, scientists are not noted for their oratory skills, like religious leaders and politicians are. Advanced oratory skills come in handy when you don't have the facts on your side, and your only hope of winning an argument is by appealing to people's emotions.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • snowboarder

      n222 – if only it was as simple as a personal belief, but unfortunately we find ourselves defending our rights against the intentional intrusion by the religious into our lives.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  19. James Williams

    Where are they getting that 14.5 billion year old figure for the universe? That's not right. The currently accepted figure is 13.75 billion years, based on studies of the cosmic microwave background. You can find that in Google in two seconds. More sloppy science reporting from CNN. But still, it's nice to hear Robertson admit that the young earth creationists are full of crap.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  20. puzzlekeeper

    Read the "Puzzle Keeper" book or go to the puzzlekeeper.blogspot. You will find that Genesis 1 is telling the story of creation and it agrees with the 13.7 billion year beginning of everything. There are some surprising finds and it totally agrees with present day sciences. The question is 'How did the ancient Hebrews know?

    November 30, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Missy

      Yeah, that book has about as much connection with reality as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. :-)

      November 30, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I think you need to learn the difference between rational and rationalizing.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • ShannonCT

      Yes, how did the ancient Hebrews know that flowering plants came before all land and sea creatures? Oh wait, evidence shows that flowering plants came after many land and sea creatures. So much for Genesis...

      November 30, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • puzzlekeeper

      To get the full impact of the puzzlekeeper blog go to the very first post and work your way up to the latest blog. – It is in chronological order

      November 30, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • ShannonCT

      Your description of the blog gives us enough to know that it is completely not worth reading and patently false.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • snowboarder

      puzzle – it amazes me the logical acrobatics people will go through to shoehorn their religious beliefs into reality.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Relic

      I've found that people make the Bible say whatever they want it to say. Very convenient. There is no standard interpretation, which is why there are so many denominations, renditions, expressions. If Genesis was written by Moses, and Moses came thousands of years after Adam, how accurate could his story be? But then that's it... it's just a story.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:41 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.