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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. GetOffYourHighHorse

    There are only a few fundamental Christian sects that believe in the young earth theory. Science and religion can and do work together. The Vatican has a scientific academy which includes many nobel lauriets in physics, chemistry, and physiology.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      And yet with all of those bright minds, they still can't crawl out of the bronze age.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • information has made humans slaves

      vatican science

      hahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahhahahaha

      new methods of covering up deviate behavior is not science

      November 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • GetOnYourSpellChecker

      Come on. It's "Noble Lariats", you dummy.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • kevin

      actually, GetOnYourSpellChecker, it's nobel laureate.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Barry Yo

      Um, Kevin, you just got pwned. Big time pwned. Hopped with a lariat.Belly up, feet kicking.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  2. mike

    God gave us functional brains in order for us to use them. Creationists are wasting theirs.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      God did not give us brains. Evolution selected for our brains. Our brains are changing even now.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  3. Russ

    Not that I'm looking to defend Pat Robertson, but the ti.tle of this article is misleading.
    He's not challenging creationism. He's challenging a particular subset of it: "youth earth" creationism.

    It seems only to be news to the media that there are other views among evangelicals.
    Here's Tim Keller, for example...
    http://biologos.org/uploads/projects/Keller_white_paper.pdf

    November 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • PaulC

      I'm not looking to your post.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Barry Yo

      Yo, what it is Russbro. Tim Keller is the true zen master of the blind-deaf-and-dumb argument from ignorance. He is the example, all rightey matey

      November 29, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  4. Nissim Levy

    God created the universe mathemagically.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  5. Mike

    Wow this is the 2nd time Robertson has made sense to me. The first was when he said we sould stop throwing potheads in prison. Maybe, Just mayne this guy will live long enough to be sane. I hope so.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • realist

      I agree. If a religious nut like this finally gets it, when will the rest of the sheep.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  6. palintwit

    When traveling south of the Mason-Dixon line you will encounter inbreds at every stop. These are the people that ride the short bus, those poor souls who believe that the Flintstones is an accurate depiction of early man and that automobiles really were foot powered.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • information has made humans slaves

      new york and new jersey have more "short bussers" than the whole rest of the world combined.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Pete

      I live south of the Mason-Dixon line and have never in my life encountered an inbred person. You shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet. In fact the biggest rednecks I have come across in my lifetime can be found in Maine.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  7. Rick

    John Walton's The Lost World of Genesis One addresses this beautifully.

    In short, Genesis 1 is ancient literature written to ancient people. Their question was, "How do things functioned in an ordered (not chaos) world?" Genesis 1 answers this question. Ancient people were not concerned about where things came from. And Genesis 1 does not answer that scientific/materialistic question.

    Today we are very interested in where things came from. So some people ask this modern question of Genesis 1 and try to use it to answer that question. It does not work because that’s not what the chapter is about. And it certainly does not work when comparing those answers to scientific answers about where things come from.

    The better we understand what scripture (or any writings) meant to the original readers, the better sense it will make to us. While Genesis may have been written for us. But it was not written to us.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  8. Billsf

    The bible is a great book if you're into mythology.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Ken

      The Bible is fact go troll somewhere else fool

      November 29, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • I Am God

      Hey Ken if the Bible is fact please show me proof of God or Jesus.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • hal 9001

      Your assertion is correct, "Billsf". The Bible is, in fact, mythology.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'The Bible is fact '

      warn us when you are going to say stuff like this, i almost sprayed my tea over my monitor laughing so hard.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • niknak

      It is not even all that good at that Bill.
      Too long, too boring....

      November 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • John A

      So is the USA, since its founding forefathers used it. So is the calendar most of use to count an event in time about a person dying on a cross. Stop making excuses for your moral lifestyle Billsf.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Libertarian Atheist

      Yep, just looked. Mine is on the shelf next to Bullfinch's Mythology and The Iliad.

      November 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  9. realist

    Why is this so complicated. The books of the bible were written thousands of years ago to explain the world around them and attempt to bring some type of order to it by beleiving there was a god looking out for them. Move forward a few thousand years and we have learned a lot. We don't know everything, but we have learn enough to konw that the stories in the bible are just that, stories. No magical being created everything. The universe, our planet, and everything on it just evolved over time. We still have a lot to learn about all of the details, but science has shown this to be true. Hey, hundreds of years ago it was written and everyone beleived the world was flat. Do you still think that is true?

    November 29, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • HMS Beagle

      Funny how the prophetic books of the Bible are so much more accurate than Nostradamus, and are still being fulfilled today. Jews returning to Israel and reforming as a nation happened in 1948, it was prophesied about 2,000 years ago. Then a muslim nations with Russia attack Israel. Nah, that doesn't sound like anything that is going on now...

      Nah, they are all just fairy tales..

      November 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Sue

      Beagle, stow the bull output re prophecy. If the "prophecy" didn't give exact dates for the predicted events, before those events happened on the predicted dates, it's steaming bull excrement . Big time bull.

      Anyone can predict all kinds of events, and enough stuff happens over time that they'll be right eventually. That's not valid proven prophecy. It's just spew.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Barry Yo

      You tell 'im Sue. Sniff out the bull. Make Beagle scoop his own poop.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • niknak

      We don't believe in Nostradamus either Beagle Baily.
      Anything can be "prophesied" in the bible.
      Each passage could mean whatever one wants it to.

      But keep on believing, the scammers like Robertson need to eat too.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Then a muslim nations with Russia attack Israel'

      well seeing as russia is having its own issues with muslims right now, that would be an interesting step.
      but where exactly can we find this prophecy about muslim nations and russia attacking israel?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  10. Hisarrow

    Poor Pat still can't get his facts straight. Maybe there are Wooly Mammoths frozen in Siberian Tundra, but certainly not any dinosaurs.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • TheMovieFan

      I will cut him some slack and believe that he meant that dinosaur fossils are what is frozen in time. I'm not a fan of his but when he says something right I won't complain.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Steve

      He didn't say dinosaurs are frozen in ice, he said they are frozen in time.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  11. information has made humans slaves

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

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah
    a fool for all seasons
    hahahahahaha

    November 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  12. Major Tom

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  13. CP in FL

    Religion is the biggest and oldest scam. If someone today claimed they were a virgin and gave birth to the son of god not many people would believe them. But because it was put it in a book from thousands of years ago people believe this crap? There is no god. The universe was created by natural processes. If people were not brainwashed from birth to believe this nonsense then no one would believe it.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • carol

      how is it a scam? no one benefits from it except society as a whole because people are well mannered and law abiding.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • niknak

      Dude, sadly, you are wrong.
      They might still believe someone claiming that jeebus angle.
      It is like monthly we hear stories about people seeing the virgin in water stains, tree trunks, toast etc.
      And the sheep eat it up as fact.
      Here where I live some fool claimed to see the virgin under a highway overpass in the stains left by the runoff from the highway. People went nuts over it, and still to this day they put flowers and candy and teddy bears under it.
      That was 10 years ago too, and they still keep doing it.

      Like Frank said to Tony in Scarface-
      "Never underestimate the stupidity in the fundie."

      November 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • OldSchool

      @carol – riiiiight.... have you seen the marble palace called St. Peters built on "indulgences"?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • CG

      There is absolutely NO proof that the Universe was created by natural processes. It it only a THEORY that can NEVER be proven. The THEORY of evolution is the BIGGEST lie perpetrated since it's inception.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • CP in FL

      Carol – It is a scam because churches take money from lemmings like you and tell you that there is a god that cares about you. Also, it is funny hearing how going to church and fearing retribution in the afterlife makes believers good law abiding citizens. One does not have to believe in a magic sky daddy in order to have ethics and want to help their neighbor.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • CP in FL

      CG – There is absolutely evidence that the universe was created by natural processes. In fact, background radiation can be detected that is direct evidence of the big bang. Also, there are new stars being formed in our own galaxy that can be seen by telescope. Also, we are close to proving that living organic molecules can be created in a lab with the same conditions that existed on the Earth billions (not thousands) of years ago.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'The THEORY of evolution is the BIGGEST lie perpetrated since it's inception.'

      so which bit it the lie exactly? i mean you can claim you believe the science is wrong but you are specifically claiming it to be a lie, so tell us what the lie is?
      and by the way, dont embarass yourself by trying to put theory in caps as it trying to claim its a guess or something. I dont know how many times we need to remind you folks about what a theory in science actually is.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • niknak

      CP, you can't change anything with CQ.
      His mind was closed years ago by growing up in a house of closed minded people.
      Science keeps pushing the religious sheep further and further back in time.

      They used to say lightening, or earth quakes were the proof of god.
      Now they have been pushed 14.5 billion years back in time and use the big bang as their "evidence" of god.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • John A

      Are you jealous that millions/billions believe Jesus existed, and will continue long after you and I are gone.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  14. DE

    Wnen you read that 46% of Americans still believe that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, despite the fact that geologists can state, with conviction, that the Earth is 4.57 BILLION years old, well, it just boggles the mind that so many people can be that ignarant.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Army Wife

      Talk about ignorant... why don't you learn to spell?

      November 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Ken

      Actually you just showed the world that you are ignorant and haven't looked into anything for your self.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • information has made humans slaves

      armywife is the DoD term for comfort women

      November 29, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • John A

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

      December 1, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  15. Scott

    Either the Earth really is about 4.5 billion years old, or God is into practical jokes by hiding dinosaur remains and other numerous geological clues clues all over the entire earth than give every indication to well-meaning truth-seeking scientists that the world is truly ancient. Why would God make a world intended to fool people who looked closely into thinking it was billions of years old?

    November 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • niknak

      That is god's whole schtick. Make it seem unbelievable to TEST the true believers.
      How could god really know for sure if a fundie really believed or not if it did not make it seem rediculous.
      Fundies use facts to discredit god as just more testing from god.

      And scammers like Robertson know this, and use it to make money off them.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • kevin

      fundamentalist christians, and those who believe the earth is 6,000 years old, claim that god (and some claim, satan) put those things on earth to test our faith. it's a ridiculous statement. if there is a god, and he gave us complex brains and the ability to reason and think logically, i believe he wants us to explore and discover our universe. i just don't understand why people believe that a book written thousands of years ago (the old testament), which contains stories that had been passed down by word of mouth for probably a thousand years before that, is a literal book of history or fact. and why is it so hard to believe that evolution and religion can live side by side? perhaps the garden of eden, and adam and eve, were simply metaphors. why can't adam and eve have been primitive man? and who's to say what the "garden of eden" was? it's all relative.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  16. HenryMiller

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

    That 46% are gullible fools. Combine them with the 47%, the deadbeats who don't pay taxes, and it looks like Americans are a pretty sorry lot.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Ken

      Actually its more like 73% believe in God so get your facts somewhere else instead of CNN a site of atheist fools

      November 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • I Am God

      Hey Ken. I suggest you get a better education and actually get a life.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • niknak

      OK Ken and Barbie, if that many people believe in the fairly tale, then all those people must have some proof.
      Could you share that proof with us?
      We non believers have been waiting like forever for any shred of it.
      And it does not even have to be proof of your god, any old god will do.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • kevin

      ken, you misread his statistic. he said that 46% believe that god created man as he is, sometime over the last 10,000 years. his statistic has nothing to do with a belief in the existence of god. many people believe in a god but don't believe he created the earth in the last 10,000 years.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  17. El Duderino

    Unlike many of his followers, Pat Robertson knows how to count into the millions, as evidenced by all the dollars he made mining diamonds with his buddy Charles Taylor during the Liberian genocide. Why is a story about him in the belief blog. Shouldn't stories about Pat Robertson be in the crime section or the war section?

    November 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    Who was keeping track of the time?

    November 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  19. BostonBob

    Yet another reason why aliens won't be announcing themselves anytime soon – 46% of Americans believe in creationism.

    Sigh... Scotty – PLEASE beam me up and out of here.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Ken

      Bob you are a fool my friend

      November 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • information has made humans slaves

      if bob is a fool then you are frog emulsion

      November 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  20. Matt

    Pat Robertson said something reasonable this week.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:53 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.