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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. mlg4035

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

    This is the first time I have ever agreed with anything Robertson has said!
    Will wonders never cease...?

    November 29, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  2. HMS Beagle

    I will believe the 14.5 Billion year BS when we can go back in time to verify it. Way to many variables to accurately say how old the Earth is...

    November 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Will

      True. But are you arguing that the world might only be 6,000 years old? Because the rounding used in sciences makes the earth along the order of billions of years old, not thousands.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • drkent3

      Yet, every variable indicates it is older than 6,000 to 10,000 years by a considerable margin...

      November 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • DeeBee

      And I will believe the stories of the Bible when we can travel back in time and verify it.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Moot

      According to the current model of relativity, you cannot go "back" in time. You can sort of "slow time" down i.e. make it appear that you can go into the future with time dilation though.

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

      'HMS Beagle – I will believe the 14.5 Billion year BS when we can go back in time to verify it. '

      well as you didnt tell us what the variables are that make such a figure 'BS', are you suggesting therefore you believe the 6000 year number?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • leonid7

      You can see stars too can't you? Well, there ya go. Problem solved.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  3. Wow!

    Slow...but accurate. He finally qualifies to take a basic high school science test. Not holding my breath on evolution though...I think that part might give him a headache. But at least he's trying so ...good for him.!

    November 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  4. DeeBee

    Genesis 27:11 – "When Adam did ask of the Lord of the age of His creation, He saideth onto him four and one-half billion years."

    November 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  5. Christianity-is-a-Joke

    Christianity: wrong throughout history and wrong now. Eventually, they come to their senses but while doing so, they murder thousands of people and spread their ignorance throughout the world.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • HMS Beagle

      Jeepers, Pagan nations have murdered more people than Christians. Heck, our "Evolved educated America" murders over 1 million of it's babies a year. In fact the US has murdered more babies in the name of "Choice" than the number of all deaths from all the wars that the US has been involved in...

      November 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • John A

      People are just looking for moral loopholes in their lifestyle, and ways to make excuses not to a have a relationship with God via Christ. They just try to get creative over the years (same moral spin).

      November 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @John A

      What a condescending pile of crap you posted. You are so enamored into your religion you cannot conceive of people just not accepting it as true just because people like you say it is. Get off your high horse you self-righteous, prideful tool.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  6. Steve

    The bible basically starts when God created man. Before that, the earth was here, maybe not 6 of our day, but much longer. I think it took God millions of years to make the solar systems, a planet to sustain life, vegitation then mammals. His first attempts of life were crude. Look a mans first automobile compared to now. Compare it to a watch, it didn't evolve from an automobile. Designed. How could a frog and an elephant evolve from the same thing? Each living thing on Earth has its place to keep this world running smoothly. Designed. At one point God said enough of this playing around with apes, I'm going to create a man. So, here we are, I'll be going to thank him someday.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Pope St. Sponge Bob with baggy pants and filthy mitre of the god Dagon where the arc came from.

      Designed for nothing. 99.999 % of the universe has had no life. Try again.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Pete

      You need to learn the difference between animate and inanimate objects and then get back to us.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • drkent3

      You clearly have absolutely no idea what evolution is, yet you debunk it (poorly). Sorry, if you want to debunk it, first learn what the theory actually indicates – and then formulate a rational rebuttal.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'I think it took God millions of years to make the solar systems, a planet to sustain life, vegitation then mammals. His first attempts of life were crude'

      he is supposedly a god. why would it take him millions of years to do anything? and why would his first attempts be crude?
      or are you just being sarcastic and trolling?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Doomed

      I think you're trying to rationalize something that you won't let yourself admit is just kind of silly.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • TADA

      ok one question are you so conceded that you think the entire universe is ever changing and expanding but we are the only little dust speck with some kind of life on it? Really....we are the best huh? Well I hope not because of people like serial killers, rapists, child molesters, and televangelists. In a nut shell, if I have to base my "repentance" on the money grubbing souless televangelists that tell me to send them money and they will send me the "Holy Olive Oil Soap" to wash away my sins or the "Holy Spring Water" drink this and money will mystically appear for no reason, I think I'll just stick to my own set of morals and my sense of right and wrong, thanks anyway.

      November 30, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • Your biggest fan (apart from you)

      Are you the Steve in "Adam and Steve"? Can I have your autograph?

      November 30, 2012 at 3:06 am |
  7. Dick Izinya

    I"m a little surprised that Pat has suddenly become a rationalist. Maybe he agrees with Bobby Jindall, that the GOP has to stop being the party of stupid. Every time you hear a politician say something unscientific and anti-intellectual, it's ALWAYS a Republicant. They need to start censuring the idiots in their party.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  8. Hadenuffyet

    How old is man? 50,000 , 100,000 years.....he just "woke up" in relative terms less than 10,000 years ago. My perspective anyway.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  9. James

    Just for the record, our best estimate of the age of the universe is roughly 13.75 billion years not 14.5 billion.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Dick Izinya

      Aha! That's PROOF that a Sky Wizard created it!

      November 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Dan Halen

      Just for the record, who cares? What's a few million years among friends?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  10. Dave Kaspersin

    Earth is a penal colony for the intelligent life forms in the Universe – – -

    November 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  11. I Am God

    For all those that believe the Bible as fact, then please show evidence. By the way, faith is not evidence.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Dan Halen

      Since you want to go there, I'd like for you to prove anything is real. You see, your reality is just that YOURS. Not mine or anyone else's. So if you want to go philosophical, nothing can actually be "proven".

      November 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      How often are you going to pose this? It's a non-answerable question. Like prove your parents loved you.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • I Am God

      Dan Halen actually I believe in science. Nice try to avoid the actual question.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • drkent3

      Sorry Dan. That's not philosophy, that's just denial. I can prove a chair exists simply by pushing you backwards into one. You might 'deny' it, but the fact that you didn't fall on the ground proves that it exists. It makes sense to claim that something *might* exist that we cannot detect – but it does not make sense to claim that things we do detect do not exist. However, claiming that something might exist is not the same as it being probable that it exists. Reason relies upon probability – the more facts that point to the same conclusion, the higher the probability it is correct... yet, it only requires one contrary fact to disprove it. Evolution has many, many, many facts that show there is a very, very high probability that it is correct. So far, not one contrary bit of evidence to show that it is not. The Bible is not 'evidence', any more than Harry Potter is evidence that wizards exist.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Know What

      Dan Halen
      "Since you want to go there, I'd like for you to prove anything is real."

      We know for a fact how hail and snow are formed. They are not kept in storehouses in the sky where a god saves them to toss down to Earth. (Job 38)

      November 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • John A

      "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools."

      November 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  12. Will

    I've recently begun thinking about how the values that we have in the US (which were largely influenced by religion, like it or not) have affected the climb of the US. I do think that a person's morality shouldn't be connected to their faith or religion, however maybe having puritanical roots has helped us over time. For that I can appreciate and even excuse some of the ignorance relative to science.

    For the future, however, I see a challenge because rooting one's morality is religion is easy – you basically outsource the whole process to some old book and a guy who dresses funny each Sunday. It is flawed, constipated thinking. But I do worry that there are a lot of people who won't be able to root their morality elsewhere. Normally, I'd say that's not my problem, but I wonder if that will eventually impact our society.

    Regardless, religion is not the answer for the present or future. I'd just like to hear what others think about my thinking...

    November 29, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  13. Vidyashanti

    Here is a man who is ready to leave orthodoxy. 48% us were brain washed -a great job.
    There is a Creator and he/she created us all is acceptable to 99%. The 1% that may have different opinion should be respected.
    Everything before our eyes under goes evolution /change on daily basis.
    Humans may have looked different then what they look today. Why we can not accept it. Why evolution can not follow creation?

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

      1%? 15% of America is non-religious, the fastest growing segment. Majority doesn't mean its right.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  14. brokendowncarr

    Why do so called atheists even hang out in the religion section of CNN.com in the first place? They are proselytizing is what it is! Preaching their gospel to the very bunch they ridicule for doing the same thing! Who are the hypocrites now?

    November 29, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • I Am God

      Why are trolls like you always on the CNN blog that you ridicule every day?

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

      Why do so called atheists even hang out in the religion section of CNN.com in the first place?
      ---------
      Maybe they find it interesting?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Dan Halen

      So if someone disagrees with you then they are a "troll". Ok, I think I understand.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      maybe it's because atheists don't believe in a god, but that doesn't mean they can't have a religion?
      Buddhists, for example, are technically atheists, they don't believe in a god.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Pete

      To watch religious people make fools of themselves.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • drkent3

      Maybe some people are just looking for a good discussion. I may not believe in UFOs, but I might enjoy discussing the issue with believers – who knows, maybe one of them actually has an intelligent enough argument to convince me? All too often, unfortunately, when convincing doesn't work the attacks begin...

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

      'Preaching their gospel to the very bunch they ridicule for doing the same thing! Who are the hypocrites now?'

      is that what they are doing? preaching their gospel huh? yeah, you have no clue, do you?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      I expect you're not a murderer yet I would bet you have an opinion on murder.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:11 am |
  15. humtake

    How about we worry more about how we can make sure humans last on the planet for millenia to come instead of arguing something that will never be proven since nobody can actually go back and view it?

    November 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Great idea. Will the religious then stop forcing their opinions and "morality" on us? Will that inhibit their desire to place their symbols everywhere?

      November 30, 2012 at 3:14 am |
  16. Brother Maynard

    Jerry Falwell is rolling over in his grave

    November 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • gary

      I doubt he could. I'll bet he's puffed up in there so much, it would make my root-bound potted plants seem like they were put in yesterday.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  17. derp

    "The idea of creationism has been scorned by the mainstream scientific community since shortly after Charles Darwin introduced "The Origin of Species" in 1859"

    No Moron, creationism has been known to be bunk, and the age of the earth has been known to be far greater than 10,000 years since 1785 when Hutton published "Theory of the Earth; or an Investigation of the Laws observable in the Composition, Dissolution, and Restoration of Land upon the Globe", and "Concerning the System of the Earth, its Duration and Stability".

    Darwin was 70 years late to the party.

    Hutton proved biblical neptunist creation wrong 70 years before Darwin published anything.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  18. Andrew

    The calendar which the church uses to tell the passage of time was created on February 24th, 1582. The slightly less accurate Julian calendar used before that was created in 46 BC, replacing the even more innacurrate Roman calendar created around 753 BC. The oldest written versions of the earliest books of the bible place their beginnings somewhere around 700 – 600 BC. Before that they were oral traditions that could have gone back to about 1700 BC. Using 1700 BC as a date for humanity to gain knowledge of Genesis clearly places the story of creation before the concept/invention of the any calendar whatsoever. How can we seriously debate whether Genesis suggests the earth to be 6000 years old when the story itself comes from before our concept of "a year" even existed? More importantly, what is a day to us when compared to a day for a being such as God, who existed in the beginning and shall exist forever? You can't answer these questions, but science can! So we men of faith who are also scientifically minded can ascertain that the 6 "days" in the bible are simply God's way of organizing the complexity that brought human beings into existance, into something that humans dating back to 1700 BC could understand and have faith in. Bravo Pat Robertson for having the courage to say what needed to be said!

    November 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • derp

      Or to put it more simply, the niwits who cobbled together the bible at the council of nicea had no way of knowing that the earth was not 10,000 years old, but more like 4.5 billion years old, so now we have to create some bogus excuse for their complete and total lack of scientific knowledge that fits in with our several century assertion that the earth is 10,000 years old.

      Hey, lets call them "god years".

      You might have well just have said, "sorry, we meant dog years".

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

      what's it matter the Mayan calender runs out December 21 and supposedly we will all die then so....I guess we will see who is right. LOL

      November 30, 2012 at 3:06 am |
  19. brokendowncarr

    I Am God.. you "understand" everything? I guess you really are God! Let me worship thee now. Oh wait, if you ARE God but yet don't believe in God, then I guess that means you are nothing.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • I Am God

      Obviously I understand more then you. I understand that because you are just a troll with a lack of education.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • drkent3

      Except – *sigh* – you don't understand the difference between 'then' and 'than'. I was about to kneel, but now must continue my search...

      November 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  20. DC

    Mr. Robertson did a courageous thing by addressing this issue openly when there is so much religious obscurantism out there. He deserves credit for it.

    To all those smug all-knowing types that are so full of hatred that they can't see beyond their cloud of disagreements to see a glimmer of something good, you probably have your own Gods that you worship without any critical thinking or reason – global warming for one. If the weather goes warm – its climate change, cold – yep climate change again. Wet? climate change, dry? yep! still climate change. So, you won't question your own dogma, but would still berate someone who has gotten past (at least part of) their own.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Global warming is a god. I am still processing that.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • sick of christian phonies

      Mr. Robertson DOES deserve credit- at least in this instance, for saying “If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was". YOU, however, show your abject ignorance with your uneducated diatribe on global warming. It's you against many, many scientists and researchers that are a LOT smarter than you. Acquaint yourself with the facts before opening your maw.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Climate

      For christ sake already, 'climate change' isn't about the type of weather, it's about the frequency and implications of bad weather patterns... If you put all the bad weather we've had in the last 200 years on one side of the teeter-totter, and the weather we have had in the last 50 years the 50 year side wins.. is that simple enough logic for you?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @DC,

      except for the religious fundies, everyone is applauding this statement by Pat Robertson.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Dumb comment try again please.

      First, you can't just label things "god" just because you want to equate your silly belief with science. Secondly, to understand climate change you need to dig a little deeper than fox news. You want proof that the climate is fundementally changing? Look at superstorm sandy, or the fact that we could be heading into another dustbowl. Go to china and check out the intese smog or just do a little research and see how much carbon we are producing now and how the weather has started to shift around the same time.

      Glad you can accept evolution, now you need to start understanding that using fossil fuels are harmful to the earth and if you followed your own bible, try to save the earth instead of kill it.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:14 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.