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.
I see so many flaws by nearly all of you including Mr. Robertson such as “You go back in time, you've got radiocarbon dating. “ in actually carbon dating would be the weakest of all evidences of an old earth and a wonderful statement for a young earth. Carbon dating is most accurate only out to 10-15,000 years and the absolute max is 50-80,000 years. There are also perfectly plausible reasons for many of the things many of you are bringing out, which in no way can be debated in this manner. Here is my question, is there a place where people can respectfully debate these points?
Is there are place where people can respectfully debate whether or not the earth is round?
There are many many other dating methods, and they all agree. The probability they could all be wrong is infinitesimally small.
The only people who will take you seriously are probably from your church
There is actually far more evidence of the age of the earth than just carbon dating. DNA sequencing, etc... Scores of proof the earth is far, far older than 6,000 years. Even the Catholic Church recognizes the science on this. Sorry, but pure creationists are fools. Evolution and creation guided by God is a far more sensible position.
And the evolution of the universe by probability makes even more sense than invoking the gods.
There can be theological debates on this as well as how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. But there is no place in science for this debate and therefore no place in our (ie America's) public schools.
In mass, probably not. I've had some great discussions with fairly religious, educated people, but not on an Internet comment board. I've been fortunate enough to have a few good discussions with educated people on the Internet who have had other perspectives, but I can tell you that never have any opinions changed because of them. Religion is one of those subjects that invites extremism – when what you believe is under attack (even if you don't 100% believe it), you hunker down and defend it, against all reason and logic, because it is part of something that you identify with internally.
I believe the best way to move past religions as a society is to continue blocking their attempts to subvert our education systems or legislate their beliefs. We've done well here because our forefathers understood separation of church and state. Eventually (probably not in my lifetime) the number of zealots will decline past the point where they are relevant as a voting block or social force. So, all in good time.
There are other radiometric dating techniques in addition to carbon dating, and due to the half-life of those isotopes can be reliably used to date things in the billions of years. There is no real debate among scientists for things like that. The only real debate comes from those who do not understand the science, or have some religious axe to grind. This forum is a good example of the latter.
RSD – only atheists believe the world is flat as the Bible tell us otherwise.
'Carbon dating is most accurate only out to 10-15,000 years and the absolute max is 50-80,000 years.'
you know there are other forms of dating right? but even if CD is only to '50-80k years' that is still far further than the young earth 6k
Yes, I know there are many different dating methods my intent was not to indicate there was not any other method but that the comment was itself inaccurate. In actuality I probably know more about the subject than 85% of you posting. This comment section of CNN is just not a practical medium to go over each of the dating methods and debate why they are wrong or why they are right, it’s just too long to be debated here, thus my question. There are four very simple questions I ask regarding these other data methods that to this day no geologist even with a doctorate degree has been able to explain, if you can’t answer these four question how can you guarantee their reliability.
1. How do you know what the parent and daughter element percentages were at their beginning.
2. How do you ensure that over the millions or billions of years none of the measured elements were ever changed.
3. Given that the science of age dating is only 150 or so years old how do you know that the decay rate has always stayed the same.
4. If samples with known dates have been tested and the results of the tests are known to be wrong then how can we take samples of unknown ages and declare that they are accurate.
Here is the thing, while it might be easy to write me off as some brainwashed idiot or to be rude and condescending as many of you have I am genuinely seeking a medium to debunk what I have been told, whatever proves to be true is true I have no problem with that. Being rude or degrading my statements does nothing more than to show your ignorance and demonstrates who the real narrow minded bigot is.
Even if carbon dating can only go back 80,000 years, doesnt that right there disprove the young earth model?
You are correct though that carbon dating doesnt go back that far, which is why is used primarily by anthropologists in studing recent biological remains (recent in this context meaning the last 15 to 20,000 years). Geologists and astronomists use their own scientific methods to date the earth, putting it somewhere around 4 billion years old and the universe 14.5 billion years old.
But if you want to base your scientific beliefs on a book that was written at a time when people believed the sun revolved around the earth, please be my guest.
Quick question k210... By what mechanism would the decay rate be changed?
46 percent of Americans believe the earth was created within the last 10,000 years. compared to everybody else on the planet why are Americans so stupid?
All taught in a school system that has already removed God and the Bible. Funny huh?
If it wasn't for the separation of church and state, we'd be a lot dumber. Idiocracy.
But you must put it in context. Of that 46% who believe such utter nonsense, nearly all reside in the American South where the average IQ is in the negative values to begin with and who generally can't find their own backsides with both hands and a flashlight in broad daylight. Not ALL Americans are that stupid. Just the Deep Fried Southerners.
I think that's as much because they're bad with math as believe in a biblical creation.
WOW!! How pretentious and bigoted of you to believe that much less say it. I think it is interesting that the most hateful bigoted, raciest group of people I have ever met are the “free thinking”, do as you wish bleeding heart liberals. If someone disagrees with you they are stupid with a low IQ and then you group an entire region with hateful comments. You are a true bigot. I would put my salary, IQ, IQ of my children, and my morals against you any day of the week and I am confident you would be found lacking.
Actually, 100% of Americans will die and be accountable to God.
I agree with Roberts' perspective on this. He didn't contest creationism, just a 17th century interpretation of the bible by a monk. I don't think the timing of creation has anything to do with whether it occurred or not.
If you are going to ignore all the begats that produce the 6000 year age, that means you have decided to not take the Bible literally. If you are not going to take it literally, there is no basis for believing any of it that does not have a scientific, rational basis. That means all of the supernatural stuff goes in the crapper. What remains is not terribly interesting other than as historical artifact.
As long as you contribute to the cause, not that he needs it at this stage.
What? Whoever said ANYONE ever took Bishop Ussher seriously in over a century. I'm not aware of a single proponent of intelligent design who would give any credibility to the timeline articulated by Ussher. The account of the 6-day creation in Genesis is a theological account of delegated authorities and realms. It doesn't have anything to do with a timeline regarding the creation of humankind.
It has been said that even a stopped clock is correct twice a day. This then also appears to hold true for thieving snake oil salesmen.
Didn't you get your head blown off by the Gunslinger?
@ copanut: Just checked... not yet. :)
The Old Testament story of creation is NOT a scientific dissertation on the creation of the universe. This is a worldly mindset Christians need get out of because it implies they believe in science to such a degree that they evaluate the bible against it as their highest standard, thus concluding the earth is 6000 years old. Christians need to dump science as their standard of evaluation and take the bible for the Truth that it is... which is a very different thing than scientific accuracy. Secularists need to wake up, put their arrogance away for 20 seconds and let it sink in that the Truth billions of people have been finding in the bible for thousands of years is valuable. Then both sides might have a chance at getting along. Oh well, that will probably never happen.
That "Truth" you speak of is spoken as "false" by sane people. Retire your iron age myths already Ethan bro.
Wow, you couldn't have fit more neatly into category 2... which proves my final point... it will probably never happen. *sigh*
If the supposedly inerrant "word of god" cannot be scientifically factual, then where is its value in any sense? For crying out loud, if I invent something, I should be able to explain how it works. Why is the standard lower for the one you claim invented, well, everything?
It is the religious mindset that intellectually handicaps people to such a degree that they deny reality.
Post by 'Ethan Nelson' contains an instance of the ad populum fallacy.
Please explain to me this "arrogance". On one side you have people who are willing to say, "I don't know but I intend to find out", and you have the other side that says, "I am abolsutely sure I know the truth because people 5,000 years ago wrote it down in a book."
Who are the arrogant ones again?
Ethan, your rhetoric is no less caustic. Don't like rhetoric? Don't use it. Want open minded discussion? Be open minded yourself. Treat others as you wish to be treated.
Billions of people all thought the Earth was flat.
Pat is 100% correct. Here's the problem for him. Science also tells us that it is impossible for a child to be born of a virgin, raise the dead on command, heal the blind by touching them, walk on water, multiply loaves and fish, foresee the future, reanimate one's own corpse, and float bodily up through the clouds into outer space to some non-existent interplanetary abode.
If you are going to choose science as your guide, you need to abandon the whole supernatural content of the bible. The supernatural, by definition, is non-scientific. And without its supernatural content, the Bible is nothing more than a collection of ancient writings that are historically interesting.
We can start with your first statement....science has made it possible for a child to be born by a virgin, (ever heard of artificial insemination?). and dismiss the rest of your argument.
Pat is going cookoo and ...is old. Surprisingly still needs a little more attention (as you might notice). Forgive his stupid remarks. Science eventually only prooves what God has established and alreay put in place (universal laws..gravity....etc). It finaly proved that actually the earth is round and hangs on nothing, that has "4 corners" N,S, W and etc...etc.. all in the Bible. It took ~ 4000 years, but eventually the practical science got there. (We are still not there with the age estimation, but eventually will get there in another 1000 years and then it will be another big scientific discovery...
Also, if you aren't taking a literal read, there are some good parables and stories to tell your kids that have universally accepted morals. Be a good person, help the poor, don't harm others. When we look at them as fables, as stories that can teach us lessons on being a better person, perhaps that is what the Bible really is...
Dean, dean, dean. What is a "virgin"? Was that donor sperm beamed in to a woman's uterus using the transporter? No. Donor sperm travels the same route whether it be delivered by baster or by a man's doodle. Are lesbians "virgins"? All human life, yes, ALL human life starts with the fusion of a viable egg and viable sperm. Is doodle-driven delivery necessary these days? No. Lesbians can be inseminated too. What is a "virgin" and does that concept even matter anymore? Do guys who whack off with no female experience qualify as "virgins"?
Be careful to define religious dogmatic thinking as faith.
Miracles are not miracles from God's point of view (or Jesus'). They are implemented according to Laws we as humans are currently unaware of (that He implemented in Creation). We call them miracles because we just don't get how they can occur. But just because they appear as miracles to us now does not mean we can not comprehend (or do: John 14:12) these things.
Creation is the same as any miracle, except that God has gifted the human race in our current day with some insight into the Miracle of Creation. It is still a mystery and a Miracle because we don't understand it fully. My guess is that it will always be something of mystery on this side of Creation (after all, we do walk a walk of Faith on this side).
I highly respect Pat Robertson for what he has done.
Instead of fighting for a dead, lifeless ideology, I would recommend you let Creation testify to people of Who God Is (Romans 1:20). God doesn't need you to defend Him. It's admirable and good that you are, but He doesn't need it. Particularly if you are keeping people seeing Creation as it really is.
@Dean I dont think God attacked Mary with a turkey baster and said techinically your still a virgin...technically. So your out on that one....also you can't get pregnant off of toilet seats and other urban legends.
The Bible says that in the beginning God's Spirit hovered over the waters of the void. This was before creation started. Where did the water come from and what is the Void? Peter says later that everything was created out of water. So according to the Bible the mass of Earth could be much, much older than the start of creation.
God peed. The void was his butt.
honestly, I hate using this word, but in your case....
For the love of zeus, get a real education.
Given that water is comprised of hydrogen, an element arising from the big bang, and oxygen, a heavier element arising later, it's difficult to imagine water pre-dating creation. How could everything be created from water if water is comprised of something that predated it?
The water came for comets and asteroids just like just about all of the other elements and minerals on Earth.
Sorry but the spirit was hovering AFTER God created heaven and earth.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters
I hope within the next 100 years creationist are as extinct as the dinosaurs. It truly is slowing humanity's progress. It's like the new version of the christian dark age. Makes me sick.
ROFL! Creationism is not taught in schools, evolution is. God and the Bible have been removed. But according to World education levels, Americans are getting DUMBER every year. Please explain this...
HMS – because the crazy southerners keep hunkering down and eating chik-fil-a and bringing the rest of us down.
HMS Beagle maybe you should ask why Republicans are so desperately trying to cut public funding from schools. If public schools had actual funding we wouldn't have to study from books that are 10 years old.
You miss the point. It's the 46% of the US that believe in Creationism that are Dumbing down the US with respect to other countries. That isn't taught in schools, but in churches and homes.
In other words, the beliefs being taught at home/church are holding children back, at least the beliefs about a young Earth anyway.
Mr, "Ur not GOD" you sound like a typical brain washed liberal. NO country in this world has so much funds for schools and posibilities as USA. I only pay $3500k taxes towards schools everyday and I don't send my kids to this well funded schools. (Check on one of the science classes in the public schools and you will be convinced...) I am an easter european and I know what I am talking about. I finished High School I finished Calculus, Phisics, Chemistry etc. etc Here you don;t get at that level in college. I don;t think older comunist Romania had so much posibilities as US....
meant – $3500 every year
Mr/s. Romanian, I was born and raised in the USA and attended public schools the whole way. I received an excellent education that included everything you described except calculus. I am now a practicing scientist. I can tell you that when it comes to learning and achievement in school, money matters some but not much. What matters is a burning desire to learn by the student that is fully supported by the parents. In Romania, education is probably highly valued. Today in the USA, education has become devalued by many, many households ("My kid beat up your honor student" bumper sticker). This is why people in the USA are so uneducated and the country is taking a dive. Learning is lifelong, very important and it should be a part of everyone's daily life. It is not and money has nothing to do with it.
I generally don't like Pat Robertson, but for once, he said something sensible
Folks, we had an escape from Hell's Funny Farm today. Most of them were Evangelical Christians. They're out pounding bibles and spreading ignorance and spewing stupidity. We're rounding them up now and returning them to their padded rooms where they belong. Bear with us. Sorry for the inconvenience.
I'm sure "truth be told" is beaming from Pat's latest publicity stunt, even though he flunked out of Pat's Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer's bootcamp.
The self-destruction of the GOP continues......I sot of get it for Pat, his job is to raise money by convincing believers to donate, the science has become strong enough that his pool of believers differentiate themselves through stupidity. Now, the GOP ought to realize, the pool of believers is getting smaller.
If anyone knows, please explain to me why John Piper and other think a day in Genesis 1 is the same as our 24-hour day when the sun wasn't even created until the 4th day. I do think the earth is 6000 years old or so but not as we understand a day or a year to be. Sometimes, the Bible has to be understood from God's perspective and the Bible says that to God a day is a like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. There are -of course- those who read out the word "like" and take this to mean 1 day = 1000 years. My biggest problem with Creationism is the notion of a young earth. It may be creative and clever but ultimately it is nothing more than speculation at best and borderline heretical.
In other words...
The bible has been proven wrong again and again, so we have to keep changing the definition of the word of god to fit the facts.
Probably because of stuff like this:
"God called the light 'day,' and the darkness he called 'night.' And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day." (Gen 1:5)
But you are right to think that strange since morning and evening would imply a sun which wasn't "created" until "day" #4:
"God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. "
Not sure any of it makes sense....
There is no god. I hope this helps you with your delusions.
It was the Bible that has maintained all along that there was a beginning. Science only recetly adopted this view (Big Bang) and used to proclaimthat the universe always was.
CP in Fl,
Even if you were correct, I'd still rather believe in the God of the Bible than you. God of the Bible reveals his name (although Moses and the Israelites only wrote the consonants YHWH in Hebrew) and tells his people exactly what he will do before he does it. The world will soon know that YHWH is God. I could never convince you myself.
Science doesn't proclaim anything until proven. It theorizes and postulates but does not proclaim truth without proof. The theory that god did it has not ever been tested let alone proven because it is an untestable theory, and as such is disregarded by thinking people.
Other theories that work just as well are...
We are in a giant petri dish controlled by aliens in a lab somewhere.
None of this actually exists and we are figments of our own imagination
We are in the matrix
only one being actually exists and everything is a figment of that beings imagination.
magic is real and can make anything happen ( oh wait, thats your god theory again.
All have equal merit next to your god theory.
Also the closest approximation to the name of god would be YHVH ( and would be pronounced closest to yeavah (not jehovah))
Bible says is "In the beginning, God created...."
Do you believe that there was a beginning to the universe(s) or not? What does science have to say about it at this point in time? Conceivably, science can theorize one way and then change as the discovery of information changes and then change again and again as we discover more and more information. That is the nature of science. But God has maintained throughout that there was a beginning. I have nothing against science for I think science could ultimately prove the existence of God if given enough time.
As far as YWHW v YWVH, it is not a true discrepancy. The discrepancy has more to do with changes in the English language over time than anything else (w pronounced like v; j pronounced like y). Part of it may be due to the fact that the Hebrew language has also changed over time. Also, I don't think that there is a consensus on Yahweh v Yehova. It should sound similar to "I am who I am" in original Hebrew but again the original Hebrew remains a bit of a mystery.
the universe is approximately 14.5 billion years, the earth is approximately4.5 billion years old, there is no where in the bible that says man has been on the earth 6,000 years, dinasaurs was from a time before humans were on the earth, what is , was before, what was before will be again, I found no pleasure in beasts,
As a man of science, shouldn't you qualify your rather bold statements with " we believe based on the information that we have at the present moment that". You can't tell me that you have actual personal knowledge (you have personally observed or tested the observations made that allows sicentists to reach such a consensus) or speak from having lived 14.5 billion years.
The Bible tells us man was created about 6 thousand years ago. The earth was created in the beginning which was a long time before that. Man is a dirtball, formed by God, taken from the earth God formed in the beginning. The Man God created all at one time is probably not the one he created in stages through a system we call evolution. The details we call knowledge is beside the point trivia. We are probably not what we think we are. We are serving Gods purpose whether we are SMART enough to be Christians or not.
Ah, so he still believes that humankind is only 6000 years old. Oh well. Maybe next year he'll start believing in evolution... one can only hope for so much at a time.
Dan, did you take your medication today?
david tryed to explain ten thousand years are but a day in thy sight, he did not know exactly what the ratio was either but it illistrates a very long time, useing his figures it is about 22 million years, we know the bible is both littoral and symbollic, they used parables and illistrations to teach early man , agriculture, was a large part of the early economy and trade so many illistrations uses animals illistrations, i am not a man of any kind of importance, certainly not rich, i have no intention of giveing up my right to eternal life that should occur in the not so distant future, i do my best to keep the ten commandments, scientists may one day assembley the required elements to produce a human being , but surely not produce the elements required to produce life, there is no possible way those elements can assemble them selves in the right proportions needed,
the evolution scientuist are seeing is the process of renewal, it can only come about by cross pollenization or fertilization,
what is of more interest and more important is to see what and how scientist are going to populate the entire universe with intelligence, it is going to be a very big on going project to reconstruct all those planets and moons to make them habitable for humans, they are all different one from another for many reasons, lets start with that one first
Firstly, please point us to a verse in the Bible that says that man was created about 6,000 years ago. If you cannot, then you made it up, which is not something I should expect from a SMART christian.
Lastly, equating knowledge with trivia is a hallmark of the truly religious mindset, which confuses fact with fiction, and fiction with fact.
When did Robertson get so liberal? Believing in science and stuff? Craziness!
He's going to get into trouble with the flock if he starts making sense.
I want to see Pat debate the Great Pumpkin (Rick Warren).
Atheism is a twisted religion. Like all religions, they have a creation theory – Evolution. A Dogma – Science. Their God is "knowledge". And the internet forums are full of their evangelists....
except science is okay with changing its views when the burden of proof has been met.
what religion says "it happened this way, unless you can prove otherwise, and if we really don't have an explanation, we don't know"?
You must be Brother Rahul, or is it Bishop Rahul?
Sigh, evolution is not a religion. Nor is it necessarily incompatible with religion (it really depends on the meta-physics of the person espousing it). I am Christian (Catholic) and I believe in evolution. The Bible tells us God created the Earth, the animals and Man, but it was never meant to be a science text book.
It's not a religion. Go back under your bridge, silly troll.
Science is falsifiable – in other words, it's not a valid scientific theory if there isn't some method for disproving it. Religion is *not* falsifiable – you can't disprove religion. It's a pretty important difference. I say this as a Catholic who believes in evolution and supports science. All science does is show us the amazing subtlety with which God works. Seriously, all God had to 'create' was math and a very few physical constants and all you see around you flows from that. It's pretty stunning. I like my subtle God (one that allows for chaos and chance) a lot more than the fumbling God you seem to believe in. You know, the one that created earthquakes, volcanoes, bad backs, and childhood cancer.
1) atheism isn't a religion
2) you can accept science and specifically evolution and still believe in god
3) not all atheists accept evolution (although most do); they are two different things.
4) grow up
Yes, Science is belief in the idea that you can have testable falsifiable hypotheses, and that you can improve knowledge through hypothesis testing. But it is testable and falsifiable – not based on "faith."
I said that evolution was their creation theory silly....
Like I said the internet forums are full of Atheist's evangelist. Pretty funny that they would hang out in the "Belief Blog" of CNN if they don't believe in religion. Unless, they do are are slamming other's religion...
Amen! You forgot to mention one thing though... we have facts instead of faith. That's a biggie.
HMS, every post you make brings the IQ of the whole board down, and that's really saying something with today's turnout.
Stop persecuting atheists for our beliefs, bigot.
A religion requires a creator/deity.
Athiesm may be a belief system, but not every belief syste, is a religion. Try again.
So what you're saying is, you don't understand what atheism is. Got it.
HMSBeagle said: I said that evolution was their creation theory silly.
You couldn't even get that much right. I'm pretty sure the word you were looking for is abiogenesis.
So true HMS Beagle.
Who is Pat Robertson? Pat Robertson is another money loving simpleton among many, using the name of Christ to fleece the dumbbells of America pretending to be somebody!
Go away, troll..
@Henry – I meant for this as a reply to a prior posting. Not sure why it ended up under you.
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.