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Even Pat Robertson Doesn’t Believe The Earth Is Only 6,000 Years Old

This is interesting:

Televangelist Pat Robertson says that radiocarbon dating proves that the Earth is older than 6,000 years — and he’s telling Christians not to “cover it up.”

On Tuesday’s 700 Club, a viewer wrote Robertson that her “biggest fear is to not have my children and husband next to me in God’s Kingdom” because they question why the Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs.

“Look, I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this, but Bishop [James] Ussher wasn’t inspired by the Lord when he said that it all took 6,000 years,” the TV preacher explained. “It just didn’t. You go back in time, you’ve got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things and you’ve got the caucuses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas.”

“They’re out there,” he continued. “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.”

“If you fight science, you’re going to lose your children, and I believe in telling it the way it was.”

File this under “even a stopped clock is right twice a day,” I suppose.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. David says:

    Does this make Pat a CHINO (Christian in name only)?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  2. gVOR08 says:

    …you’ve got the caucuses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas.

    They would have to be Republican caucuses.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  3. legion says:

    I’ve learned to hold my breath for a few days whenever some conservative actually says something rational or even non-horrible any more. There’s at least a 50-50 chance that Pat will get so railed on by the nuts he hangs out with that he’ll walk this statement back later this week.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  4. Jeremy says:

    @gVOR08: Well, Republicans are dinosaurs, so it makes perfect sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Jeremy says:

    Notwithstanding legion‘s cynicism (which is warranted) I think the walls surrounding the Christian citadel are beginning to crumble. They’ve been crumbling for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, but since the Moral Majority stood up and got active they actually did a good job putting putty on those walls and keeping them from falling. It’s starting again, though; the leaders are finally realizing that outside their shrinking choirs, nobody buys their crap anymore.

    I honestly wonder how long it will take before a plurality of Americans are nonbelievers (in Christianity or any other religion, which for this I’ll define as believing in supernatural beings. I’ll save political religions for another time.) 2050? 2075? 2100?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. stonetools says:

    @legion:

    There’s at least a 50-50 chance that Pat will get so railed on by the nuts he hangs out with that he’ll walk this statement back later this week.

    This. You’ve got the Kent Hovinds and Answers in Genesis types out there whose faith is absolutely (and unnecessarily)wedded to a 6,000 year old earth. They are probably already burning up the lines.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  7. john personna says:

    Good Guy Pat Robertson.

    (no need to fault anyone while they are being right. save that for when they’re wrong.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  8. Rafer Janders says:

    “You got all these things and you’ve got the caucuses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas.”

    Were only the caucuses frozen, or did we ever find frozen primaries, or any other sort of election processes?

    And, more curiously, who were these dinosaur caucuses nominating, and for what purpose?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. Rafer Janders says:

    “You got all these things and you’ve got the caucuses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas.”

    Hey, big deal. I can show you caucuses of dinosaurs frozen in time from this last cycle of Republican primaries in 2012. Just look at all the ones which nominated Santorum.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. rudderpedals says:

    I take this to mean that Noah’s Ark also failed to save the elves and hobbits and other kiwis from the flood

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. john personna says:

    “caucuses” is a spell check or voice to speech error, right? carcasses?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  12. swbarnes2 says:

    Come on. This is pretty weak sauce.

    And can we all remember that Pat Robertson said that the people of Haiti suffered a horrific earthquake because their ancestors made a pack with Satan? And that the Sikh temple massacre was the work of atheists?

    Pat made the tiniest of concessions to reality. It’s nothing to get excited over. When the guy says “The Bible clearly states there was a global flood, but yeah, science tells us that it didn’t happen, so that must be the case”, that’ll be worth noting. But denying the Bishop of Ussher? Who cares?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @swbarnes2: Well, Rubio didn’t have enough guts to say so….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. stonetools says:

    @swbarnes2:

    Gotta be gracious and give credit where credit is due. Tiny steps….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. Franklin says:

    Oh, c’mon, the guy can leg press 2000 lbs and you’re worried about whether he think the Earth is young or old? I’m just worried the guy will get mad one day and stomp all over us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. CSK says:

    It wasn’t the dinosaurs that froze; it was the mammoths. And there was a considerable spread of time between the two events. But I give Robertson credit for acknowledging, however imperfectly, that paleontology and geology are sciences and not, as that loon Broun from Georgia would say, emanations from the fiery pit of hell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. swbarnes2 says:

    I would give a toddler credit for knowing that 2 + 1 = 3. I don’t give grown men credit for finding a single sliver of reality that they are okay with accepting. Honest adults are supposed to have a lot more than a sliver.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  18. michael reynolds says:

    I love it when conservative nuts get caught way far out on a limb over some bit of idiocy and then get it chopped off by their own leaders. Pat Robertson of all people calling the young earthers out. Or the former GOP head and former GOP governor in Florida admitting the election law was nothing but racist voter suppression. Or Bill Kristol admitting that raising taxes on millionaires won’t matter to the economy. Or Bobby Jindal slapping down the takers-makers paradigm.

    You only get to hear the truth from the Right after they get spanked at the voting booth. I guess conservatives could just listen to liberals and save themselves some humiliation, but nah, that’ll never happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  19. Ron Beasley says:

    I guess this means Pat didn’t give any of his millions to the creationist museum!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @stonetools:

    Never underestimate the human capacity for self-delusion.

    Or how vigorously they will try to protect those delusions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    This position isn’t really all that new even in Christian circles. Neo-orthodox Christianity has been straddling this type of positions since the 50s and catechisa from the Reformation times asserted that the earth was preexistant and timeless before the events described in Genesis. What is a little new is the direct attack on Bishop Usher’s failabiltiy–but Robertson’s a Baptist, so that isn’t a reach. The rabid culture warrior approach to the question is, in my opinion at least, a relatively new phenomenon–and I wish that my Christian brothers and sisters would give it a rest.

    By the way, Kent Hovind’s arguments are worth a listen if you wish to pretend to have an open mind about this issue. I doubt that they will convince any of science’s “faithful,” but he makes the most persuasive case available.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  22. george says:

    @David:

    Does this make Pat a CHINO (Christian in name only)?

    Along with about a billion Catholics, who’ve had no trouble with a billions of year for at least a century.

    Come to think of it, what do the fundamentalists think of Catholics?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. Rick Almeida says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Hovind is a young-earth creationist and a multiple felon. Why would one take his “arguments” about geoology or physics seriously?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. NBH says:

    @CSK:

    as that loon Broun from Georgia would say, emanations from the fiery pit of hell.

    Please, don’t speak his name. It’s deeply disgusting that I’m now in the district of this idiot. He’s a living caricature of some of the worst stereotypes of rural Georgians. it’s a sad day when Pat R sounds less delusional than the person who’s my congressman.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. KariQ says:

    @george:

    Come to think of it, what do the fundamentalists think of Catholics?

    Depends on the fundamentalist, of course, but some of them regard Catholicism as little better than a cult. Others still go with the “Whore of Babylon” thing. This isn’t universal, of course.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  26. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Rick Almeida: The multiple felon part is news to me. By all means, enlighten me if you can. As to your “why would” part, I didn’t say that anyone would, just that he makes the most credible argument that I’ve seen (for whatever that is worth).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  27. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @KariQ: Not universal? Wow! That’s news to me. Good news, you understand, but news just the same. In my corner of the fundy universe, “Whore of Babylon” was the 8th fundamental.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: Did my own google search on the multiple felon thing. Very sad. The nutball “christian libertarian” stuff involving tax evasion and currency manipulation and such effectively turn him from a guy who was presenting a decently researched and explained alternate model (one that science will not accept, but alternate just the same) to “just another religious nut case.” Why people will destroy their reputations over money and taxes is a mystery to me, but the ones who claim that they are doing it to “serve the Lord” are the most reprehensible. Bad move Kent–I hope your name was worth a little under half a million. Personally, I wouldn’t sell mine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. Rick Almeida says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    His argument is that Noah loaded all the animals, including young dinosaurs, onto the Ark before the earth was almost hit by a giant ice meteor. He argues further that the fossil record is the result of all the animal bones mixed up by the Flood.

    I really, really welcome your discussion of his “decently researched and explained” argument. Sounds like just another grifter to me.

    P.S. Science “will not accept” his arguments because there is no empirical evidence to support them That’s how science works.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  30. george says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    P.S. Science “will not accept” his arguments because there is no empirical evidence to support them That’s how science works.

    But all is not lost. He can come up with alternative theories, including replacements for theories such as biochem, molecular biology, genetics, and other such foundations of the theory of evolution, and then solve problems with his alternatives to those theories that current biological and medical science can’t. His theories will then become accepted science, replacing the current theories. Happens all the time in science – its how quantum mechanics and relativity replaced (or superceded) Newtonian physics. The theory of DNA/evolution might seem as ridiculous after his theory catches on as the ether drift is currently in physics after Einstein’s insight.

    No science is ever settled, and though I’m not a biologist, I’d bet my house that there is still a lot of improvement possible in modern biology. Replacing the current structure of biological knowledge which support the theory of evolution means some fundamental insights, overthrowing almost everything we think we know – if he can come up with some of those improvements then power to him. It could end up curing many currently uncurable diseases and conditions (maybe we’re going at it all wrong with the biochem approach).

    On the other hand, if he doesn’t have an alternative for the fundamental structures that are behind modern biology, he might just be making stuff up as he goes along.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  31. Abdul says:

    What I don’t really understand is why dinosaurs are such a problem. I have faith and I believe science. What always struck me about the creation story and the big bang theory is that only timetables are different. The darkness then light, that’s a big bag. The part about the atmosphere Waters receded, That’s iron sinking to the core of the earth revealing land. Animals in water then land. It is more poetic in the bible, but not factually different than sciences interpretation.

    Science moves forward with theories until one can be disproven. Then it moves on. Biblical writers were as skilled with science as poetry. It never struck me that they were wrong so much as that they just didn’t understand the full timeline.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. John H says:

    “No science is ever settled…” Never gets old, does it?

    Actually, quite a lot of it is pretty much settled, and Rick is correct. Apart from having some use in explaining newly discovered phenomena, a new theory must first explain that which has already been tested and found to be repeatably and consistently in agreement with the evidence. Anyone can endlessly concoct alternative explanations and claim to have new fundamental insights, it’s the testing that separates useful theory from crank fantasy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. Bil Danielson says:

    Sweet Jesus, if it took this long to drill down on the 6,000 year inanity when (if ever) will we get to the universe as a metaphysical given..

    Not holding my breath.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. george says:

    @John H:

    Actually, quite a lot of it is pretty much settled

    Except what’s settled today tends to become unsettled in the future. My favorite example is Lord Kelvin around 1900 saying that classical physics had everything almost solved, with two small clouds on the horizon – black body radiation and the Michelson-Morely drift. The first led to quantum mechanics, the second to relativity. As has been pointed out, among his other amazing talents, Lord Kelvin had an excellent eye for clouds.

    Which isn’t to say that people arguing against the theory of Evolution or global warming aren’t being disingenuous when they use that argument – you have to come up with a better alternative, and when decisions are made, go with the best current theory. But settled? No, science will only become settled when we stop doing research.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  35. mantis says:

    @george:

    Except what’s settled today tends to become unsettled in the future.

    True, but only by better explanations. No exceptions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. swbarnes2 says:

    @george:

    Except what’s settled today tends to become unsettled in the future.

    Not really. The advent of quantum mechanics didn’t suddenly make cannonballs not conform to the behavior predicted by traditional ballistic equations. If we modify our understanding of gravity, airplanes won’t start falling out of the sky; aerodynamics will still correctly predict the behavior of large fixed-wing aircraft.

    We aren’t going to discover tomorrow that the DNA sequencing underlying phylogenetic trees is magically wrong, and that humans really aren’t closely related to monkeys. We aren’t going to discover that our whale fossil series isn’t really sequential in time, but in fact is totally random. We aren’t going to discover tomorrow that life behaves in a way completely contrary to what the rules of chemistry we’ve so far discovered allow.

    My favorite example is Lord Kelvin around 1900 saying that classical physics had everything almost solved, with two small clouds on the horizon – black body radiation and the Michelson-Morely drift.

    At “everyday” speeds, knowing the variables with only modest precision, classical physics was correctly predicting the behavior of all kinds of physical phenomena, and after quantum mechanics and relativity, those same equations still accurately predict the behavior of those same phenomena. Those new understandings allowed us to predict behavior which classical physics was getting wrong, but it didn’t overturn the old stuff. Anyone with some weird pseudoscientific theory of cannonball flight was not going to be magically justified by quantum mechanics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. george says:

    @swbarnes2:

    If you’re talking about results of calculations, not that much changed between classical and modern physics (well, outside of solid state physics, where things like a transistor would be impossible according to classical mechanics, as they require quantum tunnelling to function).

    But if you’re talking about the understanding, then there was a huge change between classical and modern physics, as I’m sure you know – the world went from deterministic to indeterministic, a change so radical that Einstein never accepted it (and was convinced there were hidden, deterministic variables behind it, something that no longer seems likely given things like the Bell inequality).

    Or other things, like the loss of Newton’s absolute space and time, which is conceptually very different than the relativistic model. Its the same way a creationist and an evolutionist can agree on what happens when you cross polinate pea seeds, without agreeing on the underlying science.

    And SuperString theory (if it ever becomes more than applied math) might well change that again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. Nick says:

    @John H: Science is never ‘settled‘, so-to-speak.
    You can always go back and try find flaws in established theories or dig deeper to find unexpected vistas of knowledge using new technology and techniques. It may be a fruitless endeavor – like, say, trying to build a perpetual motion machine – but the worst one can do is just verify/strengthen the arguments for what has already been established.

    General Relativity and Quantum Theory are regularly bashed over and over with cunning new experiments to see how far they can be pushed. Both (but especially Quantum Theory) have stood up to scrutiny thus far and physicists will continue to push them to their very limits.

    Stephen Hawking dared to challenge the laws of thermodynamics (entropy) – *the very basis of science itself* – by theorizing that one could destroy ‘information’ by throwing it into a black hole. It was a fiendish paradox that Hawking had created, and it took a lot of work to find the flaw in his theory. (It turns out that information sent into a black hole is not lost, but rather ‘smeared’ over the event horizon.)

    Scientists can say with a great deal of certainty which theories will stand the test of time – but there will always be a non zero probability that any particular theory may actually be greatly flawed or just plain wrong. Scientists are not psychics and being wrong about the predicted outcome of an experiment is definitely a raison d’être.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. swbarnes2 says:

    @Nick:

    Scientists can say with a great deal of certainty which theories will stand the test of time – but there will always be a non zero probability that any particular theory may actually be greatly flawed or just plain wrong.

    That’s just what Creationists argue. “Sure, a century’s worth of data that has correctly predicted a huge variety of physical phenomena tells us that a global flood was impossible, but it would be irresponsible to teach that, because tomorrow, we might rewrite everything we know about physics”. Sorry, but that’s absurd. We landed the Mars rover successfully, because we already know enough about gravity and motion to do that, and if we learn something new, NASA isn’t going to radically rehaul the equations they used to do that. We are not going to find that those equations are actually so wrong that its impossible to use them to put a rover on Mars. If they were so greatly flawed, we wouldn’t have all those rovers there now.

    Creationists want to oppose science on a Platonic level, because they think their ideas are Platonically perfect, and they know science is not. So don’t buy into that framing, or encourage it. What matters is that reality checks show that science is pretty darn accurate, and reality checks show that Creationism is garbage.

    http://store.xkcd.com/products/science-works

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0