Friday, November 30, 2012

Pat Robertson Goes Rogue

In a response to a question on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson, head of CBN and Regent University in Virginia Beach, caused many jaws to drop when he remarked that the standard young earth creationism model is not all its cracked up to be. Dan Merica of CNN comments:
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.
This is, of course, exactly contrary to the teachings of Ken Ham, who argues that it is because we aren't teaching creationism that we are losing our children. Robertson's statement is also a paraphrased restatement of what Kenneth Miller once said: Never bet against science.

Interestingly, while the CNN author attempts to tie in the rest of the article with acceptance of evolution, Robertson doesn't say that. He says that he doesn't accept the recent earth model.

This will make waves in both camps and there will be much hand-wringing among young earth supporters.  Humorously, the The Daily Kos' headline reads: “A Sign of The End Times? Pat Robertson throws the Young Earthers under the bus.”

Whether this counts as a renunciation or simply a public statement of long-held beliefs, I am not sure. That this is big news, however, is unquestionable.


  1. It is refreshing to hear Pat Robertson accept the irrefutable scientific evidence of carbon dating of the age of the earth and of fossil evidence of dinosaurs or other prehistoric life forms which are millions of years old and have become extinct. The problem with some people is that they consider religion and science to be incompatible. This doesn't have to be the case. The Catholic Church, the Anglican Church as well as most other Protestant Churches accept the findings of evolution and the scientific method of study knowing that science always changes as more knowledge is gained.

    One of the most significant recent discoveries in genomics is that the genome as well as the cytoplasm and the proteins of cells have chaotic fractal properties. Fractal geometry (an element of chaos theory) is characterized by self-similarity (the bifurcating branches of a tree, the circulatory system in the body, the neural network of brain cells, etc.), and self-similarity at various levels of magnification (e.g. main arteries to smaller arteries to arterioles to capillaries). Fractals can also occur in time. The rhythm of heart beats has been shown to behave in a chaotic fractal manner as well as the neuronal activity of the brain.

    It is becoming clear that most of nature is fractal-large objects made up of similar smaller objects which form spontaneously through self-assembly. Evolution follows chaos theory in order to develop new functions for all manner of biological entities by reusing already existing structures to form slightly new versions with different uses. The universe itself follows fractal laws in its structure and behavior.

    What this all means is that the universe was created to be a self-assembly mechanism which drives evolution in a direction of more complex entities and more consciousness. I say created because there are no theories by anyone that explain how something can come out of nothing or how the physical laws existed in the first place. So the evidence points to an intelligence which created the universe and its laws. We don't have to fight science in order to believe in a higher being.

    For more discussion of chaos theory and evolution go to my blog

    1. That is great. I read some of the same ideas in Kenneth Miller's Finding Darwin's God and it has really given me a different way of approaching the universe. John Polkinghorn also has this idea of a self-creating universe. It is hard to get that idea through the thickness that is "creation by divine fiat."

  2. Loren Haas9:50 PM

    Pat Robertson's ministry goes way back, back to a time when an "Old Earth" was acceptable to conservative evangelicals. Billy Graham has the same position. It is the "Johnny come latelyies" that are denying established science.
    Give me that old time religion!

  3. The references to children here makes me think that huge changes in politics, world views and views of history literally require generations because young people must work out their own responses to the society they grow up in and once they do, they don't change their minds very much. I think science teachers and writers should just stay on track, explaining science as clearly as they can and staying broad-minded about the human consolations of spiritual beliefs and religious communities. A century from now, most folks will have come around.
    Brock Haussamen

  4. Yes, and i think that if most supporters of the young earth movement knew that Billy Graham thought that, it would turn their hair white. Even modern-day Christians who are great fans of C.S. Lewis aren't really aware of what he thought about these things. It is unfortunate that the general "dumbing down" of the American populace that we see in the secular culture, we also see in modern evangelical Christianity. It just takes different forms.

  5. Anonymous5:12 PM

    BS guys, there are still a billion holes in the old Earth theory. I'm not buying it, not when your silly carbon dating once missed dating something from the late 1800's by oh about 20 million years.

  6. What's your citation for that, anonymous?

  7. Anonymous10:39 AM

    I believe that Billy Graham and Pat Robertson are correct. There are two major views that could be correct:Old Earth Creationism or Theistic Evolution also known as evolutionary creationism. Young Earth theory is wrong. Dinosauriours could not have lived with human being, on the contrary, they were monsters. They died out long before we came along. Thank you God! I am a United Methodist and former Southern Baptist. Open your minds to thought. That is why Jesus gave them to us.
    Charles E. Miller, BA in German, MA in Theology

  8. Anonymous2:49 PM

    C.S. Lewis believed in Theistic Evolution. As I have already stated above,Old Earth Creationism also known as Progressive Creationism could also be correct. They do not believe in evolution. Progressive Creationism is also known as the Day-Age Theory, and I accept that view. Perhaps that is what Pat Robertson accepts.
    Charles E. Miller, AB in German, AM in Theology

  9. Anonymous6:15 PM

    I do not know if anyone at Regent University accepts evolutionary creationism; however, they do accept Old Earth Creationism of some kind. There are three versions of this: Day-Age Theory, Gap Theory and Evolutionary Creationism. As I said before, I accept Day-Age Theory. I wish Dr. Robertson would say which of these views he considers correct. I believe Rev. Robertson is a good man of God. Wheaton College, where Billy Graham received his BA in Anthropology, has representatives of all three views. In any case, God bless everyone who believes in Jesus. God the Father spoke and Jesus created.

    Charles E. Miller, Jr. BA in German, MA, in Religion

  10. Anonymous7:17 AM

    I am glad to see that you believe in evolutionary creation. Jesus is the BioLogos that created live in this universe when God the Father spoke. To me, science came to life when it accepted Theistic Evolution. It realized that without a Great Mind life could not exist. C. Miller

  11. Anonymous3:08 PM

    If I were a young man again, I would obtain an MDiv from Regent University. I have no trouble with evolutionary creation. I also enjoy the book known as The Language of God by Dr. Francis Collins. I feel that the Priestly Account of creation in Genesis 1 comes very close to the story told by science. Does anyone agree with me?