Barry Eitel

The latest advocate of science and rational thinking might be…far right television preacher Pat Robertson.

Robertson made some remarks that surely ruffled Creationist feathers on his show The 700 Club last Tuesday. The statement was in response to a letter from a woman worried about the eternal souls of her husband and children. They didn’t understand why the Bible couldn’t explain the existence of dinosaurs. She was very worried they didn’t share her Fundamentalist Christian view of the Earth’s origins. Her “biggest fear is to not have my children and husband next to me in God’s Kingdom.”

Robertson responded in a surprisingly refreshing rational manner.

“Look, I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this,” Robertson stated as a disclaimer before dispelling the Creationist notion of a 6,000 year old Earth.

“Bishop [James] Ussher wasn't inspired by the Lord when he said that it all took 6,000 years,” he claimed, “It just didn't. 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.”

“They're out there, Robertson 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.”

Robertson had a stern warning for those who roundly reject science:

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

Archbishop of Ireland Ussher espoused his view of the Earth’s age in The Annals of the World, published in 1650. He calculated that God created the world on October 23, 4004 BC. Almost four centuries later, creationists still point to Ussher’s research as for the day the Earth was born.

Most scientists claim the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, while the universe has been around about 14.5 billion years.

Ideas like Ussher’s date hold sway over many Americans.

According to a Gallup survey this year, 46% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years. That percentage hasn’t changed since 1982, the first year Gallup polled about evolution and creationism.

The second most common view, polling at 32%, is that humans evolved with God's guidance. The view that humans evolved without God’s guidance was held by 15%.