A couple of days ago when we posted Pat Robertson: Earth Older Than 6,000 Years, we knew it wouldn’t be long before there was a vigorous response from the creation scientists at Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis (AIG) — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page.
As expected, here it is: Pat Robertson’s Word or God’s Word: Which Will You Believe? It’s not from Hambo himself, but one of his staff — someone named Tommy Mitchell. AIG has this biographical information about him. Good grief, he’s an MD.
Okay, let’s get to the article. It’s very long, so we’ll have to be selective. First it describes what Robertson said, which we already know. Then they rip into him. It’s really the same old young-Earth nonsense they always spout, so you won’t find anything new here (except the Earth), but we love it when creationists go after each other like this.
This kind of food-fight is inevitable, of course, because unlike science, religion has no rational mechanism for dispute resolution. In matters of dogma where there’s no evidence for a belief, it’s all about faith. That always leads to factions and fanaticism. Here are some excerpts from AIG’s attack on Robertson, with bold font added by us and their links and scripture references omitted:
[I]t is so sad to see a Christian leader making such a statement. It is precisely this type of compromise within the church that has caused such an erosion of people’s faith in the Word of God and a mass exodus of young people from the church. Here Mr. Robertson is saying that we should hold the ideas and opinions of man above the very Word of God itself.
By the way, this isn’t the first time AIG has disagreed with Robertson over young-Earth creationist dogma. One of our readers pointed out an AIG article from 2003, written by ol’ Hambo himself: “Hocus Pocus”. But let’s stay with their new article. It says:
Robertson implies that young-earth creationists claim the earth is only about 6,000 years old solely on the basis of the work of Archbishop Ussher. Additionally, several major news agencies reported on Robertson’s comments and stated that Answers in Genesis holds to a 6,000-year-old earth because of Bishop Ussher. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Really? Then where do they get that notion? Let’s read on:
While Ussher was a brilliant and careful scholar and far more knowledgeable on this issue of chronology than most of his critics, we believe that the earth and all of creation is young not because Ussher says so, but because the Bible says so!
Oh — it’s in the bible. Then the article rambles through a few paragraphs of bible stuff to support their belief, followed by this:
It is true that the Bible itself does not contain a verse explicitly stating the age of the earth. A statement like “the earth is xxxx years old” would be wrong the year after it was written!
Good point! We’ll try to remember that. The article continues:
The Bible does, however, give us information to calculate reasonably accurately the age of the creation and conclude that all of creation is young (here meaning a few thousand, not millions, of years old). Robertson sets the Bible’s authority on this subject aside, essentially inventing a “before the time of the Bible,” to accommodate what he thinks man knows about dates and dinosaurs.
Egad — Robertson invented a time “before the time of the Bible.” Here’s more:
First of all, Robertson makes a very common error of assuming that carbon dating is how scientists determine the age of the earth. He uses this as proof for an old earth, revealing his ignorance about dating methods.
We remember when Robertson ran for the Republican nomination back in the 1980s (see Republican Party presidential primaries, 1988). He may act like a goof-ball in his ministry, but he’s not ignorant — certainly not compared to AIG. Besides, that’s not what he said. Rather, it was this: “And you go back in time, you’ve got radiocarbon dating, you’ve got all these things, and you’ve got the carcasses of dinosaurs …” Moving along with AIG’s rebuttal:
Next, Robertson believes that the mere existence of dinosaurs is evidence for an old earth. After all, he says, they are “frozen in time.” He states that they were on the earth “before the time of the Bible.” This is puzzling because the Bible claims to give the true history of the world, and it begins with the creation of the earth itself. So exactly where does Robertson put the dinosaurs? Surely, not before the creation of the earth!
Aaaargh!! What an argument! Here’s another excerpt:
And here by far is the most dangerous statement Robertson made on his broadcast. Basically, he is saying to our youth, “Don’t believe the Bible; believe in man’s ideas!” Furthermore, he states that if we don’t use “revealed science” to reinterpret the Bible, we will lose our children. Here he is totally wrong. This type of compromise is actually causing our young people to walk away from the church.
Well, opinions vary. Some people seem to like an anti-reality church, and others find it repulsive. On with the article:
Robertson apparently does not understand the difference between operational science and historical science.
Lordy, lordy. Not that balderdash again! That dichotomy is utterly bogus, as we’ve discussed several times before. See: ICR Says Scientists Don’t Understand Science. Skipping a bit we come to this:
Robertson feels that “revealed science” trumps Scripture. Therefore, he indicates that by using “science” we can decide which parts of the Bible are true and which are not. What he really means is that we must use the majority view among scientists (most of whom are lost sinners still in rebellion against God) to interpret the Bible, rather than using the Bible to interpret the Bible.
Ah, if scripture always wins over science, then the gang at AIG must also be flat-Earthers (see The Earth Is Flat!), and they undoubtedly believe that the sun and the planets orbit the Earth. In for a penny, in for a pound. Let’s see what else they say:
Robertson would have our youth reject Genesis because of the ideas of fallible man, but then would he logically say that the gospel should be rejected by the same criteria? After all, “science” (i.e., the majority of biologists and anthropologists) insists that virgins don’t have babies and dead men don’t come to life again after three days. So, based on science alone, the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ would only be myths. So why not teach that the Gospel accounts should be rejected?
Good question, but Robertson didn’t deal with that for the same reason AIG never proclaims that the Earth is flat. It’s because absolute adherence to scripture in all such matters is always a problem. Everyone has to draw the line somewhere, and that makes every preacher a hypocrite. Let’s see now … the AIG article goes on and on, so we’ll have to skip a lot.
If Robertson is correct and the earth is millions of years old, then what do we do with the fossils? If the fossils document millions of years of earth history, then we have millions of years of death and suffering before Adam’s sin. If man evolved from ape-like creatures over the last few million years, then there is a trail of death in the evolution of man.
It sure looks that way. Oh, don’t miss this argument:
So if Robertson would encourage us and our children to mold our thinking based on the views of secular humanists, then why not adopt their view on other things? Why not adopt the views of the secular world about abortion, about marriage, about homosexual behavior, about premarital sex, about child-rearing, and about morality? After all, if the secular world is wise enough to tell us how to interpret our Bibles, it must be wise enough to guide us in other areas, too.
Wow — if we don’t believe the world is 6,000 years old, we’re all going to be perverts! This is serious stuff! Okay, this post is long enough, but we’ve barely covered all that AIG has to tell us. If you like that sort of thing, click over there to read it all.
Finally, we leave you with some Curmudgeonly advice. If you want to be totally consistent in your adherence to every detail of scripture, you must keep reminding yourself about two essential features of the Earth — it’s not only young, it’s also flat! Go now, dear reader, and keep chanting to yourself: young and flat, young and flat, young and flat …
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