Noted televangelist Pat Robertson firmly rejected young-earth creationism on “The 700 Club.” As CNN reports, when asked by a viewer how to respond to those who believe “the Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs,” Robertson suggested his viewers should not “fight science.”
“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.”
If Robertson truly doesn’t want his viewers to “fight science,” he should also dissuade them from pushing “intelligent design.” The bills attacking evolution and pushing ID pseudo-science keep coming. As HuffPo notes, a newly elected Montana state representative announced plans to require the teaching of “intelligent design” alongside evolution under the guise of “teaching the controversy.” The one federal court to consider the question rightly concluded that “intelligent design” is creationism in pseudo-scientific drag.
Neither young earth creationism nor the rejection of evolution is required by the Bible. As Dr. Joshua Swamidass, “a Christian and career scientist,” noted in the WSJ last week:
the age of the Earth and the rejection of evolution aren’t core Christian beliefs. Neither appears in the Nicene or Apostle’s Creed. Nor did Jesus teach them. Historical Christianity has not focused on how God created the universe, but on how God saves humanity through Jesus’ death and resurrection. . . .
there is simply no controversy in the scientific world about the age of the Earth or evolution. Evidence points to a billion-year-old planet.
The evidence for evolution is just as strong. In the past, evolution rested on ambiguous fossil evidence, but now it rests on much clearer DNA evidence that increases exponentially every month. Fully appreciating this evidence takes a lot of time, reading and patience. And it is not appropriate to “teach the controversy” in science class because there is no ongoing debate in the scientific community comparable to the theological debate.
The evolution debate is not a scientific controversy, but a theological controversy about a non-central Christian doctrine.
Religious leaders should no more try to deny evolution or the age of the earth than scientists should preach about Biblical commandments. Politicians, too, should stop pandering to scientific ignorance, even when grounded in religious belief — though this may be difficult. Polling suggests nearly 50 percent of Americans (58 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats) believe the Earth was created by God less than 10,000 years ago. As Beth Reinhard notes, “It’s not easy to reconcile matters of faith with matters of science, but smart public policy demands it.”