There has been some excitement because Pat Robertson, of all people, recently told a viewer of his TV show that the Earth is much older than 6,000 years, and that Christians should stop trying to pretend that it is and that everything happened within that time. He says that if parents try to fight ‘revealed’ science (whatever that is) they will lose their children. He even talks about radiocarbon dating and fossils in support of his position! (Via Pharyngula.)
But interestingly this is not something new for Robertson. He says that people might lynch him for his words and indeed he has been taken to task by other Christians before for being too friendly to science, like when he said in his 2003 book Bring It On, Tough Questions. Candid Answers:
The current theory which I accept points to a big bang theory as the beginning of creation, when about 15 billion years ago an extraordinarily dense mass exploded, and out of that came an expanding universe. Part of the reason scientists believe this theory stems from the movement of the planets. Study of the cosmos indicates that the planets are still moving away from each other. Imagine that we took a big balloon that had not been expanded, put little dots all around it, and then began to blow up the balloon. As we blew up the balloon, the dots would get farther and farther apart. That is similar to what astronomers observe has been happening to our universe during these 15 billion years.
The big bang theory is not at odds with the belief in a creator or what is called intelligent design. The Bible neither supports or negates such a theory, since the Bible was not written as a science book.
I have been hammering at the idea that science and modernity will steadily undermine religion, partly by splitting religious communities into those who, however grudgingly, accept that science has to be taken into account in formulating their worldview and those who simply reject it out of hand. Pat Robertson, to the surprise of many observers, seems to belong in the first camp.
These remarks are not as surprising as when earlier this year he came out in support of legalizing marijuana.. Now that was a shocker.