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October 10th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

Congressman draws fire for calling evolution, Big Bang ‘lies from the pit of hell’

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) – A U.S. congressman is attracting attention and criticism for an online video that shows him blasting evolution and the Big Bang theory as “lies from the pit of hell” in a recent speech at a church event in his home state of Georgia.

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,” U.S Rep. Paul Broun said in an address last month at a banquet organized by Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Georgia. “And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

Broun, a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Speaking at Liberty Baptist Church’s Sportsman’s Banquet on September 27, he said that “a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth.”

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“I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old,” Broun said in the speech, which Liberty Baptist Church posted on its website via YouTube.  “I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says."

Scientists say that the Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old and that the universe dates back 13.7 billion years.

In his speech to the church group, Broun called the Bible the “the manufacturer’s handbook. … It teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in our society.”

“That’s the reason, as your congressman, I hold the holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the congressman, Meredith Griffanti, said that Broun was not available for comment on Wednesday and that the video showed him “speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues.”

The congressman’s remarks about science have drawn attention online, with critics taking aim at his role on the science committee.

Bill Nye, the popular science personality, told the Huffington Post in an e-mail that "Since the economic future of the United States depends on our tradition of technological innovation, Representative Broun's views are not in the national interest."

"For example, the Earth is simply not 9,000 years old," said Nye, a mechanical engineer and television personality best known for his program "Bill Nye the Science Guy." Broun "is, by any measure, unqualified to make decisions about science, space, and technology."

Talking Points Memo reported on the church video over the weekend after being tipped off by the Bridge Project, a progressive group that tracks conservative activity.

Most creationists believe in the account of the origins of the world as told in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

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In the creation account, God creates Adam and Eve, the world and everything in it in six days.

For Christians who read the Genesis account literally, or authoritatively as they would say, the six days in the account are literal 24-hour periods and leave no room for evolution.  Young Earth creationists use this construct and biblical genealogies to determine the age of the Earth and typically come up with 6,000 to 10,000 years.

The Gallup Poll has been tracking Americans' views on creation and evolution for 30 years.  In June, it released its latest findings, which showed that 46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution.

– CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Evolution • Politics • Science

soundoff (5,886 Responses)
  1. Mark Silvers

    Figures, he's from the party of old, white men: Republican Bilble Belter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Broun

    October 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mark,

      thanks for the link.

      He's a Reagan Republican (raised Dixiecrat).
      In May 2009, Broun proposed failed legislation that would have proclaimed 2010 "The Year Of The Bible".
      In 2008, Broun and 91 co-sponsors introduced H.J.Res.89, a proposition for the Federal Marriage Amendment.

      A family values champion, "Broun has been married four times. He has a son with his fourth wife, Nikki, and two daughters from previous marriages"

      October 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Where is your God now?

    The boyfriend of a live-in girlfriend was arrested on charges that he battered the girlfriend's toddler so badly, she died from the abuse. According to the LA Times, the toddler had physical evidence of bite marks, raw, open wounds on her head – along with missing chunks of hair and bruises.

    The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the abdomen. The boyfriend, Omar Zarate Gutierrez, has since been arrested on murder charges.

    No current reports tell where the mother was at the time.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  3. RedskinsFan

    I just have to ask: Why is someone who apparently doesn't believe basic, fundamental scientific theories, laws, and principles on the US HoR SCIENCE Committee? That was like putting Michelle Bachmann on the Military Intelligence committee... or anything involving intelligence.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  4. Jamal0390

    How does this elected offical explain the existance of dinosaurs, and other extinct species like megaladon which are far older then 9,000 years old. Or scientific methods of dating like Carbon dating, Or the fact that Geologists when surveying volcanoes or the grandcanyon can date the origin of that landscope to hundreds of thousands of years. What about Pangaea (which has been proven)? On a last note, if he is right then why are most religious nut jobs racist, because according to them blacks, hispanics, asians etc would not exist on earth unless god made them.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Hugo

      Jamal, he would most likely say the fossils were created by the Devil and left here to fool us. I don't agree with him. I'm just speculating on how he would answer that question. I've dealt with people like that before.

      What baffles me is that this man could somehow get an MD without a better understanding of science.

      I'd ask him questions like "do you believe carbon exists?" "What about carbon-14; does that exist?" I'd keep going, and would if he was here and answering questions in public (preferably broadcast on TV).

      Frankly, I'm not the best for the questioning. Someone who understands physiology better than I as well as someone who understands physics and chemistry would likely be able to embarrass him seriously on live TV. I very much doubt he'd agree to that. (I suspect he actually knows he's full of it and won't admit it.)

      October 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • outsider

      How does this elected offical explain the existance of dinosaurs, and other extinct species like megaladon which are far older then 9,000 years old.
      Evidence exists that dinosaurs and humans co-existed. It’s at the cre5ationist museum… go check it out.

      Or scientific methods of dating like Carbon dating,
      Carbon dating is not accurate for anything over 6000 years old. Intersting number don’t you think?

      Or the fact that Geologists when surveying volcanoes or the grandcanyon can date the origin of that landscope to hundreds of thousands of years.
      The grand canyon was created when the flood waters receded from Noah’s flood.

      What about Pangaea (which has been proven)?
      More lies

      On a last note, if he is right then why are most religious nut jobs racist, because according to them blacks, hispanics, asians etc would not exist on earth unless god made them.
      It's a curse from God and he wants us to mistreat them. It's his will.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  5. Hugo

    I tried to watch the actual speech but I got "service unavailable."

    In any event, I would ask Rep Broun if he accepts atomic theory or not. If not, I'd ask him how his automobile works... If so, does he accept DNA? If so, just what happens when a stray neutron hits part of a DNA molecule?

    October 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  6. 24 Hour Crisis Center

    Why, when you read the Bible, are you not left in awe? Why doesn't a book written by an omniscient being leave you with a sense of wonder and amazement?

    If you are reading a book written by the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving creator of the universe, wouldn't you expect to be stunned by the brilliance, the clarity and the wisdom of the author? Would you not expect each new page to intoxicate you with its incredible prose and its spectacular insight? Wouldn't you expect the author to tell us things that scientists have not been able to discover yet?

    Yet, when we open the Bible and actually read it, we find it is nothing like that at all. Instead of leaving us in awe, it leaves us dumbfounded by all of the nonsense and backwardness that it contains. If you read what the Bible actually says, you find that the Bible is ridiculous.

    The Bible is a book written thousands of years ago by primitive men. A book that advocates senseless murder, slavery and the oppression of women.

    Why would anyone want to adopt this horrible book as a basis for a religion and a lifestyle?

    October 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm |

    • Foundational myths of the Jewish people and justification for their continued existence.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Hugo

      You make a good point about not being able to understand the Bible. However, once you said you don't understand the Bible, how can you support the conclusions you produced? (How can you use something you don't understand to support an opinion that is based on understanding what you don't understand?)

      October 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Hugo

      Congrats on showing that you can completely miss the point of the original post.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Hugo

      Hawaii, I got the point. I was addressing the poor mathematics used by the OP. His argument contains a contradiction. He doesn't need it to make his point. He should write his argument without the contradiction.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Hugo

      You're simplifying what he said, which changes the meaning of the post dramatically. His point is that the bible, when read objectively, is an irrational book of fables. It has nothing to do with his personal understanding of it, and everything to do with rational evaluation of the book.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • hopefulspam

      As a christian I know the bible as a a collection of books written by MEN about their accounts and their faith. I also know that the bible has been re-written and re-written BY MAN as the writing evolved and other languages, like english, have induced their own language translation. The bible is simply a record that contains spiritual thought, if someone thinks it is written by god and every last word should be taken literally, is crazy. There are crazy people out there that think the bible is 100% true, as a christian, I know this isn't true. It is our own personal relationship with god that helps reveal truths. My belief is that the book of genesis is trying to explain billions of years of evolution to a bunch of simple-minded people prior to the current scientific stage.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  7. m

    And then Congressman Broun took a mercury enema and proceeded to bleed himself.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  8. terre haute

    Three things I know to be true, because there is overwhelming evidence to support it.

    1. The Earth is not 9000 years old.
    2. Human babies grow from embryos.

    No man with an MD and an MS in Chemistry should ever question those two things. Either he doesn't really believe it and he's playing to a small audience for votes, or he's a complete and utter disgrace to his profession.

    As an aside, "creationism" and "Intelligent Design" are NOT scientific theories. They are religious belief that do not stand up to the scrutiny of established empirical standards for scientific analysis, nor do their proponents try to submit that they do. If that's what people believe, fine, but do not try to package it as an alternative scientific theory of human origin. There is zero evidence to support these "theories". Not one shred has ever been discovered that would support biblical accounts of human origin. Not one.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • terre haute

      There should be a "3." in front of the "No man with an MD..." statement. I can, at times, count to three. :)

      October 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • hopefulspam

      Nicely put!

      October 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  9. mailorderbridesfromKolob

    I wonder if Broun believes in the planet Kolob

    October 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  10. hawaiiguest

    The fact thtat this complete fucking moron is on a committee that has anything to do with science. This intolerant, ignorant fuck being elected in the first place shows the sorry state of affairs in our country. He has admitted in the video that he doesn't give two shits about the First Amendment as long as he gets it his way. Please, people of Gerogia, get this asinine tool out of office.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Not much chance of that. This idîot is running unopposed. And compared to the folks in his district, he's a fucking genius.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      This fuckstick is running unopposed? Holy Zombie Jew on a Stick, we're all fucked.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • hopefulspam

      That man is filled with the madness of the devil!!! hahahaha

      October 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      He's filled with the madness of mental midgetry (no offense intended to actual little people).

      October 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  11. FarLeft/Tallahassee

    It's a republican that said this, right? 'Nuff said.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  12. Ruoyu Li

    my question is what purpose does a person who refutes science have business serving on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  13. The Dude

    Why does this take anyone by surprise? Most polticians don't understand science at all.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  14. oldnevadan

    People often joke "and they can vote" when referring to the intellectually challenged. In this case it's "and they can run for office – and win!" Just another example of the %^$#s currently running this country. That is meant in a universal sense, by the way. They're all clueless, regardless of their party affiliation.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  15. Sin Breaker

    I love everyone! †

    October 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  16. D. Dickey

    "Yes, reason has been a part of organized religion, ever since two nudists took dietery advice from a talking snake."

    Jon Stewart

    October 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  17. brianfraser

    Some journalist needs to ask this guy to state his rules of interpretation.

    Years ago I read six different interpretations of the one Genesis creation account in  the Bible.  None of these views stated the rules  of interpretation which were used in arriving at these views, which means basically "anything goes".  Christians generally include at least these:

    1. The Bible is self-consistent and must be used to interpret itself.

    2. The meaning of the text today will be close to whatever the text meant for the original writer and his intended audience.  Similarly, what it did NOT mean to them, it does NOT mean for us today.

    Example: Some Christians believe the Creative Days of Genesis were 24 hours long. But the above rules lead to a different conclusion. There is no statement in Genesis that the seventh Creative Day ever ended.  Hebrews 4:1-11 indicates that it continues to the present day.  Hence, a period of at least  6000 years is implied for the length of the seventh Creative Day. Likely, the Creative days were all of equal length. And that implies a period of many thousands of years to prepare the Earth for human habitation.

    As for the Earth itself, God created it "In the beginning"–another indefinitely stated time period.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • ME II

      @brianfraser,
      Even at 42,000 years (7X6,000) the "creation week" is horrible off. The earth is billions of years old.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • ME II

      Should read, "... horribly off."

      October 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Primewonk

      The Hebrew word Yom can mean anything from a literal 24 day to an indeterminent age. It all depends on context and modifiers. In Genesis 1 it uses the modifiers, "and evening and morning, the (xx) day". Every other time Yom is used this way in the bible, it means a literal 24 hour day. Some religious folks simply want to spin it to be an indefinate time because they have to internally justify that the universe isn't 6000 years old.

      By the way, the earth was not created "in the beginning". The universe expanded for 9,000,000,000 years before the earh coalesced from the detritus of earlier generations of stars going super nova.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  18. Jason

    Did this guy bribe his way into getting that degree?

    October 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  19. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    Any improvement in overall intelligence in the USA as indicated by rapid increase in non-believers is nullified by idiots like this.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Huebert

      Washington, especially congress, is usually about 20 to 30 years behind the public. As ridiculous as this man is I'm not to worried about him. His kind is a dying breed, just give it a few more decades.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  20. helicohunter

    Facts can't have any impact on those who refuse to think. If he's so blind to facts, you have to wonder he can make a rational decision on any subject.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.