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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. mudbone9

    How do these id10ts get elected in the first place. Why can't evolution and creationism both be right? Why couldn't God have decided that evolution was his master plan. What makes some people think that God is restricted or controlled by time...a creation that he designed? I don't think God has what we would call an age. People have no trouble in imagining that God is not held down by gravity so why would time affect him? Think outside the box people.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      mudbone9, evolution and creationism can't co-exist because one of them in a lie.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      Are we too as sume you are talking about Santa? Which God are you talking about? Can you provide his statements on such matters as his "master plan". Did you hear him tell you this? Are you relying on someone else to speak on a God's behalf?

      October 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Michael

      It's quite easy to discern the lie... here's a hint: snakes can't talk.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • palusko996769

      Technically, they both could be wrong.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      evolution is used to explain the world and facts we notice in nature and is open to change as we learn more.
      creationism is used to justify their belief in biblical stories that have no proof or evidence besides that book.
      the scientific community will accept any theory of a dynamic system as long as there is proof, creationism has none, because a man relaying voices he hears in his head is not sound evidence

      October 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Hugo

      24, a lie must have an intent to deceive by the speaker. It is not a lie simply because it is false. If someone truly believes Creationism is true and says so, it is not a lie. If someone truly believes the moon is made of green cheese, it is not a lie to say so. When I was about 4 and told someone the moon was made of green cheese, I was not lying, because when I was 4, I believed it. (The person who told me was almost certainly lying.)

      October 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Primewonk

      mud – you assume that it is evolution vs creationism. The problem is this – in Genesis there are 2 contradictory creation myths. Which one is real? Additionally, there are over 1,000 different creation myths out there. All early tribes, societies, groups, had at least one. The are all mutually exclusive, meaning no 2 or more of these myths can be true. The only thing these myths have in common is the facts they have to support themselves. That would be zip.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Hugo

      Primewonk, in many historical cultures, the creation story boils down to

      There was nothing
      There was something.

      BTW, if I read the first part of Genesis with "metaphorical thinking" it looks like the Big Bang to me.

      And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (The Big Bang)

      Yes that's not even close to perfect. I'm just having some fun here.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      Hugo, wow you sure put a lot of effort into being a smarty-pants AND managing to be wrong too. LOL

      I didn't say mudbone was telling a lie. I said creationism IS a lie.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  2. Steve

    Well, at least they are adjusting estimates up from the Earth being 7,000 years old.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  3. Michael

    I suppose that he thinks believing the world to be round is a dangerous idea as well...

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

      Where do they find these people!?

      October 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  4. Bob

    Saying stuff like that, this guy should probably shoot himself dead – but in the chest, so his brain can be examined for the severe and debilitating brain damage he must be sufferering from...

    October 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  5. extinct_republican_party

    why so many extremes in the US ?
    This guy is straight out of the middle ages church
    Obviously a man of dogma ...nothing spiritual here

    October 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  6. Goose66

    "The rise of religious influence in the far right of our political landscape..." I keep seeing statements like this, both in posts in these forums and in the mainstream press. There is no "rise" in religious influence on the right or anywhere else. There is no "shift to the right" in politics in this Country. For the nearly 50 years of my lifetime this Country has moved steadily left. Just look at the policies and laws enacted during this period. It is pure conspiracy theory to believe there is growing power in the conservative right in this Country. The influence of religion and conservative morals on the culture and the Government has dwindled over time to where it is nearly non-existent. Let's stay in touch with reality, people.

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

      Those right wing people try to make me go to church. Well I don't want to go to church because I ain't got no damn money.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      i know those dang liberals and equal rights! whats the world coming to! oh you old people and your greedy conservative ways< i hope you have enough vouchers to pay for all your up coming medical needs.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Primewonk

      "conservative morals" is an oxymoron. Sorry.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • KLARGAR

      What the hell are you drinking, Fox News, 68% of all Republicans believe in biblical creation, Bachmann,Palin, members of Coral Gable Ministries, the rise of thge Evangelical megachurch movement, the demise of organized labor we are currently at the lowest rate of unioin membership in 50 years, the right wing attack on social security etc.etc. I suggest you remove your head from your rectum wipe the feces from your eyes and take a good hard look at reality.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  7. elb1999

    This guy is not the problem. The problem is 46% of Americans believe in literal creationism. Undoubtably, a higher percentage of those in his district do. We cannot have a society that thrives when nearly half the population is doubtful about the legitamacy of science and technology while science and technology is advancing at warp speed. Is it any wonder we are falling further and further behind in science and technology? Our university science and technology programs are increasingly being filled with Asians and Indians as well as our corporate hierarchy. This is a much bigger problem than some congressman from Georgia.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  8. Where is your God now?

    A woman’s boyfriend, Carlnelus Delaney Simmons, age 37, took her 16 month old son, Jabraylon Bables, and dipped him into a pot of boiling water.

    The baby suffered for 36 days before succ.u.mbing to his grotesque and brutal injuries. Burns covered most of his lower body and melted his skin off which became infected.

    The mother, Jasmine Thompson, is supportive of her boyfriend.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  9. Rational Libertarian

    "Truth from the pits of rational scientific endeavor" may be a more apt name.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  10. NOT MY CHAIR

    wow no wonder our country is screwed when people elect people like Paul Broun

    October 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Towelie

      Towelie says, "If you are going to get screwed by Congress, don't forget to bring a towel!"

      October 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  11. Bill LaPlante

    This guy probably feels that those who do not have the same religious beliefs as him are doomed to hell. We will never get along if we feel we are better than others.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  12. Carl Hoffmeyer

    This is disturbing reading.
    It is pitiful that no one loved this man enough to teach him how to reason.
    What's scary is that he sits on a congressional science committee (he clearly has no concept of science), that he votes – and breeds.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  13. notatall

    What gets me is that he and his supporters will vote for Romney, of the Mormon faith, that does not believe in the holy trinity and therefore can not be "Christian".

    October 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  14. mcskadittle

    and the differnce between this guy and the taliban is?

    October 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      color of skin and location

      October 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • palusko996769

      He's a US Congressman, and not considered an enemy. Plus, he believes in the right God ;-)

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

      not much ...

      October 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  15. Marc Bissonnette

    Hey fundamentalists/creationists: Explain this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium-lead_dating
    "Uranium–lead (U–Pb) dating is one of the oldest and most refined of the radiometric dating schemes, with a routine age range of about 1 million years to over 4.5 billion years, and with routine precisions in the 0.1–1 percent range."

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

      Marc, I'm not either but I can give an answer based on an assumption that both Creationism and science are correct.

      God created the world including the evidence of a history.

      If we wander into the realm of philosophy we have "I think, therefore I am." That is about all you can know. It is not impossible that an all powerful force created you, 2 seconds ago, giving you memories of your lifetime.

      I can't assert with certainty that Creationism is wrong. However, I have very high confidence that Rep Broun is wrong.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  16. BrightStar

    We absolutely need more people in Congress with like minded views. It's only the 21st century, get with the program.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  17. Ike Newton

    And this man is a medical doctor? Bet he doesn't know his ass from his elbow.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  18. Concerned Citizen

    I do not agree with a lot of things about this congressman's position. OK, people have differences of opinion. However, what I find most alarming is that such an extreme and narrow-minded point of view, based purely on an inflexible ideological position, is represented in our law-making body of representatives where church and state are intended to be separate. Not only does he believe these things but apparently he sees people like me and millions of others as "messengers of the devil" who believe in the "lies from the pit of hell" if we do, in fact, accept the existence of evolution. How can he represent the people of the United States with such a pronounced bias towards so many of us. The rise of religious influence in the far right of our political landscape sounds disconcertingly like what we see in certain Islamic countries where religious zealots control (or want to control) the government. Please, not in America!

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

      Someone once said people have a right to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Dan (Atlanta)

      His position? Science is a debate that exists with evidence. This man has no evidence for his nonsense. Science isn't a matter of popular opinion, or some crazy man's beliefs.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • elb1999

      He does not represent the people of the United States. He represents the people in his district, the majority of whom probably agree with him on this.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  19. Joseph B

    "Broun, a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology."
    This is scary that he serves on the committee on science!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  20. GOOD NEWS

    GOD created all things,

    via Big bang and Evolutionary Creation,

    and thus put His "Mathematical Signature" on it!

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    ==UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES!

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

      Yes, you are overdue for your meds.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:24 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.