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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. Jeff Cox

    Well, as any good Boston Red Sox fan could tell you, you've probably got Carl Everett's vote!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  2. WASP

    he is just pandering to the religious to get re-elected. look at his job. he serves on the committee for science. either he is pandering to the plebs or should be kicked off the committee for lying about his true intentions

    October 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Boisepoet

      Either he's ignorant to believe what he does, or a liar for not admitting what he truly believes about science.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  3. holspark

    All those damn scientists, and those silly fossils, have led us on this conspiracy to disprove God. Why can't the existence of God and evolution BOTH be correct?? Why does one have to exclude the other??

    October 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Big Bird

      Because one of those things is not like the other. One of those things just doesn't belong.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Primewonk

      And the evidence for version of any god would be ....

      October 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • G to the T

      It's not so much that God and evolution cannot coexist, it's evolution and God as represented by a LITERAL reading of the Bible that cannot coexist...

      October 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  4. Bruce Carter

    What an embarrassment to the Christian faith. It is people like this that are doing more harm to the spread of Christianity than the devil is. I am a Christian, and I believe that evolution is the mechanism by which God brought us into being. It is indeed humbling to realize that without Jesus Christ, we are no more than another species of highly developed ape. I wish these creationist nuts would shut up, because there are a lot more Christians like me out there, who have brains. A lot of them, though are scared to speak out for fear of being ostracized by others in churches. I am not. I fight this creationist prattle whenever it starts up in a church.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      @Bruce Carter

      You are an embarrassment to the Human species.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Booger

      But Bruce if the bible is the inspired word of god then how could you possibly believe in evolution when the bible clearly states that god made man out of clay or dirt or whichever version you read. By believing that evolution is a vehicle used by god to create man you are saying that the bible is wrong in this account. Imagine Bruce what else the bible got wrong. Why do we need a savior from original sin that could have been avoided if an omniscient god never created Satan in the first place?

      October 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Billy

      Bruce,
      Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and that the Holy Spirit testifies to the truth of Scripture. So if you don't believe the opening pages of the Bible regarding Creation, how can you be so sure that the pages of the Bible speaking on salvation are truthful? What metric do you personally use to throw away some pages of the Bible and keep others? The Bible is an all of nothing instruction manual to life by the Almighty Creator (aka Jesus Christ). Never mind that Jesus also validates the 7 days of Creation in the New Testament. Do a little homework on this and you will see. And above all else, pray for God's guidance when reading the Scripture so that the Holy Spirit can guide you in your understanding of Scripture.
      Now with that said, I am a chemist and when I talk to all my evolutionist buddies there is no way in heck they will every admit that God is guiding evolution–there is no God to them. And for Bible-believing Christians, the Bible says God did it all in 6 days. End of story. None of the devotees in either camp believes there is an overlap; each idea is mutually exclusive to those who actually study their respective belief. It is the fence-sitters that believe each field overlaps some (i.e., God used evolution). Fence-sitters deny neither a god nor evolution.
      The questions then are: is a person a real Christian if they deny the Creator God's Word? Or, is a person a real evolutionist if they believe in a god?

      October 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  5. delos

    We are talking about a congressman from Georgia, did you really expect anything different from this parasitic moron.
    He need's religious dogma to get elected and where better to use this then down south omong the hicks.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      Doesnt take much to get the GA drippy droolie tards excited. They are just a notch above a 3rd world coutnry witch doctor. lol

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

      Towelie says, "If you are going to get drippy droolie tards excited, don't forget to bring a towel!"

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

      You spelled "among" wrong. :)

      October 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  6. Kansan

    Thanks for making Kansas look absolutely progressive in comparison to Georgia.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      lol true

      October 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • LifeIsGood

      We haven't heard from Mississippi yet.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Brett Favre

      I support 'im! Good man.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  7. Billsf

    What would you expect from someone representing the state that brought us, "honey boo boo"!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  8. Billsf

    Whenever a congressman says something stupid, you know it's going to be a republican, lol.
    I guess God planted dinosaur bones just as a joke!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • KLARGAR

      MISERABLE BLASPHEMER THOSE ARE THE BONES OF THE WICKED SINNERS THAT PERISHED IN THE FLOOD! (s)

      October 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  9. cedar rapids

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

    Tells you all you need to know about the state of the US.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  10. Jesus Doppelgänger

    Rep. Broun is a loose cannon. That he can be allowed to serve on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is unthinkable. Take a few minutes to write to the Committee Chairman, Rep. Hall and ask that Rep. Broun be censured or removed from the committee.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  11. Daveq

    How anybody can make their living by the knowledge earned from scientific study, then turn around and blast science as evil, is the very epitome of hypocrisy.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • lar bear

      Good point. I can't see the bacteria, so I think the antibiotics he gave patients are lies from the pit of hell. What a piece of work!

      October 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  12. Where is your God now?

    You are at the Museum of Modern Art with a date. You have high hopes for this relationship. She is smart, pretty and a great cook. You just critiqued a group of Kevin Appel paintings when you felt a sudden urge to relieve your bowels. But where is the bathroom? Too late. And it is loose. You drag your smelly self to the elevator; she is behind you but gagging...

    October 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  13. Tom

    What a total ratard.

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

      You are the ratard Tom.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Tom

      Happy Wednesday Carl, you ignorant flat earther! You make humans look like ratards! Congrats.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Tom

      Science flies you to the Moon.
      Religion flies you into buildings.

      nuff said.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Carl

      Tom, when you can tell me what the hell a "ratard" is, then we can talk.

      If you mean the urban definition that a ratard is cooler than a retard, then you are a retard.

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

      Definition of a ratard: Carl.

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

      Thank you Tom. And you really are clueless.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  14. Sue Pearlative

    Church fathers (early Christian writers) said that the 6 days were not 24-hour days. They were ages. The Greek word for "day," just like the English word, can mean an age or era.

    So evolution happened. But it was a directed evolution. Science will show that a totally random physical process could not have produced speciation as we have it now, for many reasons. For me, some of the objections to random evolution are: (1) intermediate species are selected out. Incipient organs or limbs are a hindrance. (2) For a new organ or development to be successful with the result that the change be passed on, too many genes would have to change, in the right manner, all at the same time. (Small changes in the genotype not significant enough to result in positive selection for that type, would not be selected for.) (3) Because of the chromosomal structure of inheritance, selection of a gene on a chromosome coding for a favorable change in the phenotype, would in most cases be accompanied by deselection of other favorable trends in other genes that happen to be on the same chromosome. (4) There is no satisfactory answer for how the immensely complex machinery for replication of DNA and for protein generation (ribosomes, etc) could arise by a random process. You can't get a protein without a ribosome, but a ribosome is made of protein. And similar issues. (5) Extreme rarity of intermediate species in the fossil record.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • ME II

      @Sue Pearlative,
      So, "... there was evening, and there was morning—the first day." (Gen 1:5) is just referring to the last sunset and sunrise of the first "age", is that is?

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

      Where's your nobel prize?

      October 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      so the alternative is it was magic? That makes more sense to you than the evolutionary process huh?

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

      You you believe in an infinite progression of gods since your god is by nature complex and could not just happen without intelligent design?

      October 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • ME II

      1) ambulocetus and tiktaalik
      2) "too many genes would have to change," "Small changes ... would not be selected for." What is your evidence for this?
      3) First, "in most cases" does not preclude such things happening. Second, I'm not aware of a chromosomal limit on gene expression, e.g. why would a duplication error cause a deselection of some other trait?
      4) evolution is not a "random process", it involves a selection factor with biases the process toward successful traits.
      5) "rarity of intermediate species" how so? The meseums are full of fossils of intermdiate/transitional fossils: http://humanorigins.si.edu/

      October 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • bioman117

      Sue, even though you throw around some big words, your ignorance of biology is obvious. I suggest you read some more advanced books before giving up on your search for the truth. I know that saying "God did it" is a much easier path for you to take, but I know you will find out that all of your doubts have much more logical answers that some man made diety. Maybe you should go to Afganastan where women aren't allowed to be educated.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  15. Archie Bunker

    There are no facts which we have, which prove how old the Earth is, how life itself began or even how humanity and consciousness came to be. Everything related to those "beginnings" which our scientists tell us, are simply their imaginations, backed up with some logic and tidbits of evidence. The reality is...we really don't have any clue how everything got started any more than humans did long ago. Does my saying this give support to the Biblical version of creation? No. Nor do I believe the fairy tale-ish version of it. All I am a saying is....we have come up with some great questions, questions which were also being asked thousands of years ago...and still, we do not have any firm answers. And it remains possible that life on this planet was created by a superior advanced being long ago. Is any of this from hell? No. But does science rule out a God-like being? No.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "are simply their imaginations, backed up with some logic and tidbits of evidence"

      their imaginations huh? nothing to do with the scientific process, our understanding of physics, chemistry, biology, etc, its imaginations and 'tidbits of evidence'?
      jeez.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • LifeIsGood

      Nothing could ever rule out a god like being. Just like nothing could ever rule out the tooth fairy. But would you live your life around dogma related to the existance of the tooth fairy?

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

      Theories regarding the beginnings of the universe (the Big Bang) or the how the diversity of life occurred (evolution by natural selection) are based on science. Science, by definition, seeks to explain phenomenon based on rational thought and logic; without resorting to a superior beings intervention to make it happen. Science does not say that god does not exist. It says that for the purposes of studying and explaining a system, one does not need god to make it happen. So you can believe in god if you wish, and you can use his power or will to explain your version of how the world works, but there is no way that you can use god's power or will as part of a scientific explanation. To do so is to contradict what science is all about.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • ME II

      @Archie Bunker
      "There are no facts which we have, which prove how old the Earth is,..."
      Incorrect. While science doesn't deal in "proof", the is plenty of evidence for an old earth/universe, such as, Radiometric dating (not carbon dating), magnetic banding of the sea floor, plate tectonics, etc.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  16. Rob-Texas

    I am a Republican and never would have voted for this guy nor do the majority of republicans share his views. What in the heck is going on in Georgia? Brown is a Moron!

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

      Go ahead and add Akin to that list.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      What in the heck is going on in Georgia?
      .
      Inbreeding and producing more religo tards

      October 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Boisepoet

      Yeah...right...I use to be a Republican but left because of junk like this. It seems the only Republicans left vote party over country or intelligence. I'd bet you vote a straight Republican ticket every time.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Primewonk

      46% of all adults believe "god" created humans in their present form less than 9,000 years ago. Amongst republicans that rises to 68% (Gallup)

      October 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  17. James PDX

    Why does God allow the denizens of Hell to spread lies to us? That seems almost as foolish as creating imperfect beings and then punishing them for their imperfections.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  18. Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

    “All that stuff I was taught about the Earth being round and not being the center of the Universe, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,” U.S Rep. Paul Broun said.
    ...............
    All I can say is WOW!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Christians never taught that the Earth wasn't round.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • lar bear

      Interesting! Actually during medieval times Christian clerics around the Mediterranean taught that the world was flat, and that the Mediterranean represented Jesus' body. Google "t-o maps". Looks like some GA congressman wants to go back to those days.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • John Blackadder

      Then what was the Catholic Church doing when they threatened Galileo?
      Oh, perhaps the Catholics aren't Christian???

      October 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  19. Lindsey

    And we're paying these backward buttheads to make policy for us in Washington. AND this particular backward butthead is allegedly a DOCTOR!

    Um...attention AMA...can you please revoke this menace's license? Thank you very much. The thought of him being able to treat someone's illness or accident is making me quiver with revulsion. What would he do? Call on JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEBUS to stop the bleeding??

    I so despise them, there's not even a strong enough word to describe my feeling.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  20. lamb of dog

    Makes me wonder why we are doing so bad in science. Lets put more idiots like this guy in charge. Thanks GOP.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:29 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.