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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. Bill

    Trickle down economics...now THERE'S a lie from hell.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Trickle down government – a lie crafted by Romney who, I'm told, will be a god one day.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  2. TheDudeAbides

    There you have it folks. GOP- more for your knuckle dragger dollar.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  3. Concerned Citizen

    This is disgusting and terrifying. I'm not just saying this as an atheist, I'm saying this as a citizen of the USA that this person can somehow be elected to national public office. Truely desp.icable.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Don

      Just wait until moooslems take over and we live under "their laws". You think you hate this...hahaa just wait. This guy has the right to believe what he wants. Voters make a decision. In the end we get what we deserve when we don't vote.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  4. Nietodarwin

    This is proof that xstianity is basically mental illness. (This still holds true for all you xtians that still aren't as ignorant as this guy and do believe in evolution. )

    October 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  5. mary

    And people wonder why the rest of the world laughs at us.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Redoran

      PT Barnum – "There is a sucker born every minute".

      October 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  6. lar bear

    It is not only this congressman. What about the 45% of Americans who believe in Creationism. Ouch! I guess a lot of people have trouble finding meaning in their lives without some kind of benevolent Creator. Personally, I am going to make the most of the life I have, and if there is more, yippee. But if you are going to make extraordinary claims I need extraordinary evidence. I guess faith would be nice, but rational side keeps it at a low ebb.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  7. batjones

    I do not find evolution and the creation of the world as explained in the Holy Bible to be at odds. God created the heavens and the earth, tiny critters (insects), fish, birds, beasts (mammals), then Man. The way that the Holy Bible explains the sequence seems consistent with the way Darwin explains his theory.

    The recent conservative push to state that the several species were created in separate silos, is new rationalization of segregationists.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Depends on which chapter of Genesis you look at. Chapters 1 and 2 are contradictory on the matter.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      yea besides the whole talking snake, creating man from dirt, creating women from a rib, and creating heaven and earth at the same time. no conflict there

      October 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • OOO

      Evolution says all these things evolved from a common ancestor, not that they were created individually. The only thing you can claim for a god right now is the initial ancestor (which could just be a bunch of chemicals mixed just right under perfect circu.mstances).

      October 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  8. Veritas

    So as a doctor who doesn't believe in evolution, has he only ever had one flu shot in his life? More importantly, what kind of poor advice does he provide to his patients.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  9. Where is your God now?

    Cynthia Cecilia Gonzalez of Longview Texas was arrested last Wednesday after her toddler daughter, Aura Delgado, 2-years-old, was taken to the hospital for serious injuries. Police believe the injuries were a result of what is believed to be atrocious physical abuse against the child. Baby Aura arrived at the Children’s Medical Hospital in Dallas with a black eye, bruised chest, cut gums, skull fracture, brain bleeds, a loose tooth and two front teeth missing which were allegedly knocked out by her mother punching her in the mouth.

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

      Please stop. Your post are annoying and add nothing to the conversation.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  10. Joe The Plumber

    I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says." The Bible also says "Hark , I will smite thee GOP Neantherals in the middle of the night."

    October 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • mary

      The Bible says 6 days, but NOWHERE does it say that it is a 24 hour day.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  11. Vic of New York

    What's worse is that this is the CLOWN Republicans have put at the head of the Congressional Committee on Science ! ! !

    It points to a disturbing trend among Republicans to try to set back our society by 100 years. It's not just "Conservative" it's "Retroservative" and it's dangerous.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  12. Joe Rockbottom

    As another senator said, 'you don't take an intellegence test to become a senator.'

    So, if you are really, really stupid, all you need to do is come from a state full of really, really stupid people and then tell them you are also really relaly stupid and they will vote for you. Piece of cake in Georgia, Miss, Alabama, N Carolina, Etc, Etc. (yes, I lived in Georgia and know all about how stupid the people there can be).

    BTW, A medical doctor is not necessarily a scientist. A doctor is someone who memorized all the answers, passed the test and got a degree. No understanding or participation in science necessary. Just regurgiation of answers.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Whiteman

      I'm so glad someone besides me said this.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  13. Danimal

    This guy is nuts. How can you be on those committees and have those views. What about carbon dating and dinosuars. Religious fanatics have no place in politics AT ALL! No wonder more people than ever are abandoning their religion.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  14. 54StaryNights

    Judging by the appointment of Akin and now Broun, the main qualification the Republican House leadership looks for when appointing Republican members to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology is that they be total m0r0ns.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Joe Rockbottom

      Actually the only qualification to be named as member or even head of a committe is how much money you raise for the party. And that is the absolute truth. Ask any politician. Raise enough money and they will hand you whatever committe you want.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • 54StaryNights

      @Joe Rockbottom–I guess they put them on the Science, Space and Technology Committee because they figured it was the Committee where they could do the least harm.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  15. Nietodarwin

    I hope this guy dies soon. Religion is poison, let's hope it kills him.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  16. Sashatree

    Scary times when idiots like this are elected. What should scare us more is that many school districts are now forced to teach biblical creationism!!!! THIS IS COMPLETE LUNACY PEOPLE!! WAKE UP!! THESE CHRISTIAN MORONS ARE NOT STABLE MINDED AND WANT TO DRAG US BACK TO THE 13TH CENTURY!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      Scary to think about what kind of people live in his district.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  17. Larry P

    If you do not understand metaphor, many ideas in those books will be lost on you, and you will have to force yourself to believe in some crazy things that show a world that works much differently than the one we're on. And, will people please quit damning my etrenal soul, you will see in the handbook that guy speaks of, that, too, is not allowed. Be happy with your beliefs, and I'll be happy with mine.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  18. Just the facts mam

    I guess we know why he is a Politician now instead of a practicing physician.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      no kidding lol

      October 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  19. Joe The Plumber

    Is this guy related to Akin?

    October 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Amniculi

      They're on the same committee...

      October 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Which God?

      Yes. They are brother repulicans. Probably as.sh.ol.e buddies as well (que theme from Deliverance).

      October 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  20. Mad Man

    Bill Nye is an amateur scientist. All scientists are merely amateur scientists. In a hundred years, all of them will seem greatly uninformed. None of them know what happened with the speed of light and time dialation after the "big bang". We couldn't figure out how to build a car until this century. We just discovered the Higgs boson.

    So again, all scientists are mere amateurs.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Hugo

      That's a pretty creative definition of amateur. A more standard definition includes "no formal training." Doesn't say the training was good. Just that it existed and it existed for many of these scientists.

      Pretty creative definition you produced.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Amniculi

      I think you better look up the definition of amateur...

      October 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Just the facts mam

      We didn't find out until the 1920s that the Milkyway was not 'THE UNIVERSE'. That's when we found out that our galaxy was just one amonst billions of galaxies.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Larry P

      What are you, 7? And, the car was not invented 12 years ago. Amateur.

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

      You are the amateur here....

      October 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      actually the car was first created in the 19th century we are now in the 21st century... also when will there be a professional scientist? by your standards since science is always evolving and becoming more and more sophisticated, we will only have a professional scientist when we know everything?

      October 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      Um I don't think you have a clear understanding of what an amateur is.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Mad Man

      Amateur = Not an expert. No scientist can be an expert when it comes to the creation of the universe. Not even Billy boy.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • amayetli

      Bahahahaha! "We just now discovered the Higgs boson", dumb amateur scientists. Took them over 1,000,000,000,000,000 of proton-proton collisions, a thousand trillion to find it. I bet I could have found in like 17 collisions.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:05 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.