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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. Jay

    CNN pulling out all the articles and stops it can to counter Romney's push, aren't they? It's kinda funny.

    I do agree that we Republicans would be better off by dumping the religious right, though. It's not like those folks are going to vote Democrat anyway, so stop catering to their ridiculous antiquated notions on religion, gay rights and abortion. Time to go centrist, Republicans.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Hey! You actually sound sensible. Are you sure you're not a liberal?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Jay

      If the republicans abandoned the evangelicals, they could win by a land slide.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • sam

      Republicans will be much better off on the whole if they start rejecting these nutty evangelicals. Unfortunately...it'll take some time to rebuild the party's reputation after all this right wing BS.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • tmac

      well if the GOP goes centrist they would become liberals by the standards of many conservatives.

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

    Good thing he is on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  3. American Travel Tales

    Grand Obstructionist Party: There was no evolution! Jesus: But, you practice social evolution with such fervor?????

    October 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  4. Believer

    How refreshing to have someone of his stature stand up for what he believes and what we all should believe. I believe tat God is turning his back on our country because we seem to fall for anything except the principles that this country was founded on

    October 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Huebert

      And I believe that you lack even the most rudimentary understanding of biology.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      Believer

      How refreshing to have someone of his stature stand up for what he believes and what we all should believe. I believe tat God is turning his back on our country because we seem to fall for anything except the principles that this country was founded on
      .
      what the hell are you talking about??????????????

      October 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • InFormed

      Pathetic. Since when does someone who is so UNQUALIFIED to make decisions on science and technology end up responsible for such decisions? It's like placing a pedophile in charge of all day care centers. No wonder the US is SO far behind other countries both mentally and physically.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "I believe tat God is turning his back on our country because we seem to fall for anything except the principles that this country was founded on"

      wait, so god is only now turning his back? he had no problem with slavery then? wasnt disgusted by trail of tears? didnt have an issue with jim crow? he apparently has a problem with science?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • amayetli

      To be fair Cedar Rapids, most indigenous folks like myself were often considered heathens, godless or was discolored due to our past sins.

      But one quote counters all that, "God made me an Indian" – Sitting Bull

      October 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Religion is Not Heathly for children or ANY living things

      So, your "God" wants us to return to the values that this country was founded upon? You mean values like Personal Liberty, Freedom, Freewill, Democracy, the pursuit of happiness and the Separation of Church and State!??? Sounds like a great idea to me!

      October 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  5. Phil in Michigan

    I want to live in a world where MORONS like that are barred from positions that impact the lives of others. This guy should be digging ditches.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  6. Jason

    U.S Rep. Paul Broun has just worshiped the Bible to claim it to be his own God. He lost his marbles and he can't limited God in a book. At the time Abraham tells the story about the God's creation, God gave Abraham's the dream for six nights and each nights He dreamed with God in order for the generation understand how and why we are here. I hate to say U.S Rep. Paul Broun is twisted.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  7. desertedpost

    "In June, it released its latest findings, which showed that 46% of Americans believed in creationism."

    I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Religion is Not Heathly for children or ANY living things

      It is really scary that 46% of our citzens are that ignorant and clueless, isn't it!?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  8. Truefax

    2 words:
    American Taliban

    October 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  9. NOT MY CHAIR

    its like a deleted scene from idiocracy

    October 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Amniculi

      I HATE that movie, probably because it's so accurate.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  10. lamb of dog

    Here is the link to contact the committee. I just sent a message and urge everyone who disagrees to do the same.
    http://science.house.gov/contact-us

    October 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • OTOH

      lamb of dog,

      Thanks for the link. I will send a message, although I'm not sure who it will go to. If it goes to this guy (the chairman of the Science Committee), I wonder what will happen to it?

      "Ralph Moody Hall (born May 3, 1923) is a United States Representative from Texas's 4th congressional district. First elected in 1980, Hall is the chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. He is the dean of the Texas congressional delegation and, at age 89, the oldest member of Congress."

      Maybe we need to write to our own Representatives too...

      October 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • OTOH

      Ok, done. This is what I wrote:

      "Representatives Broun (GA) and Akin (MO), and any others who wish to govern according to their fantasy religious beliefs, do not belong on a Science Committee."

      October 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  11. Marley

    Crazy-guy: all scientist are mere amateurs

    I guess that explains all the technological advancements scientists have made to improve our lives. They're just a bunch amateurs, huh?

    Scientists do not claim to have the ABSOLUTE TRUTH. There are no ABSOLUTE TRUTHS because no human mind can prove absolute truths.

    RATIONAL people – like scientists – know that we can only establish (prove) TRUTHS for the NOW.

    These TRUTHS of the NOW are *absolutely* TRUE in the NOW. Whether these TRUTHS hold true in the FUTURE or even in the PAST, we cannot prove with *absolute* certainty – unless we can invent a TIME MACHINE.

    Oppose that with religious nuts. They claim they have the ABSOLUTE TRUTHS. They don't. Worst, what they claim to be ABSOLUTE TRUTHS do not even pass LOGIC. If its not LOGICAL, it is FALSE.

    In other words, religious people who actually believe the bible is the TRUE, are not amateurs but CHILDREN.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  12. John Blackadder

    God help us! This dolt would take away Medicare and replace irwith leech farms.
    I'd hate to have him as my doctor!

    Of course, he could be pandering to the church audience, but he seems to have gone overboard to prove his born-again roots. I think I'd prefer the idiot to the hypocrite, but I wouldn't vote for him either way.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      what!? you have a problem with getting a hole drilled into your head?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Trepanning is still an accepted part of modern medicine.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  13. Paul

    Acutally, the article doesn't specify to what party this ignoramus belongs too, but I'd bet double my life savings that he's not a Democrat...

    October 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • realitybites

      Your guess is absolutely corrrect.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  14. Edumacashun

    This is why Georgia ranks so high in education. With any luck our kids will be smart enough to at least find work as telemarketers for India and China.

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

    Why the shock? He's from Georgia, and a Republican. Both characteristics disqualify him from the evolutionary gene pool.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  16. Billy

    This has to be a joke.

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

      Oh how I wish.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Amniculi

      It is a joke – on the American electorate.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  17. Nietodarwin

    Teaching children that there is a hell is child abuse. Forcing a child into a RELIGION IS CHILD ABUSE. These xstians need to be prosecuted under the law.

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

      I would say that both you and Rep. Broun are equally scary and uninformed. Just goes to show, there is plenty of extremist thinking on both sides of the issue.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  18. nintex

    How do people this stupid get elected to office? Oh, I guess it's the stupid people who vote for them. Sad, sad, sad.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Paul

      "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."

      -This is why we can have a Palin rise to the national stage. Or a Romney, characterless liar he is notwithstanding. This country is utterly benighted.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • realitybites

      He's supposedly intelligent. Medical Doctor and all. But as Mark Twain once said: " Common Sense Ain't All That Common."

      October 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  19. lamb of dog

    Dark ages here we come.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  20. David

    Atheistic Evolution?! No, you have Creationist Evolution (God created life and let evolution do it's thing with a few key interventions) and Darwinian Evolution (random chemical reactions created the 1st life and evolution accounts for everything that followed). Plenty of theists subscribe to Darwinian Evolution so calling it Atheistic Evolution is just stupid.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      well i dont believe in your god so yes atheistic evolution. and when you say god created life what of life are you talking about?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      David, what the hell are you talking about?????????????????

      October 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Pete

      Evolution doesn't say anything about how life first started, that is an entirely different theory.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:36 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.