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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. taurus1353

    no matter how you slice and disassemble or reverse engineer this universe to it's most minute component, that component cannot explain its own existence. One thing is sure, nothing can come from nothing, nothing ever had nothing ever could ,it's scientifically implausible. Each theory has its own flaws, if you can't recognize that then you're not as open minded as you think , nuff said!

    October 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • BU2B

      By your own logic, who created god? I would assume that your god is very complex, and thus requires a creator.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Paradox spotter

      Ah, but you believe that God came from nothing, that there was no creator at the very moment you insist the universe must have a creator. Then you will say that god always existed, but that it is crazy to think that the universe always existed.

      See the fallacy of your position? Everything you assert about the universe means that your god cannot exist.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Robert

      That is a valid point. However, there is a difference between debating aspects of the big bang theory and advocating an entirely different idea. In other words, even if you are 100% right that doesn't mean creationists are correct by defaut.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @taurus1353

      Besides, if you're talking about the physics defintiion of nothing, then stuff pops in and out existence and non-existence all the time. If you're talking about a more common usage of nothing, then there is absolutely no way to measure that "nothing" to determine whether something is able to come from it or not, therefore either way your slice it, your assertion is unjustified.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Religion is Not Heathly for children or ANY living things

      So YOU think that YOU are "open-minded"???? REALLY???...
      You DO realize that the theory of evolution DOES NOT CLAIM that something was created out of NOTHING! YOU are confusing that with your own CREATION MYTH! It is CREATIONISM that believes the universe was magically created by an invisible imaginary being out of NOTHING! POOF! What a hoot!...

      October 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  2. Kathy

    This guy is so stupid he forgot to renew his medical lisence!!! https://services.georgia.gov/dch/mebs/retrieveBoardOrder.do?licenseNumber=014465&boardTypeId=2

    What an IDIOT!!!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Does Rep Broun advocate blood letting as good standard medical practice?

    October 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  4. Grady

    The true "work of the Devil " is a continued, self induced, ignorance about the world around you and what makes it wotk.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  5. rosie

    See what represents the Republican cause in this country – uneducated, ignorant, bigot.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • yuri pelham

      And that's why they'll win. They represent the majority.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  6. Ken

    The Taliban in America..... what a neanderthal. It's amazing how stupid people can be. There has never, ever been any tanglible evidence of the existence of a diety but he, and so many others, continue to believe in 'God'.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  7. Incredulus

    The Gallup poll question, as stated here, is clearly a biased question. The results are the Gallup organization preying on the numerically illiterate or on unquestioning people. Why did the author of this piece quote a poll that cannot give meaningful results relevant to the question at hand?

    October 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • ME II

      http://www.gallup.com/poll/21814/evolution-creationism-intelligent-design.aspx

      October 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  8. Dave the butcher

    Hail Satan, who cares what these whiny Christians believe. Now lets move on.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  9. Interesting numbers

    Isn't it interesting that 15% of Americans believe in atheistic evolution, and yet only 2% are thought to be atheists?

    Methinks 13% of Americans are atheists who don't like the label, and don't identify themselves by what they believe.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Huebert

      I dislike the term atheistic evolution. It Implies their is some sort of theistic evolution. This is not so. There is the theory of evolution and then there is sh!t-we-made-up-in-church.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Interesting numbers

      Unfortunately, there has developed a "theistic evolution", a lame "God guides evolution" cop-out that, of course, means the Bible/Quran/etc is wrong, but allows people to keep believing in a god while they still accept science.

      Theistic evolution is like Social Darwinism, a phony perversion of the actual science to fit a non-scientific political agenda. Yes, Theisic Evolution and Social Darwinism are three dollar bills, but at least theistic evolution keeps the science accurate, instead of the creationist mental illness we have heard way too much of over the years.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Robert

      Recent polling shows that about 15% of Americans are non religious. So this result isn't s stretch.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Han

      The 2% are the more extreme atheists. People who are agnostic, spiritual but not religious, and those who do separate religious belief from their scientific knowledge would all believe in atheist evolution without being atheist themselves.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Religion is Not Heathly for children or ANY living things

      Actually, the latest polls on religion now show that 20% of the population claim to have "no religion" and 5% openly claim to be atheists! Less than 60% now claim a religious affiliation...

      October 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  10. BE in TN

    The education system in this country is a total failure. This is yet another example of the kind of people we elect to represent us and it can only be blamed on the people who vote!!!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  11. Danny Adams

    "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."

    Most Jews, on the other hand, point out that the word translated as "day" in English also means a cycle of completion that isn't necessarily restricted to 24 hours. And they should know, since Genesis was their book first.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  12. solex

    The main problem I have with religion is that it takes no discipline to be a follower. All you have to say is something like "It's God's will" or on in this case "Anything that does not validate my belief system is wrong".

    One thing to keep in mind when mental midgets like this guy start with their nonsense is this:

    It is NOT "God's Will"

    It is yours.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  13. Phil in Michigan

    The bible also forbids wearing different fabrics- Deuteronomy 22:11. So I am assume this follower of the Bible is wearing a wool suit, wool shirt, wool tie, wool underwear... If you are going to be a MORON, be a COMPLETE MORON and follow ALL your infallible dictums.

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

      No it does not, it prevents Jews from doing that, since they are suppose to be the priests of God.

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

      But, if you want to do that, you will probably live longer.

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

      John

      Do you actually believe that not wearing blended fabrics will make you live longer?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  14. Colin

    If you want to do something about this, here is where you should write to. It is the committe's email address.

    http://science.house.gov/contact-us/email-us

    October 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  15. How to spot a dingbat in three easy statements

    "Lies straight from the pit of hell"

    “A lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth.”

    "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,”

    October 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  16. jamesbx

    Like someone smarter than me said, "If gravity is a scientific theory, why don't you jump out a window?"

    October 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Old Sailor

      My suggestion is that "if you do not believe in the theory of gravity – why don't you jump out of a window – preferrably from a high floor. I won't mind if you pray all the way down.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  17. Heywood

    I guess the earth really is flat and the sun revolves around the earth.

    I assume this "Doctor" still bleeds his patients and uses leaches?

    October 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  18. calbikerman

    I knew when I saw the byline that this guy was going to be from the south......yeehaw!

    October 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  19. Han

    Obviously, evolution is a lie created by the Templars to hide the existence of Those Who Came Before and their artifacts. We Assassins must unite and free the people from the controls of Templars.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      Appears the blog has brought out some crazies

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

      @Han

      I see what you did there ;)

      October 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Han

      Nothing is true, everything is permitted.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  20. Where is your God now?

    A 15-year-old Wisconsin girl was rescued after someone noticed the girl walking barefoot several blocks from her home in her pajamas. Police learned of the alleged torture the nearly starved girl endured since 2006 after they picked up the girl in the early part of last week.

    The teen alleges her father and step-mother locked her in the basement and forced her to drink her own urine and eat her own feces. The girl was found weighing only 70 lbs. and had not yet reached puberty due to her years of malnutrition and alleged mistreatment.

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

      you really get off on these stories, don't you? No one else does.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Under all thaose stories is a simple question, Ann. Why would a God allow such things?

      It's known as the "problem of evil", a philosophical test of whether a religion is true based on the stated behavior of the god in question versus the actual events on Earth, especially the "evil" ones. It is a nasty little test, and the vast majority of religions fail miserably. The Abrahamic religions in particular simply cannot be true when the Problem of Evil is considered.

      That, I believe, is Where's point.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:16 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.