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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. Organic1

    Did anyone tell this ummm Congressman that the bible was written by other dudes? That was when the earth was flat and the sun orbited around the earth. No need to go into the small stuff like new species being found by the hundreds and others going extinct. Would be a shame to 'cloud the issue with facts' maybe he knows someone who turns water into lsd.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  2. GY

    Does anyone know if Romney believes in evolution?

    October 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Engineer

      He does not believe in Evolution but if you ask him, he will say, I did not say that, I like science. My kids enjoy it. I could not say that. Then he will be taped saying, "How in the world could those folks be Evolutionists, why Joseph Smith was a....". You got what I mean. By the way, he wears, magical mormon underwear that believers think make them impervious to stuff. I just want to put it out there for the masses.

      magical mormon underwear.

      Would he believe in fairy tales as well?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • stevenjgarner

      “I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe,” Mr. Romney said. “And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body.” – http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/05/11/romney-elaborates-on-evolution/

      October 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Engineer

      Ok, not to tease but I learn there is glitter in the underwear, I will be laughing throughout the entire year and well into 2013.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Engineer

      Romney is a student of the book called The Prince. In it, it states to be formless by not appearing to chose a side. That is why we see him one side of the topic during the Republican debates and another depending on the crowd. The other candidates assumed a position. You can debate a position but if you are elusive and have no position, you can't be called out (in a debating sense). The book was written by Machiavelli during the reign of the Medici dynasty and wrote it while in exile. He never obtained a footing as he was not trusted by them . They saw him as a snake.

      If you do not know where one person stands, and put him in the position, they will tend to surprise you. He is power hungry and without confirmation of his position, you do not know what you will get. The health of our economy is at stake. One bad decision to prove strength and we are right back where we started and it will be harder to rebound.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  3. HUH?

    A clear example of ignorance not always being bliss. But isn't an odd coincidence that the old biological genius toad akin is on the same science and technology committee. It's one of those extremely bizarro things that make you go hmmm or is it HUH?

    October 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  4. Terri Baker

    I'm a big fan of the bible, but the laws that govern the old testament are the same laws that caused the fall of the Roman Empire. It was a tyrannical society with no justice system. Innocent people got crucified all the time because of ignorance.. I don't think I want to live by those laws in a free country. New discoveries get made and old ones get debunked all the time. The people in biblical days didn't have the technology we have today. Their beliefs made sense at the time, but many ancient beliefs were derived from vivid dreams and didn't have any basis on reality. Technology has made us more aware of other cultures and scientific discoveries from all over the world. We're in America. Not Rome.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • D

      So, the Romans were all Jewish?? huh?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Terri Baker

      In a reply to D... I don't recall saying anything about Jews in my post. The ancient Romans crucified alot of people. They were slave masters who went after anyone they considered inferior or weak. They believed themselves to be Gods. They were most likely very similar to Nazis or The Taliban in their belief that they were the master race.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  5. stevenjgarner

    The fact that Paul Broun also earned his Doctor of Medicine in 1971 from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta seriously calls into question the standard of science education of that college (and of the American Medical Association), for a physician to evangelize dogma so opposed to peer reviewed science. After all, I'm sure the fact that he is a physician was one of the stepping stones that got him onto the Committee on Science and Technology in the first place.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • ertw

      Its 2012 in no way does it call in anything. If you people quit voting in senial old white men we wouldnt have to listen to this garbage. But you wont so here you are.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Dan Halen

      They put him on there so he can prepare the death serum for injection into the "non-believers" and other riff raff, you know, gays, blacks, illegal immigrants, Muslims, just to name a few.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      You can't exactly blame the schools. You don't need to be well versed in the big bang theory or evolution to become a physician. As long as you know your anatomy, disease types, etc... it doesn't matter. This guy is an idiot, to be sure, but I wouldn't call the AMA or his school into question. Just his brain.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  6. angryersmell

    Romney gets elected, these buffoons get traction and we're done. Get ready for manditory prayer back in schools and floggings in the town square. None of these people should be allowed to run for town sanitation engineer, let alone Congress. This country has become a trainwreck.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  7. nasticy

    America has become a country of atheists.......the eternal drive to push against the existence of God. You believe there is no God, because you haven't seen him/science hasn't proven he exists.But just like a maggot does not have the tools to prove a humans existence so also science is too primitive a tool to prove the existence of the Almighty. You take it by "FAITH"......afterall you believe you have a brain... though you have not seen it nor has science proven it (Yes, you've seen the brains of "other people"..mostly dead, and you then extrapolate that you have one because they had one.)Try this experiment, if you dare.Take your whole brain out of your head and hold it in your hand. I can't guarantee that you'll see a brain, but i guarantee that you'll definitely see God.The politician is right....every word.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Engineer

      Hahahaha. Stop it, your making me laugh.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • D

      Wait, when did this country stop being a majority of religious people? I missed that article apparently.
      Goodness know it's hard to tell during the 2-month Xmas barrage too.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • angryersmell

      We're good with God, we just can't stand voluntary ignorance and inexplicable stupidity.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • ME II

      "you believe you have a brain... though you have not seen it nor has science proven it "
      According to the MRI I had the other day, I do have a brain.
      You, on the other hand, it's questionable.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Trollercoaster

      Good troll sir!

      October 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Adam Shaw

      you are a d-o-p-e-

      October 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Riddle me this

      There are about 2.2 billion people who can be called Christians, and about 1.57 billion who can be called Muslims (according to Wikipidia, not that absolute numbers really matter). The remaining 3.3 billion people on this earth believe in something else or have no religion. The Bible and the Quran both state that there is only one God, and that there can be no other God beside him. We all know that Christians and Muslims believe it is their God who is the only one. Thus, one group must be wrong. Riddle me this: Which one?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • oh, good lord

      preach it! preach on!

      although... now that I think about it... you can "have faith" in just about anything: Jesus was born in America, There are 700 virgins waiting for me in heaven, The earth is a hot dog, I'm God, You'e God, Paul Broun is the devil, Everything around me is just a construct of my mind, You're not a raving lunatic... I mean, if faith is all you need, you can make ANYTHING true.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • xirume

      Excuse me but... your bible just fell on top of your brain. Can I get you a paper towel?

      October 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • nasticy

      @ ME II
      lolol. You've just proven my point.
      You had an MRI and saw a brain. Unfortunately you still didnt see or feel the physical tangible object. Yet you believe that what you saw in the screen was a brain belonging to you! Are you for real?

      October 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • nasticy

      Hello xirume
      Why is it easy for you to assume i have a brain, when u havent seen yours or mine? Why is it so easy for you to even think i exist....when you haven't seen me before? Weigh all these in a scale, and ask yourself, that i do not see something, does it mean it doesn't exist?

      October 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • ME II

      @nasticy
      "You had an MRI and saw a brain. Unfortunately you still didnt see or feel the physical tangible object."
      Why stop at tangible?
      I thought your argument was akin to, 'If you don't believe in God because you can't see him, why do you think you have a brain?"
      If you are actually saying, 'Why think anything is true?' then I would say that it is both practical and reasonable to think that things that are repeatedly and consistently shown to be true by rigorous, falsifiable, repeatable tests are actually true. If in fact everything is false, but is repeatably, consistently, verifiably shown the same way, then it makes no difference whether its "true" or not.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • nasticy

      @ME II
      Please do not be offended if you feel i'm picking on you.....i aint.
      But your words are fascinating. "things that are repeatedly and consistently shown to be true by rigorous, falsifiable, repeatable tests are actually true."......Go ask the billions of people who have experienced God in their lives and tell me whether or not their experiences are fake. How many MRI scans have you had on your brain? well, If you've had repeated MRI scans, there really must be something wrong. Yet if you've just had 1 scan and are content to BELIEVE THAT U HAVE A BRAIN. My dear friend, by your own standards that is not enough. It must be repeated over and over and over again. But i can save you the trouble and expense though.....take the ultimate test. OPEN YOUR SKULL AND HOLD YOUR BRAIN IN YOUR HAND.....if you really want to verify its existence. Who knows? you just might see your brain......and God as well.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • ME II

      @nasticy,
      You misunderstand "rigorous, falsifiable, repeatable tests". Purely subjective "experiences" of God, or anything else, are not rigorous, falsifiable, nor repeatable by anyone else. I'm not saying that such experiences cannot be true, but no one else can count them as true unless they experience it themselves and even then they may just be imagination, hallucination, or simply wishful thinking.

      As to the need for multiple MRI scan to confirm my brain, you are again misunderstanding the idea of the scientific method. The testing of the MRI technology has already been done in thousands, if not millions, of actual images generated since its invention/discovery. What it boils down to is that there is plenty of scientific evidence that I have a brain in my head and while science doesn't deal in "proof", the overwhelming evidence is sufficient.

      God, on the other hand, has none.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  8. dude

    how is this guy on that board...oh yeah – this is our congress, a sanctioned insane asylum.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  9. William Demuth

    Our society is doomed.

    It's every Mutha Focka for himself

    The lunatics really are running the asylum.

    Stone Age mindset on a red neck simpleton.

    I vote we have the damn Civil War all over again, and this time we burn EVERYTHING below the Mason Dixon line to a crisp with nuclear weapons.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Dan Halen

      Let's not make this a north/south thing. There are just as many focking nutcases up north as there are down here, and conversely, there are some progressive minded thinkers down here in the south.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • really?

      Dan- agree. Let's give those progressive thinkers in the south a couple of days to get out, then nuke the site for morbid.
      It's the only way to be sure.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  10. Bill

    Scary that this guy is making decisions that impact our country..........

    October 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  11. Reality

    Akin now Broun!! Where in the H did these guys go to school??

    For said Rep. Broun:

    As per National Geographic's Genographic project:
    https://www3.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/

    " DNA studies suggest that all humans today descend from a group of African ancestors who about 60,000 years ago began a remarkable JOURNEY. Follow the journey from them to you as written in your genes”.

    "Adam" is the common male ancestor of every living man. He lived in Africa some 60,000 years ago, which means that all humans lived in Africa at least at that time.

    Unlike his Biblical namesake, this Adam was not the only man alive in his era. Rather, he is unique because his descendents are the only ones to survive.

    It is important to note that Adam does not literally represent the first human. He is the coalescence point of all the genetic diversity."

    Part of the project: $199 and a DNA swab:

    "Included in the markers we will test for is a subset that scientists have recently determined to be from our hominin cousins, Neanderthals and the newly discovered Denisovans, who split from our lineage around 500,000 years ago. As modern humans were first migrating out of Africa more than 60,000 years ago, Neanderthals and Denisovans were still alive and well in Eurasia. It seems that our ancestors met, leaving a small genetic trace of these ancient relatives in our DNA. With Geno 2.0, you will learn if you have any Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA in your genome."

    Do doubt Akin and Broun will find substantial Neanderthal markers in their DNA!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  12. Sirned

    I demand the Republicans stop demonizing the Taliban until they stop talking like them....There are too many Republican religious nuts to call Broun an exception....

    October 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  13. Sam Yaza (a Devil in a white dress)

    i repeat

    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.”

    lets hope not

    Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)\

    not the best public policy

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

    not the best public policy

    So they sent twelve thousand warriors to Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children. "This is what you are to do," they said. "Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin." Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.

    The Israelite assembly sent a peace delegation to the little remnant of Benjamin who were living at the rock of Rimmon. Then the men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the four hundred women of Jabesh-gilead who were spared were given to them as wives. But there were not enough women for all of them. The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had left this gap in the tribes of Israel. So the Israelite leaders asked, "How can we find wives for the few who remain, since all the women of the tribe of Benjamin are dead? There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire tribe of Israel will not be lost forever. But we cannot give them our own daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who does this will fall under God's curse."

    Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD held in Shiloh, between Lebonah and Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem. They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, "Go and hide in the vineyards. When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife! And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, 'Please be understanding. Let them have your daughters, for we didn't find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give your daughters in marriage to them.'" So the men of Benjamin did as they were told. They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance. Then they rebuilt their towns and lived in them. So the assembly of Israel departed by tribes and families, and they returned to their own homes.(Judges 21:10-24 NLT)

    not a vary god foreign policy

    October 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  14. meemee

    Aside from the obvious, this guy admits to using his religion as a guide for how to vote and influence the running of the nation. This alone disqualifies him. But I would bet he bristles at the idea that one of any other religion, say, Judaism or ISLAM should do the same!

    October 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  15. Large Sycamore

    I think Taliban might recruit him....Maybe we should collect some money and donate a house for him....On the dark side of the moon.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  16. Bible/Koran = Words from Hell

    Look at the violence.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  17. Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    Every hindu hungry dog follow's his reason of hind, hunger to bite and every hindu atheist worship's a reason to fulfill his hindu filthy soul, desire, way of hindu's criminal to justify their hinduism, illegality in defiance of truth absolute GOD. Human follow truth absolute GOD and hindu's criminals live by hindu criminal reasons like their own kind, animals, way of hindu's, criminals to cause hinduism, disunity among humanity. For more visit limitisthetruth.com

    October 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Holcor

      You can't even talk clearly through your dribble of hate.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  18. Science

    Must be another esteemed member of our Science Committee. This is just so bad....

    October 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  19. Nazxul

    If God created the universe then who created God? Was he just there forever? Did he get bored and create the universe to watch over? Kind of like a kids diorama or playset? We are just here for his amusement? Sorry, I don't buy it. I thinik man created god because of people's huge ego thinking that they are special and will live forever.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      Truth absolute GOD constant is essence of your existence by quantum physics, ask it your self hindu, ignorant.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  20. metasri

    "Earth is 9000 years old, big bang and evolution are lies from hell" – this from a doctor who is on the National Science and Technology committee & you have a presidential nominee from the same party making jokes about the president who is concerned about the environment – Do we need more evidence that the far right is interested in (a) going even more right (b) Taking our country back into the dark ages.

    Wake up voters before it is too late

    metasri

    October 10, 2012 at 3:32 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.