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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. Colin

    Everybody who is in freedom from religion/american atheists/american humanoists etc. PLEASE get you organizations on board to pepper this simpletomn and his committee with emails of protest

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

    October 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  2. Matt S

    Clearly this man has some kind of agenda. I wonder if he actually believes an ignorant word that comes out of his mouth?

    October 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  3. Stefan Radu

    The luck of evolutionism is that it has the label "science", which is totally misplaced. Tell me how the cows live and breed and other real and practical things, but don't come up with millions of years of their origin because all that is just fabrication. It takes more faith to believe in evolution than in an infinite intelligence having created everything. Evolutionism is the only religion permitted in public schools and any debate is strictly prohibited, as a proof of how certain it is. All the technical achievements are produced by the human intelligence, but what about the brain, much more superior than any computer? Self-product? There are evolutionist scientists and there are Bible believing scientists. The difference is that the first ridicule the latter for absolutely no reason. Evolution? Insects and bats and birds fly, humans cannot; why was this feature lost in this process of eternal advancement and absent in the last stage of this miraculous natural selection? I lived in a Communist country, where Darwinism was state doctrine – we were told that people are animals, no other theory could have fitted Communism better than that, and here in America the same? In the Christian America?
    This space is too small to say more, but evolution is not only false, not proved and unprovable, but impossible – all things suffer permanent degradation, there is no self-improving in nature. It's that simple.
    Stefan

    October 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      What an utterly stupid post. It's dimwits like you that hinder scientific advancement. You should be ashamed to be so utterly ignorant.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • birch please

      You really have no understanding of evolution

      October 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • ME II

      "all things suffer permanent degradation, there is no self-improving in nature. It's that simple."
      So, nothing repairs itself when wounded?
      And, babies don't develop from a single cell?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Lee-Anne

      Wow..that is kind of a weird argument. Why don't men have wings? That disproves evolution?

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

      You really should get some professional help!

      October 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Stefan, with all due respect, what are you talking about?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • JustRight

      I love when people who clearly have no knowledge or understanding of evolution dismiss it with such ridiculous arguments.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Godless

      Try leaving this planet without air, water of food.. 3 key life dependencies from your fairy tale god.. If he made you.. Why do you need to breathe air? or drink water? or eat food to survive? Clearly your super god would have made you omniscient to those necessities!? Fact is: You are just a germ, a by-product of this planet... The only god or heaven in this life, exists in your brain. You create him. He did not create you. End of story, now go mush on through your small pathetic little life.. You are not special, just a common germ like us all...

      October 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  4. asm_ith

    Broun should tell us what other parts of the Bible he believes are facts or should guide our behavior; e.g., the Bible has many polygamists, stones people to death for adultery, etc. If he doesn't accept 100% of it, he should explain the basis for picking and choosing the parts that he wants to accept vs. those that he rejects. In any event, anyone who holds the Bible up as "science" does not understand science and shouldn't be serving on a Congressional committee responsible for our science policy, unless our objective is for the US to look like fools to the rest of the world and move back to the Dark Ages.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  5. Scientist

    Good grief! Is it any wonder we are dropping in education and losing our standing around the world. Who elects these idiots?

    October 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  6. Joe

    Did you see that poll number? 46% believing in creationism vs. 15% genuine evolutionists. If I was a politician, I surely would know who to side with! LOL.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      There's no hope for America. We're doomed.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • birch please

      Sadly you are correct. Perhaps our founding fathers should have made this more of a republic then they did.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  7. Colin

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

    If u r outraged, send him at email at the above address. U can copy past a comment from this cnn site if u want it to be very easy for you.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Thank you Colin.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      Thanks. Message sent.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  8. Luis Wu

    What a complete and utter fool. How did a dimwit like that ever get on the Science Committee?????????

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

      Have you met today's GOP yet? Here, let me introduce you ...

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

      some other fool, presumably a right-wing republican, got him on that committee to return a campaign favor.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  9. mama kindless

    "“I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old,” Broun said in the speech"

    Is this man for real? Maybe this some kind of joke. And he's doctor and on a congressional science committee about science? For real?

    Oh my – the education in this country just stinks.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Complain to http://science.house.gov/contact-us

      October 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  10. allenwoll

    Should Broun truly represent ANYONE other than himself, then our nation is truly lost ! ! !

    There IS one thing he said that I agree with - We ALL do NEED a SAVIOR - However, what we need to be saved from is people like Paul Broun ! ! !

    I wonder what sort of brain disease he suffers from - bacterial, viral or fungual ? ? ? . Oh, Wait - I know : Religion ! ! !

    October 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  11. carly

    People running for office should have to pass an intelligence and common sense test before they can run. Probably half of the Congressional Repubs would fail.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Tim from Toledo

      I disagree...the people who VOTE for the people that run for office should have to pass an intelligence/i.q. test.....
      If that was the case, maybe the people who run for office would stop running ridiculous ads that are clearly aimed at dimwits.....

      October 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  12. George

    The unmitigated ignorance and hatefulness exhibited by both sides on this argument is incredible. Not all scientists are atheist and not all born-again Christians are anti-evolution/anti-science. Read "Processes and Perspectives, Sacred and Secular" by D.G.Harrison if you want to put this argument into proper context.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • carly

      please be serious Broun is a clown. to have people like him and Aiken on a Science committee is laughable.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  13. Andrew

    That's funny, Broun, because the more you claim to know a God and his will, the more you act like a f@#%ing monkey.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  14. Scientist

    I like that Broun, a medical doctor, does not believe in embryology. Where do these "Christians" think babies come from? The stork? Where did this man go to medical school? This place, whatever it is, needs to be investigated and its accreditation revoked.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • ME II

      I suspect he meant "recapitulation" embryology a la Haeckel, which has been discredited, but he doesn't really know what he is talking about even here.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  15. noco

    It is really scary that someone like this can be on a science committee for the nation. Scary scary scary.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  16. ricardo

    Let us keep watching for guys like these. No matter how hard I try to stay away from it, I will need to get more involved in dirty politics now. It is not about science anymore. It is about dirty politics corrupting every single aspect of our lives. Denying everything that has advanced our knowledge of this universe seems to make some people uncomfortable just because they want to believe in something so bad. I just do not understand why. So Santa, the tooth fairy and unicorns are not real... just deal with it.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Please complain directly to comittee
      http://science.house.gov/contact-us

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

      Hope that was the right site, because I sure did complain to them.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  17. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    All these guys want to use the benefits of "Godless science"–planes, TV, the internet–when it's convenient for them, and then ignore or denounce science when it says something they don't agree with. They should be like the Amish, who don't ask to have it both ways.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  18. David

    Another member of the American Taliban... Just as bad as the stone age idiots in the middle east.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  19. Reality

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

    October 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  20. lamb of dog

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

    October 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Shak

      I sent one as well.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • bananaspy

      I also emailed them. Hope we can get more people to speak up. To us it's just an email, to them it's an inbox full of emails they can't ignore.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
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About this blog

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.