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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. EmeraldCity

    What is this imbecile doing on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology?

    This is a prime example why there needs to be a separate between the govt. and church. Even more embarrassing to the U.S. if the statistic is correct and 46% of Americans believe in creationism. That means half of the U.S. is inhabited by ignorant yokels.

    Scary times indeed.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  2. Mark C. Williams

    Dear Rep. Broun: It takes someone from hell to know the definition of it.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  3. Dad in Iowa

    Vote this fool out. Simple as that.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      To late, he's running unopposed in Georgia.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      The best we can hope for is enough people nationwide writing to the committee calling for his removal from the committee for this idiocy he spewed.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    Top Ten Signs You're a Christian
    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian

    October 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  5. lamb of dog

    And we wonder why Europe and Asia continues to surpass us in science and math. Please resign immediately.
    I sent this one to.

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

    October 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  6. Jeff

    Every sane person understands that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the world. Because congressmen can't understand evolution, so obviously it didn't happen. It was the FSM who misled scientists in order to make them look foolish.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  7. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Please realize that what we may be facing after November is a House and Senate controlled by people like Paul Broun along with a President who thinks he will one day be a god.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  8. Sly

    God actually created Earth in 1874, and I challenge ANYONE on this blog to prove I'm wrong.

    Proof babies – unless you were around in 1874, I'll bet you have NO PROOF.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      How about proof that the Universe didn't pop into being just now, everything just as it is?

      October 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Sly

      Oh, that's easy. My Giants won the 2010 World Series, so God couldn't have just created the Universe now.

      Nah ... it was at 8:46 pm on March 11th in 1874.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  9. mark

    I feel like I'm insane!!!! This idiot is a Doctor? This idiot is on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology????
    He needs to be removed immediately, and also those responsible for putting him in that position! As far as trying to explain evolution, or dinosaurs, or just plain scientific evidence, I can't even go there when it comes to backwards idiots in power.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • usamare

      I know, I feel like I should be the emperor or something if such is that is a community leader.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  10. Jim (retired AF colonel)

    Where does the GOP find these morons? Of course, to the GOP, they're intellectuals!

    October 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      Ever see the movie Idiocracy? I think we're there.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • John

      Thanks for your service. Glad someone that is likely to be on the conservative side, can see through this stupidity. The theories MAY be wrong, BUT, the basis on which he asserts they are incorrect lacks any evidence. It is incredible to me, that this man is in a leadership position in this country. Other than his religion is a different one, he is no different than radical muslims. "I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says." Yup, that's what it says, but other than your faith, where's the PROOF!

      October 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  11. Luis Wu

    Well, he may be right about one thing, at least in his own case. He didn't evolve from and ape, more like a baboon.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • John

      Shame on you. You've just insulted baboons.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      or from a certain part of a baboon

      October 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  12. Rufus T. Firefly

    This makes me more and more nauseous every time I see it. What the hell is this ignoramus doing on the Science Committee. What a pathetic embarrasment for our country.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • GY

      Duck soup rules.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • OTOH

      Not only that, Rufus, he is Chairman of his Subcommittee!

      And look who is Chairman of the entire Science, Space and Technology Committee:

      "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."

      October 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Rufus,

      in theory there is a solution. As a congressman he is up for reelection.

      Sadly I think he is running unopposed. So he can say any damn stupid thing he wants to without penalty.

      http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Georgia's_10th_congressional_district_elections,_2012

      October 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @OTOH,

      Ralph Hall was a Democrat. He was first elected to Congress in 1980. He changed to Republican in 2004 (for the second GW Bush adminstration) right after Tom DeLay's 2003 redistricting and was relected.

      He is a WW2 Navy veteran and a lawyer.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • OTOH

      @I'm not a GOPer,

      "Politicians as varied as Trent Lott, Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond, Pat Robertson, and even Phil Gramm began their careers in the Democratic Party. The migration of conservative Democrats to the GOP accelerated under Ronald Reagan and continued throughout the 1990s. Republicans won the 1994 elections in no small part by picking off conservative Southern districts that had been represented by Democrats for decades—just like the Democrats’ Watergate Congress was to a certain extent built on the backs of liberal Republicans twenty years earlier.

      Many of the conservative Democrats who survived the 1994 GOP juggernaut thought it best to switch parties. Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama and Congressmen Billy Tauzin (Louisiana), Greg Laughlin (Texas), Jimmy Hayes (Louisiana), and Mike Parker (Mississippi) all jettisoned their Democratic affiliations shortly after the election and joined the new Republican majority."

      http://takimag.com/article/the_dixiecrats_rise_again/print#axzz28w8txn3D

      October 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  13. City On A Shining Hill

    Luis Wu-

    God has always existed. No one created Him. It says in Genesis that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit made man in Our image, and likeness 2:-15. We are different from the animals. We have a soul that will live forver!

    And, in Heaven, we will live with Him forever, those who know Him as savior. He will always exist.

    And, Jesus was begotten, not made, and is One with the Father, or God-John 3.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      So you can believe that an invisible, supernatural man in the sky has always existed but you can't accept that maybe the Universe has always existed?

      The bible is just ancient mythology. Period. Science deals in facts, not ancient myths.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • OOO

      God exists because the bible says that god says that he always existed. Don't the rest of you have a brain?? (I hope you detect the sarcasm here, probably City won't).

      October 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • birch please

      So your evidence for god is the book that was written to tell you that he is real. How is that different from the hundreds of other made up texts.... fyi people wrote the bible and a deity (or his son) had nothing to do with it

      October 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • serana

      Mixing falsehood with truth is most dangerous. Yes God exists, we have proof of that .. but all those other things ... Not a chance.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • ccarlssson

      Wow, that contributed nothing to the discussion.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "And, in Heaven, we will live with Him forever"

      why?

      October 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • MDAT

      what proof?There is proof for evolution and the big bang,but not god.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  14. Colin

    Broun is to a child's intellect what Sandusky is to their buttocks.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • dr greg

      That was (unfortunately) very funny.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • JVC

      Minus the lube.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  15. butch

    This is just a reflection of the voters who put him in congress. He's just saying what they want to hear because those people really are that stupid and they really do believe that everything written in the bible is irrefutable historical fact.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @butch

      "This is just a reflection of the voters who put him in congress." Certainly.

      "He's just saying what they want to hear because those people really are that stupid and they really do believe that everything written in the bible is irrefutable historical fact" No. Given this guy's track record, I believe he really is as stupid as the words he uses. I think he's genuine.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • John

      He's genuine.....what? (Soon to be decaying flesh, because, like the song says, that's all there is)

      October 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  16. Dyslexic doG

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88GTUXvp-50&w=640&h=390]

    October 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  17. serana

    The preface of the Bible, the authors of the 1971 Revised Standard version give their reason for the revision, that there were so many errors, and they were so serious so as to warrant revision. Surely God did not make all these errors to be corrected by HIS creation. These guys worship not God, not even Jesus, but the bible and the men who wrote it.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  18. majav

    What this is more than anything else is sad. It is 2012 and the guy acts like he is from the dark ages. He certainly is free to believe as he wishes, and so am I. The problem with beliefs is that they are generally short on truth. When 15% of Americans believe the truth, it just goes to show you how backward and ignorant society is.

    We shouldn't even be discussing complex topics with people that prefer to cite the Bible as the source of all knowledge.
    This is what the Taliban do with their scripture. Sad, very sad. And so unnecessary. Foolish pride will just have to work itself out another way besides intellectual reason.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • serana

      FYI, atheists are just as illogical, stubborn and short on answers as the illogical creationists. They believe there is no God, but do not have proof for that. They believe life on other planets which is scientifically impossible. They exist only to fight the silly argument promoted by creationists, which is good. btw, there is no life on other planets because if there are x heavenly bodies, with x being a very very big number, the chance of life originating by itself is y, which is several magnitudes of x – making the chance of life out there infinitesimal.
      Those who claim adherence to science are its worst enemies. Those who claim adherence to the scriptures are its worst enemies. A befitting contest.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • MDAT

      There is.Life can exist on many planets.Mars used to have life.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • birch please

      wow sernana, please take your medication.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • JustRight

      btw, there is no life on other planets because if there are x heavenly bodies, with x being a very very big number, the chance of life originating by itself is y, which is several magnitudes of x – making the chance of life out there infinitesimal. – Ha ha Im a mathematician and i can absolutely guarantee that this statement makes zero sense...much like the rest of your post

      October 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • strgzer585

      @serana- You have your logic a bit backwards there. No matter how small the chance of life originating on its own is, the fact that there are near countless numbers of possible places for that life to originate means that the chances of there not being life in space is, as you put it, infinitesimal.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "They believe life on other planets which is scientifically impossible"

      er, no, its perfectly scientifically possible. Heck it happened here didnt it? that kind of shows how its scientifically possible, theres nothing special about this planet that means it couldnt happen elsewhere.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  19. OOO

    Tell the committee you want something done about this guy:

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

    October 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Thank you, OOO. I submitted my comment. I hope others will too.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  20. Heywood

    I always knew that the Flintstones was a reality show.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:11 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.