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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. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    LET's Religiosity Law #6 – If you routinely ignore physics, geology, astronomy, biology, etc., and are happy with “god did it” then you are mentally retarded.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  2. Colin

    Let me make it VERY EASY for anybody outraged by this man to do something meaningful other than complain here.

    Here is his email address

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

    PLEASE send him an email of protest. If you like just copy and paste one (or more) from below.

    I was appalled to hear that you, as a member of the US Committee on Science, Space and Technology would seriously say something as utterly absurd as you did. Please resign.

    I will do everything in my power to ensure you are never again in a position to influence my children. You must resign.

    Mr. Broun you are to a child's intellect what Mr. Sandusky is to their other end. Please stay away from our children.

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

    Paul Broun should NOT be on the Committee for Science, Space and Technology. He should also be banned from any school.

    Is there a law to keep Mr., Broun away from our children? I know there is one for $exual predators. Is there one for complete simpletons

    Um, Mr. Broun, just wondering, what are oil gas and other fossil fuels? I learned at school (in Europe) that they were the fossilized remains of organisms from the Cretaceous and Devonian Periods. Note the name – FOSSIL fuels. What are they under your “talking snake” theory of geological formation, and why did God give them all to the Muslims?

    October 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  3. Fred Evil

    That he serves on the SCIENCE committee is DISGUSTING!!

    October 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Dan

      The fact that he's a congressman at all is the real shame. I guess the fact that he got elected in the first place says a lot about the Georgia distric he 'serves' – They (evidently) elected him . . . . they entirely deserve the idiot they've got

      October 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  4. pc

    46% of Americans don't believe in evolution? How can that possibly be right?

    October 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • birch please

      Because the North won the civil war

      October 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Truth

      It's true b/c people aren't as stupid as you are!

      October 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • OOO

      Great answer birch :-)

      October 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • birch please

      Truth, I know you are but what am I.... see how much that contributed to a logical discussion (perhaps you dont).

      October 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  5. weezer

    Just when you were laughing at the Italian politicians for being buffoons....

    Welcome to the new/old Republican party. This id1ot's opinions will be guiding our school children if you vote them back into office. Kinda like the Taliban...maybe the Republiban. Pretty soon they'll be shooting school girls for opposing them.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  6. Blackflag

    Instant disqualification of the right to hold public office. This man is not mentally competent.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  7. Joel

    This guy reminds me of an old George Carlin bit where he said "Somewhere in this country is the worst doctor! Has to be by process of elimination...." I think George must have known about this guy somehow.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  8. Gregg

    I saw the online video. The guy sounds extremely insincere, like he's trying to convince himself that Creationism is real. His voice has a lot of intonations which are extremely unnatural. I'm not saying that I think he believes in evolution, but I get a sense that a lot of the stuff in Genesis kinda bothers him on an intellectual level. In other words, he's a Charleston, and one of the main people he's trying to sell young earth Creationism to, is himself.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  9. mwh48

    Why is he not allowed to have his own beliefs or opinion?

    October 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      He is. But this moron shouldn't be on the science committee.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • skarphace

      The bottom line is that if he does not believe in science, then he has no business being on the Science and Technology committee. It would be like having a man deciding abortion issues.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • JustRight

      Ha can believe what ever he wants however he should not be on his current committee considering his lack of scientific knowledge

      October 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      He is in the privacy of his own home and church, not in the public square.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      He is enti!tled to his opinion, the trouble is, he's trying to force his opinion on everyone else, including school children.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      You can have your own beliefs, you can not have your own FACTS. His claims are utterly untenable in the face of the FACTS we know today. If your beliefs do not jibe with FACTS, you have NO business being in the business of FACTS, as he is on the Science Committee!

      October 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • mwh48

      It never says he doesn't believe in science, he doesn't believe in evolution. Not arguing either way, but those who think evolution is a fact need to look up theory in the dictionary, because evolution doesn't even qualify as a theory. Look it up before you respond.

      October 10, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  10. lamb of dog

    http://science.house.gov/contact-us
    Please send these guys an email. They already cut the contact link on google.
    Be loud and be heard. Even if they are trying not to hear us.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Den

      I sent the following email on that website – I would encourage everyone to do the same
      I was appalled at reading an article that quoted Rep Broun as not only believing in creationism, but saying that the theory of evolution was evil. Why is he on this committee? Has he been to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History right there in DC? I just took my 13 and 15 year old there this summer. There's a wonderful exhibit on evolution that we talked about for weeks. Maybe you should send him there. But in the mean time, I think he needs to resign. I don't know how you can work with someone who would make such ignorant comments about science

      October 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  11. Bill

    Hahahahahhahahhahahaaahhahaaa!

    October 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  12. Truth

    What you meant to say is 46% of people believe in thet Truth. You're close-minded if you don't believe in God.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • birch please

      Yes because if you don't believe in the exact single deity invented in a tiny part of the globe so bronze age desert people can describe their tiny, flat world you are very close minded.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      Did you forget your /sarc tag?
      OR perhaps you'd like to specify WHICH god? There have been thousands...

      October 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Roger

      What if I do believe in God, but find it hard to believe that "Adam" didn't bother to mention all the T-Rex's running around after him! Hello people, much of the Bible is metaphors and not meant to be taken literally. The earth is very old! Science is real and bleeding a patient to remove demons is just a really bad idea.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  13. Sandy

    God will have the final say aabout you idiots.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • birch please

      hahaha, i think god's god will have the final say.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • OOO

      Sandy,
      Very thought provoking comment. Thanks.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Dog will have the last word or bark.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Automatic Translator

      Translation: "I'm gonna tell my dad on you!!"

      October 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "God will have the final say aabout you idiots."

      idiots? you know that sort of hatred will get you a nice warm afterlife right? better stright up your act while you can.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  14. flickerman

    The country elects these people. Canada doesn't. Britain doesn't Holland doesn't. France doesn't. Australia doesn't. New Zealand doesn't. Iran does. Egypt does. Lybia does. Get it? We live in an intellectual cesspool.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  15. skarphace

    Yet another freak (like Akin) who doesn't believe in science on the House Committee for Science and Technology.

    And we wonder why America is failing in education? The reason is that we have so many citizens who believe in the 'young-earth' idea that they are electing leaders who believe as they do. Then these leaders are gaining positions of power and we fall deeper into the pit of ignorance.

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

      By the way, I didn't call it the 'young-earth' theory for a reason: it is not a theory. A theory implies that it has scientific evidence to back the hypothesis up. There is absolutely no evidence that the earth is less than 10,000 years old and a mountain of evidence backing up evolution. However, that is science and if you don't believe in science, then I guess you can ignore any evidence gathered by scientific techniques.

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

      Hey scarphace – You are really a moron! The reason why we are failing is because kids don't work hard to get an education and parents don't invest in their kids' education either. If you were intelligent, you would realize that in fact evolution is taught in all of the public schools and universities, that's why the I.D. people were trying to litigate creationism to be taught as well.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • OOO

      Creationism is not a science. Howverer, it could be taught in a history of religion class. Would that make you happy Truth?

      October 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • skarphace

      Truth: a moron would be somebody who calls himself 'Truth' but does not believe in the 'Truth', but rather relies on faith.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "and parents don't invest in their kids' education either."

      oh they do, they just tell them that the earth is 6000 years old.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  16. I'm The Best!

    This makes me sad to live in this country.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  17. El Flaco

    A physician who doesn't believe in evolution is pretty scary. That means he doesn't believe in DNA. He doesn't believe in genetics. He doesn't believe that characteristics like eye color or height are inherited. Very bizarre.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • birch please

      Worse, he does not believe that bacteria can evolve resistance to antibiotics... which if you think about it is actually terrifying and very dangerous.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  18. Bosco

    We have another buffoon on this committee! No wonder we're falling way behind in math and science. Jeepers.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  19. jrm03063

    Any more questions why the GOP's policies seem to be disconnected from reality?

    October 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  20. ELH

    A Baptist from Georgia–why am I not surprised?

    October 10, 2012 at 4:19 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.