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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. Hillcrester

    Pathetic, isn't he? There's just nothing else to say.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Colin

      But, it's where u say it that mattersd

      http://paulbroun.com/contact-us/

      October 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  2. strgzer585

    They left an important fact out of this story. This man is running unopposed for re-election. So basically he is not going anywhere.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  3. Religion is backwards

    If Cain was able to marry a woman, she was his sister (in-cest). That's if you believe Genesis.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  4. MormonChristian

    This guy is outside the mainstream of most Bible believers. I don't see why there should be any conflict between Science and Religion. The Bible doesn't pretend to explain HOW the earth was created but it does tell us WHY. Science fills the HOW side of that equation for me. I tell my kids to learn all the Science they can and stay open in their beliefs to accept all truth. We should NEVER close ourselves off to new ideas and learning.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • ChuckMurph

      Very well put.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @MormonChristian,

      this statement of yours is reasoned: "I don't see why there should be any conflict between Science and Religion."

      I agree, there needn't be.

      However, I think this statement is sadly incorrect: "This guy is outside the mainstream of most Bible believers."

      US Rep. Broun is very much in line with Evangelical Protestant thinking and as the article says: 46% of Americans believe in young earth creationism. Only 32% are willing to accept your position that science and religion can co-exist.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "The Bible doesn't pretend to explain HOW the earth was created but it does tell us WHY"

      actually, shouldnt that be reversed? the bible gives its version of how, pretty clearly, but no reason as to why god did it all in the first place.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  5. RV

    Strip this guys medical license. His patients should be scared.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  6. skylark@73

    Here is the straight scoop:
    http://marcbrecy.perso.neuf.fr/history.html

    October 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  7. George Marshall

    Review of a survey of 33 western nations revealed that the U.S. ranked next to last in acceptance of the theory of evolution. Only Turkey saved us from the bottom. How can American be so abysmally ignorant and uninformed? One would think that we are living in the Middle or Dark Ages and not in the Age of Enlightenment.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Hillcrester

      Until religion dies out in this country, ignorance will win out. More's the pity. Or as the much more rational French say, "tant pis!"

      October 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  8. Jake

    Honey Boo Boo is from Georgia as well... 'nuff said.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  9. t

    I think this guy is a dee bag and should be voted out of office and removed from his committee appointment. However, from a scientific view point it is practically impossible to "prove" the god of the bible did not exist and therefore it is impossible to evaluate the bible's claims that the earth is about 9000 years old with absolute certainty. If one excepts that God could have created the universe (all matter, all energy, and time), then god could create it in any fashion he wanted. God could create the rocks on earth with any ratio of isotopes he felt like. God could create a thousand earths exactly as ours exists today and create each and everyone of us completely.... with our thoughts and memories. The earth could literally be an hour old and there is no way to prove differently. I think the chance of that being true is so small you would have to be really ignorant to accept it as a fact, but it is still possible.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  10. Dan

    While I don't believe the origin of humanity is evolution, the bible doesn't necessarily say that creation took six literal days. The sun wasn't even created until the fourth day. I believe that each 'day' could be a period of time, possibly thousands of years. However I don't think that humans evolved from lower species.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • sam

      Your biggest problem here is thinking you're a 'higher' species. We're all animals, dude.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Ed

      Baby steps I guess. Keep learning.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "However I don't think that humans evolved from lower species."

      really? you speaking from a scientific position or one of ego?

      October 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Hillcrester

      Fortunately, people's opinions don't affect science.

      Unfortunately, they do affect politics and public policy.

      My niece had the same opinion you do when she was nine years old and in the clutches of the Catholic church. By the time she was graduated from HS she had figured it out.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  11. lamb of dog

    http://science.house.gov/contact-us
    Please make yourself heard. The committee pulled the contact us link within an hour of this story being posted. Don't let them silence your voice.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  12. Colin

    Here is is his OWN address from his web sirte

    http://paulbroun.com/contact-us/

    October 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      I emailed the committee several times already. Now I'm going to blow up his email directly. Thanks

      October 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  13. Ed

    To Science:

    Thanks for the telescopes, space stations, moon trips, and rovers on Mars. Thanks for transistors, cell phones, and the Internet. Thanks for magnetic imagining, sonor, radar, and electromechanical communication. Thanks for nuclear power through an understanding of the atom.

    BUT when it comes to dating that rock or that bone, you cannot be trusted! Some dude a couple of milennia ago said that can't be right. duh.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  14. David

    Math and Science trump religion... always have... always will...

    October 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  15. OOO

    Flood the committee with e-mails asking why this guy is there:
    http://science.house.gov/contact-us/email-us

    October 10, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  16. w5cdt

    Desperately clinging to the book of Genesis. After all...it's so poetic it must be true.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  17. allens

    this should scare most republicans. but it won't.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  18. David

    And this clown Broun serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology???!!!

    He should be thrown off this committe immediately.

    Imbecile!

    October 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • cc

      He should be thrown out of Congress. Maybe out of the country. Disbelieving is one thing, calling scientists evil is different and has no place in American government.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  19. TommyTT

    The article carefully avoids stating the obvious: Rep. Paul Broun is a Republican. So vote Republican if you don't believe in evolution (and want to cripple US science and medicine for a generation).

    October 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  20. David

    This "Doctor" is a Baptist from Georgia. As far as science goes, two strikes against him right from the get-go.... his relatives were the same ones screaming that the world was flat, and earth was the center of the universe. We know how that worked out...

    Of all the Baptists I know, there's one who has a scientific brain in their head (they're a PHD).

    The rest... forget it...

    October 10, 2012 at 4:40 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.