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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. RoyBatty

    To think that this GOP loony sits on a SCIENCE commitee is a travesty. This is the way that the GOP runs congress. Expertise in a field is unnecessary. Its all about your religious/political agenda. Just one more example of how out of touch the "leaders" in the GOP are and how far they will go to reject anything that is even remotely intellectual. GOP = national embarrasment.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Gladdensnoot

      Sheila Jackson Lee says hi.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Evangelical

      And yet you choose to demonstrate your ignorance by besmirching the congressman's good name for your political agenda. We need more like this congressman.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Veritas

      Evangelical. It is factual. He is GOP. He is a loony. The majority of people clinging to these 1000s of years old myths tend to be either GOP or evangelical or both.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  2. Mike In Colo

    The man calls evolution a lie, but then provides as proof to the contrary his "belief that the world was created in 6 days." Don't let any facts get in the way of his belief! A man with a closed mind does not belong on a congressional committee involving science, space or technology. My God! He'll think the cure for blindness is spitting on dirt and rubbing it in the patient's eyes as Christ did. The article doesn't say if he was an ophthalmologist.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  3. MaryB

    I believe that God is creator of all - that's about it. The Bible is a reference guide to scare folks into good behavior –sort of like Grimms Fairy Tales for adults! Not meant to be literal (witches in the woods don't really eat young children either). But how and what you believe is your own choice and he's a right to his beliefs - but he canNOT and shouldNOT be representing the US in the area of science/tech - that's an embarassment.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • OOO

      Mary,
      Do you believe, or do you hope? Beliefs have some basis in rational thought.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • anson13

      Your right Mary... but i always use Aesops Fable's in my analogoy instead of Grimms... i'lll start using both lol.... same morality fables as the bible but better characters...

      October 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  4. CNNuthin

    If "Evolution and the Big Bang are lies from the pit of hell" then I can safely say that "Religion and the belief in hell are lies from the pit of a unprovable simulation reality that we are all trapped in and that everything we experience is a misinterpretation of how some greater super being is experiencing the world around it. We do not exist but are nerves sending signals as we brush against another object that we never will understand. Reality is an illusion. No one exists and you are just a nerve on this Super Beings arm. Your thoughts are not your thoughts, because there is no such thing as thought. Perhaps the reason why Dec 21 2012 is so significant, is because you know exactly how close you are to dying and believing a made up conspiracy is the only way to prepare yourself in this current illusionary reality. " Makes as much sense as anything about "the Pit" and the other place.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • CNNuthin

      Sorry, LSD thought loop.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  5. dblplays

    I could not care less whether he believes the earth was created in 6 days. What disturbs me is this: 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.

    How is it that we can get upset with other countries who use their holy scriptures to govern their social and political activity if we do the same?

    October 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • JK

      The better argument would be to point out how the Greek Scriptures (Commonly referred to as the New testament) forbids Carnal Warfare, to remain Separate from the world, for paying Taxes or the Fact from History that the First Century Christian were thrown into the lions pit then pledge allegiance to Caesar (akin to our Pledge to America).

      October 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  6. Sam235

    There are books written by scientist that disagree with evolution. The arguments against evolution could fill a small library. Some scientist that use to believe and actually contribute to the theory of evolution, now believe it is an incorrect theory. Believing in evolution does not make you more scientific. It means you have not yet heard the arguments against it or you are stupid. Evolution is lame.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • sam

      Who is this 'scientist'? I'm not sure you understand what that word actually means. Plus, your choice of 'lame' as an opinion doesn't really lend you any credence...

      October 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • OOO

      Evolution is a fact. Only some very detailed mechanisms are still under study. But evolution is a fact.
      Welcome to the real world.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Sam235

      "There are books written by scientist that disagree with evolution"

      So, did your pastor tell you that?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Turtleguy

      Your inability to use simple English and your obvious inability to understand basic science put you in the same category as the lunatic the article is about. If you enter a discussion with a closed mind, you preclude the possibility of increasing your knowledge.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Veritas

      Do you mean the books that were discredited in the Dover school board trial? That pile was only a few feet high. The vast majority of scientists agree that evolution is a fact.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "Some scientist that use to believe and actually contribute to the theory of evolution, now believe it is an incorrect theory. "

      such as?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  7. Stefan Radu

    The Bible has changed millions of lives for good. Did Darwinism ever do that? Did it ever transform a criminal in a loving human?

    Stefan

    October 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • midwstrngrl

      yep

      October 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • CNNuthin

      Reality is just the dream of a sleeping giant. When he wakes up, you will no longer exist.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Turtleguy

      You mean like the victims of the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and countless other atrocities committed under its umbrella?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "Did Darwinism ever do that? Did it ever transform a criminal in a loving human? "

      why should it do that? it has nothing to do with how a person behaves.
      You believe that because it does not change a criminal to a loving human it should therefore be ignored and dismissed as wrong somehow? because if so that is a very bizarre point of view.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Keldorama

      Isn't "Survival of the Fittest" a plank in the GOP platform?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Evangelical

      cedar rapids

      Instead of characterizing his point of view, why don't you actually try responding to it?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "Evangelical ..... Instead of characterizing his point of view, why don't you actually try responding to it?"

      because its a silly question.
      Its like asking if the atkins diet has ever made people like the colour blue.
      What has one got to do with the other?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Inglourious

      @Evangelical: You might as well ask: did the Theory of Relativity "ever transform a criminal in a loving human?" How about theories of how electricity or gravity work - did they "ever transform a criminal in a loving human?".

      Scientific theories are meant to explain observations in the natural world; it is not their purpose to transform criminals. A better question to ask is: has any other religious or philosophical work besides the Bible ever transformed a criminal in a loving human? Answer: yes.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  8. Mike

    It must be so convenient to cherry pick which "facts" from the bible are true. You'd figure that a book written by god would be right on and totally correct about nature from cover to cover, and you wouldn't have to pick which parts to believe and which parts not to.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  9. birch please

    I actually know people with a college degree who do not know the sun is larger than the earth. Thkngs like this no.longer surprise me in america

    October 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "I actually know people with a college degree who do not know the sun is larger than the earth."

      oh please tell me you are joking, please.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  10. Ted

    “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." LOL. Which version of this even is he referring to? Genesis 1:25-27 or Genesis 2:18-22?

    October 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  11. craig

    the Bible is the handbook? No wonder we have so much killing and war. A good half of that book details all the ways people tried to conquer and subdue others. If this guy believes this junk, he should be banned from practicing medicine...and for that matter, banned from just about everything else too. He clearly has no business on the Science Committee.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Evangelical

      It is exactly people like this congressman that we need on science committees. People who understand that all science begins with God and the Bible.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Turtleguy

      @evangelical – you are a fool for believing such nonsense. I challenge you to demonstrate the scientific validity of anything in that book of fairy tales.

      October 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    October 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Ted

      Prayer changes things??? No it doesn't.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Turtleguy

      Prove it.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Snake

      I like Turtleguy's reply.

      Please PROVE your statement.

      Thank you.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Veritas

      If that were true, Tim Tebow's statistics would be better.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven

      October 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Snake

      Hahahahaha!!!!

      Typical reply from the likes of you.

      Next troll, please.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Turtleguy

      I did not ask you to define ignorance, I asked you to prove that prayer changes things. Please try again.

      October 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  13. JJ

    Wow..CNN took down this story off their site almost as fast as it was there. I wonder if GOP thugs did a shake down, threat or something.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      The house committee probably complained about all the complaints from frustrated readers.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  14. Stefan Radu

    Can't evolutionists avoid insulting language as ignorant, stupid? Everybody has the right to think. Of course, with no God, no judgment, everything is acceptable.

    Stefan

    October 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Veritas

      It's hard to believe that his opinion is the result of thinking. Science refutes all that he said. Don't forget this is more egregious because he is on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and has a medical degree.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • midwstrngrl

      No not true at all. Ethics are relatively easy to find if you reason well. You assume that your religion teaches you what God wants? Have you ever spoken to him? Do you know the people who wrote the bible did? Otherwise the Bible and other religions contain the wisdoms of man. If you look at most religions, most have an element of the Golden Rule. It just boils down the best way to live and function well as a society. Common sense actually.

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

      No not true at all. Ethics are relatively easy to find if you reason well. You assume that your religion teaches you what God wants? Have you ever spoken to him? Do you know the people who wrote the bible did? Otherwise the Bible and other religions contain the wisdoms of man. If you look at most religions, most have an element of the Golden Rule. It just boils down the best way to live and function well as a society. Common sense actually.

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

      Point; Everyone has the right to believe in whatever they want, but even a Creationists that point and scream heathen blasphemy at Evolutionist is just as bad, and in some backwards little jerkwater towns possibly dangerous. I’ve never met an Evolutionist that was willing to lynch a Bible belter but have seen with my own eyes the results of a good Evangelist stirring the flock into a froth and night of cross burning hate toward others not like them or that might believe something a little different and not just in the South.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "Of course, with no God, no judgment, everything is acceptable."

      poor logic. Are you telling me the only thing stopping you from killing your next door neighbour is because god said it was wrong?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  15. Ben Better

    Jesus: So, you see, it is in our nature to be sinful. We must acknowledge that, and use kindness and self control to prevent it. Or else we will end up destroying the natural world around us.

    Matthew Levi: It makes sense. But tell me, Yeshua, do you really believe that story about the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Knowledge?

    Jesus: Well, Matthew, in a way I do.

    Matthew Levi: *scribble scribble scribble*

    October 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  16. B-man

    Gravity is also a theory. Go disprove it by jumping off a bridge.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  17. Jason

    Doesn't the bible say that blue stuff in the sky is water... tells you all you need to know about the validity of religion.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  18. Um...no

    What gets me is that people were stupid enough to elect this imbecile.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  19. Sam235

    Scientific principles disagree with evolution. Random events create noise, not information DNA contains information. IF you disagree with this, then you're stupid and beyond help.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Inglourious

      "Scientific principles disagree with evolution. Random events create noise, not information DNA contains information. IF you disagree with this, then you're stupid and beyond help."

      There are plenty of refereed journals available for you to present this "breakthrough" to. When can we expect to see the data from your research that says genetic mutations are impossible?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Turtleguy

      Your lack of education is showing. Evolution is the filter that brings progress out of the "noise".

      October 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Ted

      What?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Thanks Einstein

      October 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Franklin Cord

      When those "random events" happen to be the ordering of protein compounds in the allele structure of a DNA strand then that "noise" results in a restructuring of cells, the creation of new information, and a genetic result – which you would recognize as a trait, either positive or negative.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Since1638

      Mathematics has disproved this. You're thinking of entropy, which is not violated by the creation of information. Do some research on cellular automata, or its most famous example – Conway's Game of Life. Starting with noise and randomness, all you need is a basic interaction ruleset to have complexity arise from that noise. In nature, that ruleset is physics, from which we derive all of chemistry, which is the entire basis for biology.

      A Michigan State University study proved evolution in the lab in 2008. A 20+ year experiment with over 44,000 generations of reproduction resulted in the emergence of an E Coli subgroup which could metabolize citrate. By definition, E Coli don't metabolize citrate. This is a new species. Evolution is reality.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Cook

      evolution is not random noise, it is selective pressure of randomly varying elements. This model is used extensively in computer algorithms in a wide range of applications from drug design to quantum mechanics and economics.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  20. Timothy

    I'd never thought I'd cheer on drought before but I hope Georgia gets it again next year ... what a pathetic human being. And he is on the "science" committe of the US Congress. Oh my God...lol

    October 10, 2012 at 4:59 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.