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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. Reality Acceptor

    I wrote an email to the committee chairman requesting that Rep. Broun be immediately removed from the committee based on his statements as reported in this article.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Ronald Regonzo

      I wrote an email requesting that the representative be made permanent chairman. Romney / Ryan 2012

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

      As Ron points out, there are as many idiots wanting him in that position as sane people who want him out.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  2. yeah yeah

    " in a recent speech at a church event in his home state of Georgia"

    what a surprise ****rolling eyes****

    October 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  3. sgurdog

    Those religious nutcases will destroy this country with their insanity. That's probably a good reason that protestants are no longer the majority in America.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Ronald Regonzo

      You do not need a majority to rule peasants. Romney / Ryan 2012

      October 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  4. Sam235

    Evolution has been proven wrong. None of the strong arguments against evolution are taught in colleges. Evolution is a religion that is in serious denial. It is definitely not fact; actually, it disagree with well proven scientific principles. If you believe in evolution, then you either have not researched the opposition, or you are not smart enough to understand it. There are a large growing number of scientist that actually took the time to look at the very strong arguments against it and then concluded that evolution is wrong.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Ed

      Your ignorance is frighteningly pathetic.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • JCDavis

      See how religion rots the brain?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • ME II

      @Sam235,
      "Evolution has been proven wrong."
      First, science doesn't deal in "proof". Second, there is no scientific evidence inconsistent with evolution.

      "None of the strong arguments against evolution are taught in colleges."
      What strong arguments? I have seen none.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • nmmell08

      I'm sorry, but I am IN the science field and I have heard nothing about Evolution being false at ALL! It explains so much in our universe and it links so many fields together (Genetics, Taxonomy, Biochemistry, etc.) It explains why their are antibiotic resistant bacteria, why the wolly mammoth went extinct (Could not adapt to humans), why there is the sickle cell trait (Resistance to malaria) and so on. Before you start telling us the evolution is false, talk to a real scientist!

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

      You can keep posting that all you like, but it still doesn't make it true.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Wow, Sam, when will you be accepting your Nobel prize for proving false the most verified theory in science? I'm going to go check the tv now, certainly you're on all the channels.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Questioner

      OK....name the scientists who don't believe in evolution. Ones from Liberty University, etc. don't count.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • shut up, troll

      you fail

      October 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "Evolution has been proven wrong"

      oh you are a troll, ok it all becomes clear now

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

      Fact is – It's THEORY of evolution vs 'LAW of gravity, Newton's LAW of motion, etc.' So I dont have to kowtow it's line. I have a theory about evolution fanatics too.... Im sure you know how that goes

      October 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • sam

      anonymous, do you know what the definition of theory is?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "anonymous....Fact is – It's THEORY of evolution vs 'LAW of gravity, Newton's LAW of motion, etc.' So I dont have to kowtow it's line."

      Oh dear, someone who doesnt know the difference between 'theory' and 'law' in a scientific context. A theory doesnt become a law, you do know that right?
      In its simplest form: A law describes what will happen, a theory describes how.
      oh and you forgot to mention Einstein's Theory of Relativity....oh but you want to ignore that right, because its only a theory?

      I have a theory about you too.... Im sure you know how that goes

      October 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  5. Missing Link

    I thought this congressman was an idiot, then I read some of the posts.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Ted

      And by reading some of these post you realized that you where correct, this congressman is an idiot.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Missing Link

      I meant that some of these posters are too stupid to even call idiots!

      October 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  6. Patrick

    If you consider that we have people with similar beliefs serving on Congressional Committees, you can begin to understand why the US lags behind most other countries in mathematics and the sciences. The average European 14 year old is more prepared for entering the work force than graduates from American high schools. Look at how much the US population spends on healthcare (we spend the most) but are ranked 37th (based on lifespan). Take a look at military spending as well. The reason that we are in this mess, and that there isn't any indication of improvement is DIRECTLY-related to the ignorance, and total lack of common sense in those we elect to govern us.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • midwstrngrl

      poor and religious is easy to control

      October 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  7. midwstrngrl

    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 5:15 pm |
    • truth be told

      The Bible contains the spoken and written words of God.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • midwstrngrl

      and how do you know this? where you there? no? then it is an act of belief only. not of absolute truth.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • nope

      @midw...
      nope

      October 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Ted

      @truth be told...If that statement were true there would be no contradictions in the bible. But the bible is full of contradictions.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • nope

      @midw ...
      nope

      October 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • .

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "The Truth" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian...

      October 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • JCDavis

      Some of these so called Christians are too dumb to realize that the Catholic church put together the New Testament, and they left out anything that might lessen their power.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • midwstrngrl

      that is because there is no thing such as perfection. To have perfection you cannot have free will.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • truth be told

      There are no contradictions in the Bible. Only the uninformed with an evil agenda try to make it appear that there are.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • midwstrngrl

      Oh let me see...A god that says he never changes his laws and then totters back and forth on the "man should be tied to ONE wife" or "marry many wives" or "no wait only one wife again"...

      October 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • nmmell08

      1st major contradicition in the bible, the laws of leviticus and Jesus coming saying he fulfilled it? Also the reason why Gomorah got destroyed is different in most explainations. And i can keep going

      October 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • truth be told

      @midwstrngrl
      Sorry, the wife thing you reference is not in there.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • truth be told

      @nmme
      The farther you go the more you will show your total ignorance of the Bible.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  8. Mike Loring

    Talk about an American Taliban. Different book, same rigidity. He'd through out the Bill of Rights if he had a chance.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • truth be told

      Right you are, God is through out the bill of rights.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  9. DAVE H

    Christians are so scary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  10. HenryMiller

    U.S Rep. Paul Broun is a drooling imbecile and an embarrassment to the GOP.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Wouldn't it be cool if most Americans felt that way? :)

      October 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • JCDavis

      They are not easily embarrassed.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  11. Vlad the Impaler

    OK, I know, I know – this is a representative democracy, so all these fundamentalist/biblical literalist cretins have to be represented – but how come their representative ends up serving on House science committee?!

    October 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Ronald Regonzo

      Wait until President Romney is sworn in. All bull sh- ite science will cease and America will return to real science. Romney / Ryan 2012

      October 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • === o ===

      The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:

      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degnerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" or "...." where he writes such lovely posts as "QUE ERS, THE ONES WHO GAVE AIDS TO AMERICA"
      and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to this h0mophobe as
      the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp "flunkie".

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

      Ronald– Young Earther Creationism is not *real* science. Science is about gathering information to form a conclusion, not gathering a conclusion and forming the information.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Wraith

      Ronald– Young Earther Creationism is not *real* science. Science is about gathering information to form a conclusion, not gathering a conclusion and forming the information. Only those with an agenda of crushing the wall of sepelarTion of church and state would post as you do.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  12. JCDavis

    More foaming at the mouth from the American Taliban.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Ronald Regonzo

      That's not foam that's tea residue, get used to it. Romney / Ryan 2012

      October 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • sam

      Is that a little Santorum at the corner of your mouth, Ron?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  13. Ronald Regonzo

    There is a congressman headed for a cabinet position in the new America under President Romney. 27 days to glory. Romney /Ryan 2012

    October 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • nmmell08

      I'm sorry but to be part of the science committe you should actually beleive in science. Not discard evolution and say we should cut funding b/c we read too much. Sorry I'm reading the paper, it's helping me keep up with what is new in science and giving me ideas on how i want to do MY work

      October 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  14. lamb of dog

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

    http://paulbroun.com/contact-us

    Be loud, email these idiots like crazy. Don't just post here.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  15. Frank Mondana

    I love when the religious start using the "Well, obviously your carbon dating method is flawed". Even if the carbon dating process was "off" by 99%, it still makes the Earth at least 100,000 years old. Of course all of the other dating methods used with other elements would have to be wrong as well yet they keep coming up with consistent numbers.

    Even better is this-
    If physics, chemistry, and engineering were all wrong the computers they use everyday would not work. The computer relies on large chunks of those 3 disciplines (as well as quantum mechanics) to move all those little 1 and 0's around correctly.
    I guess God could be the actual "operating system" and is the one who makes these machines work (at least sometimes) while we in the sciences only think we are doing it.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  16. Ted

    "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." Which version in Genesis do they believe in?

    October 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  17. John M

    In relative size to the universe, the earth is like a grain of sand on some beach somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. On this grain of sand, God "created" beings in his own image, and then he demands we get on our knees and sing his praises and worship him and beg forgiveness for our sins. If we do this correctly for about 75 years, we get to spend eternity with him. If we screw it up, we are punished for our sins and spend eternity in a horrible place even beyond our imagination. All because we are not "worthy" of his love.

    Not only that, He has no interests on the millions of trillions of other grains of sand in the universe. They are created just to amuse us at night and keep us awestruck by his magnificence. All he cares about is this one grain of sand with these microscopic beings.

    In all of history until the end of the world, only about 65,000 lucky beings will have perfected the art of worship enough to actually be able to pass into heaven. Every other soul will be condemned.

    How can any rational person believe this? It is beyond my comprehension that this religious definition of God (or something similar) is accepted so universally without any hesitation by most of the people on this planet.

    Use your brains people.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • anson13

      John, and actually he only cared about a small region on the face of that grain of sand! thats what always didnt make sense to me... when this all powerful being decided to impregnate a middle eastern virgin to "to save his other children" ...why did he only care about those tribes in the middle east??? why didnt he give the same message to other civilizations scattered around the globe at that time?? did he not care about the the people in Eastern Asia?? he could have banged some Chinesse girl and got her pregnant... done another in Central America.... and Africa.... etc???. he should have spread his seed around the earth like an NBA player!!!. cuz obviously he had to understood that they would not ever hear his message but come up with their own gods and prophets instead.... its still the biggest problem on Earth..... all the religions only believing their own ancient myths.... seems to me an all powerful god could set the record straight pretty easily and stop all this suffering in his name...

      October 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  18. IndeePendant

    Don't blame him. Blame the voters of the BSmountain who elected him.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  19. Ed Bro

    In my opinion he's a MORON!

    October 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  20. Can't believe they are that stupid

    Adam & Eve eh. Then what incest to build the human race? The GOP is proof that the education and health systems in this country have failed. Go back to the hills and marry your cousin.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:10 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.