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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. Hugh Mann

    Well, well, well. Let's agree to disagree....
    Everybody should have representation. We should have an alQaeda in Congress too.,, Venusians? Doesn't mean they are the majority.
    I sure hope this guy is on the Republican side though

    October 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  2. Theism is a placebo for the feeble-minded

    I rather suspect he is doing that grand old GOP strategy of telling the religious right what they want to hear, then they ignore them once elected. They have been doing it for decades. Even W admitted at the end of his presidency (when it could not hurt him) that he didn't believe all of the Bible. And if you consider that in the W years, despite having control of congress and the Supreme Court, Bush never even tried to reverse Roe v. Wade.

    He could be an authentic nincompoop, but Republicans have a long history of lying to religowhacks for votes then ignoring them once in office. Interestingly, no matter how flagrantly Republicans exploit then ignore the religious right, the cross-suckers keep coming back for more and voting for them.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  3. Drew

    I'm sure Representative Broun's views go over quite well in a Baptist Church smack in the middle of fundy-country, but what happens when his career forces him to venture out into the big, evil world and he actually has to do something to advance our nation, as his job requires?

    October 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  4. GonzoinHouston

    Then again, maybe he's just telling a bunch of fundamentalist nuts whatever they want to hear. Politicians have been known to do that sort of thing. Note the current Republican nominee for President.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • ME II

      Could be. However, if he's just pandering then he deserves the fallout anyway.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  5. mitchmonster17

    creationism: A lie from another lie.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  6. PrimeNumber

    Evolution, as its been explained to us, seems believable. Unfortunately, it kills thought. If humans originated spontaneously from primordial muck, then people are nothing more than biochemical machines with a brain as a processor. There is no spirit, no soul, no God. Some atheists, unable to look this brutal fact in the face, will offer some thin reason to make us more than mere organisms. But if we are only organisms, then two things are left out: personhood, and meaningfulness. Without these, nothing is WORTH thinking about except surviving.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Hows la la land?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Correct. There is not god, sin, nor soul. However, since our minds are complex, there's all sorts of reasons we can think up for doing all sorts of things to augment our reproduction and survival. I have the feeling that you're a huge idiot.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      So because you can't explain it there must be a spirit, soul, and god?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • ME II

      I disagree.
      I am a person whether god(s) exist or not. I think Descartes put it like this:
      Cogito Ergo Sum

      Additionally, this life means very much to me; even more so since it is the only one I get. If you can't find meaning without some deity handing it to you, then I feel sorry for you, but don't say my life has no meaning.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  7. zaglossus

    Perhaps the Congressman should read a biography of Charles Darwin is he thinks evolution is a lie out of hell. He will find that it is not.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  8. SC

    Just once I want to read about something like this and be surprised that the person ISN'T from a southern state

    October 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Louisiana Man

      dont judge everyone from the south as being redneck and backwards..

      yes I know this yokel belongs in this category..but these hillbillies..spews this ridiculous sht for votes...

      remember most all of the south is red..

      October 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  9. Shane

    I'm fine with people having their own beliefs, but there is no reason he should be on the scientific committee if his beliefs are not scientific what so ever.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      He should not only be on the committee he should be the permanent Chair !

      October 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • === o ===

      Someone sounds like a child. Hmm I wonder who that could be?? Could it be the disgruntled ex Evanglical Fortune Cookie Co. boot camp flunkie who uses the name of a famous atheist?? Hmmm???

      October 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  10. sarge

    Poor, deluded man...he obviously needs the attention what with Obama and Romney grabbing all the headlines!

    October 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  11. lamb of dog

    Or call. (706)369-9039. Mr Brouns office.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      thanks!! Just left a message.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  12. notanapologist

    The irony lunacy in this is perfect.....an elected, standing US congressman on a science committee refuting basic science and scientific evidence...and reality...in favour of "faith".

    You can have your faith....just don't make any decisions for society based on it or pass it on to your children.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    October 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent truths is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent truths, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      October 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Theism is a placebo for the feeble-minded

      Prayer is mental masturbation.

      Proven

      October 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Shane

      As much as I want to disagree with your wording theism, that is more or less how I see it.

      It is a release and it makes you feel better about an outcome because you are giving the illusion of control to something else.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Hugh Mann

      Money Changes Everything – Cyndi Lauper

      October 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • atimoth

      Prayer may change things for YOU...but you cannot say that because it works for you, it MUST work for someone else. Why are there so many people afraid to let others have their own choices about religion and religious practices? That's like saying that because you drive a pick-up truck, someone's an idiot for driving a Porsche or Prius.

      All are different vehicles that have the means to get you to the same place. One person inward prayer may be more influential and introspective than another's outward prayer. Get off the soap box.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  14. cedar rapids

    “All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,”

    He does know the big bang theory originated partly from a catholic priest right?

    October 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  15. lamb of dog

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

    http://paulbroun.com/contact-us

    Be heard. Email the committee.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  16. Dave

    Wow!! And he is a doctor? Amazing. The Bible cannot be considered a history book but rather an instruction manual for life.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  17. tony

    NOW THIS IS A REAL SITUATION THAT ABSOLUTELY REQUIRES IMPEACHMENT

    October 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • nope

      @tony
      nope

      October 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      This is a situation that needs a Presidential Medal and a Nobel Prize!

      October 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • === o ===

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

      "christopher hitchens (which is a strange alias for an Evangelical) degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates 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 ex Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. "writer".

      October 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  18. scott

    This is exactly what Jesus wife said too.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  19. mre2

    Another deranged and delusional lunatic from the evangelical right.

    How do these people ever get elected?

    October 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • God / Allah / Yahweh / Great Pumpkin / Lord Bubba

      How do these people ever get elected?

      Other deranged and delusional lunatics from the evangelical right.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  20. God / Allah / Yahweh / Great Pumpkin / Lord Bubba

    The sooner you people stop believing in Me the better.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • truth be told

      No one "believes" in YOU now.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:46 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.