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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. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • His cur jests

      Curb your Dog.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but every assertion you have made since birth has been 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 6:07 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~.`

      October 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Agnes

      Naturally he is a Republican.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  2. Eugene

    Another day, another heap of drivel from an ignoramus. Did you feel the earth shake or hear it groan when he pontificated that offal? I didn't.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  3. Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    To learn truth about evolution please read following
    Evolution is not the beginning but a process initiated by some one else, a path to a destination, neither a initiator nor the destination, but a medium, neither having control over it's beginning nor to it's end, a subject, not the master, hindu atheist, ignorant self centered take it as their truth absolute god. Initiatory is in the hand's of truth absolute GOD and end is in "HIS" truth absolute, GOD's hand, rest of it is hinduism, absurdity of hindu's ignorant, hind, blinded in their hindu atheism, ignorant self center ism like a potato. To learn more plaese visit limitisthetruth.com

    October 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • hansdick

      Huh?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • vidal808

      I am sorry to say that this guy is a total idiot. Actually I sent him an e-mail on his website but have not received an answer so far. Hard to believe that such morons are lawmakers and decide what is right and wrong for the people of this nation. Did he actually had an education or did he earned his degree "on line" by paying $25 donation??

      October 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • AvdBergism source of filthyRanierBraendleinism

      NO DOGS! Triple abdullah is path to absolut crystal.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  4. steve

    Before we get to the science of evolution, let's deal with this talking snake thing. If you belive a snake told Eve to eat the apple, then explain to me again why I should serioiulsy consider your views on science?

    October 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • MrHanson

      Well you are nothing but a hodgepodge of Eukayrotes with no purpose. Why should we listen to you?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      Perhaps you should actually read the passage yourself.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Ted

      I believe in Adam and Steve. I believe the Earth was created yesterday. I believe that this mornings New York Times will be the guide for the rest of eternity. It is just as plausible.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • === o ===

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

      "christopher hitchens 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" 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 ex Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. "writer".

      October 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • krhodes

      Well...you don't believe in a talking snake but have no problem believing in talking monkeys that have landed on the moon...hmmmmm...

      October 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Carl

      Apparently, Harry Potter was around back then....

      October 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  5. Joebob

    Well Ignorant and a congressman form Georga – who would have guessed. I hear that politicians are just warlocks in disguise who made a pack with the devil. He must be one.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  6. Norbert Mossbacher

    I suppose when you find that evolution has passed you by, the only recourse is to deny it exists.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • MrHanson

      Boy you sure haven't been keeping up with the latest discoveries.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  7. citizenmn

    Okay Repubs, tell us again why you are voting for these backward people.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • MrHanson

      Maybe because we don't believe life is a purposeless accident? Just a guess.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • spent

      Because of the "progressive liberals" that actually think they have the answer. And we love the judgments of the leftist and "intellectuals" that think THEY have all the answers when most do not even know the question.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Freedom FROM Religion

      "If you eliminate the impossible (GOD), whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." That truth is evolution and the big bang regardless of what you WANT to believe... esp if it is from an archaic book of tomes by opium smoking bronze aged sheep herders.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  8. MrHanson

    Another Day, Another Surprise for
    Over at PhysOrg.com, there’s a study being reported highlighting a 520 million year old fossil arthropod with a highly-developed brain. So soon in evolutionary time, and an already developed brain??? (To go beside the very complex eye of the Trilobites)

    Here’s what one scientist said:

    “No one expected such an advanced brain would have evolved so early in the history of multicellular animals"

    Ahh, the power of mother nature and her magic wand of accidents. One flick and BOOM! Cambrian explosion. Evolutionists are still trying to clean up the mess.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Reason & Logic

      Wait until 12/21/12 when the Mayan gods return to Earth in their spaceships. The only question is whether or not these born-agains will believe they are either the 2nd coming or the anti-Christ, pick one.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      I'm confused what your point is. Are you saying that since we found a highly developmed fossilized brain, that this somehow negates evolution? That's idiotic. It might negate a certain theory within evolution, but not the theory itself.

      Even more idiotic is your mention of the cambrian explosion, what about it? Just because it's a surprising find and we can't nail down an exact explanation does not in anyway mean god should be substi.tuted. You're playing the god of the gaps game and it's going to bite you in the as.s.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Michael John Anthony

      520 million years ago, eh? Which day of Creation Week was that? It has been demonstrated as far back as Darwin that complex forms can result from simple laws of nature combined with natural selection. (Miracle not required.)

      October 10, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Thomas Jefferson

      And thus, science checks itself and alters it theories to meet with observation, something that religion is simply incapable of.

      As far as the eyes go, a simple Google search will give you plenty of explanation. Of course a willfully ignorant fer like yourself isn't looking farther than the book of fairy tales for knowledge.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • MrHanson

      It's idiotic to mention the cambrian explosion? What is even more idiotic is the so called explanations atheists come up with why complex animals with articulated limbs, complex eyes, guts, nervous systems appear suddenly with no ancestors. I suppose the optical principles of the Trilobite eyes have not meaning to you? Oh, ya that's right. The only scientific answer you have to give is that it just happened. Purposeless mutations and natural selection. The "stuff happens" law.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • MrHanson

      "alters it theories to meet with observation" Lol that is a good one. Sort of like "supports the hypothesis that branchiopod brains evolved from a previously complex to a more simple architecture". Ah yes, evolution now becomes devolution.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  9. Since1638

    What to make an informed decision on the congressman's stances?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embryology

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

    October 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      None of those links explain how a creature with a backbone can stick its head up its own ass with as little effort as John Broun requires.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Pardon me, PAUL Broun. There's probably a John Broun out there and I'm sure he's a fine fellow.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  10. Jim

    I read other ignorant people already lumping "GOP" in with this congressman. CNN is using people's ignorance to influence the election. Shame on CNN.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      If GOP leaders do not distance themselves publicly from this idiot then they deserve what they get.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • mjbrin

      so why aren't your "other" gop jumping in to defend the evolution theroy?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  11. Robbi

    The disappointing thing is that this person is in a position of leadership. What a complete idiot. He's a doctor. Well, always remember that 50% of doctors graduated in the lower half of their class!

    October 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • ...

      but the internet is open to everyone.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  12. partyless

    What naive, fearful idiots we have around us. Just how much do we have to know in order to bring the masses out of the dark ages? Think god made the earth in a few days for entertainment? Think Moses parted the red sea? Think Mary was magically impregnated without semen? Think Jesus magiaclly rose from the dead? I am continually dumbfounded by the number of people who refuse to accept reality.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  13. lamb of dog

    http://science.house.gov/contact-us
    http://paulbroun.com/contact-us
    706-369-9039
    Be loud, email or call this committee and make your voice heard.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  14. Hugh Mann

    Another De-Nye-er

    October 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  15. Vittal Pyati

    The Hindu scripture "Rigveda" says;

    But, after all, who knows, and who can say
    whence it all came, and how creation happened?
    The gods themselves are later than creation
    so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

    '" Whence all creation had its origin
    he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
    he, who surveys it all from the highest heaven,
    he knows – maybe he even does not know.

    PS: Granite rocks in Wyoming have neen estimated to be few billions years old using radio active dating

    October 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      hinduism, absurdity of hindu santan's, ignorant goon's while under the influence of cannabis. There is only one truth absolute, Constant, GOD, none more, proven by quantum physics.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • ME II

      "radio active dating" is dangerous. Please use a radiation suit... and a condom.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • AvdBergism source of filthyRanierBraendleinism

      NO DOGS! Triple abdullah is path absolut Crystal

      October 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  16. Jim

    It's not important what the congressman believes. Not important from one group of Christians. What's significant is that CNN thought this was a national news story at this time. CNN would like to influence you by using your beliefs to vote against other Christians, thinking that many people will lump other Christians in with this congressman. Shame on CNN.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      This guy is one of forty people that steer the countries science initiatives. It does matter what he thinks.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Robbi

      Come on Jim. You are sounding as ignorant as the Congressman. Not everything is a conspiracy.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Michael John Anthony

      Of course it matters what the congressman said. Every rational young mind lost to the cult of Young Earth Creationism is one less mind that we may later rely on to cure cancer, end poverty or discover new planets. This impacts our very future and chances of survival as a species, so I rather disagree that the gentleman's comments are harmless.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  17. Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    Evolution is not the beginning but a process initiated by some one else, a path to a destination, neither a initiator nor the destination, but a medium, neither having control over it's beginning nor to it's end, a subject, not the master, hindu atheist, ignorant self centered take it as their truth absolute god. Initiatory is in the hand's of truth absolute GOD and end is in "HIS" truth absolute, GOD's hand, rest of it is hinduism, absurdity of hindu's ignorant, hind, blinded in their hindu atheism, ignorant self center ism like a potato.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Pete

      This is your brain on religion.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  18. Locker

    It's remarkable how proud the anti-science GOP is of being outrageously stupid. It's not good for our foreign policy for other countries to think our citizens are willfully and happily ignorant.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • partyless

      It's not just the GOP that's stupid. It's basically most politicians and most people.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  19. upwardquest

    The Bible was never meant to be taken literally. Dr. Broun doesn't have a clue as to what the Bible is really all about. It is meant to be interpreted metaphysically or spiritually.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      To understand fundamentals of bible, please visit limitisthetruth.com

      October 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  20. LAIBACH

    Broun is a complete moron and neanderthal! He himself must be 'from the pit of hell' (of course, hell is mythical).

    October 10, 2012 at 5:54 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.