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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. Rina

    This guy is really scary - he is a Medical Doctor that doesn't believe in science? Wow – now I know where the God complex among physicians really comes from!

    October 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  2. Normal Guy

    See, THIS is the problem with voting for Republicans. I'm fine with most of their fiscal platform, I'm not a big fan of unions, I don't care that much about taxes since all that is relative to me, and I'm generally fine with an aggressive foreign policy, but when the religious right gets in the mix I jump ship. No, I don't believe in ignoring science and no, I don't believe in legislating "christian values" or whatever else they call it. By the way, our founding fathers were not all christian and if anything, they were radically anti-religion relative to the time. Until the GOP can drop the religious right, I'm voting Democrat down the line.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • gaucho420

      I 2nd your opinion!

      October 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  3. GY

    If people believe if the bible is 100% correct that the earth was created in a matter of days then how would they explain that the bible also says that the earth is not flat or doesn't go around the sun.

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

      dude, who cares
      its all fake bs

      October 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • GY

      Prove it.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  4. carl

    Sorry to break it to you "biblethumpers" but all religions are man made. They have always been man made. The main reason they were invented was to help explain natural phenomena (especially DEATH) in a time when there was no scientific thought.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  5. Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    Evolution is hinduism, absurdity of hindu's, ignorants,
    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 6:19 pm |
    • AvdBergism source of filthyRanierBraendleinism

      NO DOGS! Triple adbullah is path to truth absolut crystal.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  6. Hypatia

    How do such mental cases get elected? Oh yeah.....Georgia.....typical

    October 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  7. vince

    I think for literalists, they kind of back themselves into a corner. Rather than view Genesis as a beautiful and metaphorical commentary on the world as early Jewish tribes saw it, by claiming that Genesis is fact and authoritative, they create an internal crisis. Because if Genesis is proven untrue then so is every other 'literalilst' interpretation - everything becomes unraveled - so people who like to believe in the literal interpreation of Genesis celebrate those you buttress their belief system and demonize those that don't. The danger with that position, with any abosolutist position, is that it defies reality and critical thinking. When these people look at a skeleton of T Rex, rather than be amazed by the wonderment of the evolutionary process, they turn a blind eye to the evidence and declare it a "trick of Satan" to create "doubt". It's very Talibanesque - as are all religions that go for uncompromising literalism. We have to have sympathy for these people because they are trying to prop a belief system in the face of overwheliming science - but they should not be a in position to approve scientific textbooks, approve science funding or have anythign else to do with something that they cannot (or choose not to) wrap their minds around. As a follower of Jesus, I have no problem with evolution because to me nature and the evolutionary process are fact and wonderful in and of itself, but if you happen to see the divine hand in the process, that's a personal choice, and it does not create a conflict –rather it works together.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  8. Liz

    How Dare he say Dinosaurs arent' real! He is one! But seriously this guy is a wack job and a half and a complete shame to be from my homestate of Georgia. Georgia may be in the bible belt and pretty religious but you can still believe in god, be completely faithful to your religion and believe in Evolution or atleast believe in the fact that Earth is Way Older than the people who wrote the bible.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  9. George

    Dang, he's pretty far out on the limb

    October 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  10. Vns

    If the Congressman believes in the bible and another person has a contracting view because he believes in his religious book which says that the world is 10 billion years old whose belief wil be upheld? So finally we are heading towards anarchy because of such extreme views?
    So long as the person is an individual he can have any opinion but as a representative of a larger and varied group one should not have any extreme view, especially in matters related to religion.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  11. erica

    this is why the rest of the civilized world laughs at the US. The US is full of the worst people on the planet

    October 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      And people like Mr. Broun are hell bent on creating more stupid people.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  12. angryoldguy

    Doesn't he belong on the "Religion Committee?"

    October 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      More like the moron committee.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • ZiggyBlues

      More like, out on the streets and not practicing medicine.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  13. Sam235

    Believing in evolution requires a non-scientific leap of faith. Evolution is a religion arguing against scientific principles.

    Carl Sagan's logical contradiction = He looked for information in radio waves from outer space as a sign of non-random events that were created by intelligent life; yet considered DNA information as not designed.

    Information in DNA shows design. Information is not created by random events. Random events creates noise like the radio waves Sagan ruled out. He was looking for information in the radio signals to determine if they were created by intelligent life. DNA is much more ordered than prime numbers (i.e., 7 ). DNA can create life that produces prime numbers and ponders their significance. To believe in evolution, you must want to believe so bad, that you deny opposing arguments without good cause.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      No, it is not, evolution is a process not the initiator, nor the end, it has no authority of it's own but subordinated to a program, designed by none other than, the creator, truth absolute GOD.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • eric

      how much crack are you on??

      October 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      You need to take a leap of reason. All you have is faith.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • xirume

      Hey Sam, time for you to shut up. You don't know s**t from shinola. All you do is post the kind of stuff 1000 monkeys would pound if they were given typewriters. Stop making up random crap.

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

      Congratulations on one of the most impressive examples of twisted 'logic' that I have ever heard. That is, until I heard the one about how pigs fly!

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

      Absolute nonsense.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Simple truth

      Evolution is a theory in the same way that gravity is a theory. Read the science behind it and stop blubbering about it until you do.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      You sound incredibly stupid so I'm going to go slow here.

      Your example of DNA needing a designer is not an example at all, just like when other people say proof of god is the earth, asking the person to believe because it looks pretty. It's a dumb as.sertion and you're dumb for making it. Evolution on the other hand is supported by fossils and facts. We can literally see how simple creatures become more complex over millions of years and can make a theory based around these observations. Your claim that scientist deny opposing arguments because they want to believe is stupid when you think about it for a nan.osecond. The "opposing arguments" are literally "god did it, I can't show you evidence but I faith"..... that's not an argument, it's a childlike reply to a theory that you and your ilk clearly don't understand.

      Get a brain Sam235, get a brain, learn how to read and then open a 7th grade science text book.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      It's only believers who frame the acceptance or non-acceptance of evolution as being a subject of "faith". It has nothing whatsoever to do with faith. It's evidence - mountains of evidence, supporting evolution. It doesn't require faith to accept something for which there is more than ample evidence. It just requires the ability to read, and to think.

      Faith is reserved for you and your friends Sam, so that you can accept your god, without one single iota of evidence.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • ZiggyBlues

      Wow... We're to begin? That has to be the worst attempt at sounding smart that I have ever heard. I would suggest you Reread Sagan and this time don't just pick through quotes from your pastor.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  14. Simple truth

    Guy who believes in the worlds biggest lie (god) accuses evidence-dependent truth finding system (science) of lies. Here's what needs to happen to all these idiotic science deniers: deny them of the fruits of science. No automobiles, no telephones, no bypass surgery. Let them live in the stone ages where their mental facilities are appropriate to their physical surroundings. Primitive and pathetic.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • ZiggyBlues

      Science gave you that thing that you're typing ridiculous BS on. Tell me about all the awe full scientific Athiest that created your PC, tell me how it works. Then we'll talk.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  15. lamb of dog

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

    http://paulbroun.com/contact-us

    706-369-9039
    They don't want to hear what you have to say. All the more reason to tell them.
    Be loud, email or call these guys. They need to be put in their place. Don't just post here.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  16. He is the people of Walmart

    So the congressman from Niggerlynch, Georgia has stereotypically Southern hallucinations about his invisible superbuddy?

    Yawn.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • ME II

      Wow, you managed to insult/offend just about everyone with that town name. Impressive.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • He is the people of Walmart

      I've spent time in Georgia, and I have heard how the locals talk. Sorry if reality offends you.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • ME II

      I'm sorry that you had to spend time in Georgia. However, it does seem to suit you.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • ZiggyBlues

      This guy is right, Georgia would be better accepted in the Middle East! Where all your crazy fairy tails can come true.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  17. Brett Williamson

    A simple questions should be asked of any publicly elected official – What is the age of the Earth? Any answer short of billions of years should automatically disqualify that person from participating in any discussion/vote related to Science or Engineering. Would you want to cross a bridge build upon faith of the designer/builder (that is without the necessary science supporting the design and build concept)? I thought not!

    October 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  18. Shannon Underwood

    Christianity was created by the Roman's to control the Jews. It now seems to be used by the 1% to control the USA. I pity the USA for the pit its falling into, of poor public education, lack of critical thinking and being led around by the 1%.

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

      Well that's just wrong. Christianity is the invention of jews. The Roman Empire adopted it much later during the twighlight of it's reign, not to mention, how would it control jews in anyway?

      Just a stupid comment, really dumb stuff. It's tough to unravel your logic on this one.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • ed

      No it wasn't, stop making things up.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • === o ===

      "Christianity was created by the Roman's " lol
      You must have gone to school where the Congressman went. lol

      October 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  19. BikerMiker

    It is extremely sad and distressing that a person with the pre-historic beliefs like Dr. Broun is in a position of leadership and on the 'science' committee of all things. What is even more distressing is that he was ELECTED by a group of people who wanted him to be in a position of leadership – now that is depressing!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  20. JeffinIL

    Do we keep electing simpletons because nobody with any brains wants the job?

    October 10, 2012 at 6:06 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.