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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. snowboarder

    in this age of information i can not fathom how a person can not see the myriad of religions and deities throughout history as the human inventions that they certainly are.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Don't sit on the sideline ---VOTE DEM!!

      People, people, people, go out and vote. Quit belly aching about the goof balls in office and make sure you vote. Sooner or later they, the numb-nuts, will grow old and die off, not like the dinosaurs, but humans. We can out vote them! Take back the House, keep the White House, and ensure that our kids can have a proper education. Not one inspired by Jethro and Granny

      October 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  2. lamb of dog

    Everyone here that failed elementary school needs to stop pushing their childish creationism beliefs.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  3. Sharp

    First; He needs to be taken off the Science committee. Second; Most rational folks have no trouble accepting both Christ's message & the wonderful advances in human knowledge brought by science. Another irrational Republican, nothing new in that. Jesus forgives him.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Seethroughu

      why? science is awesome. most people love science because it is cool. but lets not confuse it with evolution which is the dogma for atheists

      October 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      SeeNothing, when can we expect to see your scholarly peer reviewed successful debunking of evolution. We're waiting...

      October 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • frontgate

      Ahhh, you're saying development of various species is not science? Then what is it?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Sharp

      SeeThroughu; You like all the truths that Science reveals? Those came about through our intelligence which came from God. After all the good Science has done for humanity you pick out one outdated dogma from a time when humans were not as wise as today & claim Science to be somehow evil. On it's worst day Science did more good for the human race than Christianity ever did. God's message through Christ has been twisted into a pretzel by power hungry churches so long that the message is in danger of being lost.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  4. jefe

    The Bible as authoritative and the Bible as literal are not the same thing, but the author doesn't really care about that, I suppose...

    October 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I don't need to bother with that distinction, since I consider it neither literal nor authoritative.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      The Babble is neither – it's pure crap.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • jefe

      yup, it iz until it izn – dat be de way of things...

      October 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  5. John

    Reading the congressman accomplishment in academia, the question for me is, is he stupid or is he a liar. There's only one answer, the congressman is a liar. He insults the delusional people he's speaking to in the funny farm, and he insults those who are educated in the sciences.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • snowboarder

      john – it could simply be a testament to the quality of the religious brainwashing he has endured.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • frontgate

      Where did this bird go to medical school? Liberty Baptist or Oral Roberts U.?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • OneWouldThink

      One would think he would have attended one of those looney bins, but nope..."Broun is a graduate of Athens High School and the University of Georgia at Athens (B.S., Chemistry, 1967) and earned his Doctor of Medicine (1971) from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.[4] His internship was at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon and residency at University Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. He then practiced general medicine; starting in 2002 he maintained a practice based solely on house calls."

      I'm sure the house calls part was all part of a reelection effort...

      October 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  6. Jim

    With guys like Broun and Akin on congressional committees with oversight of science, space, and technology, God help us. And we wonder why we don't lead the world in science education and its results.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Coflyboy

      Yep. The scary part is: these people are running our country.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  7. nbgb

    I can't believe that in the 21st century when people are supposed to have been educated that so many refuse to look past their religion and see what is happening. It just shows you that you can teach people to memorize facts and pass a test but you cannot teach them to reason. These people are like a 286 computer on DOS and have been passed by because others are on multi core processors with 16 gb memory using Win 8. Disheartening. No wonder congress is screwed up.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Doc

      or on a mac (any version will do.) ;-)

      October 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  8. Peter Wolfe

    All religions are fabricated by wealthy people to exploit the ignorant masses the poor by exploiting them. This is why you see the fixation with preachers, pastors, clerics, rhabis, etc in all religions because they think were are dumb. Of course, if you have a over populated planet and continue to have that you as a rich person can lower everybody standards for your own gluttony and excess in general. By the way, I think Gallup poll isn't indictive of my generation Y on evolution.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • VanHagar

      "because they think were are dumb" ????? Me thinks you protest too much.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • VanHagar

      "if you have a over populated planet" (not "AN"?????). Me thinks you protest too much.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • VanHagar

      "you as a rich person can lower everybody standards" ??????? Me thinks (oh forget it).

      October 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  9. rhscnative

    Go to any beach and pick up a fossilized shark's tooth – a nice black one. Then go have it dated by radiometric methods. It could be a million years old. If you assume that radiometric dating methods are not hocus pocus (why would they be when when our other applied physics applications like cell phones and TV work) then there is your answer. Other questions regarding a 7,000 year old earth: Where did the dinosaurs go in such a short amount of time? Why can we measure where the earth's magnetic field has reversed periodically over millions of years? Is that junk science too? Why are some animals clearly in a transitional evolutionary state like Walruses and Polar Bears? We know how to "read" DNA and Mitochondrial DNA. Why does it not point to a recent foundling population of two (Adam and Eve)? If there were only Adam and Eve, how are white people adapted to northern climates in such a short amount of time? Were Adam and Eve black? White? Chinese? Arab? The questions just keep coming and the answers get stupider and stupider from Creationists because they are defending an indefensible position.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  10. Really-O?

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTSCRoYyM-Y&w=640&h=390]

    October 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  11. pres4sale

    Where the heck do they dig up these flakes?

    October 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  12. Seethroughu

    besides they are both wrong. the earth is about 6000 years old

    October 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • leelo

      yeah keep telling that to yourself

      October 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • solex

      And you know this how? Because the bible tells you so?

      So what, you think Fred Flintstone road around on dinosaurs?

      Where do micro brains like you COME from?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Seethroughu

      fred flinstone is a cartoon and has nothing to do with what physical evidence shows us in reality

      October 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • solex

      Um, I know that Fred Flintstone was a cartoon bone head...

      I am asking you if you REALLY believe that man and dinosaurs co-existed on the planet within the last 6000 years, and then the dinosaurs died out, and there is NOT ONE mention in history of their existence until the 1800s when their fossils were discovered.

      The only fossil you know about is the one between your ears.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Seethroughu

      bzzzzt. there are carvings, inscriptions, writings, stories in every ancienct culture about dinosaurs. every see a viking boat, they have dinosaurs carved on each end.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • LMFAOinAZ

      I can only hope that Seethroughu is one of Arizona's illustrious state congresswomen. Thank you for the chuckle!

      October 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • OneWouldThink

      Don't feed the trolls, guys....

      October 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  13. Alina77

    OMG poor my daughters and women in this country, their life's are in the hands of men-freaks in the WH that are making life decisions based on their "believes" and Ideology, this is example of some of their believes, wait till Romney brings them all to the plate (if he wins).

    October 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • mitt

      well do something about it you d.u.m.b. b.r.o.a.d !!!!

      October 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Seethroughu

      romney is a mormon that believes if you are good you go to heaven and make spirit babies with all your wives, and if your bad you come back to earth as a black person. you are right, should be interesting indeed

      October 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  14. Balls McGhee

    he needs proof of global warming with millions of sources to prove it, but none to prove the earth is only thousands of years old because only one single source says so.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  15. Seethroughu

    nye is a silly guy that thinks his delusion qualifies him to make judgements on other people

    October 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • OOO

      Most of us here share the same opinion of this senator.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      and by calling him "silly" you are doing what exactly?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • solex

      You think evolution is a delusion? That's pretty wild when you stop to consider the fairy tales that make up the bible.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Seethroughu

      yes no one has ever seen one animal or anything turn into anything any more than they have seen santa slide down a chimney, reindeeer fly or a flying spaghetti monster

      October 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Thomas Jefferson

      Or god...

      October 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Tim

      Funny... I don't recall anyone seeing any sort of god either.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  16. Lewis Black on Evolution, Myths about the OT

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcJvkAdydnQ&w=640&h=390]

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

      OMG i love lewis black

      October 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • === o ===

      I can't find the location, but I think this might have been at the Warner Theatre in DC. If not, I think he did perform that bit there.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  17. sam

    I actually believe in a higher power but all of the religions have it wrong mainly because man dreamed them all up. The real "God"–we can only imagine what it truly is

    October 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  18. solex

    The reason that the bible does not address things like fossils of dinosaurs and carbon dating PROVING that the earth is several billion years old is that the bible was written BEFORE these things came to light.

    And doesn't anyone find it interesting that the bible says the earth is around six thousand years old and that is about when recorded history began?

    October 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      this is the dumbest thing ever. Man came into existence well after other animals had lived and and evolved into us. animals were not expected to write history books, my dear. if so, why arent they still doing it today?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • snowboarder

      solex – the bible is a collection of primative myths to a god invented by men to help explain the natural world for which they did not possess the tools

      October 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      my bad, i now see you were asking a rhetorical question...

      October 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Freedom FROM Religion

      Correction we have written history going back nearly 11,000 years and the bible never actually puts a date on the beginning of the earth, that number was conjured up by religious zealots doing simple addition and adding the life spans of all the characters in the bible together AS IF all those stories were perfectly contiguous. Either way the religious are dead wrong and you think it would dawn on them since they LOVE love love oil... but then they spout the logical (sarcasm) statement that god put that there to test their faith. pftttttt AHAHAHAHAHAHAH wack jobs

      October 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  19. soul68

    Gravity is also a theory but I don't see these people jumping off buildings.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • lee

      LOL

      October 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • TJS

      Actually, gravity is a Law, not a Theory. Read up on your science a bit more before you try to make clever remarks!

      October 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  20. snowboarder

    he's an old geezer, there are plenty of people his age with the same delusion. his ilk won't be influencing policy much longer.

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

      Sorry, but that is not the case. These ideas – religion is correct, the bible is the truth – are LEARNED. People will teach this nonsense to their children – perpetuating the cycle of ignorance.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • snowboarder

      solex – i hope you are wrong.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:29 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.