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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. Elbonian

    I really can't believe that the Republicans want such an anti-science bigot to represent them on a congressional committee that makes science policy for the entire nation! But of course, in the past few decades Republicans have denounced science in any number of ways. Just read "The Republican War on Science" by Chris Mooney. I can't bear the thought that I used to be a strong, comitted Republican! I guess I should have been committed!

    October 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Jerome Ball

      "anti-science bigot" ? You're too charitable... "flaming idiot" comes to mind; "right-wing religious wacko", perhaps... sigh...can't we reveal the REAL truth: the Bible was secretly written by Douglas Adams as his ultimate comedy and transported back in time ("errm, 6000 years should about do it") to launch the ultimate question: how many thousands of years would humanity need to get the joke?...

      October 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  2. elaine

    let's thnk about this a moment....he's a politician so....he'll say what his church going buddies want to hear & something different for his fellow politicians....:)

    October 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Chooch0253

      Really lets think about it. People are generally more comfortable and speak openly among "friends" not strangers. People are more likely to be honest and reveal themselves to friends as to who they really are, compared to what they want people to think they are. Perhaps you might want to think eh?

      October 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  3. lamb of dog

    You can send a message of support to paul@paulbroun.com.
    I sent a message to hi m. I supported him resigning from the committee.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  4. scot pederson

    If you repeat a lie enough times it will become truth. If you distort the facts enough times it will become truth. Whether the Earth was created in a literal 6 days or each day was as a Thousand years is not so much important in interpretation as the fact that the evidence of creation is all around. It takes more belief to fall for the illusion that the Universe has no order, was randomnly constructed to come into being and that we all have no purpose for living.

    Evolution is nothing but a systematic theory to try and remove the existence of God so that it takes all the guilt of our conscience for sinning against a Holy God. So, once you establish that you now have laid a foundation of freeing your spirit into the deception of paying no penalty for your sins during and after this life.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • evolution is a LIE

      Indeed!
      Evolution is a cop out for a non-believer.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Christo

      but it's silly to even make the statement "the Earth was created in six days" when the Earth must exist to measure it's own day. The middle easterners who created this version of our beginning weren't thinking.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      The greatest and most often told lie is that there are gods, even just one. Unless of course you believers have any better (as in factual, verifiable, objective, independent) evidence than The Babble."

      October 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Christo

      scot has now shared with us that the entire purpose of the universe is human CONDUCT and judgement thereof. So whatever is currently right and wrong (it changes all the time like killing during war for example) and your decisions to make right and wrong decisions is the reason God made of this. God is obsessed with good conduct...lol

      October 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Chooch0253

      You make a valid point about if a lie is told enough it becomes truth. Look at the people that believe there is a God.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Bruce

      Evolution is a lie? Based on what, 150 years of observed data, scientific study, peer review, etc? Your implication is that something else therefore is the truth. What would that be, and what evidence is there of that, exactly?

      October 10, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  5. Christo

    how can the Earth be created in six days when it MUST EXIST TO MEASURE A DAY?!?!

    October 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • just sayin

      your giving me a headache. It was only He knew of that before He wrote it.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Christo

      your belief in ridiculous fairy tales gives rational thinkers a headache. Noah's Ark....lol.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Answer is somewhere else

      Look up the dictionary definition of "day". It means a time period measured with respect to some sort of rotation. So it is a relative term. It is easy to interpolate that to understand that before the earth was there, a "day" was being measured by a different rotation. It may have been a few of our seconds, or even hundreds, thousands or millions of our years. It makes no sense to hobby-horse on the word "day", and will never lead the thoughtful and intelligent person to a conclusion that any explanation of the creation of the universe in terms of a series of "days" is inherently false because of the use of that term. It is clearly simply delineating time periods within a large project. And I can't think of too many projects larger than organization a solar system and terraforming a world in preparation for populating it with various types of creatures, including mankind. Can you?

      October 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Christo

      I meant it in the context was used ding dong. A day to them was the sun rising setting then rising again. They weren't covering their butt by using a broad definition of "day". The context in the way it was used in the bible was silly. It's like referring to something being 2 ft. before the invention of units of measure.

      October 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  6. just sayin

    I doubt all these people trying to disscredit Mr Brown are know what they are talking about since he seems to speak the Truth.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Sandra

      It's Mr Broun. And anyone who believes the bible is literally true is an idiot. This moron has no business sitting on any Science committee. What next? He spouts that illness is caused by demons and not viruses/bacteria?

      October 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Freedom FROM Religion

      nothing he said there is truth at all. period. funny how you would support him believing science to be evil yet here you are utilizing principles of electrodynamics (AKA YOUR COMPUTER) to type on this blog and it is all because... guess what?? SCIENCE!!!!! If you truly believe what you preached than throw your computer out the window, don't drive your car, don't use your cell phone, and certainly don't go running to a doctor for help when you are sick.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  7. The finisher

    I hope he knows that the bible does not mention the details of how on everything.How did God do it all? That will ponder in us all(if we believe that is).Either one believes that life can happen without a creator or life happened because of a creator.No one knows for sure.To live with that burden of knowing(if possible) while still being a sinner would do more harm than any good.See atheists in general,ignore that part of the bible.Its not even about living this "good life" yet some atheists and Christians may think so.Its not.Look at what Jesus often preached to the religious.You may think "doing good,helping the needy etc" may buy your way into heaven or prove to God and humans you are this "good character" won't cut it.Many atheists preach as though that's the point but its actually not.

    Religious or not humans are flawed to the max but don't get caught up into believing "doing good" proves you are a better person or proves you don't need religion to do good(or do need it) because that isn't the point.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  8. Jesus was a space alien

    What a quack. Being a Dr he should know better. There is no scientific evidence that the earth is 9,000 yrs old. He is a disgrace to science and his profession. Does he practice faith healing too?

    October 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  9. lamb of dog

    This guy is proof god doesn't exist. If he did he wouldn't let morons like Mr. Broun fight on his behalf.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  10. Chooch0253

    I live in Georgia. This comes as no surprise. No more than the Congressman from Tennessee Scott DesJarlais, that supposedly is a Pro-lifer, has voted to end Planned Parenthood, got his mistress pregnant then told her to get an abortion.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  11. rob1271

    wow, he's just like Obama's buddy Rev. Jeremiah Wright!

    October 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Ken

      No he's not because Broun actually sits on governmental committees and is incapable of analyzing data and drawing logical, scientific conclusions. Which would be fine if he wasn't making decisions about the incorporation of science into social laws.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Sandra

      Straw-man. Rev Wright was the preacher in their church, not President Obama's buddy.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Me

      and you are just like an idiot......... oh wait – you "are" an idiot

      October 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • really?

      I didn't realize Reverend Wright was sitting on a committee that deternines the science and technology policies of this nation.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  12. mre2

    This guy is actually quite scary. Rep. Paul Broun is clearly delusional. He has now proven that he is not competent to sit as a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

    Mr Boehner needs to remove him at once as a matter of national security, and then help him get professional diagnostic help.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  13. MatterOfFact

    Jezus! Where do they find these wonks? Why does God let politicians reproduce?

    October 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  14. evolution is a LIE

    Where is proof of Macro evolution????

    October 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Macaroni evolved from spaghetti. It's bigger and fatter. Check your glasses.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Shane

      Most of our Macro Evolutionary evidence lies in the transitional fossiles.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • David

      If you'd been keeping up on the science, you would know the answer to that question... but I'll give you a hint. It has to do with gene pool maping and the reason that humans have 23 chromosome pairs, and chimps and other primates have 24. And chromosome pair number 2. That should be enough for anyone with the ability to google. Ignorance in the age of information is really inexcusable.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Chooch0253

      Where is proof of your God? Something that is written? Anything that was written was written by man, and I have heard the song and dance that God was guiding the hand that wrote the scriptures, the Bible. etc. etc. Fact is, there is ZERO physical proof that God exists or ever existed. Physical science does not lie. It is provable. Your religion is a lie, not evolution.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • evolution is a LIE

      big bird, eh ;) oops... piltdown bird?

      October 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @evolution is a LIE – "Where is proof of Macro evolution????"

      Here's a start. Have a read.

      Rice, W.R.; Hostert (1993). "Laboratory experiments on speciation: what have we learned in 40 years". Evolution 47 (6): 1637–1653. doi:10.2307/2410209. JSTOR 2410209.

      Jiggins CD, Bridle JR (2004). "Speciation in the apple maggot fly: a blend of vintages?". Trends Ecol. Evol. (Amst.) 19 (3): 111–4. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2003.12.008. PMID 16701238.

      Boxhorn, J (1995). "Observed Instances of Speciation". TalkOrigins Archive. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
      Weinberg JR, Starczak VR, Jorg, D (1992). "Evidence for Rapid Speciation Following a Founder Event in the Laboratory". Evolution 46 (4): 1214–20. doi:10.2307/2409766. JSTOR 2409766.

      Kirkpatrick, Mark; Virginie Ravigné (2002-03). "Speciation by Natural and Se'xual Selection: Models and Experiments". The American Naturalist 159 (3): S22–S35. doi:10.1086/338370. ISSN 00030147. JSTOR 3078919. PMID 18707367.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  15. jonathan

    Evolution must exist because de-evolution certainly does. Just look at the intellect of the american public.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • MatterOfFact

      Sad but true!

      October 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • HolySmokes

      Its regression. Is there such a thing as a 'regressive gene"?

      October 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  16. jungleboo

    Looks like another closet case Republican to me, having his moment in the sun with Alec Baldwin. He's been married four times, but apparently it doesn't work too well for him. How in the world did he weasel his way into the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology?

    October 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  17. Mac

    THIS is why I am on the 1st train out of this cesspool of ignorance once you slack jawed yokels elect Gordon Gecko Romney.

    And I am gonna LAUGH LAUGH LAUGH while DC burns because youre too stupid to realize the problem.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Chooch0253

      Chill. Romney is not going to get elected.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • HolySmokes

      I have a feeling Romnah is going to convert to Evangelical Christain pretty soon, but who knows? He might end up Catholic also, God know's what religion he's gonna flip-flop into.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • xirume

      Hey Mac, get me a ticket please. I need to be on that train myself.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  18. 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. Stop the insanity. Be loud, email or call these guys.
    Don't just post here.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Ken

      Thanks for the link, just emailed to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

      "Please enlighten me how Rep. Broun's comments on evolution serve to support any role in the Committee on Science, Space, & Technology. Individuals serving on committees should be educated in these fields and not irrationally fearing its mission. His view of thinking is damaging to the mission of the committee and is laughably hysterical and therefore demeaning to our government's status in the United States as well as abroad. Please demand of Rep. Broun to clarify how his views about science – about data, about scientific inquiry – can possibly make him fit to participate in this committee. Thank you."

      October 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  19. ZiggyBlues

    NEWS FLASH.... Sarah Palin moves to Georgia an runs for congress.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  20. Jessica

    Hey Rep. Paul Broun, Ask yourself why you need to give out flu shots every year to your patients.

    Why? Because the flu virus EVOLVES, that is evolution Mr. know it all. You can even see evolution happening in a petri dish.

    And you call yourself a Dr.?

    October 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • HolySmokes

      This guy's patient's should be VERY afraid of him, if I were them I would be running to the next available doctor. Maybe hes just giving them placebo's and adding a little prayer in there for the cure.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • F.T.C.

      yes it evolves. it evloves within its own species of virus.. however, iits evolutionary process does not change it from a flu virus into a super purple 5 legged fluonky that will eventually evolve into 6 legged flumanbeing ..

      October 10, 2012 at 7:30 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.