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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. Dasea

    that's exactly right. the bottle necks of evolution are caused when animals are in total agony. Right on president republican. right on.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Well, you just managed to totally lose me with that post. Want to try it again, this time put in some words that work together.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  2. Pt8685

    Bill Nye is not exactly correct. The congressman is factually wrong, but he is NOT unqualified to make decisions on science, etc.

    He was elected into the office, and his caucus put him on the committee. Unfortunately, in our democracy, that's all he needs to be qualified to make decisions.

    Besides, there are plenty of people in congress that make decisions every day on subjects they barely know or have sompletely wrong-headed ideas about. This is just a more controvercial example because it's religious.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • jarstfer

      Well, herein lies the problem, we have unqualified people electing people that by all rights should be deemed unqualified. All part of the right wing efforts to keep the people in a state of low information. Ever seen FoxNews? Talk about dumbing down everything.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      @jar – That is essentially the Christian Right Wing Fundamentalist agenda... The expect people to take what they say as complete truth, they condemn anyone who actually reads and thinks for themselves, and they seek to keep their flock in as low an information loop as possible. Martin Luther once said that education is the greatest threat to Christianity the world will ever know,

      October 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  3. jarstfer

    46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution – WIth these data it is clear why an anti-science, anti-fact, anti-intellectual group like the GOP can sustain an elemement of support. Hey educatated Republicans – why can't you get your party to accept reality!

    October 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Calvin C.

      At least educated Republicans earn enough to support the Democratsand their favorite programs like welfare, HUD, food stamps and Obamacare...without the educated Republicans, the Dimocrats would be all homelesscrats, starvingcrats and emailesscrats.....although you are correct about the age of the earth....it's not 6-10K years old....BTW....can't wait to see old Joe tomorrow night....he's always good for a laugh!!!!

      October 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  4. Ramon F. Herrera

    There are 2 kinds of conservatives:

    The very ignorant and the extremely ignorant:

    http://patriot.net/~ramon/misc/Last-Days.jpg

    October 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      And libertarians, the intelligent conservatives.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  5. #1jesusFan

    I agree with U.S Rep. Paul Broun.He is a wise man and he speaks the TRUTH.More people like him should be elevnated to higher proitions in our Government.

    Hopefully,Romney will do just that

    October 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, that's a ringing endorsement. Anything and idiot like you approves is guaranteed to be craptastic.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Thor

      You sir, are a dangerous freak...

      October 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      If "elevnated to higher proitions" means sent home in disgrace for being a moron, then I agree with you.

      By the way, what does "elevnated to higher proitions" mean? What language is that?

      October 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • jarstfer

      Love sarcasm

      October 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Tom

      I do believe you are a moron!

      October 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Tom

      I do believe you are a moron, and that's the truth!

      October 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  6. Rufus T. Firefly

    It's like having someone on the House Foreign Relations Committee that doesn't believe that China exists.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Reminds me of a Vice-Presidential candidate who didn't have a passport!

      October 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      ... a supreme court nominee who had never been a judge

      October 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  7. Ramon F. Herrera

    The scary part is the people who got this animal elected...

    October 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Kevin

      "Broun, a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science" Something's wrong with this fella and the family should start to plan care. The Congress should evaluate their committee appointments and I wish him well.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  8. Jimh77

    Wow, and this guy said all this in public? God forgive him for he knows not what he says. Wow... Amazing that he believes it. Maybe his ancestors rode the dinasaurs!

    October 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  9. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Please remind the Congressman that Charles Darwin was also a Deacon in the Anglican Church. That Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics was a Franciscan Monk?

    October 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Darwin renounced his Christian beliefs.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Shane

      And people's beliefs change, especially after they have additional information that leads to the changing of their beliefs.

      For instance: At one time, I was a very faithful Baptist. Over time, I began doing my own research, and reading things for myself rather being told what to believe and was able to make more logical conclusions based upon my knowledge.

      And now I'm an Atheist.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • jungleboo

      That is supposed to prove something to us? Neither one of your examples lived during a time when open discourse was possible. The Churches would have had their heads on a platter and you know it. They are admirable for having made their mark in the budding world of Science, without having been executed.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  10. lamb of dog

    http://science.house.gov/contact-us
    http://paulbroun.com/contact-us
    706-369-9039
    Paul@paulbroun.com
    They don't want to hear what you have to say. Don't just post here.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Thanks dog, I actually just finished firing off about five different e-mails to complain about Congressman Broun. The man is a menace, free speech or not.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  11. will

    Congressman Broun, a lying, mentally ill, badly educated clown. people like this have no place on the sceince Committee at Congress.
    Worse however, are the millions of idiots in Georgia who think this fellow is okay.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Rockpile

      Where is the tolerance you libs are always talking about. Sounds like you've got a little bit of that hate thing going on.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • jungleboo

      @ Rockpile: No one needs to be "tolerant" of abject in-your-face ignorance. The fact that you would interpret Tolerance as such speaks volumes about your clueless existence.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Gomer Pile

      The man is either a very big liar or a bigoted fool, Rockpile. Dangerous people like this need to be refuted and discredited. That's not hate, it's just necessary.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      @Rockpile, tolerance is not attempting to keep someone from their beliefs, allowing all to worship as they see fit, in their church and in their private lives; we are talking about a man who is making public laws for this country. He is supposed to represent his entire district, not just the crazies that believe as he does. In my humble opinion, all people in government should refrain from exposing their religious beliefs while in office and focus on a secular government.

      October 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  12. lamb of dog

    More proof of why politics and religion shouldn't mix.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  13. Rufoscoe

    That's some powerful kind of stupid

    October 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  14. Dumbpolitics

    Another member of the Science com. in Congress how do these people exist in our Gov.? No wonder we have such a hard time with science in this country.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • NateFromIndiana

      I have to agree. I strongly believe that religious people need to have a voice in Washington, but when guys with these sorts of opinions weasel their way into Science committee appointments it's tantamount to the village atheist getting himself appointed as deacon of a church. The guy is just there to obstruct and sabotage progress. He should be ashamed.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  15. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    Wouldn't it be interesting if Candy Crowley (sp?), or any other presidential debate moderator, opened up with "Mr. Romney, congressman Broun says "..." – do you agree?"

    October 10, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • xirume

      What a dream that would be :)

      October 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Robert

      I was trying to think of how to say this and you beat me to it! Excellent.Yes Yes Yes.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • jungleboo

      YO CANDY!! Are you listening??

      October 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  16. Rufus T. Firefly

    Here is where to express your outrage at having Broun on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Please send an email!

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

    October 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  17. Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    USE your own Id to tell your hindu filthy story, hindu, ignorant from hindered swamp of hinduism, ignorance india.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  18. Fred

    I'm really looking forward to all these idiots dying soon.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Won't be soon enough.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • sushilti

      No worries. They are training their seeds for spreading their loony ideas around world

      October 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Anon

      Too bad these idiots already have done way too much collateral brain-damage.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  19. lamb of dog

    http://science.house.gov/contact-us
    http://paulbroun.com/contact-us
    706-369-9039
    Don't just post here.
    Call or email your complaints.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  20. Art

    Back when I was in school scientifically the universe was 10 billion years old. Now it is 13.7 billion years old. So according to science the universe has aged 3.7 billion years during part of my life. Let's talk about something else, I'm getting worried about my age.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      hinduism, hypotheses, hypotheses, hypotheses, way of hindu's ignorant's to make some thing true, the do not have a clue of them self.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Sweetheart, back in the Dark Ages, the telescopes were not nearly as sophisticated as they are now in the 21st century. The more powerful the telescope, the farther we see into deep space, which means the farther we see back in time. Because light has a finite rate of speed. The farther you see, the further back in time we observe.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      That's the difference between science and religious dogma – science is continually corrected as better data become available.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • EF

      I think many old trees are getting worried too, since in their lifetime the earth has transformed from being flat into a sphere! Is there a point to what you're saying?

      October 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • dan

      One thing great about science is that as we learn more about something we can modify it unlike religion. Religion doesn't allow one to critically think and learn.Anyways the fact that the Earth is billions of years old remains the same.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Shane

      Because we have additional information now.

      Watch Star Wars, you didn't know that Vader was Luke's father from the first one because that information was not available (and technically not even written yet, but thats another subject). As you progress and learn new things, then your perception changes over time.

      This is one major difference between science and religion. Science evolves, as it learns new things. If a hypothesis or theory is proven wrong, then they learn from it and keep moving. Religion takes bits and pieces of science, and attempts to force it to fit without actually doing any testing, and they throw out anything that doesn't match what it wants.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:58 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.