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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. ER

    Wow... if you do not believe in evolution ... just wow. This country is just crawling with morons. And it seems all the morons are running for office...

    October 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      AND ... They get elected!

      October 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • israel

      46% of americans believe in creationism, therefor 46% of americans are idiots

      October 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  2. TparTpatriot

    We will take our country back from the clutches of atheistic "science". Already more than 53% of all Americans have doubts about evilution and the big bang (more like the big dud). That number keeps growing every year. Soon there will be too many of us for you atheists to stop us and if you try you'll regret it! Creationism WILL rise again and overtake the atheistic propaganda spewed out in our public schools and movies. By the power of God WE THE PEOPLE will be victorious!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Harald

      "Already more than 53% of all Americans have doubts about evilution".
      If anything, this is only proof of intellectual decadence.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Poe's Law

      October 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Matt

      ... and the difference between you and the extreme Islamist jihadists is you think your imaginary friend in the sky is the "true god".I'm beginning to think that Ron White is a great philosopher: "You can't fix stupid."

      October 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Darw1n

      Actually, it's trending in the opposite direction. I find your desperation amusing, though.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Bob

      Thus spake the Tea Party, America's own version of the Taliban!

      October 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • israel

      no one senses the sarcasm here do they?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Snake

      Please, by all means, take it "back".

      And, by denying the very sciences that are in use around you, every single day, to create fundamental functions of our modern society (from telecommunications to astrophysics), you'll just watch the United States fall further and further behind the rest of the world in technological achievements.

      You'll slowly and surely DESTROY the economy and get the self-satisfaction of knowing that you did it all by yourselves, all your own power. All your own fault. All yours.

      Your group is the SAME people who complain about outsourcing jobs and educated immigrants coming in and taking "good jobs" from you. Why? Because they have fundamental education in the sciences, while you stand here and deny some of its very existence.

      Just to suit your own personal religious agenda.

      So go ahead, please! "Take it back". Maybe letting people like you destroy things will finally wake people like you up to what you are truly doing to our society.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Greg

      Umm... speak for yourself there Tex. Evolution is not just for atheists. I love how you pick and choose which parts of the bible are literal and which are metaphorical. Perhaps that's why there are >10,000 different sects of Christianity...

      October 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  3. RedskinsFan

    If there is a god, it's going to be funny when this guy meets him and finds out that "Let There Be Light!" meant god decided to blow up a supermassive black hole at the center of the universe about... 16 billion years ago, I think it was, give or take a billion years or two. Or that God kinda started the whole evolutionary engine and let it run. Again, assuming there is a God. There may not be... science has yet to prove whether or not he exists, and religion is no better unless you take blind faith as proof.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • RedskinsFan

      OK.... 13.7 Billion years. Since I understand things like half-life, physics, and quantum mechanics... I'll go with what physics can hypothesize with a degree of certainty.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  4. Martin

    “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.” – James Madison

    October 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  5. Noodly Appendage

    ALL HAIL THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER

    October 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  6. Bruce Eder

    And his answer would be that there should be non-believers in science on the committee too, for "balance" - kind of reminds me of the defense that one Republican senator gave to a decidedly second-rate legal mind nominated by Richard Nixon to a federal judgeship, that "mediocre people" should be represented on the bench too.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  7. Rationalist

    Does this man not know that the Big Bang theory was first proposed by a Belgian Catholic theologian, Abbe Georges Lemaître? People like this who stick their heads in the sand and refuse to listen to new information or close their eyes and brains and refuse to look at the changes occuring in the world around them will be the downfall of this great nation. We may not always (or even often) like what we see but it is what it is and we have to deal with it.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  8. OOO

    Troll:
    noun: 1.U.S. Rep. Paul Broun

    If he weren't a senator, in the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, no less. But unfortunately he's the real deal.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  9. bucman

    nice artlicle. forgot one thing: this bozo is a republican

    October 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  10. Don Jones

    Only in a red neck state like texas di you get ignorance of this level

    October 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Amniculi

      He's from Georgia.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • James

      The same Texas that is the headquarters for Nasa, which operates, among many other things, the Hubble Space Telescope? AL or AR – sure – but not TEXAS!

      October 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  11. Bob

    The problem with evolution is not that it contradicts a literal reading of the Bible. The problem is that it undermines the "mythological structure" on which Christianity rests. Naturalistic evolution teaches that pain, suffering and death are PART OF THE CREATION FROM THE BEGINNING. Christianity teaches that, at least in some way, they were not. It teaches that God made the world good and humans screwed it up. But naturalistic evolution basically says that the world is the way it always was, and even human "sin" is just humans acting in the way they were made...selfish animals. So the need for a savior vanishes. Consequently, the only form of Christnanity that can coexist comfortably with evolution is a form of Christianity that has become Gnostic. That is, it looks only toward salvation from this world by a god that really had nothing to do with the world's flawed creation.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Natural laws have no pity.
      A tough pill to swallow, but reality often is.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  12. daveinla

    Scopes Monkey Trial was back in 1927 I think.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  13. Harald

    Woowww, having such people representing America is really scary, even more so if such comments come from a medical doctor, who should at least have some basic understanding of science.
    This level of ignorance is simply incomprehensible.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Matt

      In addition, like Todd Achen (sic), this bozo actually sits on the house science and technology committee. In truth, given their ignorance and incompetence it's amazing this country didn't get into even worse shape than we are. Throw out all the teabaggers and let's get this country back on track moving forward without the obstructionists that would be willing to destroy this country in exchange for their own personal political gain . Obama & Biden in 2012!

      October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  14. Eric in Manhattan

    What a mental case he is.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  15. Steve S

    One has to wonder what the citizens of Georgia were thinking, when they elected Congressman Dim Bulb???

    October 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  16. GOOD NEWS

    Jesus absolutely endorsed the "Son of Man" (=John 6/27, 40),

    so Jesus definitely endorsed the Big bang and Evolutionary Creation:

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    ==UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES!

    October 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  17. lee

    It is a national embarrassment that this person is on a science committee, let alone a congressional science committee. Between he and Todd Akin I can only imagine how those meetings go...

    October 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  18. PraiseTheLard

    And people wonder why this country's going down the tubes...

    October 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  19. Darw1n

    Wow, ok, seriously, no more creationists on science, technology, or education committees. This tar d's opinions shouldn't be a part of our governance at all.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  20. Tunde Akins

    How can you actually be a doctor and not believe in Embryology... it's factual science that has been proven over and over again through medical diagnosis.... it's in large part how doctors understand the disease pathology. Been in the medical field, it's beyond any reasonable sense that this guy is a medical doctor and says that embryology is a lie from hell.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • BU2B

      Well, first he has to pander to the people that vote in his area. Georgia is very religious.
      Also, for people that are severely infected with a religion virus, the religion is very good at suppressing the critical thinking skills when the religion is concerned. For other issues, the infected can still think clearly, but somehow their own viral beliefs are immune to any reasoning. So even though this guy is intelligent enough to be a doctor, he cannot apply it towards his beliefs since he is so infected by them.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:46 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.