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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. Daniel

    How is it possible that people can elect such bigoted morons to congress? How? It absolutely absurd to think these Neanderthals room the halls of congress.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  2. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Jerry Falwell approves of Paul Broun! From the grave!

    October 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  3. cosmicsnoop

    Did this guy get his degree from Liberty U? That would explain it. If I saw his degree on the wall of his medical office I would run for the door no matter how sick I was.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Sadly he has a Bachelors in Chemistry from UGA and an MD from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta (where the doctors also golf).

      I wonder if he's a member at Augusta?

      October 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  4. Oldwhiteman

    I glad he took time out of his busy schedule in the Corn Patch from Heehaw to share his vast wisdom on the topic.

    October 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
  5. allenwoll

    Broun should be studied - How does his body function WITHOUT the assistance of a working brain ? ?

    Must be some interesting genetics (or worse) involved there ! ! !

    October 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
  6. grrr

    thank god we have the bible to live by. now lets all get back to treating women like property and stoning them for not being virgins on their wedding night! ...oh, we're pretending like that part of the bible doesn't exist, ok nevermind

    October 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  7. nft

    Poor Paul Broun as he is an example that evolution is not always fair and for him it appears to be the absence of his frontal lobe.

    October 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      Evolution does not always mean progress. The Congressman is a case in point of retrograde evolution.

      October 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  8. Mr. T. Bag

    –the Christian Taliban strikes again.

    October 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  9. Daws

    In other news, vegan gets appointed to the Meat and Dairy Products committee...

    October 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Yes...Get this clown off this committee immediately....

      October 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Ranking Member of Foreign Relations Committee insists Afghanistan doesn't exist...

      October 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • AMP

      The tragedy is that he is OUR representative!

      October 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      AMP

      Don't fret too much. We have our own elected and appointed idiots here in Canada too.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  10. ToldUso

    You know who else refuses to accept science and uses their religious beliefs to set government policy? The Taliban. He either says that to coddle up to the ignorants who vote for him or he graduated from the worst med school on earth (does Liberty University have a med school?).

    October 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      The practice of medicine is the work of the Devil since disease and suffering are the tools of GAWD!

      October 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  11. Wildone

    I find it disturbing, to say the least, that a US Congressman holds these beliefs. But, what disturbs me even more is that there are others who share his beliefs.

    October 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  12. Ed

    So, does this "doctor" still use leeches?

    October 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      WORSE! He uses prayer!

      October 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  13. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Some of our founding fathers, like Thomas Jefferson, would be SHITTING in their pants if they knew the kind of obtuse fucktards we have in Congress nowadays. Here are some RATIONAL quotes from Mr. Jefferson. BTW, religulous DOLTS, this strongly supports the fact that this country was NOT founded on Christianity!

    "I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology."

    “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned: yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.”

    “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”

    “To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise…without plunging into the fathomless abyss of dreams and phantasms. I am satisfied, and sufficiently occupied with the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of which I have no evidence.”

    “Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

    October 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  14. Daws

    "serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology" ...pretty much sums up everything wrong with congress. You need absolutely no qualifications to sit on a committee about something.

    If only someone had the crazy thought that you needed to be an expert or at least knowledgeable in your field before you sit on a committee about it.

    October 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  15. Oldwhiteman

    All of you guys are wrong...this guy is the proof of his own point...evolution can't exist if he does!

    October 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      There are many dead ends.

      October 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  16. SafeJourney

    Broun, a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
    Jesus H Christ, this guy is on the Science committee?. What in the world is wrong with these Repubs. Can they really be this ignorant?

    October 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • allenwoll

      Safe - The GoPers have in one sense to be admired - They work Soooooooo very, VERY hard at being ignorant and UN-trustworthy ! ! !

      October 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • aWitchintheWoods

      Yes.

      October 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  17. Mike

    This idiot needs to be be removed from office ASAP. What is with Georgia electing idiots to Congress. First there was the guy who was worried about Guam tipping over if too many Marines were stationed there, and now there's this guy. It's also scary knowing that this guy is a doctor, but he is too brainwashed by religion to accept scientific facts.

    October 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  18. raggedydan

    Whoops, I Can Not Spell, Jevus Is Gonna Hate Me!!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  19. pooh2

    Brain evolved for millions of years to help us deal with real objects that surround us. At least this was its primary task. But as societies eventually appeared, with them came an overwhelming need to lie. This has become a new challenge to this organ. And here we see a guy, artfully lying, which efficiently propels him to the political elite. Should we call this a beautiful example to contra-selection?

    October 10, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • allenwoll

      pooh - Yours is an interesting concept - It explains a LOT ! ! !

      October 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  20. raggedydan

    The Mars Rover Photos (NASA) May Put An End To This Religous MUMBO JUMBO!!!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Non Atheist

      really? exactly what are we going to see on those photos? some red rocks and mud? some signs of water that does not exist on mars anymore? and what would that prove or disprove about God exactly?

      October 10, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Don't be so sure. Delusions die hard. Only life may, and they would no doubt cook up some sh1t to cover their behinds with that.

      October 10, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Ed

      There will be an endless stream of conspiracy theories if the rover finds evidence if life.

      October 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Answer

      What does it prove?

      Logic -

      That your religious bs about being special and that "men" have dominion on the earth does not apply to life on other worlds. Making even more relevant that the religious trash is just that. Your god doesn't exist on Mars – because your sky daddy forgot to also make more men on that planet.

      October 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Non Atheist

      Answer

      men have dominion on earth is still true even if they find signs that life existed on mars - for that would be a different species - and hence no men or humans. men were given dominion on earth and that other species may have been given dominion over mars.

      October 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Apatheist

      That's not going to happen. I mean, the Mars Rover very well may find proof that life has existed outside of Earth. However, for a group of people that has writen off all of the other evidence that contradicts their viewpoint, any additional proof will be but a drop in the bucket.

      October 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Apatheist

      @Not Atheist

      Other beings rule over other planets? Well played Mr. Poe.

      October 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Gadflie

      I was about to call Poe's law on him also...

      October 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Thanks you guys. I never really got what Poe's Law meant. Now I do. Ya learn something every day. :)

      October 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      Mars rover, Mars rover, send Paul Broun over!

      October 10, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • 2357

      There is not one single gdamned microbe in ALL of Mars. You'll find more life under your fingernail. And why is that? It's because life always emerges as an INTEGRATED SYSTEM. You need ecosystem, host, nutrients, symbiosys, sequence encoder, etc. A community is required from inception, by cosmic Law. If you deny that your study of life is infantile.

      Abiogenesis is a sham.

      October 11, 2012 at 7:15 am |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.