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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. moving to australia

    this is why we are fcked. I will miss my hometown. But why do people vote based on their religion? to me thats like voting based on what brand of condom you prefer. It is personal and no one needs to know.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  2. AvdBergism source of filthyRanierBraendleinism.

    False! ALLAH IS ZERO. CONSTANT IS 1. ALLAH IS STILL ZERO.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  3. Colin

    I think that I'll vote for a candidate who DOESN'T think the whole Universe was created in six days with a talking snake.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  4. Edwin

    How can a person like this sit on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology? He believes science is a lie created by the devil. Doesn't that make him utterly UNQUALIFIED to decide the merits of scientific legislation?

    Is it more embarrassing or more scary that our country saw fit to put such a backward human in such a position?

    October 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • bud in NC

      edwin. I believe I know why people like this get on these committees. My son in law works for EPA in Washington. When Bush came in, he appointed people to the EPA whose job was to slowly clog up the work of the EPA and destroy it from within.
      People like Broun are on the science committee to discredit it from within. They make their outragaeous comments and people think it must be true because it comes from a science committee member. Cunning isn't it?

      October 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  5. calvin mustelkin

    On behalf of the sane folks in Georgia, I apologize that we somehow keep electing idiots like these to publicly represent us. We're not all stuck in the 16th century, and we non-fearful are doing our best to change things for the better here.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Edwin

      Thank you. But if he's from your district, PLEASE campaign against him!

      October 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • badlobbyist

      lol- Well I'm from Utah and much appreciate the company in the "Please don't think we all believe the crap my representatives spew." camp!

      October 10, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • ERic Richardson

      Thank you, I agree. This guy is a total idiot, unfit to represent anyone other than himself.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • FelixCat

      Calvin,

      On behalf of the sane folks in Tennessee, I wish I could be more help...but we kinda have our hands full here...

      October 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  6. Cadillacjoe

    A proud member of the top 15%

    October 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  7. tomnikoly

    The Republican clown car continues to spew forth a parade of dimwits that are actually elected officials. How did this happen? Are we to take Republican Party 2012 seriously? I don't think so.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  8. PRISM 1234

    That man is right! He needs to have no regrets about anything he said.
    Btw... when God created the Earth... the mountains and rocks and all that's in it , if it were tested on the spot, , it would have shown as being millions of years old! To God one day is as thousand years. You just can't comprehend that, can you?! God will always be ahead of man's understanding!

    October 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • tomnikoly

      "He needs to have no regrets about anything he said"

      Oh yes he does....and so do you.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • xirume

      And you know this because god told you so?

      October 10, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      No dumbass! You just can't accept that the world was created in a mere 6 days like the phony bible says, so you Christards just have to keep making it up as you go....OH NO, THEY MUST HAVE MEANT MILLIONS OF YEARS WHEN THEY SAID DAYS!

      October 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Someone

      Except – he is promoting a strict reading of the Bible. This makes a 24 hour day as the length of time in Genesis. If you think as you do – which I agree with – then Evolution and G-d become rather compatible – but the congressman's fundamentalist beliefs demand trashing a lot of fundamental physics and biology.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Cadillacjoe

      When you can so easily swayed from logic and rational thought, christian mythology is your only hope. The Romans, Greeks, etc., were also convinced their gods were real for hundreds of years.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Gadflie

      So, god lied eh?

      October 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Edwin

      So... if every day for God is a thousand years to man, then... let me do the math... if God thinks the earth is 9000 years old then it must be 3.28 billion years old in human-years. So if we actually think the earth is about 4.4 billion years old, that would translate to about 12,000 God-years.

      So the 'Young Earth' movement is right - except that they don't understand the basic concept of physical units...

      October 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • James PDX

      God is imperfect. The bible(s) prove it.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • kay

      All of you biblical wackos amaze me, and your spelling and syntax amaze me even more.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      So, you think you've got it all figured out, hm? Lets just wait... Time will tell all things. Lets see who will have the last word!

      October 11, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  9. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    "Religion...teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding."
    -Richard Dawkins

    October 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  10. Zoby

    All I can says is WOW... Who in the heck elected this mentally deficient nutwad to be a congressman?

    October 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • RonZ

      knock on the head anybody in there? he is a DOCTOR! He know as much as any scientist since he also knows His Word and the Truth when others aren't even listening.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Edwin

      Funny... you do realize that at least 1/3 of Congress is even LESS qualified than this guy, right? Americans place a great value on electing representatives that are not great thinkers.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  11. Jacky

    Wow I am shocked, another GOP rep with views as advanced as a Taliban zealot. And of course, the GOP puts this fundamentalist on a science committee. What a disgrace.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  12. Mat

    "Scientists say that the Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old and that the universe dates back 13.7 billion years." This comment is general and offensively ignores the population of legit scientists that believe otherwise as they contribute greatly to the scientific community, doing valuable basic and applied research. These other legit scientists have positions at top-ranking government schools and continually contribute to the scientific community. The writer of this article demonstrates ignorance of the makeup of the legit scientific community. I personally know valuable contributing scientists who do not believe in an "old" earth. Many such scientists would probably lose their jobs if the ignorant press found out about their positions.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Mat,

      Name one scientist that believes the earth is 10,000 years old or less and is not religious.....JUST ONE.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • tomnikoly

      "Many such scientists would probably lose their jobs if the ignorant press found out about their positions."

      I certainly hope so.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • clint

      You make no "legit" sense at all.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Mat

      One does not have to be an atheist to make good use of the scientific method. I know the scientific method. You should look it up sometime.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • G D

      Sorry Mat, it's clearly not the "press" that's ignorant here...

      October 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Mat,

      Are you going to answer my question?

      October 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Edwin

      Mat, the age of the Earth (4.5 billion years, more or less) is not considered controversial at all. Sure, a few scientists think otherwise. And they SHOULD. Science works best when some people run against the grain. Unfortunately, most against-the-grain scientists waste their entire careers being wrong - it is the very rare one (like Einstein) that creates a new paradigm in science.

      So - we value the fact that a few scientists are willing to buck the system, knowing full well that most of them are just plain wrong - because every once in great while, one of them proves something new and useful. But most do not.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • chaostheoryman

      The Andromeda Galaxy, which you can see as a smudge with the naked eye in the night sky this fall, is 2 million light years away from us. That's easily proven. That means that the light from Andromeda began 2 million years ago, and we're seeing what it looked like back then. It is PROOF that the universe is at least that old, and that is just what we see without a telescope. Add telelscopes and the numbers of things far away get even larger. Start here: The distances all check out or we would not have been able to send satellites to the moon (1.5 light-seconds away), or probes to Mars (4 light minutes away). The Sun is 8 light-minutes away (it takes light/information 8 minutes to reach earth). The nearest star after the sun is about 4 light-years away. The Milky Way, the galaxy we are in, that you can see as a band of stars, is 100,000 light years across – and we see much (not all) of its light in that band across our skies. That light started 100,000 years ago. Things existed then. Information from astronomy matches information we have from geology about the age of the earth. That data matches up with data from paleontology and fossil study. That information matches up with information from other sciences, like physics, biology, etc., as well. There's no conspiracy – there's instead, great great wonder, about this magnificent universe we live in. Science does not take the magic and glory of the universe away; it makes it even far more wondrous as we look up into the sky and see those many many points of light everywhere we look. Keep in mind, your television, your radio, your watch, your cellular phone, your GPS getting its information from satellites – these are all because of scientists who use the facts of the universe in a very concrete way. The stuff from the Bible did not help make a single one of these inventions, other than through the power of inspiration and faith in possibility.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Mat

      Thanks Edwin and chaostheoryman! I guess much of what I am trying to say is that scientists do not have to be atheistic to provide valuable contributions to science. Often people from differing backgrounds ask questions that prompt scientific inquiry and lead to new discoveries. They also tend to spend more time on researching new discoveries that contradict popular ideas. Science itself cannot truly properly address origins, because scientists cannot observe the origin of the universe, and data (even archeological data) can leave room for several possibilities. For example, atheists constantly review and try to improve their viewpoints as they realize that they do not have enough data to make completely accurate conclusions about theories like the Big Bang Theory. My original point is that science does not have to address origins. Scientists do not have to address origins. In fact, science is best when scientists are not presupposing their views about origins on their data. Scientists from many backgrounds can do fabulous work.

      I would like to say, not to start an argument, but for the sake of information, that the Bible does provide what I consider logically consistent (based on its presumptions) and satisfying replies to the light travel distance problem. The Bible says that God stretched out the heavens and it gives every indication that the universe was created with the appearance of age. Not to sound cliche, but a commonly cited example is the idea that God did not create Adam as a baby. If God wanted light that would appear to have originated from far away, he could have easily made it so.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Mat,

      Saying "god did it" does not answer anything. It is an argument from ignarance.

      Science does not know everything, religion does not know ANYTHING.

      October 11, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Mat

      Saying "God did it" may be considered like saying that "my sister washed the dishes." Some people believe that the chances of life originating without supernatural help are not very good. They see saying something like "God did it" as perfectly reasonable and not as a cop-out.

      Before you say that religion knows nothing, you should consider the amount of factual history found in books like the Bible that were later verified by other sources and archaeology.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:14 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Mat,

      New york is a real place, that does not make the story of Spiderman real. You keep pilling logical fallicies on top of each other Chad....er, ah....I mean Mat.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  13. Conservative Realist

    Another half-wit knuckle-dragging religious nut case.
    Having an intellectual primitive as part of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology is such a pathetic joke.

    I wonder if he's also a member of the Flat Earth Society or the Christian Taliban...
    And yes, I am a (conservative. You all seem to focus on crazies like this guy, but we aren't like that for the most part.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      I have a lot of conservative friends, its the Fundamental Christian Right Wing Conservatives are the problem.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • RonZ

      He is a DOCTOR duh get a CLUE. you athiests will be out on your rears in November when Romney will kick you and the perverts out. Good luck living at the south pole. but He will hear you there if you beg for forgiveness since you missed your chance now.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ron,

      He does not think evolution is wrong because he is a doctor, he thinks it is wrong because he is religious.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Edwin

      Thank you for your admission. It is good to know not all conservatives are anti-science.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  14. John

    Enough of the extreme right attempting to impose a church state on the rest of America.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  15. Bhawk

    That ok for him to tell his opinion and his belief. The question becomes does he plan to stop someone from teaching it and the learning of the theory. The county seems to be moving toward a period of religous war against the nonbelivers of their faith, desiring a "Dictatorship of the Bourgeois", laboring under the belief that people who have inherited money from rich families know economics, and wanting a religious war in the World. They can believe a man who thinks his religion was expounded through a magic hat and people must wear magic underwear and not a man who believes his founder talked to an angel–just like their founder did. Frankly this is just window dressing to the Cons are raking in money under the Bush plans and they don't won't it stopped.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  16. abcdxyz

    So how does a guy with these kinds of regressive beliefs not only get through med school and pass the board, but also get on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology?

    October 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  17. Bob

    God told me that evolution is real and that He doesn't exist.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Bob

      Trust me. Take it on faith.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Christo

      lol

      October 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • marv

      If He doesn't exist, how did he talk to you and tell you that.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  18. Robert in Atl

    This supreme idiot needs to be removed from the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. You think this country has problems now? Try 50 years from now, after people like this dull our technological edge and leave us in the stone age!

    October 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  19. Dennis Todd

    Having MD after your name clearly does not qualify you as a scientist. If this is the best the republicans have to offer, God help us.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Ed

      Palin, Santorum, Bachman, Aiken, Broun.... starting to see a pattern.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Ed: Don't forget Dubya!

      October 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  20. AtheistSteve

    "15% believed in atheistic evolution."

    This last line in the article raises an interesting question. Can you believe in atheistic evolution and still beleve in God? Wouldn't that put the atheist segment of the population at around 15% out of the recent finding of 20% who don't follow any specific religion?

    October 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Argumentum ad Populum. 99.99 % of the world population once thought the Earth was flat. They were all wrong.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Right...so roughly 85% believe in God...I wager they too are wrong.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • RonZ

      athiests are always trying to fix the numbers. most people know this man a DOCTOR speaks the Truth. you will pay in November then lets see who's science is right since you ignore His Truth. ROMNEY/RYAN 2012

      October 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      85 % of the National Academy of Science is atheist.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Argument from Authority, except he does not stand in the majority opinion, so it's false try. He is a quack. He could not get a job as a physician. He is not board certified in anything. He did house-calls. He admitted this in his history doc for his office. Look it up.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      I Can Capitalize Things Too. It Proves Nothing.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:20 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.