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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. JGANUKEAPELSD

    How can he be so stupid? I think a gorilla is smarter than this sapien. It is called college retard. Evolution is Biology and Big Bang is Physics. Obviously never took these courses or failed or cheated or just didn't believe the smart people. Dogs are bred from wolves, that is evolution more specifically called selective breeding. What a Moron. What are we supposed to do with you people? This is hopeless. At least he will die soon so the younger generation do things more intelligently.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      hindu ageist. ignorant self centered believers of biology deny truth absolute of spirit, program to be, computer's are dependent on a program to be, so is the truth of spirit , program of body to be, proven by Quantum physics. No spirit, no body, truth absolute to be.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • DustyOnes

      Younger ones? The younger generation are a bunch of undereducated, fiscally irresponsible retards with mounting debt and a Liberal Arts degree. No hope there!

      October 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  2. me

    HOW do these people get elected? Seriously, this guy needs to be removed, he is a danger to others. In a straightjacket.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  3. Mary1972

    And people in 21st century vote for these stupid m-ns! And he is on the ouse Committee on Science, Space and Technology? No wonder US is no longer #1 choice for Science and Technology.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  4. Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    Marc----There is no worst theocracy, Hypocrisy than hypothyroid hindu filthy atheism, self center ism, denial of truth absolute, way of hindu's, criminals, cause of mayhem among humanity.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • BU2B

      Is this a new incarnation of HS?

      October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  5. Russ

    What do you get when you govern by a religious book? A messed up country. Just look at Arab countries.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  6. Paul

    I wonder if the congressman believes he was born the size and shape he is now, or did he evolve from a baby to an adult.
    As Freud said, "Ontogeny recapitulates Phylogeny."

    October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      do not hide hindu filthy evolution behind progress of body, body is dependent to be on spirit, hindu atheist, ignorant self centered have no knowledge of. Learn some quantum physics to be human.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Mick

      and that quote is probably what turned him off on embryology. How a doctor can not "believe" in that is beyond me

      October 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  7. John

    Conservatives believe in God more than liberals do.

    Conservatives give more to charity than liberals do.

    People who receive charity should thank God that Conservatives believe in Him. Otherwise, life would be a lot tougher.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Mary1972

      Not true. Compare Bill gates to Romney. Gates give away their wealth to worthy causes where as Mitt gives it to Mormon church.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And yet conservatives are teh ones who oppose social programmes....

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

      Liberals donate more personal time and involvment than conservatives. Frankly a person who can write a big check doesnt' care more than a person who builds houses with habitat for humanity or serves in food lines or volunteers with the salvation army. Personal time shows personal love for fellow man, the conservatives use money as there excuse and saving grace for everything. Conservatives leave church and run the stop light because god protects them right?

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

      John – what is the source of your claim regarding charitable giving?

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

      I have YET to meet any Liberals helping to serve the homeless or work for Habitat for Humanity (useless cause in my opinion) unless they are Jesuits. I put in 30+ hours a month in charity, with a 50+ hr a week job. Not a Liberal amongst us.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • FormerChristian

      You are confusing 'giving to charity' with 'giving to church'.

      Also, without religious Conservative/Fundamentalist (christian, muslim, or otherwise), there would be peace in the middle east, no crusades, and no inquisitions.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @DustyOnes

      Yes because personal information is so reliable on an anonymous forum. Did I forget to mention that I'm a billionaire, and going to go on the public tour into space?

      October 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  8. Cacafuego

    And on the Science, Space and Technology Committee........priceless, just priceless.......

    October 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  9. OOO

    And I thought the Texas Stae Board of Education was bad...

    October 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  10. Ann

    Forget about how he got elected to congress – what medical school did he go to? Didn't he need to take classes in, ya know, science? Was he just faking his way through all those years, not believing anything he was studying?

    "Mwa, haha – I'll fool these evil scientists! I'll just PRETEND to understand and believe organic chemistry! Then I'll go to congress, and reveal the Truth!"

    October 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • OOO

      Good question. An obvious followup in any interview by a competent journalist.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  11. Doug

    Sooooo, God planted all those dinasour bones?

    October 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Yes. To test your faith – or so weirdos like Topher would have you believe.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • John

      You have proof He didn't?

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

      WOW! lmao

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

      No Satan did, I sawed it!

      October 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  12. steveo

    wow a literalist, extremist that far, far, far to the right of reality- and all b/c he read it in his story book. imagine if his story book were the Koran instead. he just might been one of those people out hunting down that 14 year old girl and shooting her for the crime of having a different opinion. like I always say the only way can you tell your religious nutcases apart is by the hats they wear and the story books they read so literally.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  13. Liah

    The really sad thing is Broun is one of the few people on the science committee that actually has a degree in a field of science. This really makes no sense!

    October 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Mary1972

      I think people come up with a referendum for minimum qualifications to serve in these committees. They forget who they work for.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  14. Just Saying

    If you find yourself injured or ill, and in need of medical attention in the state of Georgia, RUN!

    October 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  15. Doc Vestibule

    Embyology is a lie? Despite the fact that we've doc/umented development from conception to birth in multiple species?
    I guess microscopy is a tool of Satan.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  16. Greg in Arkansas

    "all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”.......and the savior must be a "fine, up-standing christian" from the GOP,.....who else???......give me a break

    October 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  17. Lee Oates

    Only in the US Congress could such ignorance exist. How do idiots like this get elected?

    October 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • John

      They get elected because the only alternative is to elect people that want to take everything away from hard-working people and give it to people who aren't. I can deal with a guy that doesn't believe in evolution. I can't deal with a guy that shows up on my front porch to collect ever more 'taxes' to give to a bunch of people that need to get off their lazy backsides and work for themselves.

      Even the Puritans realized, after starving for nearly three years, that socialism didn't put food on the table.

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

      Sadly because there are a lot of other idiots out there to vote for him – unfortunately the electorate often gets the government which the most ignorant part of it deserves, rather than the one which best serves them.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Mary1972

      We have to examine our system. Stupid and ignorant m-ns get elected and get to serve in Science and Technology committee. We need to examine the way we elect our representatives.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  18. SurelyUjest

    What is really sad is by this guy sitting on the Science, Technology board it actually gives him authority to the poor naive and under educated Baptists in Georgia and in the U.S. in general. Kick him off the board, he obviously has a personal axe to grind against science in general, if the man cannot accept geology, carbon dating, mathmatics or evolution (which happens all the time with viruses and IS a proven theroy) he has to go. This is of course the Tea Publican way of dumbing down the people so they vote for ignorance. The dumber we are the more likely we are to work for nothing for rich corporate CEO's and executives without question and turn around and donate what ever we can to some scam artists calling them selves "religion".

    October 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  19. wow

    Republicans. The Taliban with different clothes.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  20. Bryan

    How is this guy on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.....no wonder this country is getting demolished.....even more frightening is that some 46% of Americans believe in creationism!! Really??? How is that possible???

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

      Its possible because its the South and they are poorly educated in the South and want to make the rest of us as dumb as they are.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • paulronco

      Fear.

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

      I'm someone from the South, living in the North, trust me, both ends are complete idiots; but hey, if it makes you feel sorry, bash on the south.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:58 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.