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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. plenty

    Another Repug right wing nut.....how sad

    October 11, 2012 at 2:47 am |
  2. Mr Bleak

    The second most worriesome part is that stupid people like this actually win elections. The most worriesome is that people like this have power.

    October 11, 2012 at 2:47 am |
  3. bavarianilluminati

    "Broun, a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology." <== Here's why our math and science scores are tanking.

    October 11, 2012 at 2:47 am |
  4. mama kindless

    James Madison (4th President of the U.S., was the chief architect of the U.S. Const!tution):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superst!tion, bigotry, and persecution.

    A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785

    October 11, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      An excellent quote, mama kindless!

      October 11, 2012 at 3:21 am |
  5. spangler

    For the Noah story to be true, two South American llamas swam the Atlantic Ocean to get on the ark, then swam back to South America again when the flood was over.

    October 11, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • Mixolydian

      Was that before or after the ancient Egyptians moved to upstate New York?

      October 11, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • blaqb0x

      Were the tree sloths riding on their backs?

      October 11, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • Venkman

      For the Noah story to be true, four men built an ark the size of a Liberty Ship, which would take them about 150 years working 12 hours a day 6 daysa week, based on the man-hours necessary to build a Liberty Ship. And that would not include the century or more that it would take four guys to cut down, shape, and transport all that wood to the building site.

      For the Noah story to be true, the Ark would have to be made of steel, because no attempt to build a ship from wood more than about 350 feet or so was successful – wood is not strong enough for the normal stresses, even with steel reinforcement. The ark would have been 440'.

      The ark thus is way too big to be made from wood, but way too small for the 3,000,000 non-bacterial land species (meaning 6,000,000 animals on the boat).

      For the Noah story to be true, Noah would have to travel all over the world collecting species and transporting them and their food back to the ark, in climate controlled cages that would not be developed for millenia. Then they would have to be fed by the 8 people on board, meaning that each person fed 260 species per second, nonstop, for forty days and forty nights.

      For the Noah story to be true, he got all those species back to the right places, upon which there would be a mass die off, because the two rabbits would only be one mean for the coyotes, who would starve, and the two mice would be a mean for the snakes, who would starve, and the herbivores would have nothing to eat anyway because of the flood. So everything dies within days of going ashore.

      And, my favorite, for the Noah story to be true, humans then spread quickly all over the world, becoming black and asian and native american and all those other races in a very short period of time.

      Kinda sorta doesn't bear much scrutiny, does it?

      October 11, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • Venkman

      Oh, I forgot to mention. For Noah's Ark to be true, the 6,000,000 animals would have to fit into a 1,381,160 cubic foot boat. That means each animal gets a quarter of a cubic foot to inhabit.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      Don't forget the space needed for food and water. And those non-Jews are never explained anywhere in the Torah, btw.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:24 am |
  6. RBSG

    "I didn't come from a monkey. What nonsense. I came from a rib."

    October 11, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • Badda Bing

      Was it a Chili's babyback rib? Those things are pretty divine.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:33 am |
  7. Lewis Black on Evolution, Myths about OT

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcJvkAdydnQ&w=640&h=390]

    October 11, 2012 at 2:27 am |
  8. Geoff

    Those of us who have communicated with educated penguins know that the earth cannot be billions of years old or thousands of years old. It has never been created. We are all part of a complex dream and when the dreamer wakes up we'll all vanish.

    October 11, 2012 at 2:26 am |
  9. Really?

    Here we go again, both sides claiming that they have all the answers. Nobody's going to burn in hell according to the fanatics, and the scientific community has absolutely NO grounds to say that God does or doesn't exist.....nobody has grounds to say anything. As a species we're too stupid to know anything like that for sure. Heck, we can't even agree on basic things that have to do with our own planet's welfare. So please, both sides, sit down, shut up, and quit trying to be the supreme "know it alls". Or do the rest of us a favor and jump off a bridge so you can finally know what is and isn't real about what's after death and who's watching over us (and probably shaking his/her/it's head).

    October 11, 2012 at 2:17 am |
    • Khalshek

      You are mistaken, "Science" has never claimed to know all answers- completely foolish, nor have they descided wether or not there is a god, science simply says there is no SCIENTIFIC PROOF. They do not support faith-based arguements. This whole "lies from the pit of hell" business is very scary to me, because it is of the opinion that if you try to find real answers, other than "god did it" then you are "going to hell". This type of thinking spells the end for our species.

      October 11, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      Just consider the "consequences" if there is NO afterlife at all. That we simply cease to exist, completely, once we die.

      Just think about it. You could try and scare us with your boogeyman stories of what will happen, yet no one ever returns after death to tell us how wrong you are, yet you would still be wrong.

      You just don't understand logic. It is too exotic for you, I guess.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:28 am |
  10. Mixolydian

    The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.

    October 11, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      Stir what? Their cappachinos? Oh, wait, there are no such things as demons. You should see a psychiatrist.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:29 am |
  11. Mixolydian

    There's an English word that we're not allowed to post here: in Welsh it's deiseb, in Armenian միջնորդել. Many other translations of this word are not allowed here. But if you go find one of these... deisebau or միջնորդագրեր regarding the Congressman above, you can express your opinion directly to the House Science Committee.

    October 11, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  12. thade76

    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.”
    He got his doctor of medicine in 1971. HOw does the science of medicine have anything to do with geology or physics. HOw can he come up with such a hypothesis when he is not trained in those fields of science?

    October 11, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • mama kindless

      Exactly thade76.

      Damn fool has his head stuck in Gullible's Travels.

      October 11, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  13. Ryan

    I'm only halfway surprised this nitwit could get himself elected. I *REALLY* want to know what school of medicine passed him through, though.

    October 11, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Mixolydian

      Answer: Medical College of Georgia in Augusta

      October 11, 2012 at 2:43 am |
  14. Water to Whine

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha....ha, ha, ha...ha, ha...ha....whew, Rep. Baun is funny! Ha, ha, ha, hmmmm.

    October 11, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  15. Shorn

    Well, this congressman has passed the test. I guess he can run for president now.

    October 11, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  16. Travis

    "For Christians who read the Genesis account literally"

    Where in the Bible does it state that the Creation was a 24 hour account? My understanding of the text supports the idea that "day" and "night" used in the context of Genesis dates back to the Hebrew/Greek translation of "chaos" and "order", not sun goes up and down to create day and night. Another fun fact: the sun and moon were created by God AFTER light and dark. Other areas of scripture where the author's allude to a rift in time, where as our concept of time as the spectators is different from the Creator ("A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night." -Psalm 90:4) Your assumption that you just take the Word literally without doing research of scripture that correlates other verses is what is wrong with most people these days; taking scripture out of context without doing the proper research or even reading the scripture in the first place. Tsk, tsk.

    October 11, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Mixolydian

      So, you're saying that this is a unit conversion problem? Great! Let's convert 7 days to 3.7 billion years. Lemme see... one Genesis day would be equal to 528,571,428 years, 208 days, 4 hours and 45 minutes.

      Ya know, this reminds me of how the STTOS used to go past Warp 12 but Voyager couldn't break the "Warp 10 barrier;" they had to retcon that one, too.

      Anyway, the Bronze Age people were probably well meaning folks (despite all those Draconian laws and jealous god stories); but they just didn't have the methods to measure the age of the Earth yet. What would be the harm in just accepting it as a myth and moving on?

      October 11, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • End Religion

      Religious "moderation" or the interpreting and cherry picking of certain bible verses is proof of your atheism. God has commanded you through the bible. To defy his commandments is to deny him since you do not fear reprisal. Denying him is the one sin he doesn't forgive, and that means eternal damnation. What arrogance to assume you can decide which parts of his word to obey!

      October 11, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • lordnimrond

      Here, Travis,...allow me to present to you the proper "context" with which you should take scripture,...any scripture,...or any faith...

      .....Fiction...created by man as a tool for controlling those who want nothing more than to be led by others and told how to live by them...

      ...Pure....total....ficton....

      There is no other context for made-up stories containing enough historical tidbits necessary to make folks believe they are "truth"...

      Historical Fiction.....embrace THAT context the next time you read scriptures...

      October 11, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • All Thumbs

      Evangelical Rule of Thumb:

      If a Bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally.

      If a Bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical or metaphorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural anomaly; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.

      October 11, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • JulieInAustin

      Uh, the Sun, Earth and Moon =were= created after "light" and "dark" were created.

      The Universe is 13.7 billion years old. Our solar system, including the Sun, Earth and Moon, are about 4.5 billion years ago.

      Put another way, the Bible gets it right again.

      October 11, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • Mixolydian

      @JulieinAustin You're right, I transposed the 4.5 billion years and 13.7 billion years to make 3.7 billion years. Sorry, it's just too late in my time zone. OK, I give in: the bible gets to be right between 2 AM and 5 AM when my brain is down for maintenance.

      October 11, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      Genesis is nothing but primitive nonsense used to scare people into following orders and suggestions.
      Without DNA testing, all those "begats" don't even have any historical worth, as adultery was prevalent enough for someone to try and make laws against it back then.
      Moses did not write the Torah. Moses may not have even existed. Like Jesus, there is no solid evidence to support the stories about them.
      There was no "garden of Eden", no "God", and no "Adam" or "Eve". The world was formed from supernova remnants, which are not mentioned at all in Genesis.
      If Genesis had been a true account, there would be lots of accurate information, but we see just the opposite in Genesis.
      And there are two Genesis accounts, which contradict each other, of "Creation", as well as many other proofs that Genesis is utter nonsense, but who among the "faithful" can even face such clear proof against their beliefs?

      October 11, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • oldguy

      Here's what is REALLY terrifying: "46% of Americans believed in creationism," a whopping " 32% believed in evolution guided by God," in my opinion 2 totally incompatible concepts, and only a miniscule "15% believed in atheistic evolution." Doesn't this explain just about everything about hatred, bigotry and war?

      October 11, 2012 at 2:52 am |
  17. Atheist

    I think time is ripe for atheist take over of US government. We should carefully pick any believers in Congress and kick them out of office and any positions. We must occupy all important public positions especially in policy making and education and displace all believers. Then we should pass laws that discourage practice of religion not only in public but also in private space. This is critical moment. We shall not fail ....

    October 11, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Go fudge yourself.

      October 11, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Atheist

      The opportunity is perfect for us because media has never been more favorable to us ... we must strike when the iron is hot ...

      October 11, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • Benlinus

      Ready when you are :D

      October 11, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • Mixolydian

      I agree!

      October 11, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • KAKA

      LOL! If anything this sounds like a great story idea for a full length movie.

      October 11, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Shane

      Actually I would be against that.

      We should be picking our lawmakers based on their abilities and views, not based whether or not they are religious. Believe it or not, many lawmakers can be Christian or Muslim or Hindi and still make decisions based upon science, the economy, or other areas rather than only utilizing their religious texts.

      October 11, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • cybercmdr

      Fail. The first giveaway is that you named yourself Atheist. The second was the set of irrational goals you advocated. This is obviously a really poor attempt to get people to distrust atheists. Thank you for playing.

      It is unnecessary anyway. In this religion soaked culture, atheists are already mistrusted. People are afraid they might confuse them with facts, and they'll lose their precious faith in bronze age stories.

      October 11, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • Mixolydian

      @cybercmdr I get what you're saying, but based on Atheist's other comments I don't think it was an intentional attempt to get people to distrust atheists. Sarcasm just doesn't work in written text. Lots of the comments and responses here could be read two or more ways. Besides, it's late and I probably shouldn't even be trying to type.

      October 11, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Eldrick

      Yes!

      October 11, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      Since there are plenty of religious believers who nonetheless retain a good measure of common sense and rationality in other areas of their lives, there is no need to single out religious believers as a group in trying to fix the problems we see in our government.

      It is corruption that is the problem. Some of it is overtly religious in origin, yes, but the vast majority of corruptive influences in our government are based upon GREED. Greed for money, greed for power, and lust for all the things money and power can bring to a person.

      I agree with the other poster that say "Atheist" is a fake. But maybe this is just a totally clueless atheist. They exist, too.
      If you want to fight irrationality, there are other ways to do that.
      If you want a meritocracy, we'll need to change a few laws and regulations to get things started in that direction.
      But over all, if you want a good sensible representative government, we certainly need to remove those who are committing malfeasance in office. Holding people accountable is something we rarely see considering the vast amounts of corruption and other types of malfeasance we see in governments throughout the world, not just ours.

      This congressman should be arrested for malfeasance and false representation or whatever we can charge him with to remove him from office. At the very least he should be removed from those committees where his psychosis is not going to give such a large negative impact.

      October 11, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  18. Greg G. Moore

    Have you been touched by His Noodly Appendage? Check out the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    http://www.venganza.org/

    October 11, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • xirume

      I had spaghetti for dinner tonight. Does that make me worthy of salvation?

      October 11, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • cybercmdr

      Salivation, at least...

      October 11, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • ScienceSoma

      @xirume – Yes it does! It works for Catholics. They also eat their savior, he just isn't as delicious...

      October 11, 2012 at 2:44 am |
  19. drinker75

    "46% of Americans believed in creationism" That is what is truly disturbing and shows the failure of our education system.

    October 11, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • Atheist

      I think it is a success ... if you go back 20 or 40 years, this number was much higher. Slowly but surely we are winning this war.

      October 11, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Shane

      I'm actually with Atheist here, you cannot expect everybody to begin to accept the scientific evidence over night.

      I'm betting if you broke down the statistics then a majority of the young earthers and creationalists are old people, and your younger generation will likely be more accepting of the scientific evidence and theories.

      Not everybody graduated school in the past 10 – 15 years.

      October 11, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Durtmagert

      How about it

      October 11, 2012 at 2:42 am |
  20. Tough Love

    I'd bet dollars to donuts that Dr. Broun (a medical doctor by training) believes in evolution (and the Big Bang Theory) ... but as a politicia, he's catering to the brain-dead religious conservatives in Georgia.

    October 11, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • Greg G. Moore

      Tough Love, you've obviously never lived in the South. There's no catering going on here.

      October 11, 2012 at 1:16 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.