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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. GO_GOP

    Seek Jesus

    October 11, 2012 at 3:38 am |
    • GOP is a FOP

      Jesus said to abandon your family and follow him. Nice family values.

      Jesus said that if you are a slave, then be the best darn slave you can be for your massah. Nice human rights.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:45 am |
  2. spangler

    If someone does not like the creation story in chapter one, flip to chapter two and find a different creation story with a different sequence of events. When the first two chapters contradict each other, what are we to make of the rest of the book?

    October 11, 2012 at 3:37 am |
    • It's just so obviously true

      I always enjoy the non-contradictory story of the resurrection, where
      1: 1 woman
      2: 2 women
      3: 3 women
      4: 6 or more women go to the cave on a SUnday three days after the Friday (!) of the execution and find the stone

      1: in place
      2: rolled away and

      1: two men outside
      2: one guy inside
      3: an empty tomb
      4: an angel that rolls the rock away.

      At the tomb there
      1: is soldiers guarding it
      2: are not soldiers guarding it

      The woman/women then:
      1: run away and tell no one
      2: joyfully tell the disciples the news, who believe them
      3: run off and tell Peter, who rushes to the tomb
      4: run off and tell the disciples, who do not believe them

      Then Mary
      1: Does see Jesus
      2: Does not see Jesus
      3: Sees Jesus but does not recognize him

      October 11, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      That's a very nice multiple-choice thing you've got there. Don't lose it. You could add on to it, too, probably...

      October 11, 2012 at 4:36 am |
    • It's just so obviously true

      It's kind of like how they serve food and Sizzler.

      October 11, 2012 at 4:39 am |
  3. Theodoric of York

    So who is the whiny little kid who keeps pressing the "report abuse" button on my posts? What a baby.

    October 11, 2012 at 3:36 am |
  4. Ledoc55

    Well, it takes all kinds doesn't it? While he probably wont admit it publicly, Mitt's church claims the earth is only about 6,500 years old. Seriously....and He wants to be president!

    October 11, 2012 at 3:28 am |
  5. Shane

    From a doctor, them saying "I've heard a lot of convincing evidence that the Earth is about 9000 year old" is scarey. I've heard the arguments, and every single one of them is so full of holes and has been debunked time and time again. But people don't want to listen to evidence, they only want to hear what they want to hear.

    October 11, 2012 at 3:27 am |
  6. allenwoll

    Go on - Deny evolution, Have a ball !

    But with Broun around, one CAN NOT deny DE-volution ! ! !

    October 11, 2012 at 3:26 am |
  7. historyguy

    I guess he can believe whatever he wants to believe, but whatever happened to the separation of church and state? I think if we listen carefully we can hear the country's founders rolling over and screaming in their graves. Glad he's not my doctor

    October 11, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      He probably went into politics because he was totally incompetent as a doctor and wanted the big bucks that political corruption was sure to bring him while in office. Other doctors are in Congress for much the same reasons.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:39 am |
  8. spangler

    The first page of the Bible states the earth was created (by the end of day 3) before the stars (day 4). Science indicates this is incorrect by approx. 8 billion years.

    October 11, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • Truth be Told

      Spangler you're about as dumb as a bag of sh**. Do you have a problem with people killing eachother? Why would you if you believe in evolution, that we evolved from animals. If you tell someone at a young age that they evollved from an animal then dont be surprised when they act like one when they get older.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:55 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      We are all animals. Everyone on this planet is an animal. You poop. Is this a "holy" thing? Does your "god" watch you poop?
      Everything human beings do is derived from our animal bodies. Everything from before birth to death. Including pooping.
      Read Genesis you ignoramus. Your "god" cast people out of the "jungle of plenty" for being intelligent enough to form abstract social values based upon instinctual reactions. You want to please your god? Get a lobotomy and live in a jungle.

      October 11, 2012 at 4:32 am |
    • sam stone

      tbt: you are the one dumb as a bag of sh**

      October 11, 2012 at 5:59 am |
  9. Richard Hode

    What a mormon, I mean moron ...

    October 11, 2012 at 3:22 am |
  10. Jason

    If God exists, then who, or what, created him/her? How old is he/she?

    October 11, 2012 at 3:20 am |
    • medschoolkid

      Truly delve into quantum physics and you are left with more questions than answers. I do not doubt evolution, but I do believe in God.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • Truth be Told

      I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH TO BE AN ATHIEST

      October 11, 2012 at 4:00 am |
  11. The Four Cuddly Kittens of the Apocalypse

    The good news is that he isn't practicing medicine anymore. I mean, we expect politicians to be dingbats, but would you want this guy as your doctor?

    Then again, he probably had to stop practicing because his Prayer Therapy killed too many people wou could easily be saved with that horrific atheist science stuff.

    October 11, 2012 at 3:19 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      You are sooo cuuute! Awwww!

      October 11, 2012 at 3:50 am |
    • The Four Cuddly Kittens of the Apocalypse

      Fear our doom claws, oh late night medeival barber! We hiss most doomily!

      October 11, 2012 at 4:05 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      ^_^

      Awwww! What tiny claws! They are soo cuuute!

      October 11, 2012 at 4:21 am |
  12. medschoolkid

    Claim whatever you like about creation and that I'm an athiest, but I believe in evolution and I believe in God. For an MD from his era there wasn't nearly the evidence there is today. Now I can't imagine a doctor who doesn't believe in evolution. It defines everything we understand as modern medicine. You have the right to believe whatever you want to, but I follow science on how, and religion on why.

    October 11, 2012 at 3:17 am |
  13. mdell27

    Disgusting. Do the people who voted for him know he is such a whack job?

    October 11, 2012 at 3:14 am |
  14. Theodoric of York

    If there was an actual "pit of hell", what sort of idiot would think that anything would be able to exit such a place?

    Oh, his name is Congressman Broun.

    October 11, 2012 at 3:14 am |
  15. The Real Truth

    "and 15% believed in atheistic evolution."

    Atheistic evolution???

    There is no such thing as "atheistic evolution." There is only "evolution."

    "Atheistic evoution...." Where do they dig you guys up?

    October 11, 2012 at 3:13 am |
    • Heat Monger

      Atheist and evolution have nothing to do with each other. You can be an atheist that does not accept evolution and vice versa. What a goof.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      I think they were trying to differentiate between those who try to meld a belief in a god with their particular understanding of evolution and those who do not believe in a god and thus do not have a belief to mix with their particular understanding of evolution.
      I mean, what else would you call it? There is nothing within evolution that addresses any sort of "magic" or "supernatural" things, so it is already non-religious, but we are talking individuals and how they would view evolution, not evolution itself, and so the "atheistic" is tacked on.....but they should have used "purely scientific" instead, yet they were polling people who might have said they are both religious and who accept the purely scientific results of science.

      So what else could you call it when trying to differentiate in this poll? Any ideas? I am not going to bother. It works well enough, or it should, .....better than not adding the "atheistic" part at least.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:58 am |
  16. spangler

    The first page of the Bible states plants were created on the third day and the sun on day four. If days were much longer than 24 hours the plants would not have survived.

    October 11, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • You lousy atheist wiper of other people's bottoms! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries!

      It's all possible if you use your imaginaaaaaaaaaaaation.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:13 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      Yes, just imaaaaagine that "magic" is real and that those plants survived using maaaagic. Yaaah.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • You lousy atheist wiper of other people's bottoms! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries!

      Are you insulting my SuperInvisiBuddyJesus?!?!?!?!

      October 11, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • Thad

      I am a Christian, but lets just talk in theory right now.. If there were a God of infinite power who could create all things in 6 days why would we imagine it a hard thing for Him to sustain the life of plants for a day?... I have no problem believing the bible as authoritative, although it does upset me the amount of hatred I receive for being a believer. Not unexpected, just disappointing.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:26 am |
    • It's like this

      It's called "blowback", Thad. It comes from non-believers being tortured and executed for centuries, and having laws against us holding public office, and having religious people toss the Constitution aside so that they can replace it with their theocratic nightmare, and having religious scumbags try to force the idiotic non-theory of creationism, as if a theory that has no evidence and relies on magic is worthy of any ewducation system.

      If your brethren hadn't oppressed us for centuries, if you would mind your own business and not force your religion on us in schools and in laws, if you would just mind your own fucking business, then we wouldn't have to retaliate so hard.

      The source of the problem is right in your bathroom mirror. Check it out. And when you stop shoving your superstition down other people's throats and prove you can peacefully coexist, then we will consider treating you more civilly.

      You made your bed, now lie in it.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      Without knowing Thad a little better, why assume he is one of those who does more than leave a comment? Why assume he is one of those who can't keep it to themselves beyond leaving a comment or two?

      Today, Mormons came to the door. I did not answer the door. They were rude in ignoring the "no soliciting" signs posted in plain view. I could have razzed them about it, but why argue with crazy people in person? That's dangerous.

      October 11, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • billdeacons

      Can you please cite instances of oppression by Christians over the centuries?

      October 11, 2012 at 4:09 am |
    • It's like this

      Oh bill, really? Do you actually need me to remind you the penalty for heresy in medeival times? About the Inquisition? About the laws forbidding atheists from holding office (still on the books in some states)?

      Are you completely clueless about Christianity's widespread torture and murder of unbelievers throughout history? You just cannot be that naive.

      October 11, 2012 at 4:19 am |
    • billdeacons

      Near the outset of the Inquisition, in a letter of April 14, 1482, Pope Sixtus IV instructed the Spanish to ensure due process, allow legal counsel and appeal to Rome.[54] King Ferdinand defiantly rejected Papal control, the Inquisition becoming thereafter a tool of the monarchy, rather than the church.[54] In 1483, Ferdinand made Torquemada the Inquisitor General of most areas of Spain. One of the first books to challenge the classical view was The Spanish Inquisition (1965) by Henry Kamen. Kamen established that the Inquisition was not nearly as cruel or as powerful as commonly believed. The book was very influential and largely responsible for subsequent studies in the 1970s to try to quantify (from archival records) the Inquisition's activities from 1480 to 1834.[109] Those studies showed there was an initial burst of activity against conversos suspected of relapsing into Judaism, and a mid-16th century pursuit of Protestants, but the Inquisition served principally as a forum Spaniards occasionally used to humiliate and punish people they did not like

      Hardly qualifies as oppression thorughout the ages by Christians does it? Don't worry, most people get it wrong. It's a failure of their education. Like to try Salem witch hunts next?

      October 11, 2012 at 5:02 am |
  17. Ryan

    A medical doctor and a young earth creationist. Cognitive dissonance is an amazing thing.

    October 11, 2012 at 2:57 am |
  18. jon

    I prefer the Catholic tradition, that seven days represents seven measure of time, which could be any length of time. Also, in Catholic theology, evolution is not a problem: the issue is, who caused the evolution, and was this part of the Divine plan? There is no problem with science and theology, as the Creator is and was the original scientist. He did it his way. The Bible is true, however, much of it tells truths by way of simple allegories. For example the apple might not have been an actual apple, but there was some temptation, after which we're all a fallen race needing help.

    October 11, 2012 at 2:55 am |
    • Anon

      It's still myth.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • ConfucianScholar

      If there is no Adam and Eve, there is no original sin and thus Jesus is unnecessary since there is nothing to save us from. Then, again, some say that logic and religion go on opposite directions so to people like you the falsehood of creation can coexist with the rest of the myth of Christianity just fine.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • The Real Truth

      This mythological account you speak of is meaningless. Scientists have done exact measurements of the age of the universe, and what happened when. Just throw out your bible and learn science.

      Why are you wedded to such an archaic mythology of your OT?

      October 11, 2012 at 3:26 am |
    • billdeacons

      Because while science does an increasingly better job of describing the known universe, it does nothing for the edification of the human spirit

      October 11, 2012 at 5:09 am |
  19. waitasec

    we deserve all we get....
    especially if a congress man like that is voted into office.

    shame shame on us for letting this happen.

    October 11, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • uckermanf

      WE don't all have a choice as to whether or not people like him get elected. *I* certainly wouldn't vote for him, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't get elected. The fact of the matter is, there are certain people in this country who are just stupid–at least 42% and possibly 78% of them if we are to believe the poll cited at the end of the article. We have no way of stopping these people from voting, so I take NO RESPONSIBILITY WHATSOEVER for people such as this Congressman being in office. I'm definitely not getting what I deserve here.

      October 11, 2012 at 3:22 am |
  20. blaqb0x

    Reincarnation – Teach the Controversy.

    October 11, 2012 at 2:48 am |
    • Lucky the Leprechaun

      Leprechauns: teach the controversy

      October 11, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • Shane

      Resurrection is for those that got it wrong the first time.
      -Otep

      October 11, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      Give me some leprechaun gold and I will teach the controversy once I figure out what that is...

      October 11, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • Michael

      If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you ...

      October 11, 2012 at 3:48 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.