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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. Linda M. Haenchen

    How absurd! I live in small town South, was raised in small town South, worked in the South, and hopefully die in the South and be buried here – and for all the religious fanatics running around in Washington, I have never, ever, run into anyone more ridiculous than the last couple of idiots in Congress. Jeez!

    October 11, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • saggyroy

      This guy himself is not the problem. It is the people who elected him that are the root of it.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:34 am |
  2. spangler

    According to the Biblical timeline, dinosaurs existed within the last 10 thousand years, yet T.Rex was not unusual enough to be mentioned as a danger or a food source.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • whitman30

      The Bible does mention things like the Leviathan; however explain to me this. Why are there dinosaur bones found containing blood DNA? There are many, many scientists who argue the age of the earth, this is why evolution is a theory.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • saggyroy

      Yeah they argue. Is the earth 4.6 or 4.59 billion years old. Evolution: Punctuated equilibrium or natural selection. But they all agree evolution is a fact and the earth is billions of years old.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      No scientists do not "argue about the age of the earth". Only the relative details. No real scientist believes there is a question of whether it's 6000 years old vs 13+ billion.
      Gravity is "just a theory". Will you jump off a skyscra.per ?

      October 11, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • WASP

      @WHIT: theory in scientific terms means proven. if something is new without founded data backed up by peer reviewed scrutiny it is a hypothesis.
      fossils don't contain DNA. most fossils of dinosaurs are rock. the minerals in the earth absorb into the bones of the dead animal preserving them as rock. there are multiple ways nature can preserve animal remains, but dinosaurs are always found as rock fossils.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:45 am |
    • saggyroy

      @Fluffy – That is what I meant. Thanks. More Coffee Please!

      October 11, 2012 at 7:00 am |
  3. Seethroughu

    At any rate Nye and the other guy are both wrong. The earth is about 6000 years old.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:27 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Then why do I have a piece of amber on my desk that is 100,000,000 years old ? Fool.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Nye and the "other guy". LMFAO. You mean 99.99 % of ALL the scientists on Earth.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • Seethroughu

      The amber is not that old and I think you got that number from the same place you got your 99.999% figure, from the imagination of your atheist friends.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • Earthling

      Ignoring reality will not change it. Believing in a fairy tale will not make it true.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • Seethroughu

      I agree. Life coming from life is what we know to be true, but some people think all this life came from a rock. Fairy tales.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • whitman30

      Many scientists do argue the date of the earth – read into it. You would be surprised.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Bullsh1t. The DNA in the inclusions in the bugs in the amber proves it's MORE than 100,000,000 years old. If YOU were in jail, and DNA could get you out, YOU would use it. YOU are just too ignorant of Genetics, and Bilology to understand why that proves Evolution.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:45 am |
  4. Seethroughu

    I have to agree. Evolution is pretty silly. Life only comes from life. Life coming from rocks is well...

    October 11, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • Earthling

      I suggest you read up on evolution a bit. Your ignorance is showing.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Then why can scientists today make a beating heart ? Why can they create viruses from scratch. Go get an education. Oh wait. They won't let you in.

      October 11, 2012 at 7:02 am |
  5. Albert

    Has anyone noticd that he not only said absurd things about evolution, but that he is alsoseems to be calling for Christian sharia?

    October 11, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • WWYD-MI

      Yes I noticed it and yes it scares me. I do not want to live by anyone else's ideology. Especially Akins or this guys.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:27 am |
  6. Joe

    Religion aside. We need a guy who thinks archaic. Look at what our 'Modern' baboons are getting us into? We can put a truck on Mars and build a car that can drive itself....but we can't make simple products that last 20 years anymore.........get a frigging grip. Also carbon testing , evolution, is as much as a religion and faith as is humanism and Christianity

    October 11, 2012 at 6:19 am |
    • Dennis

      The stupid hurts.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:20 am |
    • Prayer Changes Nothing

      If you were in prison and could use DNA to get you out, you would. You're just to stupid to get why it would work, and why it proves Evolution.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:27 am |
    • WWYD-MI

      They can make products last 20 years, but they choose not to because it costs them money. Most manufacturers purposefully put flaws into their products so they break and you need to buy more.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:28 am |
    • Ken

      So much stupid, so little post.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:39 am |
  7. J Storm

    Not 'buying into' Darwin's theory now shouldn't even be considered an option in the 21st century. All it seems to be is willful ignorance and stupidity. The last thing we need are these people with medieval ideas running the show and legislating over the rest of us. The only 'out' these people have now is rhetoric by theologians, who are just glorified slingers of B.S. along with justification for these backward ideas, which have a nasty habit of oppressing others and taking away their civil rights . We need to get these people out of office, asap. These idiots should be ashamed that they spout such primitive beliefs in public.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • WWYD-MI

      What cracks me up is most people who fear Darwin's scientific fact of evolution is because they are told he says man came from ape. If they would have read the book they would find he does not state it but suggests it as one possibility. But what Darwin was not thinking about that evolution is done only to improve chances of survival and how would gettting rid of body hair only to have to put on clothes be an advancement.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:32 am |
  8. The False Prophet

    Broun needs to be expelled from the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology immediately. His presence there poses a real risk to the future of this country. If people want to believe in something that's both totally insane and illogical, they have the freedom to do that, they just shouldn't expect the right-thinking population to agree with them.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:16 am |
  9. fiftyfive55

    The greatest feat the devil ever did was proving he didn't exist.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • saggyroy

      The devil is only the manager of hell. The "all loving" god is the one who sends you there.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:19 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      The greatest feat he ever did was to convince you he did exist. Oh wait. That wasn't hard.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:28 am |
    • Earthling

      It is not possible for a nonexistent bogeyman to do anything.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:39 am |
  10. FacePalm

    Why do people think they need to place limits and impose restrictions on God. People who take the bible literally need to understand that the words are a human interpretation, and are thus flawed. No where in the bible are the " seven days of creation" ever construed to equal 24 hour days. A day for God could be an infinite eternity for us. Simply put, literal interpretation of the bible is wrong and completely fails to understand the very power of the Lord. God has no restrictions, God has no limit, and God certainly designed the universe the way it is. We were given free will and intelligence for a reason. To call our scientific discoveries lies is an insult to our Lord and It spits on the very principals of the gifts we were given. If you truly believe in and love God, then you can accept that the big bang happened, evolution happens, and that we were given intelligence so that we could see the evidence of Gods awesome power to do anything he so desires. I guess fundamentalists are trying to understand and quantify an all powerful existence but they fail to realize that the only way you can understand the Lord is through love and acceptance.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • saggyroy

      It is either the word of god or it isn't. Make up your mind.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • WWYD-MI

      Very thoughtful posting. What I do not understand with most people who supposedly take the bible literally is that they ignore the fact that it also states that a blink of God's eye is 1000 years to us. So if they are going to take it literally they need to factor that into the God created the world in 6 days and then he rested. In my feable little mind I take that means the 14 billion years the universe has been around is only a little over 100 days to God. Why religious zealots do not believe in the Big Bang is beyond me when that would explain the bible saying that God made light in a blink of an eye. Doesn't that lend religious proof of the Big Bang? I absolutely believe that science can and will one day prove a higher power.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Then why didn't he say that ? Didn't he know he was talking to humans ? Was he trying to trick you ? Can't he communicate clearly ? Nah. Typical rationalization.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:35 am |
    • Earthling

      The bible is a book of fairy tales made up by primitive uneducated humans in an attempt to explain things they were incapable of understanding. We have come a long way since then. Get your had out of the sand and look around.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • Double Face Palm

      Believing anything in that book or fairy tales in any sense is a mental illness.

      October 11, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  11. spangler

    Why does the creator and master of one billion galaxies always need my money?

    October 11, 2012 at 6:11 am |
    • saggyroy

      He's probably blowing it on scratch off lottery tickets.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:13 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Motels in other universes are expensive.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:36 am |
  12. saggyroy

    I still like that you can come here every friggin' day and witness the faithful make complete idiots of themselves.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  13. ep tor

    Well Broun is certainly evidence not all human like creatures evolved equally – he got the "hairless" part right but mentally not much past the baboon stage. And this religious quack sits on a science panel. Just think, Romney has publicly given a veto to the church on all policy and new laws if he is elected. Ryan believes a woman may never get an abortion and has to die (probably along with the fetus) if there is a life threatening pregnancy issue. If these loons get elected, I don't ever want to hear a republican whine about the Taliban's treatment of women. Right wing extremist anti-abortionists and religious nuts have the freedom not to abort and die instead already, now they want to pass laws to kill normal women. Talk about marching backwards into ignorance.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  14. Jonline

    How do we get so many idiots on the House Science Committee? How? The other one is saying doctors perform abortions on women who are not pregnant. In my opinion, the entire House of Representatives is completely bankrupt and completely incapable of providing any leadership whatsoever to the country.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:59 am |
    • Katherine

      You're very right about that, Jonline. We can't just sit and tolerate these people ... we're going to have to do something.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:02 am |
    • saggyroy

      Who elected this guy?

      October 11, 2012 at 6:11 am |
    • SJ Holmwood

      I totally agree. In my opinion, our whole election process needs to be revamped. Each potential candidate (determined by a popular vote) should be given the exact amount of money to run their campaign...not a penny more. Then maybe the election would be fair and just, not a dog an pony show run by rich corporations. We are the majority and we need to take back our country.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:18 am |
  15. Shane

    (not my joke, but it made my day when I read it)

    God Meets His Physics Teacher

    Teacher: God, I have some bad news for you. You’ve been getting away with murder for eons, but I’m afraid that now you have to start abiding by the laws of physics.

    God: But I don’t want to!

    Teacher: I’m afraid that doesn’t matter. Look, you made this Universe and set the rules, you have to abide by them. One cannot tell his servants to do one thing while he does another. I think Jesus said that.

    God: That fu.cking kid. He’s been nothing but a problem since puberty. It’s his mother’s fault. All high and mighty the way she is, “I’m a virgin, I’m a virgin.” No big surprise there. She went to a liberal arts college and studied women’s rights. She loves the Indigo Girls and played a lot of sport. You do the math.

    Teacher: Anyway, the game is over. Time to start abiding by the rules.

    God: But I am omnipotent, I can do what I like.

    Teacher: Well….sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s the first thing to go. You see, the laws of physics state that an omnipotent being cannot exist. It is a meaningless concept, like a four-sided triangle, or a square circle. Once universal laws exist, omnipotence cannot.

    God: Not even for Rupert Murdoch?

    Teacher: No, not even for him. Now focus, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to start with Archimedes and get you up to quantum mechanics by the end of the day.

    God: But I’m omniscient. I already know everything.

    Teacher: Sorry kiddo, strike two. Omniscience is essentially a meaningless concept, too. Knowledge requires data to be input, stored and recalled in a useful manner. To be truly omniscient would require an infinitely large data storage unit with access to all parts of it at over light speed. Given the natural limitations of data recall, you are actually a bit of a dunce, by the standards of the gods.

    God: Why only light speed? What does that have to do with anything?

    Teacher: We’ll get to that, around 3:30 this afternoon. This is going to be a long day.

    God: That doesn’t matter, I’m immortal. I have all the time in the World.

    Teacher: Ok, so how do I break THIS news?....You’re not. To be a god means, at a minimum, that you must be a complex being at some level. Now that you are governed by the laws of physics, this means that you are subject to the laws of thermodynamics and entropy. Over the long term, you must decay. You can be sustained for a very, very long period, but ultimately it is a finite period.

    God: You mean…..I’m getting old?

    Teacher: Yep, I’m afraid so. Noticed that slaying the first born, sending plagues to kill thousands of innocent people and wiping out Canaanites has lost its allure? Nothing but a peaceful middle age, full of Viagra and memories ahead of you now. Look how fat Buddha’s become.

    God: So, if laws of physics exist, that means I’m not omnipotent, I’m not omniscient and I’m not immortal. Hell, I’m not even a god. Gods cannot exist. Jesus Christ, I don’t even exist!

    Teacher: You do the math.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:58 am |
  16. Bootyfunk

    evolution has MOUNTAINS of evidence to support it.
    religion has ZERO evidence.

    do the math.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:48 am |
  17. mtg176

    Finally a lawmaker has the guts to speak the truth. Kudos!

    October 11, 2012 at 5:45 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Tell us idiot. If your kid was in jail, would you use DNA to get him out ?

      October 11, 2012 at 5:47 am |
    • Katherine

      No, the man is not "speaking the truth". What he is doing, and what YOU are doing, is making sure that the world has utter confirmation that southern Americans are backwood illiterates. You can't just make up your own truths, mtg176, because the rest of the world already knows the truth.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:59 am |
    • Earthling

      Shouting nonsense from the top of a hill does not make it true.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:44 am |
  18. GOOD NEWS

    Jesus absolutely foretold about and thus endorsed the "Son of Man" here (=John 6/27, 40);

    and that "Son of Man" has thus absolutely proven now

    Big bang and Evolution are the most powerful and superb "Creation Acts" of GOD

    through the "Language of Mathematics" here:

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    ==UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES!

    October 11, 2012 at 5:44 am |
    • BAD NEWS

      Oops. I forgot. God can't "create" if spacetime is not already in place. Oh well. Never mind the above.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      jesus wasn't real kinda like hercules. both had angry sky-god dads that threw lightning bolts. both did magical things on earth that could not possibly have happened. both are mythological figures. deal with it.

      protip: you can be a good person without religion. unclasp your hands, get up off your knees, go outside, think for yourself, put those hands to use helping your fellow man. congratulations, you're a better person and you're not in a cult anymore.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:47 am |
  19. spangler

    So a choice made by a woman who was only a few days old has cursed all of mankind, even American Indians and people in China. No court would ever punish someone for things that happened thousands of years ago.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:37 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      And then the "loving" god stayed pi.ss.ed-off for thousands of years, until his son died.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:45 am |
    • outsider

      Don't forget that his son was also himself.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • saggyroy

      @Outsider and don't forget his mom was a "virgin". Makes a great soap opera.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  20. Rick1948

    Someone who thinks evolution is a "lie from hell" serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology??? What lunatic put him there.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:26 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.