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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. Karen Lawlor

    The Bible is wonderful in it's ability to interpret itself if you read it closely. In the beginning, God said "let there be light" (Gen 1:3). Then, further down in verse 5, God called the light "day" and the darkness he called night. And the evening and the morning were the first "day." So you could say the evening and the morning were the first "light". And with each subsequent "day", there was another "light." The beginning of time didn't occur until the fourth "day" when God put lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the "day" from the night and they were to be for signs, and seasons, and for days and for years. In the Hebrew concordance, "day" comes from an unused root meaning "to be hot", a day as the warm hours. "Day" can also mean an "age".

    October 11, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      The bible is nothing more than the words of mere mortals a long time ago written to control growing populations. Then, later on, more men decided to edit the book to fit their agenda of money, power and to convert pagans to christianity. That is the history of your religion and that book. Try researching it sometime.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Are_you_kidding?

      I'm sure that took a few nights to ponder.Too bad it made no sense.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • total zeus

      Do you have any evidence that this was written to control rising populations? Sounds like you should use scientific method to explain that thinking.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "Do you have any evidence that this was written to control rising populations?"

      Why else would it be written? You cannot dispute the FACT that the book was written by MEN, not god. Just because the authors claim they were inspired by god does not mean they actually were. You cannot dispute the fact that it was edited by more PEOPLE in power to convert pagans to christianity. You cannot dispute the fact that many of the things in the bible were taken from previous religions, even the celebrated birth date of your supposed savior. Learn the history of your religion....i bet you would be surprised at what you find.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      total zeus, I bet your explanation of the scientific method would be a hoot!

      October 11, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      The only reason to use a human emotion fear against its readers is to control them.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Clearly reading comprehension is a high art for readers of the Bible. One wonders why it couldn't have been written more plainly – so clear that concrete thinkers like myself could actually know what it means and not just what it seems to be saying. Perhaps God needs the latitude to redefine itself as necessary, and some plausible deniability. Why does God need to be a politician?

      October 11, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  2. Colin

    I hate to say it, but debating science with a Christian is like trying to debate quantum physics with a Corgi. They are so fvcking dumb. I'm sorry, but it is true. Frustrating as hell, but true.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Northerner

      I hope you like it hot, with fire and brimstone, 'cause that's where you're headed....better pack lightly. Your words will be held against you some day, by the only 1 true God.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Colin

      See what I mean. I call them fools and they answer with a foolish threat.

      You have to love the Christian superst.ition of hell. It is just so silly. Think about it. You don't have to kill, you don't have to rob, heck, you don't even have to litter. All one need do is have an honest, rational and reasonable disbelief in the Christian god, and he will inflict a grotesque eternal torture on you a billion times worse than the death penalty. And he loves you.

      It is a silly, childish superst.ition that should never have made it out of the Dark Ages.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "I hope you like it hot, with fire and brimstone, 'cause that's where you're headed....better pack lightly. Your words will be held against you some day, by the only 1 true God."

      LOL you are one deluded person. Fear mongering is so crusadeish. Heaven, hell, god, angels are all things created by the human mind to help cope with the unknown. The FACT is you do not KNOW anything you have written. You merely speculate. You dont even know if your god is the right one out of the thousands on this earth alone. Prove to me there is a hell or a heaven. Actual proof, not biblical references written by many humans over the course of 1500 years or so then edited by more humans in power.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Are_you_kidding?

      @northener-Northern Mississippi?
      Ah, the threats the Christians just love to make.Keep em coming.I need a good laugh.Sorry your pastor did a number on you.Truly.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Northerner,
      St. Paul said only the saved were immortal, so I see you are no Christian. Jeebus never said it. Why do you enjoy the suffering of others so much ? You are rather twisted. Do you have a se.xual disorder ? There is a name for that.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Keel Hauler

      Heh, good point, Colin. Might as well not even try. You forgot to mention that they will also try to intimidate you into their way of thinking through the fear of God, like your friend here is doing. Pretty arrogant to think that they can speak for God and his actions, I think. "You will burn in Hell!" Really? Because YOU say so?

      October 11, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Unbaptized John

      @Colin
      And it will not go away untill we stop the child abuse of religious brainwasjing, a monumental task.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Michael

      @Northerner: You want to step outside on a moonless and cloudless night and show me where heaven is? You want to show me on a DRS (Deep Resonance SONAR) image of the earth's core where hell is? Without using the words "faith" and "bible" can you unequivicably PROVE to me the existence of either?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  3. Puablo

    Being elected to Congress is one thing – the people have a right to vote for whoever they feel best represents their interests. But to be the head of a Science committee is just wrong – I don't want this guy having any more power over science-based decisions than his 1 vote out of 435. And Congress wonders why they have single digit approval ratings...

    October 11, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Make your disapproval known:

      http://science.house.gov/contact-us/email-us

      October 11, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  4. floydfix69

    I can see how people use this crap too hide there fears of the unknown it took God 300,000,000 year too make T rex i wish we could bring back the good old days .

    October 11, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  5. Keel Hauler

    The picture above says a lot by itself. Alec Baldwin, now there's a sane, level-headed individual with no extreme views, right? Get Tom Cruise in there and you'll have a whole bowl of mixed nuts. :P

    October 11, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • mk

      A trifecta! Nice, Keel.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  6. Stefan Radu

    Darwin himself doubted his own hypothesis; he said that to assume that the human eye resulted through natural selection would be the most absurd thing possible. Please read the following books: "The Farce of the Evolution", by Hank Hanegraaff, "Darwin's Black Box", by Michael J. Behe, "The Evolution Cruncher", by Vance Ferrell, "Science and Evolution", by Charles Colson, and hundreds of others. Ever heard of them? To have a clear picture of the realities of the universe, you need to look at both views. When facts which belie the evolutionist theory are presented and huge gaps in its contents come to view, what do its adepts do? What are their reactions? Silence, denial, fury! Is that science?
    Stefan

    October 11, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Are_you_kidding?

      Just say anything.How is that working for you.Cough up some evidence of your own.I think your unarmed.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Colin

      Hey Stephan, what are oil, coal and other fossil fuels?

      October 11, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Keel Hauler

      Yes, because only Darwin and similar-minded, dead scientific philosophers can ever have a say on the vailidity of Evolution, right? Guess what. Some of us feel quite qualified to make up our own minds, thank you. Maybe it's because we went to school and learned about billions of years of Earth history and scientific facts. I could care less if Darwin did or did not recant his views on evolution.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Yes, I have heard of them. They are quacks and cranks. I suggest reading some legitimate science.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • David

      I've read The Farce of the Evolution (as part of a bet admittedly), and it has huge holes in its logic primarily through failing to provide the entire picture for evolutionary arguments, misinterpreting parts of the theory, or simply ignoring additional relevant evidence. If I may make a suggestion, you can simply follow up on the concerns brought up in it's comments section on Amazon to get an idea of where to start if you want to research it further.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • mk

      What sense does it make to read books that refute evolution, but believe word-for-word a 2000 year old book of violence and bigotry that's been edited and revised over and over again to suit the needs of religion??

      October 11, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Ed

      Darwin never doubted his conclusions, even if he didn't understand all of the mechanics behind it. All of those authors are hacks, well outside the mainstream of evolutionary thought. ID isn't even science, it's creationism clothed in scientific language. And they generally agree that the evidence of evolution is undeniable, so they concede that point and retreat to a position where God is the tinkerer rather than natural selection. There are no problems with occular development – eyes are ubiquitous in the animal kingdom and come in all degrees of complexity. Evolution has now been confirmed via direct experimentation: see Lemskey at University of Mich. and the ecoli experiment.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  7. davidk

    God said it, I believe it, that settles it!.....closed as a mind can get.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Are_you_kidding?

      I guess we are all being "left behind".Personally I can't wait for their departure.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • abbyt

      wait, god speaks to you?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  8. Are_you_kidding?

    The unbelievable ignorance shown by believers on this blog is enough to make anyone with intelligence or transience sick.My God.Is it really this bad?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Sam Crow

      yes, it is this bad. No comment on "evolution", but I do not want a lawmaker making laws and policies with this type of personality. I look at people like this as Hitler types. Broun seems confined on hies "lies from the gates of hell" comment, and it is WAY TO EXTREME for him to be a public servant in my book. Get him and anyone like him OUT. Religion, ideals.....evolution....have no place in politics or lawmaking.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  9. mk

    Well! If the bible said it...

    October 11, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  10. total zeus

    So thankful that some people are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in this country, The ability to say what you believe is what this country was founded on. How dare anyone try to silence this man for expressing his freedoms. It is truly beautiful, courageous, and admirable

    October 11, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Yup. They are free to make fools of themselves.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Dan I.

      Hey can SAY whatever he wants. He has that right. What he DOES NOT have is a right to have us agree with him, or a right to be free from consequence or ridicule.

      So long as he is not punished by the governmnt for his thoughts (i.e. thrown in jail) there is no issue of First Amendment violations. If the voters want to vote him out for his comments that is THEIR right. He can continue to say what he wants, he just has to live with the consequences.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Ed

      There is nothing truly beautiful, courageous, or admirable about wilfull ignorance.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Rinsewind

      He's free to believe what he wants to, and free to express it. However, someone with these views has no business serving on the House committee for Science, Space and Technology. He clearly completely rejects the basics of scientific method. How would you feel about a vocal atheist advising the congress on religious affairs?

      October 11, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Are_you_kidding?

      What an ignorant comment.You probably could not debate yourself out of a bag.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • David

      I generally try not to comment one way or the other about people's religious beliefs...
      but creationists really try my patience. Is it really so hard to realize that overwhelming scientific evidence contradicts what you are saying? How do you discount that?
      Admitting that Genesis is figurative, not literal, does not denote any lack of faith in God or Jesus, nor does it invalidate many of the good points in the Bible. It's one thing to believe in something you can't prove beyond a doubt; that's faith. It's another thing entirely to believe in something that is overwhelmingly disproven, that's denial.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Doctor of Science

      Beautiful? Hardly. Ignorance is never beautiful.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Christopher

      The problem here is not that he is expressing his views, its that he is acting on them in a position of power in a SECULAR government. To make the situation worse this quack sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology – which is out right scary. It shows how naive people in this country truly are.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Pete

      Me too, so that when idiots like this guy claim Evolution is a lie from the pits of hell everyone can make fun of him.

      October 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  11. Stephen

    So this is the Republicans' Science Guy. Man, he deserves a show on PBS, oh wait...

    October 11, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • SR

      I dont get it.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      SR: The republitards want to cancel PBS.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • NoTheism

      @SR, Romney wants to defund PBS... The Science Guy (Bill Nye) was on PBS

      October 11, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • SR

      Ah. Gotcha.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • SR

      Some people are against funding Oscar and Big Bird but doesn’t Sesame Street have like 40 years worth of episodes???? I think we have enough material for awhile.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  12. Claude Gothic

    DId this "doctor" treat his patients by praying over them and saying god would heal them if he felt like it, otherwise they were moving on to the next plane?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  13. Christopher

    People this ignorant should be banned from ever holding public office.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  14. Oneslydragon

    Any leader that spits out stupidity like this should NOT be in office.

    Any one stupid enough to vote for them needs to undo a cerebral insertion of a waste oriented cavity and open their eyes.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  15. Stefan Radu

    In the medieval time there was religious intolerance; today there is non-religious intolerance. Just read most of these comments and you can see what spirit is driving them. Nicolae Ceausescu said that Marxism was the only philosophy acceptable in the Communist Romania, and evolutionism was included in it. He perished and Romania flourishes with religion! Adolf Hitler and Stalin were evolutionists – this theory fitted perfectly their agenda, people to be treated like animals, you see, struggle for survival, kill in order not to be killed. This theory is a dogma, try to challenge it and you get into trouble. Kudos to the congressman who dare to do that, despite all the ire his courage stirred.
    Stefan

    October 11, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • athensguy

      BTW: Hitler was Catholic, if you want to be fair and balanced

      October 11, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      This theory is a fact, just like the Theory of Gravity. Would you jump off a skyscra.per just because Gravity is "just a theory". Would YOU use DNA to get out of prison. Idiot.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      No courage is needed to spout ignorance.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Original Cyn

      Sorry, dude, but Adolf Hitler was NOT an evolutionist. That's a popular lie, but historically WRONG. In fact, Hitler was born and raised a Catholic, and in his writings, he AFFIRMED his religious beliefs in Christianity. So guess what? Hitler is going to Heaven, according to Christian theology, because he accepted Jesus Christ as his lord and savior. Have a good time–for all eternity!–with him.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  16. ArthurP

    If you actually think about the ramifications of Creationism you will see that the end result is that Man has dominion over God.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Stephen

      Gosh, that would mean we would have to take responsibility for our own actions – frightening stuff.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Doctor of Science

      "Without man, there is no god." – anonymous

      October 11, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  17. Colin

    Here is the email address of the US House Committee on Science Space and Technology.

    http://science.house.gov/contact-us/email-us

    IF you are appalled by this and do nothing you are as bad as him. PLEASE send the committee an email of protest. If you like just copy and paste one (or more) from below.

    I was appalled to hear that you, as a member of the US Committee on Science, Space and Technology would seriously say something as utterly absurd as you did. Please resign.

    Mr Broun is to our Children's minds what Jerry Sandusky is to their other ends. Please make him resign immediately.

    I will do everything in my power to ensure you are never again in a position to influence my children. You must resign.

    And we wonder why Europe and Asia continues to surpass us in science and math. Please resign immediately.

    Paul Broun should NOT be on the Committee for Science, Space and Technology. He should also be banned from any school.

    Is there a law to keep Mr., Broun away from our children? I know there is one for $exual predators. Is there one for complete simpletons

    Um, Mr. Broun, just wondering, what are oil gas and other fossil fuels? I learned at school (in Europe) that they were the fossilized remains of organisms from the Cretaceous and Devonian Periods. Note the name – FOSSIL fuels. What are they under your “talking snake” theory of geological formation, and why did God give them all to the Muslims?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Northerner

      You're an idiot. Nobody cares what you say, we just read in disbelief how stupid YOU sound. What a moron.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Keel Hauler

      Nothing wrong with writing letters. Indeed, something needs to be done to get this guy out of office, but if he's running un-opposed, I don't see how.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  18. Doug

    Wow, someone with power in the USA is an idiot? What a surprise.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  19. AthensGuy

    I am ashamed by the fact that this guy represents my district, which happens to be tha home of a large university, which in turn houses one of the most active evolution and development communities in the world. And to think that he heads the house subcommittee on science. This is the same guy (and MD!) who, while opposing the ACA, said in a public speech that poor people should not be insured, but just go to emergency rooms or find another way to get health care.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • AthensGuy

      and he is running -UNOPPOSED -for reelection!

      October 11, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  20. Sadie Boyd

    amen to that, brother

    October 11, 2012 at 8:19 am |
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About this blog

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.