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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. Ethics Board

    Holy cr@p! This guys is a medical doctor! What school did he go to because they need to have their accreditation revoked!

    October 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Patient

      "Hey now, he cured my case of "the gays" with a simple treatment of leeches on my penis, of course he's a Doctor!!

      October 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • ME II

      Perhaps it's me, but MDs seem overly susceptible to creationism.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  2. Ticktick

    Nobel prize for Dr Paul Broun, Congressman from Ga for taking science backward. I like the economic conservatism of GOP. Unfortunately they are as fanatic as Talibans in religion which drive me away from this party.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      science it self has no power, but dependent on human to be a path to find truth absolute of matter's, no need to use a tool to promote hinduism, ignorance of hindu atheist, ignorant self centered.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  3. A.L. Humanist

    The guy's clearly a little confused about the whole "science" thing, but apparently so are the people of Georgia. A stinging indictment of the current state of medical training (somehwere, not sure where) and the educational system in the state of Georgia. Hopefully they can keep him out of any responsibilities that touch on science or education or that type of thing.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  4. SCIENCE IS THE REAL ANSWER

    The North needs to succeed, the South, Midwest and the West are all retarded.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Ashley

      It's secede. How ironic.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  5. Smajon

    46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution.

    Where in the hell did they take this poll? at the entrance to a church? Absurd, absolutely none of my friends believe in creationsim, even if they are devout christians.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • ME II

      An obviously 'your friends' determine a statistical sample... http://www.gallup.com/poll/21814/evolution-creationism-intelligent-design.aspx

      October 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  6. AC

    Please remove all idiots like this from government and especially any governmental commission they sit on. Clearly it is people like this that stifle progress in government. Adam and Eve and the earth created in six days...lol, give me a break. Religion should have no place in politics and should not be the basis for how any part of the country is governed.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  7. Avery Litonour

    Reblogged this on The Avery Litonour Blog and commented:
    U.S Rep. Paul Broun should be automatically be disqualified from ever having his name mentioned in the same paragraph with the word "science."

    October 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  8. SCIENCE IS THE REAL ANSWER

    The Catholic church version of the theory of evolution, Jeannie from I dream of Jeannie summons a dinosaur, a frog, gas station, american car and jesus with a #1 finger.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      Science is a msdium, neithr a initiator nor a destination but a medium to reach truth absolute of matter's, only a hindu ignorant can depend on seance, a medium to deny truth absolute GOD.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  9. JavaJoe

    Big Bang Theory?? I love that show.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  10. Joe

    I think it's time for the fine voters of the State of Georgia to evaluate whether a nutcase like Mr. Broun belongs in Congress at all, to say nothing of the House Committe om Science, Space and Technology.

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

    Doomed, this country is.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  12. SCIENCE IS THE REAL ANSWER

    He doesn't like the Big Bang theory, awesome show, funny, witty, probably cause the jokes are too smart for him.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  13. us_1776

    Downright scary that these GOP nitwits have gotten into Congress.

    Broun, Akin, all need to be defeated.

    .

    October 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  14. lance corporal

    the gay agenda doesn't not scare me at all, the small amount that ends up going to "welfare queens" doesn't keep me up at night, as I'm getting older I don't think the world is going to ruin, I don't distrust the coming generations, the kids are alright.......
    BUT......

    the CHRISTAIN AGENDA scares me like nothing else!!!!

    that someone with this belief system sits on our science committee when he absolutely is anti science is a testament to one of our most glaring problems religious incursion in to our political system
    look at history
    what has it been like when the churches had power??????
    seriously the info is all there
    review the past for when we allowed christian churches to control or be our governments
    or look at the taliban or areas where other extreme muslim groups wield power
    look at cults that remove themselves from society
    witch trials and really terrible things happen when we give control to religion

    remove religion from politics, we need to be a specifically secular nation

    no wonder the majority of us have left these churches who teach ignorance and hate

    October 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  15. Goose66

    You can believe in creationism and the big bang. In the beginning there was nothing, then God set the universe in motion in a sudden and explosive release of energy ("light") and matter ("earth").

    What this guy fails to understand is that the Creator gave us brains and curiosity to explore the World and figure out how the universe works. We do the Creator an injustice by turning a blind eye to the evidence of the World that we discover and instead rely on parables told to and written down by men in a form meant to explain very complex subjects to folks that thought the World was flat.

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

      I believe in dragons in my basement. But they only come out when no one is home.

      Just try to prove me wrong.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • egg

      What Goose66 fails to realize is that his creator is nothing more than a figment of the collective imagination of many gullible fools.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • CJ

      I agree with you. I've never understood why so many of us insist it must be one or the other...

      October 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • ME II

      Besides the Genesis story being utterly ridiculous, as I recall the "heavens and earth" were created and then He said "let there be light".
      A bit back-asswards, don't you think?

      October 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Goose66

      Did I say anything to make you think I believe in a creator? I'm just saying that unless you stick with strict interpretation of the Bible, there is nothing about the big bang theory or evolution that excludes such a belief. All this could have been set in motion with purpose, just as easily as it may have sprung from nothingness.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • ME II

      @Goose66,
      Yes, this:
      "What this guy fails to understand is that the Creator gave us brains and curiosity to explore the World and figure out how the universe works. "

      However, I don't disagree that one can believe in god(s) and still accept science. However, some things like the creation story in Gen 1 have to viewed as no more than va.gue poetic descriptions of events, if it is to be believed at all. There are things that are blatantly inaccurate, if taken literally.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  16. JGANUKEAPELSD

    JGA Phillip Anthony Biondo for President 2012 of the Fraternity Party! VP's elections 2nd place. Kegs party at the White House! Free College like k-12. Free Healthcare. All safe drugs over the counter. Escorts legal. Casinos legal. The American Citizens are not intelligent enough to elect me. Evolution, big bang, God of Universe and Milky Way. I'm suing the supreme court Apes for freedom of Religion, I suffer from severe depression because holy medicines, primarily thc, psilocybin, mescaline, lsd, and dmt are illegal, in fact I committed suicide. Target the DEA. Superhuman AI: 2045. Navy Nuclear Spaceships, next star, rainforests, dinosaurs. Meditate. I'm a Sapien, what are you? Does Obama or Romney believe in global warming? We are like deer in the headlights.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  17. John

    Disgust, ignorance, and delusion, these are the words that accurately define these foolish beliefs. We are allowing the USA to become a third world nation. And this is sad.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  18. James

    How do idiots like this get elected–oh, its the idiots that vote for them. People like this would take away hundreds of years of knowledge just to support their faith which is fiction.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  19. Greater Good

    Wow. This is why there's limited progress in this country. Similarly uninformed voters keep dimwitted politicians like this in office.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  20. Russ

    This guy may not actually believe what he said. He may just be pandering to uneducated voters in his district to get reelected. Let's hope so.

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

      If that is so then he is an outrageous liar and should be kicked out anyway – or at least be taken off his commitee.

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

      Pandering merely furthers and validates such nonsense, as much as it might get him re-elected. I also think he should get kicked off of the committee, and Congress as well, regardless of what he personally thinks.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.