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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. Stefan Radu

    To Collin: talk with Bible-believing scientists and they will tell you on a scientific (not Biblical!) basis how the fossils appeared. What you think and contend is not the only possibility.
    Stefan

    October 11, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Stefan, I hate to break it to you, but there is not a different "science" for bible-believers than for non-believers. Science works regardless of what one believes – that's why it is so effective.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  2. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    When he states, " .. It (bible) teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in our society.”
    It's absolutely necessary that this guy's got to go.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Make your outrage known:

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

      October 11, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Thank you Mr. Firefly!

      October 11, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Yes. Thanks Rufus. I just sent off my email. They should be trembling by now.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  3. snowboarder

    this is a testament to the quality of religious indoctrination.

    statements such as these should certainly cause him to forfeit his position on a science committee.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      and public office where he can affect policy.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  4. Stefan Radu

    To Rufus: you heard of them? Did you read them? Who decides what is science and what is not? Hijacking the school desk does not make the evolutionist dogma a science. Darwinism is not facts, it is an interpretation of facts, you need to respect it but you have the right to think differently.
    Stefan

    October 11, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Colin

      Got an answer for what fossil fuels are yet? We're waiting......

      October 11, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • JustRight

      "Who decides what is science and what is not?"....Scientists do, its called peer review. Pretty basic stuff here

      October 11, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Stu

      The Scientific Method is what decides.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • ialsoagree

      Evolution is demonstrably true.

      Further still, science is a process. There's a wide range of organizations and journals that can review a study to determine if their methodology falls in line with the practices of mainstream science, whether their results are reproducable and correct, and whether their explanation for that outcome is viable, demonstrable, and isn't proved wrong by other evidence.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Michael

      Faith is based on believing what cannot be proven or reporduced emperically; science is based on generating a hypothesis, testing and modifying the hypothesis, if necessary, until the hypothesis matches the emerical results. Thereafter, it becomes a thoery. Such as gravity. Such as evolution. One question I have always posed to those that think the earth is less than 10,000 years old: do you honestly think that mankind could survive with Velociraptors or T. Rex? Oh, that's right, their response will be that the earth was created with dinosaur bones in situ. Sad, that ...

      October 11, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  5. Rufus T. Firefly

    If you are outraged that this guy is making decisions on your behalf on the House Committee for Science, Space, and Technology, please make your outrage known at:

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

    October 11, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Unbaptized John

      Rufus
      I have no idea how people are appointed to the committees, do the get on just by asking? Do they have to have some qualifications or expertise to get selected? It would appear not if this guy got selected.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • JohnH

      Congressman Broun is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. From their website;

      "The Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight has general and special investigative authority on all matters within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology"

      Hopefully he uses his "special investigative authority" for good.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  6. Stu

    Both this guy and Rep. Hank Johnson (both from the same trash state I might add) should be elected to the position of short order cook.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  7. Rediranch

    Freedom of speech thing again.

    Don't agree? Don't vote for him. Agree? Vote for him. Simple as that.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      He was appointed to the Science committee. They didn't know he was a quack doctor.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      They didn't CARE that he was a quack doctor. Fixed it for ya.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • abbyt

      no one said he can't voice his opinion, he can. and i can say he's freaking nuts. that is the freedom of speach.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  8. ArthurP

    Soon you chaps may have a Vice President who shares those views.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  9. ROMNEY2012

    PRAISE THE LORD FOR HE WOULD VOTE FOR ROMNEY!
    Vile be the dogs of hell that vote for Obama, for the LORD will burn thee with righteous fire!
    PRAISE THE LORD
    PRAISE ROMNEY
    U S A FOREVER
    OBAMA NEVER

    October 11, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      So god votes for liars. He lied 27 times in the debate. He lied again yesterday, and then changed his mind again. He can't decide if he is for or against abortion. He knows you are stupid as a box of rocks.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • snowboarder

      romney – you are obviously a troll trying to make christians look bad. i don't believe you are really that stupid.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Mike D

      Romney is not a Christian. Mormons are, at best, a cult made good.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  10. Dave, CA

    Another right wing out of touch with reality lunatic. What the hell is this fool doing on the Science Committee?!?!?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  11. common sense

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

    October 11, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • ialsoagree

      Actually, for many, it's more like: scientists demonstrated, I understand it, that's reality.

      You can believe whatever you want, reality doesn't much care what you believe though.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Michael

      "It's in the Bible so it must be true, exactly as written." (written several hundred years after the fact, from oral stories passed down. rewritten, translated, rewritten, retranslated, ad nausium) Scientific theories are the result of testing and repeatability, peer review, et cetera. No mind is more closed than the self righteous religious head cases that refuse to accept reality.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  12. ArthurP

    Remember people you do not believe in evolution , you either accept the science supporting it or you do not. Belief has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  13. joe

    What kind of competent educated adult could possibly believe that a God zapped himself into a female child, disappeared, showed up 30 years later, walked around speaking for a couple of years, then disappeared again all to a small group of illiterates in Iraq 2000 years ago.

    It's preposterous. How can people not see that they are just self inducing their high when they "feel" Jesus?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • BU2B

      A brainwashed one.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  14. GY

    The only remotely credible point I ever heard creationists make was that we have never figured out how life was created. They asked, how do we get life from rocks and water? I didn't have a response for this.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • JustRight

      Life didnt come from water and rocks...you can just google abiogenisis and youll find your answer (assuming you dont go to a creationist website)

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

      Thank you.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • BU2B

      My response would be that, if life is "too complex to happen on its own", that makes the creator of this life even more complex, and the creator must have had a creator as well. Then the creator's creator must have a creator, and so on. This creates an infinite loop of circular logic.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • ArthurP

      All elements have characteristics based on their structure. These characteristics enable then to form simple molecules in a predictable manner. The same characteristics enable simple molecules to form more complex ones. These is no limit to the size or complexity of a molecule. Eventual you end up with self replicating molecules.
      (simplified explanation)

      October 11, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      Nicely simplified, ArthurP. But you are assuming everyone knows what those words even mean.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • abbyt

      @ BU2B following that logic then who created god? where did he come from?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  15. alpg49

    Thank God the Catholic church holds that faith and reason are compatible. Fundamentalists hold that we are only sinful because the Genesis account is literally true. In fact, I can prove we are sinful by observing any one of us for a full day. For most people, a half hour will suffice.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Ty

      You are right! The Catholic Church is right!!! It is not suppose to be taken literally. I believe it is Mark 16:18 that says if you believe in Jesus you can be bitten by a poisonous snake and not get sick. Is that suppose to be taken literally??

      October 11, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "You are right! The Catholic Church is right!!! It is not suppose to be taken literally"

      If it is truly the word of god, it should be taken literally.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  16. A Reasoner

    Broun is just positioning himself for a GOP presidential run. This is America, where we admire those who stand up and speak what they believe, not those with evidence and facts. America will dominate the universe because somewhere in the bible it must say gawd said so. All we have to do is believe and bomb. Keep the money pouring into churches instead of schools and we'll maintain an electorate which votes for the most ignorant candidates to be found.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  17. Stefan Radu

    Hitler a Catholic? How many times a day did he say the creed? Come on, maybe by birth, but he was full atheist, and a cruel one. You can say that Stalin was an Orthodox, because he attended for a while a Seminary!!! About freedom of speech: the congressman said what he believed, he did not force anybody to agree with him and he said that in a church, not in the session of Congress. Make that difference. And stopping to call people fools and ignorant and stupid would convince me that there is some respect for human dignity in the atheistic philosophy. Thank you for attention!
    Stefan

    October 11, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      You keep proving your idiocy!!! Hitler remained a fierce believer and if you had made it past 5th grade history you'd comprehend this.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Colin

      "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so."
      – Adolf Hitler, to General Gerhard Engel, 1941

      "We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out." Adolf Hitler, Speech in Berlin, October 24, 1933

      "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith ...we need believing people." Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933

      And on Feburary 1, 1933 Hitler delivered a speech in which he promised to restore "family...honor and loyalty, Volk and Vaterland, culture and economy" and recover "the eternal foundation of our morality and our faith." Hitler further declares a "merciless war against spiritual, political, and cultural nihilism."

      "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.
      Adolf Hitler April, 12th 1922

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

      Yeah, right Hitler was an Atheist. You are clueless beyond belief.
      So tell me then why the SS used to have on their belt buckles the slogan "God Is On Our Side"? Sounds like an Atheist slogan to me?
      Get a clue!

      October 11, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Jonathan

      At the end of the first chapter of Hitler's evil, crappy book, he said that he was doing the Lord's work by "protecting" himself from the Jews. He mentioned Jesus in several speeches. His first treaty made when he came to power was with the Vatican. Every Natzi belt buckle had "God with us" stamped on it. The SS had to swear in on the bible in the name of god. There is even more evidence that Hitler was a Christian if you just freakin' look! Quit spewing out the b.s. that you hear that you agree with or want to believe. The truth is the truth, but many don't want to know the truth because it many not be what they want to hear, or maybe they are just lazy. ...As far as the politician stating that evolution is bogus and from the devil,....what an idiot. People like him have a right to his opinion, but he should not be an elected official. People that believe in magic and mythology and telepathy should have their ideas and opinions put in the "back of the line".

      October 11, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      Here is an idea....go to the library. Pick up some history books and research. Also check out Mein Kampf

      October 11, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  18. Stopthemadness

    Looke we all know he is bat crap crazy. A study conducted at Ohio State University, based on skeletal data from 30 previous studies, reveals that men living during the 9th to 11th centuries had an average height of about 5 feet 8 inches. Average height then steadily declined until it reached a low point of 5 feet 5.5 inches in the 17th and 18th centuries, rising again through the 19th century and only reaching prior heights in the first half of the 20th century. An article on the study by Richard Steckel appears in the Social Science History journal.
    If that isn't evolution to adapet and survive during times of need Then what is it? I love how whack jobs come out of the woodwork during election year it let's us know who our crazy neighbors are.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  19. christina knight

    Congressman Broun has demonstrated that he is stupid, but is he any less stupid than the idiots who keep re-electing him to office. If this man remains on the committee after publicly embarassing the USA before the entire world the GOP should be ashamed.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  20. Rufus T. Firefly

    What's amazing and shocking to me is not just that this guy is a pathetic ignoramus, it's that when his idiocy is exposed so many people come scrambling forward to proclaim, "I'm a pathetic ignoramus too! I'm a pathetic ignoramus too!"

    It just makes me .... shocked and sad.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:36 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.