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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. Harry Long

    There is certainly no law against stupidity, but I wish there would be a law against it in candidates for Congress. It's hard to believe that in 2012 a Congressman could be so ignorant.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Mike D

      Years of Republicans relying on rube bait electoral strategies has a certain blowback...eventually the rubes start electing other rubes. It's not just Broun...the modern GOP is infested with these throwbacks now. It's sad, because there was a time when the Republicans were an intellectual party. Even Barry Goldwater was shaking his head over what they had become toward the end of his life.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  2. falcon

    Just look at the milky way, and realize that all those points of light are suns, and most likely have solar systems. And we're to think we're special, or that god looks down and says "Oh, I see that Joe has a problem, well, let me fix it"

    October 11, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      No. It was god that had the problem. He was po'd for so long, that he made his son go die, so he could feel better.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  3. capnmike

    What an idiot! You could whack these religious-nut clowns upside the head with a dinosaur bone and still not be able to knock some common sense into them. This jerk should be removed from any part of the government.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Claude Gothic

      Unfortunately, he was voted into power by some other idiots...not much we can do about it.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  4. Darth Cheney

    It's not even news anymore. Wake me up when you find a Republican who "believes" 2+2=4.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Mittens

      I may have held that position at one time and I certainly can again if its what they want in Ohio.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • 2+2=5

      For large values of 2. Find a Dem that understands that.

      Insulting an entire group of people is idiotic isn't it.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  5. ArthurP

    The question should be “Why do Americans want their political parties to be associated with a genocidal mass murdering terrorist:

    "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead." (Exodus 12:29-30)

    (terrorism – killing those with no political power to force political change by those with political power)

    October 11, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  6. Michael

    This guy, and the likes of him, are just as dangerous if not more so, than the Taliban. Keep your religious beliefs to yourself you moron.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  7. Angela Long

    Why is this person serving on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology? I'm very concerned – how can he possibly serve on a committee he denies the principles of? This counters our best interest... We have to make sure he is removed.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Claude Gothic

      This is like the people who home school their kids or send them to religious schools trying to get on the school board to slash the budget as much as possible.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  8. a Quatroni

    Another religious weirdo that believes in imaginary things. And guys like this run the country? No wonder it's all screwed up.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  9. spangler

    If life exists on say 100 other planets, did He appear on all of them and offer the teachings?

    October 11, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Craboo

      We have well over 100 billion other planets. There are more planets in the universe then grains of sand on every beach on earth.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Theodoric of York

      "teachings"? You mean stuff that sounds like it was written by someone with severe mental problems?
      I do not think that word means what you think it means.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • ArthurP

      Christian Fundamentalist: Life only exists on Earth. God made it so.

      Scientist find life on another Planet.

      Christian Fundamentalist: Intelligent life only exists on Earth. God made it so.

      Scientist find intelligent life on another Planet.

      Christian Fundamentalist: Intelligent life with a soul only exists on Earth. God made it so.

      Alien missionaries arrive to save the souls of the people of Earth by spreading the word of the True God who's only daughter was born, preached, and died on their planet.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  10. Craboo

    If the church does not invent new lies then people will continue to leave. The largest growing group is the non religious. Get with it!!! Invent someone else sent by your lord to write new rules like they did when the bible was written. Until then I chose to follow modern science then a book written by man 1500 years ago.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Bruce

      Joseph Smith did just that.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  11. Michael

    Leave your religious beliefs out of politics in this country you moron. I could care less what you believe. And you should care less what I believe! Go to church if you like, great. Just don't bring these silly beliefs with you when you cast your votes on issues which affect my country.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  12. GO_GOP

    Broun is my hero. I like it when people are honest. May God bless him. We need this rejection of political correctness that we see from him. Seek Jesus.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Michael

      Seek Jesus on your on time. Some of us do and don't let it get in the way of this little idea of separation of church and state.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      seek medical treatment and keep religion out of politics.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Claude Gothic

      Sure, he was being honest in his talk at the church, but too bad he's also stupid.
      And he'll be dishonest and say his remarks were taken out of context during the upcoming firestorm.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • capnmike

      Go seek your dead guy on your own time, and keep your ridiculous beliefs out of our government.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      @ Go_GOP
      ........
      ........
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvBUkmdpil0&w=640&h=390]

      October 11, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • BD

      And yet its equally terrifying to those of us who don't believe given that this man is in a position of public authoirty over the sciences and for him to say this means that he is fundemtally ignoring or not understanding the basic facts on the subject established by the scientific community that he is supposed to have a hand in the local governance of.

      Personally, I believe in the coexistance of creationism and a belief in evolution. I think its hubris to believe that we fully understand the mechanism of God's creation or have some certain knowledge of the time scale. If there were dinosaurs, then that must be part of what happened, same goes for the fact that millions of years must have past. The literal translation of the bible by modern christianity is the only thing that keeps these two conceps from being reconcilable.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      BD
      That's just as ignorant. Creationism is no science, and there is not a shred of evidence for it. Evolution is a science. By that model, ANY nutty belief system is to be held equal. Do YOU hold equal the belief that there is a 1957 Chevy orbiting Pluto ? No. The comparison is false, and dangerous.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Cynic

      "We need this rejection of political correctness."

      No, what you really mean is that we need a rejection of common sense, logic, and fact.

      You can still be a Christian and reject the stupidity that you and Braun are spewing.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  13. Stefan Radu

    To Rufus: you mention computers – they were manufactured by intelligent beings. Nature cannot do that. But the human brain and millions of other artifacts around us are not made by people. How come that non-intelligent matter can do things superior to those made by intelligent beings? The truth is that far above everything we know and see was the Great Scientist who made all things. This is logic, this is reasoning, this is common sense, this is science.
    Stefan

    October 11, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • ArthurP

      The same principles that enable a computer to world enabled life to start.

      So it took 4.5 billion years for the computer to be created.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • God

      I mean really Stefan, the word in blue "Reply", what do you find so difficult. You are embarassing me, why don't you switch to one of the other guys Zeus, Brahma, Vishnu, Chu Jung, The FSM, anyone but me.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Stefan Radu" is an instance of the Argument from Ignorance fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      October 11, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • fintastic

      @stefan "Great Scientist who made all things."

      Do you mean the "Great Pumpkin"??

      October 11, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  14. Jurassic Pork

    God creates man
    Man destroys god
    man creates dinosaur
    dinosaur eats man
    woman inherit the earth.

    Doctor Elly Saddler.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  15. Jeff

    Proof of evolution.. Mankind will all pretty much look the same in say 10,,000 years due to transportation technology and integration... Proof of Evolution we can see in vaccine / medicine resistant disease. Evolution is just a real as gravity.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • a4mrtheist

      How does one even argue with those who think like this? Its scary to think they are running this country,

      October 11, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • NightOps

      Except that gravity is a known fact, and evolution is just a theory. Kind of like the *fact* that God is a theory...just one that pure Science has no use for because there is no way to prove or disprove God's existence.

      Evolution isn't a fact, this is not new news. Until definitive Scientific proof provides evolution means to be termed a "fact", there is no reason to get your undies in a twist when other people point out their theories.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Dave

      Watch the movie Idiocracy. It is a perfect example of what I am afraid mankind will look lke in the not to distant future. It's hilarious, but the underlying premise is scary as hell.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Nii

      dON'T WORRY IDIOTS ALREADY RULE THE eARTH THEY ARE CALLED POLITICIANS. aTHEIST ONES ARE THE mOST STUPID. aSK cAMBODIANS! LOL

      October 11, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  16. Mike D

    He was actually the lesser of two evils in his last race, and this time he's running unopposed.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      This is what is wrong with our voting process. We have to vote for the "lesser of the two evils" BS...why I refuse to vote

      October 11, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Amniculi

      Hmm...maybe next time I'll go run against him...

      October 11, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  17. dragonfire77

    It frightens me how many GOP members on the Science and Tech committee have a staunchly anti-science viewpoint. And we wonder why standards for learning of science and engineering are falling in this country.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Mike D

      Perhaps they're secretly on the payrolls of the Chinese or the Indians, both of whom would love to be the world leader in science.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Lucifer1

      That's the idea, get on the science & tech committee to make sure that nothing goes forward...

      October 11, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • NightOps

      There is nothing unscientific about a religious perspective. It allows us to keep questioning what we *assume* we already know. Remember, a theory is not a fact. Evolution and God are both theories. Until there is defining proof of one over the other (which there currently is *not*), there is no reason to be drawn into debates about it. The purpose of Science is to keep uncovering the mysteries of life.

      Let us not forget, it was the Christian religion that first began the field of Science to further understand the world that they believe God created.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • snowboarder

      niteop – god is not a theory. it is mythology.

      science is not a product of christianity, that is just plain stupid. science was practiced in every civilization around the world.

      what a bunch of hooey.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Damocles

      @Night

      How does the statement 'my deity did everything' allow for any questioning?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  18. Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

    All Evolution deniers are liars. If they or their family members were in prison, and DNA could get them out, they would use it. They are too ignorant to get why DNA proves Evolution to be true.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • NightOps

      Ok, I'll take the bait. How does DNA prove evolution (the natural increase in genetic information) exists?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      .....
      .....
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX_WH1bq5HQ&w=640&h=390]

      October 11, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      .....
      .....
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V__a5cpn4j0&w=640&h=390]

      October 11, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Joe

      Hi Fluffy,

      Even in the worm that crawls in the earth there glows a divine spark. When you slaughter a creature, you slaughter God.

      Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882)

      October 11, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  19. Lucifer1

    I object to being mentioned in these posts, don't take my name in vain....

    October 11, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Joe

      Its okay my dark brother....let these minions have their way for now...we will sort them out later

      October 11, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  20. Stefan Radu

    To SR: footprints of men and dinosaurs have been found in the same places. Interesting, isn't it?
    Stefan

    October 11, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • dragonfire77

      *facapalm* learn what an isotope is, then post again.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • I have many names

      Proof it happened at the same time?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • snowboarder

      radu – every one i have ever seen mentioned has been debunked as a fraud or other dinosaur prints.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Interesting that anyone would fall for that....

      October 11, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • ialsoagree

      Actually, no, they haven't. Every such claim that's ever been made has been debunked as false.

      But if you spread lies long enough, maybe they'll become true right?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • SR

      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/paluxy.html

      BTW, I'm also religious but don't believe everything in the bible is suppose to be taken literally.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "I'm also religious but don't believe everything in the bible is suppose to be taken literally."

      then you aren't religious.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • God

      Stefan
      I am sorry that some of my creations are slow learners, it is the small blue word at the bottom "Reply".

      October 11, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • mama kindless

      Well a palaeontological site and the field trip of some idiot kids in a red state don't mix.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • NightOps

      Being "religious" means to be in search of God... Not sure if you were aware. Being religious doesn't mean you ascribe to any particular system of belief. If you said you were Christian, then I would expect you to completely adhere to the Christian Bible. If you were Islamic, I would expect you to adhere completely to the Quran.

      So are you saying you can ascribe to a particular system of belief, without adhering to ALL of it's related text? Sounds pretty flimsy to me. If a god cannot do 100% of the things they claim to do, then they aren't much of a god.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Nii

      Atheists the word, religious, does not mean being in search of God.
      It means a. a believer in a certain religion
      b. a member of a monastic community
      c. a pious person
      d. a dogmatic follower of a certain religion.
      These definitions are as far apart from each other as can possibly be!

      October 11, 2012 at 10:53 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.