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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. Larry

    Nye is quoted as saying about Broun: Broun "is, by any measure, unqualified to make decisions about science, space, and technology."

    I am sure he is qualified based on his education (he is a medical doctor by training and has studied science), but he becomes disqualified based on his beliefs regarding the age of the Earth and universe.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Cynic

      Honestly, would you go to a medical doctor who believed what Braun believes?

      No, you'd be afraid that he would bleed you with leeches or try praying the illness out of you.

      The university that gave this man a diploma should now have the right to rescind it.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • MarkinFL

      He is disqualified for ignoring his science training. He clearly does not believe in science at all. To be a strict creationist requires one to ignore irrefutable scientific data with regard to the age of the earth and data about its formation.
      You'll notice he will only disagree with science that disagrees with the bible.
      Somehow scientists are right whenever it does not disagree with an ancient myth, but always wrong when they do.
      This fool uses technology everyday that would never have worked if the scientists were so wrong about everything.

      He can argue evolution all day long ( Even the Catholic church agrees with evolution) but when these nuts stray into the young earth realm they lose all possible credibility with regard to science.

      He should resign from the science committee as a matter of principal. And I mean his own.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  2. athensguy

    onlineathens. com/opinion/2012-10-09/uga-scientists-respond-rep-broun
    extra spaces added before "com"

    October 11, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  3. Cynic

    State of Georgia = r3dn3ck c * r * a * c * k * e * r * s

    October 11, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • ATLWmn

      Oh please, every state has their trash. The learned people of our state know that evolution is fact and that even with religion, it's undeniable truth. Don't lump a few idiots with an entire state, unless you'd like to admit where you're from. I'm sure your region has a few skeletons too.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  4. more2bits

    Another brain washed idiot in Congress. Let him join the Taliban same difference.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  5. Andrew

    "Atheistic evolution".

    lol, it's called "evolution", CNN. No need to attach unnecessary adjectives to a scientific term. It just makes it seem less legit, when it has more evidence than gravity.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Cynic

      Agreed. Absolutely stupid. It is entirely possible to believe in evolution and believe in God.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Was that "gravity controlled by God" or "atheistic Gravity"?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Jen

      Agreed.
      '46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution.' No kidding...this is hard for me to believe.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • ArthurP

      You don't believe in evolution. You either accept or reject the underlying science.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • kjfuller7

      I don't believe in gravity. K!

      October 11, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • John Wilson

      Evidence? Where is it?
      Even with ALL the Bio Technology of these days, humans have NOT been able to CREATE a SINGLE LIVING CELL!
      If even a controlled process can't create a Living Cell, how in the world can people believe that they were created by 'pure chance' It is really beyond me how Brained Washed people are and they don't realize it :-(

      October 11, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  6. ArthurP

    It appears the the United States is going the way of the Muslim world in the12th century.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Mike D

      Yep, and for those who don't know, before the 12th century the Muslim world was the center of scientific learning in the world. Then religious nutjobs took over and now the Middle East is largely a subliterate third world sinkhole. It can happen to America too, you know, if we give the reins completely to the fundies.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Joe

      Ummm...third world sinkhole??? What does that make us if that's where we send billions of dollars....sinkhole investors?

      October 11, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  7. Striker

    Finally a congress man that I can look up to. He is exactly right, when our founding fathers created the declaration of independence, where do you think it came from, the bible. The bible is our foundation, without it, this nation will crumble!

    October 11, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • ArthurP

      It seems that Americans not only do not have an understanding of science they also do not even know their own history.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Mike D

      Mmmm, Jesus Kool-Aid. Do yourself a favor, Striker, and look up Deism. That's what our founding fathers were. As a philosophy it's about as far as you can get from modern fundamentalism without breaking into outright atheism.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Damocles

      @Striker

      So the Declaration was in the bible the whole time and those durn founding fathers just ripped it right out and said 'yeah, we'll go with that'?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  8. Bryan

    "...a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology." God help us all, the next Dark Ages must be right around the corner ... in this country anyway.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Joe

      God... Bryan?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • kjfuller7

      I know right? In the dying days of organized religion, the last believers will fight tooth and nail to preserve their understanding of life. A very real depiction of these "revelations" is presented in the movie "Book of Eli", check it out. Gary Oldman is desperate to recover the "book" that will let him control what's left of mankind. Man is an evolved wild animal and if civilized nations fall, life will certainly revert to survival of the fittest. K!

      October 11, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  9. Not Likely

    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

    What part of the many books that make up the "bible' does he use? Is he pro-slavery? Does he vote for stoning people who work on the sabbath? Does he vote for death penalty for infidels? I seriously doubt he even knows what is in that repugnant book.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • ArthurP

      That was one of the major reasons against translating the bible from Latin into common tongues, to keep people ignorant of what it actually said.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Ross

      Apparently you don't either.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Ross, I've read your bible a couple of times.
      The only thing amazing about it is that someone managed to create a book that was at once violent, cruel and perverted, yet is still boring, redundant.

      If it were not the basis of their religion most fundies would try to ban it if it were published today.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  10. Monarchos

    Like ANY scientific idea, all one has to do is design an experiment and. like thousands of scientists before, the results will tell the truth. Facts not some nebulous "faith". A new Dark ages awaits if more than a small percentage of these goons are accepted as having ANY credibility.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Ed

      That box has been checked. See the very exciting ecoli experiment under Dr. Lemskey at the University of Michigan.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • John Wilson

      You hit it! Experiment, that's the key!

      A Theory can ONLY be proven is the events can demonstrated if you can do an Experiment that proves that the Theory is true.

      Do you know how many Living Cells have been created in a Lab Experiment? Answer = 0, Zero, Nada!

      Case closed! Evolution is a pure lie.

      If even a controlled Bio Technology process can't create a Living Cell, how in the world can people believe that they were created by 'pure chance' It is really beyond me how Brained Washed people are and they don't realize it :-(

      October 11, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Bruce

      "Facts are stubborn things." – John Adams

      October 11, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Bruce

      JW, you need to learn just a little bit about the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. It has absolutely nothing to do with creating life. Zero, nada, zip.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  11. Damocles

    He's a doctor? Seriously? That can't be good.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Not Likely

      He is now a congressman, elected to lead. I'm not sure which is more scary.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Damocles

      @Not

      Hard to say. I expect some people in power to get a little tipsy on power and say stupid things, but I don't think I'd be to keen on the guy I trust to cut me open being less than intelligent.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • steve

      He puts his hand on the head and says "you are healed."

      October 11, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  12. SeaTigr

    Can a medical school rescind an M.D.? Considering that radiocarbon dating can conclusively determine the age of fossil samples up to 60,000 years old, the only way the Earth could be 6,000-10,000 years old would be if G*d purposely created the natural world in a manner designed to conceal His acts.

    Maybe it's just me, but I can't see any reason for Him to do that.

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

      Braun got his degree from an insert in a religious tract.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Joe

      And cranberry juice will clean a urinary tract.....you going to the Zeppelin movie wednesday?

      October 11, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  13. Joe

    he forgot to say the earth is flat and that the sun revolves around us....according to the bible

    October 11, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • John Wilson

      Actually, the Bible shows quite clearly that the Earth rotates around the Sun.
      This was clearly stated thousands of years ago; well before the 'scientist' found that out :-)

      October 11, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Joe

      Hey buddy, you going to the Zeppelin movie Wed?

      October 11, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  14. Miyafuji

    Ugh... even people on the freaking science board are literally saying this... the heck is wrong with the US these days...

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

      It happens when religion becomes science. When religion replaces rational thought.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Joe

      Wow Steve....tell me something rational....you genius you

      October 11, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  15. spangler

    The OT was written by the leaders of a Middle Eastern tribe who wanted land, power, money, slaves, multiple wives, loyalty and a blessing on whatever they wanted to do and wrote a book that said God wanted them to have these things. This vision became harder to sell after the conquest by Rome, and was changed to a loving diety of all the world. That's the big picture.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  16. ArthurP

    @Stefan Radu:

    It took 4.5 billion years for the computer to be created by nature. Man was an intermediate step.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  17. HERB

    "And then there was light." Sure sounds like the Big Bang to me.

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

      Nope. Not even close. The early universe was way too hot and way too dense for there to be visible light. The universe had to expand and cool for 300,000 years before there was light.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  18. Evenstar13

    As a Christian, I believe that God created everything in six days, thats creationism. I also believe in evolution, as the evidence is indeed quite plain. That leads to a conundrum; how can both arguments be true? The obvious argument is that only one can be true, yet, I have learned that both can be and are true; that they are the opposing sides of the same coin. 2 Peter 3:8 gives us the answer, "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Think about it, you have been around forever and are going to be around forever and you created time itself; whats a day to you? Nowhere in the bible does it state that a day is 24 hours, but it does give us several metaphors of which this is but one. Everything was created in six days as the bible states, but, it was six of Gods days, which are much longer than puny human days.

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

      Hate to break this to you but your great great great.......grandparents were mud puppies.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • SR

      Good Post.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Lewis Black on Evolution & Myths About the OT (like the six day thing)

      October 11, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Evenstar13

      Dre:
      As was nearly all life at one time

      October 11, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      That god didn't know he was talking to humans, and could not explain himself clearly. Mighty dumb, powerless god ya got there.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Evenstar13

      fluffy the gerbil of doom:
      You misspelled powerful.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Sez You

      'Everything was created in six days as the bible states, but, it was six of Gods days, which are much longer than puny human days.'

      How do you come to that conclusion? How do you know that Gods days weren't, say, 1/10 of a second? Sources please.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Damocles

      @even

      Many metaphors to describe a day? Really? So a day can be anything you want it to be as long as you think it justifies your posistion?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Damocles

      @even

      Seems you are ok with fulffy calling your deity dumb. Weird.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Evenstar13

      Sez you:
      "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 2 Peter 3:8
      A nano second or a billion years, either or. Scientific evidence says the earth is billions of years old. God says he did it in six days. You figure it out.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Evenstar13

      Damocles:
      If you read the bible you will see that it is filled with metaphors.
      I am NOT ok with fluffys opinion of God, but it is her opinion, and she can, in the fullness of time, explain her opinion to God himself. I am pretty sure he would like an explanaition.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Damocles

      @even

      What use does a deity have with metaphors? A day is a day, a year is a year, a second is a second. No need to be all coy and mysterious, that's how bad feelings and wars get started. Can't your deity ever say what it means and mean what it says? Is your deity not smart enough to know that maybe some good old fashion proof would solve some of the issues?

      October 11, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Paul

      It's nice to know there are still Christians out there who can use creativity, critical thinking, and simple logic to rationalize their beliefs. I can't say I'm a Christian anymore, but I definitely thought along these lines as a child, and wondered why adults even had to argue about evolution vs. creation. I have a great deal of respect for thinking religious people.

      By the way, you ever notice that the Genesis account also parallels evolution? First fish and birds, then land-based critters, then people. Evolution is so intuitive that even ancient mythology writers got it more or less correct.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Damocles

      @Paul

      So you are saying that humans are the wanted end result of deific evolution? Seems like your deity had no problem killing off tons of species so we could come along.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  19. Taskmaster

    It's fine for liberals to have and spout their own opinions but let anyone else have and voice an opinion that doesn't agree with them and it's "off with their heads" The typical response of Liberals, Muslims and Nazis. Thank GOD that the rest of America is waking up to the Fact that liberal want no one but them to have freedom of speech or even the freedom to think.

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

      And thinking that way is the best thing for the Canadian unemployment problem as it will force companies and investment move north to find an educated workforce.

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

      There is freedom of speech and thought in the GOP? Any Republican that strays from the purist's ideology is labeled a RINO and has campaign funding cut off.

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

      He's on the House Committee on Science and doesn't believe in science.... .... makes perfect sense.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  20. dre

    Wow. 46% of Americans believe in creationism?! I honestly had no idea I was living among so many whacked out re.tards.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Taskmaster

      Talk about whacked out retards. At least we don't believe that somehow NOTHING exploded and created something. Scientist can't agree if "The big bang" is right or if "evolution" is correct. If the morons that wont admit that there higher power than them would do stop trying to convince the rest of the world that THEY are God maybe our children would grow up less stupid.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • fintastic

      @taskmaster so as far as growing up stupid, what's your excuse??

      October 11, 2012 at 10:11 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.