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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. Lmerr

    Evolution and The Big Bang Theory are just that, unproven theory. They are a best guess based on considerably little evidence given the enormity of their subject. It may one day be proven, until then, those of you blasting religion and praising this unproven science have the same blind faith you belittle others for having.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      At least scientific theory is peer reviewed and revised when new evidence arises, rather than just accepting a manmade and edited book as fact without any evidence.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Lmerr

      Scientific theory is not man made?

      October 11, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Cq

      It's more than just a "best guess". It's more like having a criminal case where you have all kinds of evidence supporting the theory that the accused is guilty. I mean: Finger prints, DNA, video surveillance, eyewitness testimony, and everything else you've ever seen on CSI and more. You have all that evidence against the accused, but if creationists were on the defence all they would have are character witnesses from those who love the accused.

      That's all creationists have in reality. Their whole case is based on their love of God and faith that the Bible hasn't lied to them. If you were on a jury, would you acquit somebody just because they have character witnesses saying that they wouldn't lie?

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

      I'm not trying to prove anything to you. All I'm saying is the jury is still out. Theories have changed immensely in our history. Believe what you want, it doesn't make it fact. Sound familiar?

      October 11, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Hunter

      Oh but some big invisble guy created it all, huh? Then sent out his flying men, demons, and talking bushes.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Bruce

      Sorry, the jury is not out, except in your mind. Even Answers in Genesis (Google it) warns against using your "just a theory" argument. Gotta do better than that.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Cq

      Lmerr
      No, the jury is not still out. Evolution has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. All you have left is unreasonable doubt, the assertions of God's loyal fandom who use the equivalent of conspiracy theories to reassure themselves that the Bible is still accurate.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Lmerr

      The jury is certainly still out. See, if you just said that you think this stuff could be a true explanation that would be one thing. But the certainty with which you believe it to be true is only a further indication of a belief system not based on certainty. We are the same in that regard.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Veritas

      There is a mountain of evidence for evolution – DNA alone makes an incontrovertible case. Plus fossils; simpler organisms in older rocks; etc.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • TheRationale

      Lmerr has made it clear that he/she is scientifically ignorant and does not understand the word theory, nor any theories such as evolution or the big bang. The solution to this is better science education and getting rid of congressmen like the one featured here who clearly are not capable of making a better future for the country's education system.

      October 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Cq

      Lmerr
      The "jury" in this case is the scientific community that peer reviews research and is the only body qualified to judge. What you're talking about is the court of popular opinion.

      October 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  2. wake up

    Wake up scientists! When a creationist doesn't agree with you, they don't choose to be humble or study. THEY REPLACE YOU.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • SR

      How would they replace a scientist?

      October 11, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • farside6262

      Broun is NO scientist and unfortunately, I do not see him being "replaced".

      October 11, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Missy

      You pressure Congress not to fund their research, that's how.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • farside6262

      @ Missy, Broun does no research, he reads the bible. Research requires rational, unbiased adherence to the scientific method; those who close their eyes, cover their ears and yell "nah, nah, nah" cannot conduct or understand research.

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

      farside6262
      I was just saying how ordinary creationists, as untrained in science as they are, can hamper scientific research in this country. They actually do replace scientists by choosing to believe evolution deniers over the professionals who are actually doing real research. They also do it by homeschooling their kids instead of having them educated by qualified teachers with science degrees.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  3. DDH

    Now, now... All these comments about this guy's medical creditials are a little over the top. I'm sure he's cured many horses in his day.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Kt

      That's an insult to veterinarians.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • mama k

      Lol. Isn't it weird, though, how some doctors won't take care of their own health? This one needs to go to the OR and get that Gullible's Travels book out of his a**.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  4. Nick-o

    My great great great great granddaddy was a dinosaur herder. He would wake up every morning to milk the triceratops and gather raptor bird eggs to feed the family. True story.

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

      It may be obvious to most here, but Triceratops were not mammals, and therefore could not be milked.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  5. asm_ith

    An example to show the absurdity of things in the Bible is the number "666". The Book of Revelation was written hundreds of years before the digits 0 thru 9 from Hindu/Arab number system. The number systems at the time used letters from their alphabets to represent things; e.g., DCLXVI is 666 in Roman numerals.

    Another example is the so-called "Bible code", where people look at the Bible and pull out words and phrases from letters horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. There are numerous problems with this approach. It all depends on exactly how one prints the Bible, i.e., the number of letters per line & the number of lines per page. It depends on the language. One place pulled the word "assassin", yet printed in a different language, the same letters might spell a word that is not the word "assassin" in the language. The whole thing is just silly.

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

      Of course it's silly. It's the great book of pick-n-choose. It's like a book "kit" write it yourself, make it mean what YOU want it to mean.

      Is it the "word of god" or not???............ "well, some of it is, and some of it's not"..... we'll be hearing that pretty soon.
      It's constantly being adjusted in a lame attempt to fit reality.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  6. Billy

    A weekend ago I was with my Brother-in-law watching a program on the science channel, a young college guy, don't remember the name but he was doing all kinds science stuff and he talked with a guy he identified had been working on the Grand Canyon rock formations all his life, he asked him how long it took the amount of water necessary to carve the exposed rocks into the formation we know as the Grand Canyon and he answered a day or two.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Lisa

      Scary!

      October 11, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  7. Jen

    If he is "...a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.", things are looking bleak for this country.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Danny

      Yep. And Michelle "I can cure the gays" Bachman is on the Intelligence Committee. We are without hope. No even Obi Wan can help us now.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  8. steve

    "a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist " He is a scientist!? Sorry but his words automatically discount him ever being a scientist. Scientists require rational thought ... something is does not have.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  9. Ross

    As a Christian who believes in evolution let me say somenthing.
    The BIble is not, not, a science book nor is it a history book. Science and religion can coexist. It's amazing to me. The more we understand about our universe the more questions we have.
    Also, god is not a Democrat or a Republican. He is not liberal or conservative.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Jim

      If you don't think that the Bible is a history, or science book do you trust it's opinion on the existence of God? If so, why?

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

      So, science and religion can be friends according to the son-worshippers, hey? Hmmmmm, let's see.

      Science – Hello Religion, I'm science. I am about 3,000 years old.

      Religion – Hello Science, I am older than you. As far as we can tell, I go back about 40,000 years or more. There is even evidence that Neanderthals practiced me.

      Science – Really!! How do we know that, Religion?

      Religion – Because of you.

      Science – So, Religion, what do you do?

      Religion – Well, in the USA, I give comfort to not very smart people by letting them think that a being powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies will cause them to live happily ever after in heaven after they die if they follow some rules laid down by ignorant farmers and herders in the Middle East 2,000 years ago.

      Science – You're kidding me. They buy that?

      Religion – You'd be surprised. Not only that, but in poorer, less educated parts of the World, I can actually convince people to hit themselves until they bleed, starve themselves, bob in front of a stone wall for hours on end, wade into filthy rivers and, in some cases, to kill other people or even themselves.

      Science – Oh my goodness, I'm not sure I want to be your friend. Do you do any good?

      Religion – I sell a lot of books. And what about you science, what do you do?

      Science – I relieve pain and cure disease. I also extend lives, allow travel, communication, and people to understand and control their environment. I allow humans to explore outer space, the bottom of the oceans and subatomic particles. In short, I have allowed humans to live longer, more informed lives, and with a degree of knowledge and comfort once never dreamed of.

      Religion – Wow, they buy that?

      Science – No, of course not. Unlike you, I have to deliver. I cannot claim something and avoid skepticism by alleging that it only happens after you die, or that my claim is "beyond understanding" or otherwise exempt from critical analysis or proof.

      Religion – That's gotta suck.

      Science – You get used to it. Anyway, I need a friend I can rely on. One of substance, not dreams. One of proof, not spoof and one of intellectual discipline, not flakey promises. I don't think we can be friends. Please go away.

      Religion – Now we both know that's not going to happen.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Billy

      I liked what jim said

      October 11, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Ross

      So anyone who believes in religion is not very smart? WOW
      If you only believe in things that you can see or 100% verify that is pretty sad.

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

      Colin, you're cool :)

      October 11, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Ross

      Jim, is their history in the book, yes. But it's not a history book. Just like a biography has history in it, but it's not a history book.
      I don't believe in God just because the bible says god exists.
      If you really read and understand what Jesus said and what he did and you understand how absolutely revolutionary it was you'd believe in him too.
      Men simply did not do nor think about doing, 2000 years ago, what he did.
      You cannot think about Jesus's actions 2000 years ago and put them in our modern day and western world.
      If you actually do some research on life back then you'll see that what he did was mind blowing.
      That someone, or some people, could just make all this up. The things he did and said, completely lacks credibility.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Jim

      Ross
      What you're describing is the difference between the Davy Crockett of dime books and Walt Disney who wrestled bears and the Davy Crockett that can be proven through historical means. First you say that you believe despite what the Bible says and then you reference what the Bible says to back up what you believe. Don't you see the problem here, how circular your reasoning actually is?

      Then you say that Jesus' actions are out of context in our modern-day. Why follow his example, or teaching then?

      Have you read many other ancient myths? What those characters did were even more mind-blowing than Jesus' deeds yet there are very few people who would even consider the possibility that any of them are literally true.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  10. N.Shapiro

    Another Congressional jerk.
    Bible literalism is wrong, but some make their idol from print,and don't look for truth.
    Note that there are TWO different creation accounts in Genesis, each has much to teach us, but neither should be taken literally, as "fundamentalista" do for the first account, and they ignore the second one. Both are poetry.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  11. sokesky

    What the heck is wrong with this guy, and what idiot put him on the Science Committee?

    October 11, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • mre2

      Speaker of the House, The Honorable John Boehner

      October 11, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • sokesky

      mre2, that explains a lot. Thanks.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • farside6262

      CNN just doesn't want me to point this out, blocked twice. Let's try it this way...Akins is on the same "Science" Committee. He coined the term "legitimate ra*e" recently. Hope this one passes the censors, Americans do need to who is making laws and actually appointed to the Science and Technology Committee.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  12. TheRationale

    Have the guy debate someone who is actually qualified. It only need to be a few minutes. Have him fail at defending his beliefs and make a fool of himself. It's scary that these are the people who hold office in this country.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • AGeek

      Want *truly* scary? This guy is on the House Committee for Science and Technology. ..near as I can tell, he's the example of why it's important, lest we churn out students as dumb as he is.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  13. Striker

    Monarchos. Has science been able to tell how earth came to be and where humans came from?

    October 11, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Primewonk

      Yes. And folks who paid attention in junior high science can explain it to you.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Mike D

      Striker, you are getting ready to launch into a god of the gaps fallacy. Science does not have all the answers, no. But that does not automatically mean God did it. Even if it did, it doesn't prove that your god did it. Might've been Odin for all you know.

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

      Yes and yes.
      Earth formed over many years (Google it for the specifics) and humans came from a process called evolution by natural selection (Google that too for the specifics).

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

      Chemistry and physics.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Rudolf Rocker

      @Primewonk :: Awesome

      October 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  14. Rudolf Rocker

    This is so sad... comically sad. The Republic is failing my friends. Rome burns and these idiots play the fiddle and sing stupidity to their uneducated, self-righteous and bigoted pulpit.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Mike D

      We've always had young Earth creationists, evolution deniers, and other primatives in positions of power. I consider it a mark of progress that Broun is actually under scrutiny for this. Not too long ago, a congressmen trumpeting this kind of ignorance would've garnered a few praise-the-Lords from the audience and there would've been no story to report.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  15. Bill D.

    How can he dispel The Big Bang Theory? It's one of the best shows on TV!

    October 11, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • SR

      It's not funnier than 30 Rock.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Joe

      What about the Zeppelin movie?

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

    What is Rep. Broun taking this nonsense for? God created the world on Tuesday along with all the evidence of 6,000 years of existence, including the Bible, the dinosaur bones and rock layers. Rep. Broun, prove that wrong.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  17. George Marshall

    It's scary that there are people like Representative Broun who are still living in the Dark Ages. The universe is, within a few decimal places, 13.6 billion years old, the earth 4.5 to 4.6 billion, and there is fossil evidence of life on earth as far back as 3.4 and possibly 3.8 billion years.

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

      thank God you're in the light...now steer this ship aright!

      October 11, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  18. albie

    Wow, just wow - I will think very differently about the state of Georgia going forward – had no idea they were THAT inbred and religiously brainwashed

    October 11, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Joe

      yeah....that whole state should be leveled into a parking lot since us intelligent others know better

      October 11, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  19. ROMNEY2012

    WHO IS OBAMA TO CAST A STONE AT THE RIGHTEOUS AND GOD SUPPORTED WORKS OF MITT ROMNEY?
    OBAMA IS THE DESTROYER OF THE GREAT WORKS CREATED BY THE LORDS PEOPLE UNDER REGAN
    WHY SUPPORT THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL HIMSELF?
    IT'S BETTER TO DEVOUR THE FLESH OF YOUR OWN CHILDREN THAN TO VOTE FOR THE KENYAN SATANIC MUSLIM
    ROMNEY WILL BRING PROSPERITY AND JOY TO THE EARTH WITH HIS GREAT WORKS, APPROVED BY THE LORD!
    OUR ROMNEY
    WHO ART IN HEAVEN
    HALLOWED BE THY NAME
    THY KINGDOM COME
    THY WILL BE DONE
    ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
    GIVE US THIS DAY RELIEF OF TAXES
    AND FORGIVE US OUR MISTAKES OF VOTING FOR OBAMA FOUR YEARS AGO
    AND LEAD US NOT TO SOCIALISM
    AND DELIVER US FROM SATANS DEMOCRATS
    FOR THE GOP WILL DELIVER THE KINGDOM
    AND THE POWER
    AND THE GLORY
    FOREVER
    AMEN

    GOD BLESS AMERICA AND GOD BLESS HIS CHOSEN ONE MITT ROMNEY!

    October 11, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Snopes concurs that...

      YOU ARE A DELUSIONAL RETARD

      October 11, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Mike D

      Romney is not a Christian. Mormons are not Christians.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • George Marshall

      numbskull.

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

      people like you are just plain scary - I really wish someday that this country can purge the uneducated and mentally challenged (chrisitans)

      October 11, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Matt R.

      0/10

      October 11, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • E. Wilkins

      Sounds like someone needs to stop living in a fantasy and start living in reality. Where your dear and fluffy friends in your imagination have no sway over man.

      Wake up you delusional fools.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Itsall Tuna

      Does this need the sarcasm enclosure tags or are you ?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • satan

      wow...all that uppercase made me blind.

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

      It is typical of someone who favors the side he "seems" to be critisizing. This fellow is a democrat, and will surely vote for Obama. Mind, I am European, so I have nothing to do with this :-) I wish you Americans the best with whoever gets elected.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Joe

      Jimmy Page for President !

      October 11, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  20. Joe

    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 9:51 am |
    • ArthurP

      Bold Faced Lie!!!! (you will go to H.ell for that)

      Even in the worm that crawls in the earth there glows a divine spark. When you slaughter a creature, you slaughter God.
      —Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer and Nobel laureate (1902–1991)

      October 11, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Joe

      you believe in hell? Wow

      October 11, 2012 at 10:15 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.