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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. SR

    What created the subatomic particle that was the universe before the big bang?

    October 11, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • ME II

      I assume you mean 'singularity'.
      We don't know.
      What's your point?

      October 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • SR

      Just making conversation.

      October 11, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • SR

      I’m sorry that was me just making conversation. I was getting at that since we don’t know it is not absurd to think that God created this.

      October 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Veritas

      Since we don’t know it is not absurd to think that God did not create this. What created god? If a god can just exist so can a universe. No need for a middleman.

      October 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      SR,

      That is a logical fallacy called an 'argument from ignorance'.

      "I don't know how it happened therefore god did it".

      You could replace "god" with something else and it would make just as much sense.

      "I don't know how it happened therefore invisible pixies did it".

      October 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  2. WASP

    this guy is just pandering to the religious pleabs to get re-elected that's all...............but if he is serious, then he needs to be removed from the science committee.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • saggyroy

      Even if he just said it to get votes, he needs to be removed.

      October 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  3. Chris

    The saddest part of this is that he's on the science committee...... the second saddest thing is that he'll probably be re-elected.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  4. alkemiker

    As a Congressman he is well versed in the art of lying - so he must know!

    October 11, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  5. The New Red menace

    God save me from your followers, regardless of what version of fundamentalism they practice. Cloak me in learning and wisdom and provide me with a nurturing atmosphere that promotes tolerance to new ideas. Allow me to flourish in the warmth of compassion and understanding.

    Amen.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  6. Russ

    I grew up being taugh evolution and that God used evolution. During high school and college I started studying physics and became interested in the scientific underpinnings of (macro) evolution and ran into scientific writings that support creation. I have studied the evidences and there is a lot of poor scientific method and cronyism being used to support evolution. When looking at ALL the evidence the earth produces evolution is not supported and creation (young earth) is supported. The few people who like to bash creation science aren't willing to drop all presuppositions and analyze the data objectively. At best if you do approach the study of earth origins from a purely scientific view you find fleeting is any support for evolution and it's varied incarnations since Darwinism started the ball rolling in the United States (it's had different incarnations outside of present day theories). Be honest with yourself – do some study (unbiased) and you'll be surprised. There are a lot of angry evolutionist scientist whose livelihood is riding on them proving evolution is fact rather than just a poorly backed theory.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • ArthurP

      If you actually look at the underpinnings of Creationism you will see that it makes God subservient to Man.

      October 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • kpkpkp

      Russ, you poor ignorant man. My heart goes out to you for leading a life of stupidity and religion. There is so much evidence for evolution that not accepting it as fact us just laughable. You are a joke buddy.

      October 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • ME II

      @Russ,
      there is plenty of evidence supporting evolution, like
      fossils such as Ambulocetus, Tiktaalik, and Archeoptyrx
      biogeography such as marsupials and penguins
      genetics such as Endogenous Retroviruses (ERVs) and Human Chromosome-2

      October 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Al

      No young earth is not supported. I've looked at all the young earth arguments against radiometric dating there explaintion for starlight, genetic proof for evolution, etc . and its those arguments that are flimsy at best. Forget about evolution everything points to earth being much older then anything the young earth people come up with. I bet your whole backstory is a lie also and if not then what your smarter then 90% of physist and geologist that believe in evolution even when there field is not directly tied into it?

      October 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad....um, er,....Russ,

      Name one scientist that thinks the earth is 10,000 years old and is not religious.

      October 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Cheesehead um, er ..maker – maybe they saw the evidence and couldn't refute it and became religious...hmmm..

      October 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Russ,

      If that was the case 90% of Scientists would support a creationism, but that isn't the case. 99% of scientists support evolution. For that to be the case the enitire science community would have to be involved in a worldwide conspiracy. Is that what you are asserting? A giant conspiracy of scientists that spend their life proving evolution just to make creationists angry?

      October 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      And why is religion necessary in order for anyone to believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old? If the evidence supports that position there should be plenty of people that believe in a young earth that are not religious.

      The reason there are no non-religious young earthers is the evidence does not support that position. You are willfully ignorant because it scares you to think your precious bronze age book might be wrong.

      October 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  7. Ellen

    What an ignorant and outdated opinion. No one can reasonably deny evolution.

    This man's religion is the lie from hell!

    October 11, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  8. GY

    If God doesn’t exist then how do you explain all those times he guest starred as himself on Family Guy?

    October 11, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  9. ArthurP

    Why is Republicanism like Islam ?

    Both use 21th century technology to keep their followers in the dark ages.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      :)

      October 11, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  10. Ed Vedder

    No not hell!!! Hell hell helllllllllllll.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  11. Al

    Obviously evolutionary theory is a lie from hell along side the heliocentric theory. everyone knows that the sun goes around the earth.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  12. Ed Vedder

    Ok This would be really funny if this nut job wasnt on the committe on Science Space and Technology. He probably thinks if you take his picture, you will stel his soul. What a lunatic! And there are the people we elect!!! This is why no matter how bad the economy is, you cant vote republican!!! Thanks alot you reliious nuts.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:41 am |
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    October 11, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  14. HereWeGoAgain

    It's truly amazing how brain-dead and in full-on denial these religious types can be. The earth is 9000 years old? The Bible is fact? OMG, let's go back to the mentality of the 12th century.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Bill G

      My problem isn't that this man is a fundamentalist wackadoodle. After all, I don't think all the science education in the world will convince those who have decided to remain ignorant. No, what bothers me is that this man, by virtue of his service (or lack thereof) on the science committee, has a say in how my tax dollars are allocated for research funding. How can someone who clearly disdains science be allowed to influence the manner in which scientists get funding? Madness. Complete and utter madness.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  15. Veritas

    What a sad state of affairs – Paul Broun AND Todd Akin sit on the Committee for Science, Space, and Technology.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  16. Darku

    Inject this man with some science!

    October 11, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  17. snowboarder

    one fact is indisputable, with all the deities, religions and doctrines today and throughout history, man is very adept at inventing god.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  18. Mickey1313

    What an idiot. Once again this proves the ignorance of the south

    October 11, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • ME II

      What an idiot. This "proves" nothing about "the south". It simply shows that this congressman is woefully ignorant in science, that's all.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • the AnViL

      so so so so soooooo true, mickey. i live in the south.. deep in the bible belt and let me tell ya... the ignorance runs deep down here, bro.

      this congressman is a shining example of what i am surrounded with. it makes me sick to my stomach.

      this congressman and people who think like him should be tarred and feathered – kicked out into the street on their ignorant asses.. prohibited from serving in public office, voting, purchasing firearms and teaching public school.

      tolerance of religious thinking has got to end.

      enough is enough.

      October 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  19. the AnViL

    this congressman – and people who think like him should never be allowed to vote, serve in public office, purchase firearms or be allowed to teach in public schools.

    tolerance for religion and all the delusional thinking that goes with it has to end.

    these people should be ashamed to be this ignorant in the 21st century.

    there's no gods – no tooth fairies and no santa claus.

    enough is enough

    October 11, 2012 at 11:22 am |
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    October 11, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • WhatsWrongWithYou

      You forgot to push your anti sin soap.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:27 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.