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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. dirtnapper

    Greater Good, exactly what I was about to say until I read your post!!

    October 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  2. Loretta

    SHEEP, ALL AROUND US, SHEEP.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  3. Just call me Lucifer

    Don't blame me... I didn't come up with evolution. Just because proof of it lies a few inches under your feet, don't let that sway your fantasy based "faith".

    October 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  4. Piperman

    And the Earth is flat and the Sun goes around the Earth, and the stars are fixed in the sky . . .

    October 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  5. Nietodarwin

    Another mentally ill "Talibangelical" This is why xstians need to be hated. It is good to hate these ignorant terrorists Get these lunatics OUT of congress.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  6. M in Memphis

    One major point I feel needs to be clarified: the guy is a medical doctor. This DOES NOT make him a scientist. I hold a PhD in Molecular and Human Genetics, THIS DOES make me a scientist.

    The things he is saying are so upsetting...they make us all look terrible!

    October 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  7. JDC

    I think we've proven time and time again that politicians like Paul Broun are idiots. What we need to do is entice some smart people to engage in government and make the system work again.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  8. MC in TX

    Sadly what these statistics (percentages of people who hold any given viewpoint) show is the result of demographics, or to put it a different way the "war of the babies". Realistically more traditional families tend to hold more conservative and more religious viewpoints and also tend to have more children. That is tending to allow ultra-conservatism to blossom (there are other reasons too). During the mid-1900s the urbanization trend was driving people to be better educated to seek a better way of life in the cities and people in the cities tended to be able to better afford supporting large families. Now that most of us live in the cities and already have a relatively cushy way of life, the appeal of education is not so great. Additionally in recent decades the trend has been that those with the highest education tend to be the most liberal and also tend to have fewer kids.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • MC in TX

      It is truly scary but one has to wonder if this country might truly be on the precipice of a serious long-term decline just because we cannot grow up. Broun's rhetoric sounds more like the rantings of a Middle Eastern extremist than the thoughtful opinions of a legislator of a modern nation.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • outsider

      From an outsider's perspective, it looks like the precipice is behind you and your just now starting to realize it.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  9. Jason

    Good grief. A future Christian Taliban leader. These people would just assume blow up the whole planet and everyone on it that to admit to being wrong about something. If he has evidence that disproves the accepted age of the earth then perhaps he should present it instead of spewing this nonsense.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  10. Max

    I guess I understand how he can't believe in evolution / the Big Bang. I don't agree with him, but I understand that if you take the bible literally, you can't accept evolution. What the heck is his problem with embryology, though?? We know what embryos look like at every stage – we have lots of pictures, as well as actual preserved embryos. How can he say that that's a lie? It makes absolutely no sense.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Paul Broun

      Them pictures is all lies put there by the devil himself!

      October 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  11. nilla

    46% of Americans believe in creationism. Holy crap.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • TNlaxmom

      I KNOW! How in the check the US is a credible country based on that is mystifying!!!!!!!! What is wrong with people???!

      October 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • outsider

      That is a truly frightening statistic, and just one more reason for the global community to ‘facepalm’ the US.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  12. possum

    Saying this guy is "dumber than a stump" is insulting a piece of wood.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  13. OOO

    Website to contact the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Ask them why this guy is on their committee.

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

    October 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  14. Where is your God now?

    Honolulu police said they are investigating the death of a baby on the H-1 Freeway.

    Witnesses said that they saw a man throw the infant from the Miller Street pedestrian overpass, but police said they are not sure if the child was alive or dead when the man threw the child. It appears the child was hit by at least two cars, officials said.

    “That was a horrible sight that I seen down there, for any man to do that to a child,” witness Johnnie Bruen said.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  15. Arch Stanton

    I work with a lot of conservatives, and their world is filled with ghosts, goblins, and devils. They believe ANYTHING! Even Mitt Romney!

    October 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  16. TparTpatriot

    Evolution is a horrid lie meant to destroy people's faith in God and put their faith in the state instead. But frauds like Piltdown Man and Nebraska Man and Neanderthal Man have exposed evolution as a fraud! Now scientists need to hide behind propaganda and indoctrinate school children.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Arch Stanton

      Of course! All that nasty science and empirical data and analyzing of factual evidence was concocted by devil-people to stop people from knowing that the universe was actually created by a magical bearded man in a nightgown! Scientists are stupid and silly!

      October 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Mick

      It's Georgia man that truly terrifies me

      October 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  17. Doc Vestibule

    The leading rabble rousers in the Creationist world – The Center for Science and Culture (sponsored by the Discovery Inst.itute) openly admit that their goal isn't to teach what they think is fact. An internal doc.ument leaked in 1999 described the Discovery group's objective in pushing for creationism to be taught in schools as "to defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies". They want to use Intelligent Design as a "wedge" to separate science from its allegiance to "atheistic naturalism".
    In other words, they fear that teaching FACTS to children will drive them away from religion.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  18. Harald

    With views like that, I'm wondering when Republicans will re-introduce the burning of witches. And while we are at it, I don't think it will take much longer until the first Republican will claim that the earth is flat after all.
    How can about 50 % of Americans support those people ????

    October 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      In fairness, they'll only burn those who are scientifically proven to be witches.
      If the accused weighs the same as a duck, they are made of wood and therefore a witch.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  19. Andy

    What a massive buffoon. What a total kook. Remove him from the committee immediately.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  20. The Truth

    I see a lot of "How could he be so stupid" comments here and the problem is, he is not stupid. This is a calculated position to take that speaks directly to his base and his religious donors who like to have their ears tickled. It's the ignorant masses that elected him that are the stupid morons here who likely voted for him BECAUSE he says he believes this shlt. That is the sad state of the American voter we find ourselves plagued with today.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
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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.