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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. ElmerGantry

    Bringing this good advïce to the top.

    the AnViL
    hey everyone! hope your weekend's great...

    just wanted to take a moment to encourage everyone – even if you do not live in the united states, to take a few minutes of your time and visit the website for the committee on science, space and technology (science.house.gov) to demand that congressman paul broun be removed from this committee. if you want to go the extra mile – go ahead and post this story to all your friends on facebook or any other media outlet you can think of.

    don't let repugnant ignorance like this ride.

    enough is enough.

    tolerance for religious ignorance has got to end.

    October 12, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    Rufus T. Firefly
    Here is the link:

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

    October 12, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |

    a reasonable atheist
    Thanks for the link – message submitted:

    "Subject: Rep. Broun's place on the committee is an embarrassment

    Message:
    To whom it may concern,
    I was astonished to read of the public views expressed by Rep. Broun regarding evolution, modern cosmology, and other forms of scientific endeavor. If he truly believes what he espouses, his total ignorance of the scientific method demonstrates that he should be immediately removed from the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Perhaps there is a Committee on Superst.ition and Ignorance that his expertise would be better suited to? If, on the other hand, he was merely pandering to a church-going audience, he has amply demonstrated his lack of moral fort.itude through his disingenuous public proclamations. In this case, he should not only be removed from the committee but also from the House. We cannot afford to have our leadership espousing this superst.itious garbage. The United States needs to lead in Science, not wallow in ignorance while other countries pass us by."

    October 13, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |

    October 19, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology
      Look up their records and hold Broun, Akin, and their ilk accountable.

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

      Republican Members (23)

      Ralph M. Hall, Texas
      F. James Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin
      Lamar S. Smith, Texas
      Dana Rohrabacher, California
      Roscoe G. Bartlett, Maryland
      Frank D. Lucas, Oklahoma
      Judy Biggert, Illinois
      W. Todd Akin, Missouri
      Randy Neugebauer, Texas
      Michael T. McCaul, Texas
      Paul Broun, Georgia
      Sandy Adams, Florida
      Benjamin Quayle, Arizona
      Charles J. "Chuck" Fleischmann, Tennessee
      Scott Rigell, Virginia
      Steven Palazzo, Mississippi
      Mo Brooks, Alabama
      Andy Harris, M.D., Maryland
      Randy Hultgren, Illinois
      Chip Cravaack, Minnesota
      Larry Bucshon, Indiana
      Dan Benishek, Michigan
      VACANCY

      Democrat Members (17)

      Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas
      Jerry F. Costello, Illinois
      Lynn Woolsey, California
      Zoe Lofgren, California
      Brad Miller, North Carolina
      Daniel Lipinski, Illinois
      Donna Edwards, Maryland
      Ben Ray Lujan, New Mexico
      Paul Tonko, New York
      Jerry McNerney, California
      Terri Sewell, Alabama
      Frederica Wilson, Florida
      Hansen Clarke, Michigan
      Suzanne Bonamici, Oregon
      VACANCY
      VACANCY
      VACANCY

      October 19, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  2. M

    I was watching a creationist speak and he said that nothing good has ever come from macroevolution. No diseases cure, nothing. He said that the fight against viruses were microevolution. I know that micro and macro are made up creationist terms but is he right that nothing came from macroevolution?

    October 19, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Primewonk

      Evolution is evolution is evolution. Evolutionary biologists, molecular biologists, etc., don't use the macro/micro terms like the fundiot nutters do.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  3. Dr Eric

    And with any luck, the rapidly-aproaching "Next One" (that'll be able to be heard with more rapid radio-telescopy for some time) will be too....RCCFM: Always(C): Dr. Eric DrEricShow@Gmail.com

    October 19, 2012 at 3:52 am |
  4. pbernasc

    well ... no wonder the USA are today the biggest debtor of the world, look what kind of caveman they elect to Congress.
    Don't take me wrong, the USA are a fantastic country , unfortunately they are on the road to decline and individuals like this congressman are at the same time the reason for the decline and the prove that the people in the USA have reached a point of ignorance that might well not have a road to return to be the scientific and technological leader they once were. The USA still lead in many fields, but it is on borrowed time and knowledge from the previous generations of people and scientists ...

    too bad but hey this is your country .. feel free to screw it up if you want to do so

    October 18, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  5. Kell

    World calls congressman "a depressingly stupid and backward politician stuck in old myths".

    October 18, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  6. GOOD NEWS

    The Son of Man (=John 6/27, 40)

    has thus clearly and unmistakably proven now

    that Big bang and Evolution are the most powerful and superb Creation Acts of GOD,

    through the Language of Mathematics here:

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    ****UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES!

    October 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  7. Bill C

    This guy like Aiken of Missouri are on the Science committee!! You have got to be kidding!! No wonder Republicans are often looked upon as idiots.

    God Help America

    October 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • David Johnston

      Oh, they are idiots, but when your followers are idiots they can't figure it out. Like lemmings, everyone off the cliff.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  8. Hippiehater23

    This is the problem with America all our politicians are lawyers, and multimillion aires who's job is to exploit the law and better them selves. We lack and engineers, scientist, or simply common men in congress so these morons continue to run the country.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Anchorite

      Uh, Romney is a politician, a lawyer, and a multimillionaire, and he rejects evolution. My local university actually offers a dual masters in law and engineering, and one in business administration and engineering. If you think most engineers believe in creationism you should actually talk to one.

      October 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  9. ML

    Science and God's word go together, and do not oppose one another. God created man, and thus knowledge and science as well. All our technology and progression over time has been by God's design. Rep. Broun is playing politics in church for votes and is misguided and inexact. The creation story is about faith in God and story of the source of all creation, not a human timeline. If that is all you worry about, you are off the mark. God says in Isaiah "my ways are not your ways and my thoughts are higher...". I pray God's grace and mercy will guide him to a better understanding.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Athy

      This guy is way beyond gaining any understanding. And a nonexistent god can't help him. Pray all you want, ML, all you're doing is making your knees sore.

      October 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • End Religion

      This is for ML who appreciates good fiction and thinks its cool when opposites "go together"

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUrxG8APyiI&w=640&h=390]

      October 18, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      Science is questions that might be answered, religion is answers that are forbidden to be questioned.

      Science engineers and builds airplanes, religion flies them into buildings.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • sam stone

      man created god

      October 19, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      " If horses had a god, their god would be a horse. "

      Source unknown to me.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  10. karllinen

    The Congressman is getting to bent out of shape over ideas that to any educated person are mere theories, and, as such, should not ever be taught to minors as facts or truths.
    Of course, I would like not to teach Capitalism, greed and free enterprise as ideal economic systems that will benefit everyone is our supposed civilized societies. These ideas are barbarian.
    We have simply made the pillage and plunder of yesteryear's societies legal in America for those with political and economic power. Leave it to a pack of rich lawyers.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Please post for us the scientific definition of theory. And include the scientific website you get it from. Personally, I'm fond of the one from the National Academy of Sciences website.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Anchorite

      So do you think the THEORY of gravity also has no place? How about bargaining THEORY? How about the THEORY of relativity? Sorry I prefer my kids to learn about theories in school rather than myths and legend made up by fundamentalist politicians.

      October 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      ... or quantum THEORY, the THEORY of electromagnetism, or the germ THEORY of disease, or the THEORY of plate tectonics or ...

      Get the drift? Every time you antievolution nutcases state that evolution is just a theory, you display your total ignorance of the scientific definition of theory and of science in general.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Pete

      Your definition of educated must be different than most people's.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  11. Michael - Son of Adam

    I don't believe that being intelligent is necessarily a requirement for being in Congress.
    You just have to shovel the right amount of manure into the right places.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  12. Graystone

    AnVil… Everything I have stated is indeed fact. And it can be verified by doing a simple search on your computer. Just because you personally have no belief in such facts, that doesn't make them unsubstantiated. It only makes you an unbeliever…

    October 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Pete

      Graystone, using you own logic you have to admit that the Greek and Roman gods are in fact real because the people who wrote about them also named real places and real people in the same works they mentioned the gods.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Graystone,

      We have writings (stone) and the bodies (or parts) of Egyptian pharaohs going back to 3000 B.C. That MUST mean that Ra and Isis and Horus and the rest of them are real, right?

      October 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • the AnViL

      graystoner – you cannot provide evidence of imaginary men in the sky, their half-mortal zombie sons or satans or heavens or hells. it's been fun watching you fumble with logic like a toddler.

      i believe you're either mentally ill and really believe the ignorant trash you're spewing – or.... you're a troll... either way i am not going to entertain you further.

      dismissed.

      October 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • NickZadick

      @ noGraymatter – when you can find something on the internet it means it's true?? really?? I prefer Homer's Illiad – I want me some mermaids in the after-life!! Have you ever questioned WHO wrote your bible?? and why you think all they say is true for you!

      October 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  13. Primewonk

    This fundiot nutter has also gone on record stating we need a federal constîtutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage. According to him letting 2 people of the same sèx, who love each other, get married, ruins the sanctîty of marriage for us straight folks.

    And this cretin should be an expert on the sanctîty of strate marriage by now. After all, he is on wife #4!

    October 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • the AnViL

      ha! that fundiot nutter – and all fundiot nutters are weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth tonight – because a federal appeals court struck down the defence of marriage act today.

      ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

      no one ever bothered to tell them that a large percentage of people who vehemently oppose doma are latent ho mo se xuals.

      what a funny day!

      October 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  14. JC

    Galileo famously separated science and the bible, saying "The Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go." It is unfathomable how someone with such ignorance of science and unfounded belief in myth could call themself a scientist and have a medical degree, much less be on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Must have been a Bush appointee?

    October 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Kell

      Gotta keep 'em separated...

      October 18, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • End Religion

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN32lLUOBzQ&w=640&h=390]

      October 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  15. notraitors

    Now that I think about it, Pete, anvil and primewonk prove that evolution is possible: they stared out as turds and evolved into human

    October 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • brad4nyc

      notraitors

      Wow. I count at least 3 potty mouth, trash talking posts. Was it not you, who in an earlier post, wanted to turn such posts into the moderatiors? Such behavior is typical of Theistic Hypocrits. Clearly, you can count youself a proud member of this group.

      Would not a true christain man up and apologize to this blog community? THose of us who follow the mythical being Lucifer have much better morals and manners. Peace be unto you.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • the AnViL

      wait wait wait.... stop..
      hold on

      are you upset? you seem a little fussy.
      why so cranky?

      someone needs a nap!

      maybe you should pray on it?

      what would hank do?

      October 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Pete

      He learned there are no moderators sonow he hurls insults. I figure if anybody is able to convince him there is no god he will become a serial killer.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Can't you just feel the Christian love seeping from cretins like this?

      By the way, if you were not so incredibly ignorant about science, you would know that evolution occurs at the population level, not the individual level. You are too stupid to even get your scientific insults right.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      Wow, name calling, insinuation, ad hominem attack.

      The techniques of disinformation used as a last resort by those who have no viable, logical, or well reasoned comments.

      Sooooo, how are those techniques workin fo ya? LOL

      October 19, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  16. notraitors

    Pete, your mother's an idiot

    October 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  17. notraitors

    Isn't interesting how the left tells everyone how much they love science yet refuse to accept the decades of social science research that shows single- and step-parent families are not in fact suitable alternatives to the traditional 2-parent family.

    October 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Pete

      I agree with you it "Isn't Interesting". Not in the least.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • notraitors

      Of course it isn't interesting to you, scrotum head, because you're not interested in anything that might conflict with your idiotology because you're a c***s******* hypocrite, like all your ape-loving buddies

      October 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Anchorite

      What's interesting is that none of those studies exist that you seem to be unable to name.

      October 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • End Religion

      Science belongs to the world. There's no left/right about it. Please cite the studies you're referring to so we can learn more about them.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:14 am |
  18. David

    Science works. The computer I am using to post this message was not delivered by God in answer to a prayer, it was designed and constructed based on scientific principles that were worked out by generations of human beings doing scientific research. Science is based on observable cause and effect relationships that have proven over time to be real and true. Religion is for people who can't handle reality. Too bad there are so many of those!

    October 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • notraitors

      Which is why macro-evolution cannot be proven since it has not been observed.

      You have proven, though, my belief that liberals and secularists are as intolerant and bigoted as they claim conservatives and Christians are

      October 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • brad4nyc

      Theocratic evangelical christians are scary and anti-American and would take away our rights to free speech and freedom of religion (or lack there of). Believe what ever you want, but do not force your beliefs upon me. As Patrick Henry said "I may not believe in what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". I stand by this great American TRUTH. That said, I hope you give me the same basic American rights...

      The bible is a book of myths and lies. God is imaginary and so is hell. If God were real he would be an evil monster. Who gives a rat's behind what the bible say's because it's pure fiction. How can you worship a god that has killed innocent children? If you worship the god of the bible you worship an evil murderer. Thank god that god is imaginary. Only a monster would make people knowing that they would eventually wind up in hell- especially when he had the choice to not make them at all, thus saving them from eternal torture.

      Satan good. God bad. But only from a mythological point of view, because they are both imaginary. Check out http://www.godisimaginary.com

      Praise Lucifer, the bringer of truth, light and reason! Hail Satan, the imaginary adversary to an imaginary god, who has the balls to fight against god's evil ways! Glory be to the mythical beings of Lucifer and Satan who shall slay the evil mythical God of Abraham!!!! Remember what I said about free speech? Are you American enough to accept this concept?

      October 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Pete

      Notraitors, read and learn about the E. coli experiment that created a new kind of E. coli that could grow on citrate. "In 2008, Lenski and his collaborators reported on a particularly important adaptation that occurred in the population called Ara-3: the bacteria evolved the ability to grow on citrate under the oxygen-rich conditions of the experiment. Wild-type E. coli cannot grow on citrate when oxygen is present due to the inability during aerobic metabolism to produce an appropriate transporter protein that can bring citrate into the cell, where it could be metabolized via the citric acid cycle. The consequent lack of growth on citrate under oxic conditions, referred to as a Cit- phenotype, is considered a defining characteristic of the species that has been a valuable means of differentiating E. coli from pathogenic Salmonella. "

      Since it was a defining characteristic of the species to not be able to grow on citrate under oxic conditions, and now it can grow in those conditions it would have to be considered a new species of E. coli.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Pete

      Notraitors, read and learn about the E. coli experiment that created a new kind of E. coli that could grow on citrate.

      "In 2008, Lenski and his collaborators reported on a particularly important adaptation that occurred in the population called Ara-3: the bacteria evolved the ability to grow on citrate under the oxygen-rich conditions of the experiment. Wild-type E. coli cannot grow on citrate when oxygen is present due to the inability during aerobic metabolism to produce an appropriate transporter protein that can bring citrate into the cell, where it could be metabolized via the citric acid cycle. The consequent lack of growth on citrate under oxic conditions, referred to as a Cit- phenotype, is considered a defining characteristic of the species that has been a valuable means of differentiating E. coli from pathogenic Salmonella. "

      Since it was a defining characteristic of the species to not be able to grow on citrate under oxic conditions, and now it can grow in those conditions it would have to be considered a new species of E. coli.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @notraitors – for the bajillionth time – in science we do not prove things, we explain things. Proofs are for maths, ethanol, and yeast doughs.

      And again, we have observed macroevolution is bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. We see speciation all the time.

      I'm not sure why you keep lying about this?

      October 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • notraitors

      Brad, why are you wasting your time praising what you call an imaginery being?

      And as far as freedom of speech goes, the only freedom of speech the left is interested in is their own (witness the reaction by such rabid dogs as Pete, Primewonk and Anvil to anyone who dares to disagree with them)

      October 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Pete

      Sorry didn't mean to post that twice.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Pete

      Notratiors, I will not stop you from saying anything dam thing you want, however when you say something stupid (like for instance that new species don't arise as a result of Evoultion) you can expect to be called a moron.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • brad4nyc

      notraitors

      I praise a mythical being to illuminate the absolute ubsurdity of it all. I am pretty certain that the good people whom you call "rabid dogs" and those who you refer to on the "left" would all champion your right to free speech- regardless of how silly it might be.

      Us secularists and atheists are simply sick and tired of having religion shoved down our throats and have decided not to take it any more. Our numbers are growing faster than any religion in America (source CNN) and we are going to speak up and push back.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Pete

      Notratiors, I will not stop you from saying any dam thing you want, however when you say something stupid (like for instance that new species don't arise as a result of Evoution) you can expect to be called a moron.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • the AnViL

      notraitors/taliban-man....

      i love freedom of speech – and i absolutely adore your freedom of speech
      you post funny stuff – i never want you to stop posting.

      you're a shining example of everything we've come to expect from xian fundamentalists with an 8th grade education.

      keep up the good work! fight the good fight!!

      October 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  19. brad4nyc

    Of course both are imaginary beings, but the true story is Satan is GOOD and God is EVIL. Satan tapped God on the shoulder and asked God please don't flood the earth and kill all those innocent children. God answered and said "Bra ha ha ha! I am allmighty god and can do what I want. It would please me to see those babies drown in agony! Bra ha ha ha!". Satan said "that's wack, dude! You are one cruel, sick, evil monster". So Satan left heaven and promised to help mankind against the evil imaginary God. Then one day all the people grew up and realized God and Satan are both imaginary and they went away hand in hand as boyfriends forever. That is after God asked Satan's forgiveness for all of the mean spiteful things he did. The End.

    For proof God is Imaginary visit http://www.godisimaginary.com

    October 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  20. brad4nyc

    There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason, especially if she enters into spiritual matters which concern the soul and God. For it is more possible to teach an ass to read than to blind such a reason and lead it right; for reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed." "Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees it must put out of sight, and wish to know nothing but the word of God.

    Martin Luther

    Clearly, god is imaginary

    October 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
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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.