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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. Tex71

    People like Broun are an embarrassment to Americans everywhere. It is a tesimony to the decay of our society that Broun was able to get within 100 miles of the House, let alone a position on the Committee on Science.
    SCIENCE!
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  2. Clete

    "A medical doctor by training"....you're kidding, right. This man is a born again moron.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  3. Loretta

    This guy sounds just a few degrees south of that horrible Pope family that is protesting at U.S. soldier's funerals. Lunatic fringe of America.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Huebert

      Unless Their is a new group of crazies that I missed, I believe you are think of the Phelps family from Westburrow Baptist Church in Kansas.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  4. Sam

    This is shocking. Surely such statements are grounds for dismissal from the committee. These are entirely religious positions, and our government can be run by zealots. What difference would there be between us and the extremists who persecute their own people under their perversion of the Muslim faith?

    October 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  5. Dave

    Haha Georgia deserves what they get in this imbecile.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • ME II

      If he were a state representative, I'd agree, but it's the US House's "Committee on Science, Space and Technology."

      October 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  6. John

    The bible is nothing more than a Dan Brown novel. It is filled with fiction surrounded by just enough fact to make people think. It is an old way of thinking and we, as a civilization, need to move on from the story books and try to progress as a whole.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  7. Where is your God now?

    20-year-old Alicia Gaston, of North Fairmount, Cincinnati, Ohio, has been charged with r.a.pe following the accusation that she had s.e.x with her boyfriend’s 7-year-old son.

    According to police, Gaston confessed to engaging in s.e.xual intercourse with the child on April 10, 2012.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  8. Loretta

    I made a vow that I will not vote for anyone with evangelical beliefs. We put up with enough of them under King George the Lesser when the government became involved with the Terry Schiavo case situation in Florida. George, Jeb and a whole bunch of evangelists.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  9. vic

    Evolution is not science. It actually goes against the established laws of science. It can only be believed by FAITH. If evolution ever did happen, then why are they saying that life was created by aliens and why is NASA looking for life spores in space that may have come to Earth. Evolution is based on theories, and not one of them have been scientifically proved. People need a crutch to not believe in God, and evolution is doing a good job of fooling them.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • OOO

      We found someone who voted for him ! ! !

      October 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      I call Poe's law.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Tex71

      Go read a few grown-up books, then you can join the conversation.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • AY

      Evolution is as sound a theory of gravity. I suggest you throw your bible out the window and see what happens.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Marc

      Really? You really bellieve that? And you are willing to state it publicly (if anonymously)? I am astonished that you can read.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Jim

      Vic,

      You appear so entrenched in your dogma that you have lost all contact with physical reality. The use of "theory" in a scientific context does not mean (as so many in the Christian Right seem to think) that it is unproven. A scientific "theory" is a highly supported explanation of a physical phenomenon, based on facts that have been/and can be repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.

      As regards Mr. Broun, he doesn't pass the IQ test for membership in Congress. Do we the people, want someone so clearly ignorant, to be spending our tax dollars? He and his ilk are ruining America. Their righteous indignation is only surpassed by their utter lack of understanding.

      I always thought that we should send the best and the brightest to wisely govern our country. Mr. Broun is evidence that others think differently.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Booger

      I believe you are confusing theory and hypothesis A theory is defined as "A well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been..." Notice this part "... repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment." Evolution has been repeatedly proven through scientific scrutinization. You would know this from high school if people like Paul Broun weren't trying to blind the minds of America's youth.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  10. Andrew

    You really wonder how someone that deluded can actually rise to that level of public office. Oh yeah – PEOPLE EVEN MORE DELUDED VOTED FOR HIM!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  11. Mick

    I want to move to Canada

    October 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  12. OOO

    Please cut and past this message on the board several times. Flood their website.

    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 2:02 pm |
  13. dc

    Muslim extremists like him are a danger to our country and our very way of life! Muslims like him want to make their religious teachings into a "higher law" for our country! Muslim extremists like him need to be shut down so that their religion doesn't ruin the very fabric of our democracy and society! Enough with these Muslim religious fanatics!!!!

    Oh wait...he's Christian. Religious extremism is bad, people. No matter what religion it is.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  14. ricardo1968

    Put him in charge of education with congressman Akin! The scientific method is sooo 20th century!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  15. Booger

    Seriously, “the manufacturer’s handbook. … It teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in our society.”
    Maybe that's why god keeps punishing the U.S. we don't stone people to death for breaking the sabbath or live in a society of archaic and barbaric laws like Afghanistan.
    This guy's a medical doctor? Does he pray the demons out of his patients?

    October 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Tex71

      Vote Republican and before long, they WILL be stoning people to death for breaking the sabbath.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  16. PGC

    Wow, he is a physician. Note to self: cross this guy off my list of possible docs!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  17. Religion is unhealthy for children and all living things

    Prayer shows everyone around you that you're an idiot. Proven.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  18. kro513

    Are you freakin kidding me??? That dude is mentally unhinged! Makes me scared to be an American with nuts like this around..

    October 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  19. Walter Shmitt

    And once again, we get a glimpse of the true face of our "GOP". These flat earthers will take us back to the 14th century if Rmoney is elected!

    October 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  20. boohowdy

    He needs to be removed from that committee. What a idiot. America is going to go backwards with these anti-science people running the show.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:59 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.