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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. realist

    And if you sail too close to the edge of the earth you will sail right off and land on the moon, which is obviously made of cheese.....

    October 22, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  2. Joan

    Can you imagine a country when are are forced to believe in this rubbish ? this day is coming soon, there are too many political religious fanatics in office. I think its getting near the time to pick up the stakes and move elsewhere.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Primewonk

      I think a better plan is to build aa wall from North Carolina over to Utah. Seal off the South. Fortify the wall, electrify the wall, mine the wall. Seal off these nutters. Within a couple generations they will be at 3rd world status. I even have a name for this new country – Dimbfuckistan.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • derp

      "I think a better plan is to build aa wall from North Carolina over to Utah"

      Wait a second, why do we have to keep Virginia?

      Can't we start the wall just outside of DC?

      October 22, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  3. Gor

    Id bet money all the people that think creationism is even possible are either 1) too low of intelligence to know anything 2) afraid of even reading about all the years of work real scientist have done. 3) have an agenda to keep people down and dumb

    October 22, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  4. bob

    This guy belongs in 1492

    October 22, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  5. Tom

    If anyone knows the meaning of the word "Lies" it's politicians. They practice ever night in the mirror to stay sharp. With all the different types of religions and all the different interpitations in each sect, how in the hell do you know the truth about any of it. For me it's a personal event along with all other individual rights. Please don't try to sell me, or convert me. I am happy just being a non believer. All I have ever read or seen pretaining to religion results in war, death and destruction. Why would I follow anything with that history. Religion has more variables then a complex math problem. For those who follow, good for you and those who don't good for you too.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  6. Mark Van Auken

    Midnite Crazies.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:30 am |
  7. iminim

    When anyone demonstrates willful ignorance & disregards scientific fact to maintain their religious beliefs, it only shows how narrow their belief system is. Christianity survived Galileo & gained new and amazing evidence of the greatness of the universe. Some people even find strong spiritual re-enforcement of their beliefs in scientific knowledge and evidence. Never fear knowledge. We were given brains to learn and grow, not to reject what our eyes can see or to hide from knowledge and rational thought. You don't have to discard your religion to acknowledge scientific evidence. Faith and science have never been incompatible. (Even some literalists can accept that the Biblical account of creation is a parable from God given to explain creation to early man in terms they could understand). Science can never prove or disprove the existance of a higher power because faith is not of the physical world. So go ahead & learn how amazing the physical universe we live in really is, be awed, and know that "it is good".

    October 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • alpg49

      There's at least one Christian denomination that doesn't require spectacular cognitive dissonance: Catholicism. We hold that our bodies are made of the dust of the earth, and further discussions are out of the realm of Faith. Our souls are made in the image and likeness of God. Faith and Reason must be compatible. My faith is 1000 times stronger because I am free to pursue reason to my heart's content.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Primewonk

      alpg49 wrote, "There's at least one Christian denomination that doesn't require spectacular cognitive dissonance: Catholicism"

      Well, except for the whole gays are icky bullshit, and of course the whole women are second class citizens crap.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • derp

      Yeah, and the old Nazi guy is an extension of god, and there is a lava lake that bad people will soak in for all eternity, and jeebus mom was a virgin.

      Being catholic requires just as much suspension of reason as does any other "faith".

      Catholicism is the reason I am atheist today.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • the AnViL

      catholicism survived galileo??? lolz...

      that poor man was tried, found to be a heretic and held under house arrest until his death. he BARELY survived catholocism... and the pope was perfectly OK with that. the papacy apologized to gallileo in 1992. how magnanimous.

      funny stuff.

      but yeah – catholocism is perfectly in-line with science... yep.... suuuuure.

      hey – how about this for funny: tell a whole bunch of africans not to use condoms because contraception is wrong.

      tell ya what – if you're catholic in the year 2012.... you should be ashamed of yourself.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  8. Phil8

    Evolution is a failed theory...the tide is turning toward Creationism.....

    October 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • the AnViL

      how is evolution a failed theory? care to elaborate a little phil8?

      October 21, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Phil8 one of those funny mushrooms....

      October 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • the AnViL

      well – i'd like to invite him to phil8 himself.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • End Religion

      I think I found Phil on YouTube. He is indeed 8.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Furby

      OK Mr. 8...if it's wrong, where is it wrong? Can you even tell us the basic mechanisms of Evolution? I would guess not. I would guess you were unable to stay awake in the basic science courses you had in high school (assuming you are more than 13 years old...which is quite an assumption...)... ;-)

      October 22, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • H. (Bart) Vincelette

      That this man has a license to practice medicine anywhere on US soil, is frightening.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • John Jacobson

      A failed theory? You obviously don't even understand what theory means. Support your allegations with facts, sort of like science does

      October 22, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • A Traveler

      Phil - your home schooling is showing.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • iminim

      Evolution can be witnessed in our environment every day. Bacteria evolve into the newsmaking "superbugs" when the strains that are most resistant to antibiotics survive & thrive, while the other more sensitive strains die off. That is a classic example of Darwin's concept of "suvival of the fittest". Human evolution is harder to see simply because the changes happen over generations and hundreds to thousands of years. Bacterial generations are much shorter so the changes are seen much more quickly.

      If you truly do not believe in evolution, then insist that your next bacterial infection only be treated with plain old penicillin. There will be no need to worry about treatment failure unless those bacteria have EVOLVED into resistant forms. If the bacteria haven't evolved, then penicillin should be just as effective in curing the infection as it was in the 1940s.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      Failed theory?

      Yeah....creationsm is sooooo convincing

      October 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  9. Hooligan

    And this dolt is a representative of one of our states?

    October 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  10. Cindy

    Wow! Broun wants us to become a fundamentalist Muslim country! He's not far off.

    October 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  11. bankkiller1

    Religion is lies. ALL religions are lies. Got it? Sorry to disappoint you but you will NEVER interpet God. You will interpet your needs, your wants, your desires and your fears and out of that comes religion with which you hope to impose your will on others. Need an example?

    October 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  12. left hook

    Not only is this evangelical white kracker an embarrasment to GA, he's and embarrassment to the US and the normal thinking human race as a whole. Just representative of your typical "gawd fearin' chrizzjun" I presume.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  13. Gary

    The right wing is anti-science and pro-stupidity. People that don't think are easy prey for these whackos. Since science is based on fact and they base their lives on faith the two will always clash. Denying reality to adhere to faith does justice to neither.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Cindy

      I don't even think they are basing their beliefs on faith, just on men controlling women!

      October 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Zach

      Darwin himself said evolution has many holes because he could explain organs like the eye. Darwin repented on his death bed about his theorys. I hope all that believe in evolution from spiece to spiece and the big bang theory open there hearts to God. He loves and always will please open your heart to him! I will pray for you!

      October 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Aahhhahhhahhahahh! My word, the idiots are coming out of the woodwork.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • the AnViL

      spiece

      *chortle*

      srsly i think they're trolls.

      srsly

      October 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      One can only hope Zach is a troll. If he's not, I hope he lives in his mother's basement or a group home, because he apparently lacks the basic intelligence to survive on his own.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • A Traveler

      @ Zach - He did not refute anything. You should.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  14. Theology and the City

    As a seminary student, I find this sickening. This man does not represent my faith.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • the AnViL

      aaactually.. if you're xian – he not only represents your faith – he represents your interests at a government level on the house committee for science, space and technology.

      if you're a seminary student, for reals – and not a troll.... you're just as big a part of the problem as this congressman is.

      you are both the avowed enemies of reason.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • the AnViL

      what's funny though, is watching someone who is caught in the throes of delusional thinking, professing a visceral unease with someone else, equally as delusional. it's even funnier when it's one xian willing to stomp on another xian in an attempt to distance themselves from the others wacky ideology. muslims do this all the time.

      funny stuff!!

      poast moar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      October 21, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
      • Theology and the City

        AnVil, I don't know you, so I'm not really open to you using this as a forum to bash me. Thanks for common decency and respect.

        October 21, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • the AnViL

      i apologize if you feel bashed... it wasn't my intent to bash you. forgive my indecency...

      ... and complete lack of respect for the enemies of reason.

      i apologized, sincerely so... you are compelled to forgive me.

      now turn your cheek – so i may smite the other.....

      i'm curious, theology and the city... what precisely, do you find "sickening" about paul broun?

      is it sickening to you that a person who is trained as a medical doctor can be transformed into a pandering politician parroting a small set of very widely held and popular mainstream xian ideals?

      do you feel ill at the abject ignorance signified by the thunderous applause during dr.brouns speech??

      do you somehow feel superior to paul broun, because you believe that your particular take on xian ideology is more valid or real than that of dr.broun?

      what say ye?? srsly bro...
      :)

      October 22, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • iminim

      the AnVIL: Christianity is accepting Christ as the child of God and attempting to emulate him in your own words & deeds. You are mistaking a literalist interpetation the Old Testament for Christianity. Many people make this error, and understandably so. The organized Christian right has tried to use Old Testament Biblical literalism as a surrogate definition for Christianity, however the two are not synonymous and can even be seen as distinctly separate. Nonliteralist Christians do exist. We believe the overriding message of the Bible but recognize it is not a science textbook.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • the AnViL

      iminim: i am not mistaking a single thing.... cherry-picking, cafeteria xians included... every person who believes in imaginary men in the sky is delusional.

      you and those who think like you should not be allowed to hold public office, vote, purchase firearms or teach public school.
      :)

      October 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  15. akmac65

    Who is the idiot who granted that man an MD license. Politician is all he is qualified to be. With "leaders" like him, we will be lower than a third world country in no time flat.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Cindy

      His MD license should be removed!

      October 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      And removed ASAP!

      October 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      Bringing a very good post back to the top! In addition to the original post I included the list of all members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Lets hold every one who is like Broun and Akins on this committee accountable.

      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 |
      _________________________________________________________________________________________________

      P.S. Other members of this committee are as follows. They should also be check out and if they also display the same illiteracy in science, they should also be held accountable.

      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 23, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  16. Bruce Rubin

    AS LONG AS IT'S THE BARBECUE PIT OF HELL IT WILL BE OK.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Jen

      Mmmm ribs with honey barbecue sauce. Great, now I'm hungry.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  17. Boubour Zlaq

    I would like to understand something: A day is the duration of a full revolution of the earth around itself. Then a day can be divided in 24 hours and so on. So how can God create the earth in six days since there was no earth to turn around itself ???

    October 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Bruce Rubin

      Actually it is in the Books of Moses when God talks to Moses and we are talking a cosmic/divine day. 1 cosmic hour equals 1,800,00 years and if you calculate it all out based on the Talmud and Kabbalah the universe is actually 15,340,500,000 years old.[5] you arrived at this conclusion by distinguishing between earthly "solar years" and "divine years," based on a verse from Psalms, which states that "A thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday" (Psalm 90:4). If each day of a divine year is equal to a thousand earthly "solar years," then a divine year would be 365,250 years long. Based on the Talmud and the Biblical sabbatical year, and arrives at the said number. The scientific estimation places the occurrence of the Big Bang at 13.7 ± 0.2 billion years ago.[6]

      October 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Sam

      @Bruce: Not only is that rubbish, but you've also contradicted yourself.

      "1 cosmic hour equals 1,800,00 years" is not compatible with "a divine year would be 365,250 years long"

      so 1 "cosmic hour" is 1.8 million years, while 1 "divine year" is 365,250 years?

      I think you are just reaching to try to make the numbers fit.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  18. Lex

    He may be a lying politician, but he is 100% correct about the evolution , and big bang concepts.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • End Religion

      Lex, there's no honour or value in choosing to live in ignorance. Evolution is a fact inasmuch as any fact mankind relies on in our shared experience. Stop holding your breath, take your fingers out of your ears, it is time to grow up.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • left hook

      Ahhh. Yet another bible-based home schooled GA kr.ac.ker heard from...

      October 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  19. Kiler

    This explains fully why someone with a 'medical degree' would decide to go into politics instead of the career he had been trained for – he has exactly zero understanding of science, and would have failed utterly in any other career but evalgelist. Kudos to the people of Georgia for electing this nutjob.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • MarioLuiggi

      The problem is that there are Fundamentalist Literalist Christians that think that everything in the Bible is to be interpreted literally, which is ridiculous, as in this case. The other problem is that there are many Atheists and anti-Religious bigots that reject the obvious: nature and creation is extremely ordered with complex physics laws that demand an Intelligent Creator that put these laws in place. Order does not come from chaos. Saying that the Universe formed itself with it's laws "by chance" is mathematical more ridiculous than saying that you can throw the 7 million components of a Boing 747 in the air and expect the airplane to mount itself perfectly "by chance" and be ready to fly. The Catholic Church's positioned that God created and ordered creation and that evolution has a place to play as a method used by him in enhancing the species, event if not to the extend that most radical atheists would like to or that Fundamentalists reject.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      And please tell usyour thoughts on the Founding Fathers, many of whom believed in Providence–and let us know how they were wrong to acknowledge our rights coming from our Creator. Guess our country has been a sham since 1776. Thanks for enlightening us. Nutjob

      October 21, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • End Religion

      @mario: it seems obvious to you because you do not understand that we've already figured out how it was all created nad it has nothing to do with magic. "Order" has come from chaos.

      It is not mathematically ridiculous, you simply cannot fathom the amount of time we're dealing with. If you figure something has a 1:100 chance of happening you'd probably take that bet because 99 times you will win. But that 1 in a 100 will eventually come up. It will happen. It just takes time. And when it does happen, if use choose to live in ignorance you will claim it a miracle.

      To expect that a human has developed similarly to an airplane is a ludicrous proposition offered by the church to keep you bringing in your money to their church. If a human was "machined" in the way a plane is, the heart might be perfectly square or circular, our feet might have wheels or be wider, our knees might bend the other way like many other animals, we wouldn't have an appendix which serves no purpose other than to one day grow and explode to poison us, we would not have mutated egg yolk DNA leftover in our DNA. You're simply choosing to not think critically about the plane concept. Someone said it to you and in 2 seconds it sounded good to you and you stopped thinking. Think it through.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • End Religion

      i meant "take the bet against 1:100"...

      October 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  20. Jesus Christ

    Finally, someone in congress has a brain. It is only the size of a pea, but it is better than nothing. I will make sure he gets a free pass to heaven. Let us pray....

    October 21, 2012 at 8:57 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.