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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. maleorderbridesfromKolob

    Broun is a good example of why you shouldn't smoke crack!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Towelie

      I was addicted to crack once. Washcloth helped me beat my addiction. Now I am just addicted to Marijuana.

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

    Here's what I believe: Broun is an alien who has been planted her to entertain us. Obviously, those aliens have a twisted sense of humor. Here's the thing: Facts are not a belief system and belief systems are not facts.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  3. BIBLICAL TRANSLATOR

    Do most fundamentalist Christians realize that the translation between Ancient Hebrew and Modern Hebrew and then to English becomes distorted? In fact the word we translate as "days" in Genesis is actually translated as "a period of time" in Hebrew. So, it could mean 6 minutes, 6 hours, 6 days, 6 millenia, 6 billion, 6 trillion, etc... Think about that!

    Also, the phrase, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth"... well, the translation of the word "God" is actually PLURAL (i.e. In the beginning, GODS created..." Most rabbi's recognize this and see the pluralism as a reflection of God's amazingness – God deserves to be pluralized.

    Also, the concept of hell is actually quite new and foreign to Judiasm. The concept came about during the Hebrews stay in an area a few thousand years ago where PAGANISTIC religions believed in a very similar concept of hell and the devil.

    This is only a small number of facts! O_o

    October 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Why would an omniscient caring god allow his word to be distorted?

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

    BTW, what exactly does the picture have to do with the story, i.e. why is a picture with Alec Baldwin used?

    October 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Peter

      Both are aliens from outer space disguised as humans...

      October 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • maleorderbridesfromKolob

      Both are horrible with their careers

      October 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Baldwin is mentally ill as well, as in he is a Babble Thumper too.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  5. Primewonk

    There is a petîtion up on change dot org to kick him off the science committee.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  6. Tina

    Maybe it is only 9,000 years old, in God years... :) Don't worry, be happy...

    October 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Primewonk

      I can't find "god years" in my index of scientific units. And since the age of the earth is a scientific fact, what is this "god years" you speak of?

      October 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  7. TNlaxmom

    OK, this is horrifying!!! How in the world does this guy get in to Congress? And how is he a medical doctor? This is outrageous! What kind of role models do our children have these days??

    October 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  8. Jos b

    He serves on the House Committee on SCIENCE , Space and Technology. Indeed a sad state of affairs.

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

    I guess he believes that multiple extraterestrial visitors deposited their offspring here.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  10. 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 2:09 pm |
  11. IceMan

    Maybe Broun is on the SST committee due to the open space inside his skull.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  12. Vyr

    How did this guy get on the science committee???

    October 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  13. scanboy

    I visited the National Museum of Natural History this summer. I only had time to view the display on evolution which was absolutely amazing. I could spend days there–learning.

    My first thought upon leaving was, "How long will it take Christian Creationists to argue against continued funding for the Museum and it's pro-science 'agenda'?"

    October 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • IceMan

      I would call it a "pro-actually what is going on" agenda.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  14. Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

    “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
    --------

    Um he is not of a sound mind. I wonder if he sees little demons in his head dancing around in hell? However we are talking about the South and Baptists which equals mentally ill person.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • pi_boson

      If you have ever seen him babble on the House floor, you understand. Lips moving and nothing of any practical sense emitted.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  15. MG

    Everyone missed the last statement with sorry state of affairs in this country.
    "In June, [Gallop poll] 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."
    Europeans and Australians are laughing at us! In one interview with conservative Australian politician, he said, politicians will not be elected in Australian if they support evolution or just mention that they don't believe in global warming. That is how much they give importance to science. Let me put it this way guys...our days of scientific and technological dominance is about to end unless we wake up and put an end to this insanity.

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

      You are absolute right.
      Welcome to a Renaissance of the dark ages.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  16. Booger

    A true leader in the regression to ignorance.

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

      Lights may be on but certainly no one is home. This MD is beyond ignorance and the reason we need choice and the ability to exercise free will when it comes to doctors.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  17. Brett

    46% of Americans still believe in Creationism? This is why the US is falling behind all other developed countries in Education and high level jobs. Before we can fix the economy, we first have to fix STUPID.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • juraman123

      I'm guessing that a huge percentage of these creationists are Romney supporters...

      October 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  18. Rick 7809

    This is what you are going to get if you allow the far right to win, the GOP far right, tea party is an american Taliban. If you do not agree with their "philosophy" they are not interested in you and will do everything they can to destroy you.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  19. IceMan

    46% of Americans believed in creationism
    15% believed in atheistic evolution...

    Wow, this is depressing.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  20. Ozzy

    "Broun, a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology."

    Un-f'ing-believable. That this guy, is on that committee. Speechless.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:07 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.