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. Baggly

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

    October 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  2. jonathan

    As a proud american I am scared. We get dumber by the minute, and we manufacture more weapons of mass destruction by the minute. You do the math. Some day this earth will perish because idiots like Paul Broun will get control of the red button.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  3. tbreeden

    Scientists say? Scientists say?? Take those two words out. "The Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old and that the universe dates back 13.7 billion years."

    October 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • pat

      the "scientific" dating methods are just guesses, and have been proven to be inaccurate many times

      October 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  4. lamb of dog

    This guy on the science committee is as bad as Iran having nukes.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  5. Coflyboy

    This stone age thinking is influencing policy in our "progressive, world-leader" country. And we want to compete in a world economy?
    The rest of the western world is howling with laughter.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  6. Gary

    Science, space and technology? And this moron's district includes the University of Georgia? The only space is between his ears.....

    October 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  7. jonathan

    It's funny because the old testament is basically a jewish work, and they don't even believe in the literal 6 days.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  8. lamb of dog

    They don't want to hear what you have to say. Be loud, email or call these guys. They need to be put in their place. Don't just post here.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  9. Duh

    They may hate science, but they love technology.
    Monday night football in HD,
    The Nuclear football to enforce religion.

    no wonder the rest of the world is nervous with them at the levers of power.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  10. Ron

    As for this article's main focus.. U.S Rep. Paul Broun... and any others who use the Bible as fact should be REMOVED from the government!!!!! The Bible was meant to help guide us because we did not understand the facts of our world so long ago. Now that Science has shown us the truth, we need to put religions on the backburner as a hobby we enjoy. There is no almighty all knowing omnipotent being that is going to swoop his hand down and "save" us.... Get real people.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  11. returntoalcatraz

    What is really goofy about the Creationist position is that the Bible they rely upon was a) not written in English, b) is a compendium of writings put together in medieval times, c) the various excerpts were written in a specific time context where they could not possible know what they did not know, and d) is culturally specific to the time and place the extratcs were written.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Coflyboy

      e) written by PEOPLE.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • pat

      wrong on every account except that it is true that the Bible was not originally written in English. BTThew, what has that got to do with anything?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Freedom FROM Religion

      @ Pat:

      I'm afraid he is CORRECT on every account and if you knew anything about history, and there are plenty of sources which confirm this, everything he said is factually true.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  12. noteasilyswayed

    It is incredible to me that so many people believe in such fairy tales..... no wonder this country is going down the tubes. Facts mean nothing to so many people. They would rather listen to a "figure head" tell them how to think and act. So many politicians take advantage of the ignorance.... BTW, part of the problem is the lack of strong science-based courses in K-12..... we are becoming a third world country!

    October 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  13. pugilist1

    If he was any good as a Dr, he'd be practicing medicine instead of stealing from the taxpayers.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  14. solex

    God did not create man in his image, it was the other way around. Why else would he be perceived as some bearded white guy?

    30 million years from now, when mamals have had their time in charge and are extinct (just as the dinosaurs had their time and are now extinct) I am thinking it will be the bug's turn to run the planet. There are far more of them than us and they cooperate with each other rather than screwing each other.

    When they have EVOLVED to intelligence, I bet their god will look like a bug.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Shane

      The issue with that is their exoskelton limits the size they can grow to, and with that limit, there is little room for their brains to become more complex.

      One of the reasons they work well together is their nervous systems and brains are relatively simple to manipulate.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  15. pugilist1

    Talk about a lying S/O/B ? you know this Dr Broun knows better, he's just "playing to the crowd". I wonder how he can look himself in the mirror.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      "lying for Jesus" is all-too-common among evangelicals. Apparently they believe it doesn't really count.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  16. Bill C

    The scary thing is that this idiot is a doctor!! And serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology!!!

    We are doomed if we keep a guy like this in office. Even worse 46% of Americans believe this guy!! Impeach him!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  17. Mike

    And yet the same people, in order to refute global warming reference the natural cycle of cooling and warming (ice ages, mini-ice ages) that occur every 15,000 years.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Ha

      Stop that, you will make their heads explode.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  18. Gary

    Too stupid for the medical field so he's a politician. Great.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  19. Ron

    "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."
    15%!?!?!?!!???? Are you Serious??? How do people not realize the Bible is a story. All Religion should be put to an end. Religion does nothing but start war and keep us from knowing the truth!! I am very concerned that not many people know the scientific truths behind our world. They are going to get the rest of us killed!!!!!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  20. Dan

    The bible is completely consistent with what you would imagine 1st century scholars being able to explain to the masses.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:40 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.