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. Jim

    This clown is an anti-science Mccarthy. Polluting young minds, or trying to. Rationality will win out because ultimately you can make a living by learning about the world rather than denying it.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:18 am |
  2. GY

    The only remotely credible point I ever heard creationists make was that we have never figured out how life was created. They asked, how do we get life from rocks and water? I didn't have a response for this.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:18 am |
  3. Don

    If science is such fantasy, maybe he'd be willing to return all the tons of cash he made as an MD. Medicine is a science, right?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  4. KAS

    How can this wackadoodle be on a committe for science and technology and claim that Evolution and the Big Bang aren't real, or that the Earth was created in six days and is only a few thousand years old? He's about as qualified to determine national policy on these matters as Honey Boo Boo is to be an expert on physical fitness.

    And people wonder why this country continues to fall further and further behind in science and math.

    So long as the people of the South, and other parts of this country, continue to elect people who are oblivious to reality, the rest of the country will continue to make fun of them, at will, and will continue to point out their backward, wholly ridiculous ideas.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • total zeus

      hey, Big Bang and Evolution are simply scientific theories. They are not (proven) to be true. That will actually never happen, But why cling to something that has not been proved, and then get mad that someone else clings to something that hasnt been proved.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Keel Hauler

      (like) 🙂

      October 11, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Keel Hauler

      Hey Zeus, evolution may be just a theory to you, to many of us it is undeniable reality. The facts are there for all to see, unless you simply don't want to. If the scientific community is too spineless to declare evolution inarguably real in the face of religious opposition, that does not in any way alter the truth.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "Big Bang and Evolution are simply scientific theories."

      Obviously a lack of understanding of what a scientific theory is applies here. Read on and attempt to educate yourself:

      "A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment." Scientists create scientific theories from hypotheses that have been corroborated through the scientific method, then gather evidence to test their accuracy. As with all forms of scientific knowledge, scientific theories are inductive in nature and do not make apodictic propositions; instead, they aim for predictive and explanatory force.

      The strength of a scientific theory is related to the diversity of phenomena it can explain, which is measured by its ability to make falsifiable predictions with respect to those phenomena. Theories are improved as more evidence is gathered, so that accuracy in prediction improves over time. Scientists use theories as a foundation to gain further scientific knowledge, as well as to accomplish goals such as inventing technology or curing disease.

      Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge.This is significantly different from the word "theory" in common usage, which implies that something is unproven or speculative."

      October 11, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      total zeus, it might be worth some time to learn the meaning of theory (explanation strongly supported by evidence) and proof (irrelevant; a concept for math) before contributing your "expertise" to these arguments.

      Why does every armchair web poster consider themselves an expert on science?

      October 11, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      So is gravity "just a theory". Some people enjoy making fools of themselves in public.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Joe

      Hey Fluffy...got some news for ya....science has proved that Gravity is a theory...get with it man..go Quantum.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      No Joe, you idiot. Gravity remains a theory. Just like evolution, repeated observation has proven them both to be facts also. Have you ever considered a GED ?

      October 11, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • abbyt

      @total zeus So you believe in creationism then? Where is the proof for that?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  5. LI_Bri

    "Creationism". Adam and Eve. Noah's Ark. What dumb concepts. It's amazing (and sad) that so many people still believe this nonsense. It's even worse that we're teaching it to our children. Is the earth flat too?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • SR

      No. It's round

      October 11, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Joe

      You left out the stupid concept of selfless love and Mercy taught in the same book. I am so thankful that man possess that on his own, especially the ones in high places

      October 11, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Erasmus

      Interesting, If you had a choice to make on how to define "RIGHT and WRONG" would you choose the Bible or Websters? Christians answer: The Bible , Evolutionist answer : Websters, Google, ..........anything man writes!

      October 11, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  6. Keel Hauler

    Jeez, who elected this POS? Let me guess, this clown was part of the knee-jerk "let's elect every frigging Republican we can because we have a Democratic president" phase. Yes, that has worked out so well...

    October 11, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  7. Stefan Radu

    To Collin: you talk about the ark of Noah – sorry, another problem is to be resolved first, the existence of God. If you deny His existence, do not make the next step to talk about the Bible. This book could never be destroyed, it is the most widespread, the most translated, the most sold and acquired. The French revolution and Communism and . . . and . . . tried to make it vanish. In vain. It is still there. People gave their lives for reading it. It changed the lives of millions, what "The Origin of Species" never did. Facts are facts. Stay with them!

    October 11, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Colin

      Soooooo, do you intend to disagree with anything I posted? If so, specify it.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      "It changed the lives of millions, what "The Origin of Species" never did."

      You have no idea what much of your modern health care is based upon do you?

      October 11, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  8. Celeste

    Feel for me. He is my congressman and is running unopposed.( It was in my town of Hartwell that he spoke these incredible words. And he is a doctor on the Science Committee! What a country. More and more of these idiots are coming out of the woods and being elected to office. When will this country wake up and pay attention to what's going on?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Keel Hauler

      That's awful. I do indeed feel for you. This putz has no business in political office there or anywhere.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Joe

      okay..so lets get this straight...you want us to 'feel' for you, an evolutionist, when the survival of the fittest theory maintains that feelings are for the weak?

      October 11, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • abbyt

      Who said feelings are for the weak? Having no feelings isn't a trait of believing in survival of the fittest.

      I do feel for you. I'm sorry you have such an ignorant official running for office and such ignorant people voting for him.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  9. Colin

    Dear Congressman Broun:

    I would be interested to know how you explain the rich, diverse, temporally consistent and vast array of hominid fossils we have acquired over the last170 years. We have found thousands upon thousands of hominid fossils in Ethiopia, Chad, Tanzania, South Africa, Croatia, Isreal, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Moldovia, the Ukraine, Java, China, the Phillipines, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran. They tell an interesting tale and show the gradual evolution toward modern man including bipedalism, tool use, and brain capacity.

    The last common ancestor of man and chimpanzees lived about 6 million years ago in Africa. Around that time, there was a branching in the evolution of the species and any intermediate species between this last common ancestor and modern man (Ho.mo sapiens) is called a hominid.

    A number of different species of hominid have been identified. Beginning, roughly with the oldest to the newest, these are –

    Sahelanthropus tchadensis
    Australopithecus afarenses
    Australopithecus africanus
    Ho.mo habilus
    Ho.mo ergaster
    Ho.mo erectus
    Ho.mo heidelbergensis
    Ho.mo neanderthalis (Neanderthal man)
    Ho.mo foresiensis
    And us, Ho.mo sapiens.

    The ages of the respective fossils suggest that our immediate ancestor was Ho.mo Erectus and that Ho.mo heidelbergensis, Ho.mo neanderthalis (Neanderthal man) and Ho.mo floresiensis all went extinct.

    The above is an over-simplification, omits many other intermediate species and is not without controversy in some areas, but is a useful yardstick to gauge how humans evolved from the last common ancestor we shared with the great apes.

    This traces the evolution of one branch leading to one species – us. There are millions of species. The fossil record is rich beyond dout and puts paid to the "talking snake" theory of galactic formation.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      If he were in prison, and DNA could get him out, he would use it. He is just too stupid to get why that proves Evolution. He's a quack doctor. He had no training after med school. No one would hire him. He did "house-calls. He never worked in a hospital. He has no board certification.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Mark C

      The burden of proof is upon the evolutionist and not the Christian. What is your favorite proof of evolution? You will mention transitional forms such as Lucy, Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, and others. However, all of these supposed transitional forms were proven fraudulent. This FACT is what lays the burden of proof at the feet of all evolutionists. Charles Darwin himself noted this dilemma when he wrote his now infamous and most condemning statement:

      "Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?"
      – Charles Darwin, Chapter 6 – Difficulties on Theory, The Origin of Species

      Since Darwin penned that statement not one TRUE transitional form has been found. There have been many fraudulent attempts to create a transitional form, as previously named, but no true transitions from one species to another have been found. We have fossils of birds and fish, but we do not have any fossils of half fish – half birds. It is clear that by Darwin's own standard his theory fails miserably. Darwin's hope was that after time we would find these transitional forms, but they just don't exist.
      The simple reason why anyone would accept evolution and reject creation is accountability. If you admit to a Creator then by default you must admit submission to that all powerful Being. All of the sudden you must consider your sin.
      One evolutionist stated this concept thusly:

      “Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable.”
      —Sir Arthur Keith (He wrote the forward to the 100th anniversary edition of Darwin’s book, Origin of Species in 1959).

      Evolution simply allows people to live their lives the way they see fit because they can blame any shortcomings on evolution (i.e. – "I was born that way").

      October 11, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      You have Neaderthal DNA in you. Evolution has been proven. There is not a shred of proof for "Christianity. The fact that there are 33,000 different versions of it proves it is crap. You DO believe in Evolution, You would use DNA to prove your innocence.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Colin

      "You will mention transitional forms such as Lucy, Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, and others." Where did I mention Piltdown Man or Nebraska Man? I mentioned the thousands of legitimate finds.

      Can you not read??? The hominids I listed ARE transitional forms between the last common ancestor and modern ho.mo sapiens. What is your answer to that?

      October 11, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Mark C is SO fvcking desperate to maintain his delusion about his holy book, he lies in public. There are thousands of transitional fossils. http://www.livescience.com/3306-fossils-reveal-truth-darwin-theory.html

      October 11, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Joe

      Wow. I just wonder why chimps STOPPED turning into people? Can we REALLY be the highest evolutionary order....if so...it's a broke system

      October 11, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      If Joe were to actually take a class, he might find out that that question is laughable. Oh wait, he can't He's too dumb to get into college.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Mark C

      The fossil record reflects the original diversity of life, not an evolving tree of increasing complexity. There are many examples of "living fossils," where the species is alive today and found deep in the fossil record as well.

      According to evolution models for the fossil record, there are three predictions:

      1. wholesale change of organisms through time
      2. primitive organisms gave rise to complex organisms
      3. gradual derivation of new organisms produced transitional forms.

      However, these predictions are not borne out by the data from the fossil record.

      Trilobites, for instance, appear suddenly in the fossil record without any transitions. There are no fossils between simple single-cell organisms, such as bacteria, and complex invertebrates, such as trilobites.

      Extinct trilobites had as much organized complexity as any of today’s invertebrates. In addition to trilobites, billions of other fossils have been found that suddenly appear, fully formed, such as clams, snails, sponges, and jellyfish. Over 300 different body plans are found without any fossil transitions between them and single-cell organisms.

      Fish have no ancestors or transitional forms to show how invertebrates, with their skeletons on the outside, became vertebrates with their skeletons inside.

      Fossils of a wide variety of flying and crawling insects appear without any transitions. Dragonflies, for example, appear suddenly in the fossil record. The highly complex systems that enable the dragonfly's aerodynamic abilities have no ancestors in the fossil record.

      In the entire fossil record, there is not a single unequivocal transition form proving a causal relationship between any two species. From the billions of fossils we have discovered, there should be thousands of clear examples if they existed.

      The lack of transitions between species in the fossil record is what would be expected if life was created.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Mark C is so fvcking desperate to prove his holy book true he doesn't even know why DNA, and the presence of Neaderthal DNA in HIM proves evolution, (and no souls BTW). If he were in prison, and DNA scould get him out, he would use it. He said there were no transitional fossils, and I just showed him a bunch. 99.99 % of the scientists on the Earth accept Evolution. Mark thinks he is smarter than the National Academy of Science, and Harvard PhD's, while even not being able to even get into a real college.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      marl is no Paleontologist and no Geologist. Just a fool. Give it up Mark. The Bible is wrong, and YOU are wrong. Stop making a fool f\of yourself for your imaginary Jeebus.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Joe

      Hey fluff...your own answer reflects your pattern of servitude. It takes money to get into college not brains...you slave

      October 11, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      I see you have neither.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  10. Prometheus

    Well Sir...if I even bought into creationism.....which I do not btw. I would have to propose that when YOU lined up to receive your share of brains....you got shorted by your 'Maker'.

    Just sayin'

    October 11, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  11. lynn cooper

    Yes he does have a right to his own opinion but i do not believe in his opinon.I personally believe in evolution and that we are all connected to the one sourse that created us all and that is nature,We are all one together.Spirituality is within not out there.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • NoTheism

      @lynn, he may have a right to his opinions, but that doesn't make him or his opinions right. What is even worse, think about the effects that his beliefs have on his work.. I mean, he's just unfit for being a congressman or on the committee.
      He can go and have his beliefs elsewhere.. in a church perhaps.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  12. Mark C

    I find it hilarious that you are worried about a good moral Christian man making decisions for State and Country vs some of the folks in office including the president that totally lie and cheat and mislead the American people daily.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      Yeah making decisions based on a book written by many authors and edited by even more people. I couldn't care less what you believe but keep religion out of politics. This country is not a theocracy

      October 11, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Mark C

      His statement was not part of his office or politics. It was on his free time and outside of office. It was not on the clock nor on record.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "His statement was not part of his office or politics. "

      and you think he doesn't use his beliefs to formulate his political agenda? I want what youre smoking

      October 11, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  13. TommyTT

    In order to gain votes and attempt to control this country, the GOP has for years enabled ignorance, racism, and religious intolerance. The Republican party bears much of the shame for our country putting idiots like this into power.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  14. Bobo

    The lawmaker seems to believe that the "old testament" is the inspired word of an over worked local dirt spirit he calls "God". The people who inspired this trash are proud of their abilities to trick the weak minded goyam.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  15. Rebel4Christ

    This guys a beast!!!

    October 11, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      One of the beasts in Revelation. That's not good is it.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  16. mlmcleod

    Unbelievable. It is also unbelievable that this guy is a doctor. Who would feel comfortable getting medical advice from this dipstick?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Joe

      Thats your very problem, you look to others for advice.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • abbyt

      @Joe You do realize that you just gave a complete stranger advice about not taking advice from anyone?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  17. Andrew's Son

    This sounds like something Michelle Bachmann would say. I wonder if her and Mr. Broun went to different schools together? Honestly, aren't these types of people embarrassments to the people who've elected them, or are they all just as void of intelligence as their representatives are?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:02 am |
  18. Greg

    Just think Our tax money pays this idiot to make laws.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Joe

      Define our...?

      October 11, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  19. zman

    We are headed for trouble in this country when a guy like this is making decisions about the direction of our country. These fundamentalists frighten me with their zealotry. But I thank them for speaking publicly so I at least know what I'm up against, as I really don't understand it. If you want to see where unchecked religion can lead too, think the Inquisition.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Joe

      Your fear is your enemy, not some man

      October 11, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded


      That man wants to use religion to create laws for this country. Using religion in politics will only create discrimination. I fear this man will use his religion to exploit people and discriminate against others. If you want to live in a theocratic country, please feel free to move. This country has never been a theocracy.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Joe

      Another one with fear....amazing...and we call ourselves Americans...boy would George Washington be praying now....and Patrick Henry...and Thomas Jefferson...and Samuel Adams...and so on and so on. You know, the reason most Americans are becoming nihilists is because we are so comfortable and shielded from the real world..REAL FEAR. Its amazing that statistics showed a 63% spike in prayer and people 'joining churches' in this country immediately after 911. As far as discrimination, that comes with Civil Rights...when a person has certain unalienable rights, which by the way, are endowed by their creator, they need not fear discrimination. By the way I don't go to church and am not a religionist. It sounds to me like you should move...to North Korea

      October 11, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  20. Unbaptized John

    The good? Dr. Paul Broun reminds me of the medical experts that the tobacco industry hired to claim that smoking was not bad for a persons health. This is about the same, shilling for peoples votes among the deliberately ignorant christian crowd, that need learn anything beyond what is written in their bible, scary.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:00 am |
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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.