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. DyingLoyalist

    "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." Holy sh... Time to get this guy out of Washington. He should be making decisions for his church's bake sale, not my country.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  2. Bleh...

    This clown is on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology!??

    Holy fu ck...

    October 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And his "legitimate r@pe" buddy Todd Akin's on the committee with him. True men of "science". HA!

      October 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Keeping It Real


      Yep, and not only that, he is the chairman of one of the subcommittees (Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight - whatever the heck that is...)

      October 17, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  3. Idaho Bob

    Hard to believe that this person has a medical degree. It would be scary to be his patient.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Doctors are just glorified mechanics; nothing says they are particularly smart. The average weatherman has about the same IQ and you know how accurate they are.

      October 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  4. Star-Spangled-Awesome!

    We're screwed.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  5. Just call me Lucifer

    Props to this guy... he's showing me a little of the respect I deserve. Funny thing is, I've already made a deal with JC for his soul, so no matter how hard he prays or kisses the chocolate ring he's gonna burn forever. Man, I love this job.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  6. frank

    Congressman, you believe in fairy tales.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  7. james hotz

    Where did all the energy and matter come from that was put into empty space? It appears that there are many universes, exchanging particles all the time. There is a lot of dark matter out there you can't see, and some of it is captured by suns. But the most curious thing is all the elements deposited in the earth's crust.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  8. Keith

    Can you believe that this man is one of the leaders of our Nation?

    October 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      He's a congressman from Georgia, for crying out loud. That's just one step up from apprentice bank robber.

      October 17, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
      • Keith

        apprentice idiot maybe, thanks for straightening that out for me.

        October 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  9. steve_schoner

    Stupidity abounds... #GOP RAGE

    October 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  10. Ztom

    All Praise FSM!


    October 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  11. HHR

    So we go along with the Big Band theory. Who lit the match?

    October 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Primewonk

      The Big Band theory – is that the one that says you need brass and woodwinds for a full sound?

      Works for me. Do you have any information that falsifies this theory?

      And most concert halls now days are smoke free, so I don't think you can light a match in any of them.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot


      "Who lit the match?"

      Sorry, but we do not know the cause (yet, if ever). The chances are miniscule that it was the god imagined by the Hebrews or by the Greeks, Egyptians, Sumerians, or by anyone else's culture.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Joey Navis

      i think it was bennie goodman who lit the match in regards to the big band theory.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Primewonk

      All kidding aside, why do fundiot nutters, who purposefully choose to be ignorant about science, keep claiming the Big Bang was an explosion that someone "lit"?

      Seriously! Do any of you wacky nutters ever crack open a science journal or book?

      October 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • End Religion

      "Who lit the match?"
      My hypothesis, which is not disprovable, is that whoever farted also lit the match.

      October 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • WASP

      @hhr: i think god got wasted and tried to show off to his buddies by lighting on of his farts and BOOM! universe was created. ROFLMFAO , prove me wrong. hahahahahahahahahahahahaahaha

      October 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  12. TwitRomney

    This is why we have to stop these right wingers from getting into office, they are just so wierd and the love to force their beliefs on others by getting into powerful positions in government.

    October 17, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Spencer

      Replace that with Left wingers and the statement still holds true.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Sorry Spencer, but it's the religious right (oxymoron) who seek to force their religious mythology into our secular laws and into our public schools.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Spencer

      and its the Sanctimonious left that honestly believe they are the smartest people in the room who want to force what they "know" is best on everyone.

      Kettle & pot. Two sides of the same coin.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • OneTruth

      Can you provide some examples of that Spenser

      October 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Actually Spencer, the real scientific research (that stuff you fundiot nutters claim is a lie) shows that young adults who self identify as liberal have IQ's that average 11 points higher than young adults who self identify as conservative – 106 to 95.

      This is a statistical and clinically significant difference.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • yo yo man

      Whoever is in power always tries to push an agenda on the masses. If you want examples from the left, how about publicly funded abortions. Why would I, a believer in pro-life, that it begins at conception, have to pay my tax dollars for that? Why do I have to pay for an auto bailout that I don't believe in? That I have to pay for a fiscally socialist agenda? Maybe because the left is in power forcing their agenda. Whenever Obama makes those promises, I have to pay for them.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ yo yo man – Because of the Hyde amendment, federal funds cannot be used for abortion except to save the life of the mother, ràpe, and incest. 32 states have the same law.

      You fundiot nutters have been told this over and over and over. Yet you still repost this same crap. Why?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • JoeBlow

      Left or Right matters less than how we will approach the problem of separating truth from fiction. Christians say eating bacon is good, Muslims say its bad but it can't be both. There are innumerable differences like these where both sides cannot be correct. So what scale shall we use to test our beliefs? What other measure do we have but our reason? That one spark that separates us from plants and less cerebral animals.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      yoyoman, why do I have to pay for a war of aggression started by a madman from Texas?

      October 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  13. AnotherMD

    Yikes – someone wasn't paying attention during embryology during med school.

    I can't believe he sits on a SCIENCE COMMITTEE for the Congress. Does he spout this ignorance behind closed doors and does it affect Government policy? <>

    October 17, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Primewonk

      Well, he did sign on as a cosponsor for the modified Hyde amendment that talks about "forceable " ràpe. Apparently he's another tea bagger cretin who thinks that women won't get preggers if they are forceably ràped.

      I guess when you're a physician who doesn't "believe" in embryology, anything is possible.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • The Scoundrel

      Look, we've got our own version of the Taliban in our congress!

      October 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  14. CIR

    The flu virus changes on a regular basis. Does anyone know if that would be micro or macro evolution?

    October 17, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • pan


      October 17, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • ME II

      The difference between "micro" and "macro" evolution is only one of degree. There is no functional difference between the two. The same "amount" of change in one species may be called "micro", while in another it would equate to "macro". One example might be color change, in that a color change might cause reproductive isolation, or speciation, within a bird species, whereas a similar color change in a feline or insect species may not.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Evolution is evolution is evolution. This whole micro/macro crap is a smoke screen promoted by the fundiot nutters. And to make matters worse, they invent definitions for this macro/micro crap willy-nilly.

      Evolution is simply a change in the frequency of alleles of a population over time.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • bullseye

      There is only evolution. That whole micro/macro is a creationist ploy.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • redzoa

      It's useful to understand that ID/creationism uses the micro/macro distinctions as a proxy for those evolutionary changes observable in real time (changes within species up through speciation events) as opposed to those which are based upon the inference of evolutionary mechanisms acting over longer temporal scales to produce the progressive patterning of the fossil record. In other words, ID/creationists generally apply macroevolution and its "impossibility" to changes at family, order and class taxonomic levels.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • OneTruth

      As supporters of ID/creationism deny evolution and try to muddle the "controversy" that they claim exists. how do they get to define distinctions? All of what they say is nonsense.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • redzoa

      @OneTruth – Well, there is an actual distinction between the physical evidence used to support relatively small morphological changes as opposed to the evidence supporting morphological changes culminating in higher level taxonomic classifications readily apparent in the fossil record and within extant species. Regardless of the phraseology employed or its muddling motivations, it's important to understand what the criticism actually is so that the appropriate scientific evidence can be referenced in response. For example:


      All I'm saying is that it is ok to acknowledge ID/creationism's use of "micro/macro" if only to help frame the scientific response in a manner which directly speaks to the erroneously alleged failure of evolution. It should also be noted that there are plenty of evolutionary biologists who also employ this micro/macro distinction in framing their areas of study. You can query "macroevolution" in pubmed and retrieve at least a couple hundred hits of legitimate evolutionary biological research.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm |

      Micro proven...macro unproven. Macro is an enormous extrapolation of the evidence for micro evolution. The two are perfectly valid...the evolutionist folks only want to use one term because the can equivocate at will and therefore deceive those who do not recognize the distinction.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • OneTruth

      KR. Evolution is not equivocation. It is fact. Creationism never provides any facts or evidence; they just try to pick apart science or claim that because certain mechanisms are not fully understood that evolution is wrong. That is just clutching at straws – even if the understanding of a given mechanism is not complete or even wrong it doesn't invalidate evolution and it definitely does not prove creationism.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm |


      "KR. Evolution is not equivocation. It is fact."

      Using the term universally is most certainly an equivocation. While we know small changes occur...that does not prove all life from a single source...there just is nothing to prove it occured. You may "believe" that if you so choose, but "believe" does not equate fact.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • redzoa

      @KRHODES – You're correct that there is no "proof" for macroevolution, but then science doesn't deal in "proof." Only formal logic and mathematics deal in "proof." What science has is physical evidence and the ability to validate predictions. When enough predictions are successfully validated, then it's a pretty safe bet our understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved are reliably accurate.

      But you appear confused about what evidence exists for macroevolution as it is not based solely on an extrapolation of mechanisms we can observe in real time (even though this too is the principle fact distinguishing evolution from all alternative "explanations", that is, a defined and well understood foundational mechanism). The fossil record displays a clear progression of the major classes of vertebrate life (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals) not to mention equally well captured progressions of invertebrates, plants, etc. Within and between these classes we have numerous examples of intermediate and transitional forms. The ever increasing numbers of intermediate and transitional forms is a validated prediction of evolution at the macro scale. Also validated are the biogeographic distributions of these various forms. Also the concordant phlyogenetic relationships of extant species to the relationships indicated by the temporal and morphological relationships of the fossil forms. More recently, molecular techniques on ancient biological material is validating relationships proposed by evolution, for example the relationship of T. rex collagen to modern birds more closely than to modern crocodilians. Add to this both the diversity and ubiquitous nature of anatomical and molecular vestigial artifacts, from human male nip-ples, phylogeneticially concordant endogenous retrovirus distributions, a fused 2d human chromosome, your possession of a defunct gene for the production of egg yolk, etc, etc (why are these present?).

      Direct observation has never been a requirement to allow confident application of the scientific method. Forensic science is perhaps the best analogy here. You are free to reject macroevolution but this rejection cannot be claimed to be based upon a lack of supporting evidence. If you're interested, the link I provided above discusses a broad survey of the evidence supporting macroevolution. There is always room for doubt, but there also comes a time when this doubt is by any rational standard, an unreasonable doubt.

      October 17, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  15. Greg

    Yep, Georgia. Why am I nor surprised?

    "...Broun, a medical doctor by training, ..."

    And what people have been lucky enough to have this person practice medicine on them?

    October 17, 2012 at 3:06 am |
  16. swil anderson

    Rennisance Man

    October 17, 2012 at 2:20 am |
  17. GO_GOP

    Seek Jesus and find peace for life.

    October 17, 2012 at 1:14 am |

      Guess you missed the debate. Put on your Depends for the election, gramps.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • sam stone

      Seek ganja and find peace in life

      October 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Primewonk

      I did seek Jesus. I found him fertilizing my neighbor's yard. He didn't have time to do mine, but he said his brothers Juan and Jose could.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  18. myway

    Amazing how people like this manage to be elected. Maybe he should be asked to explain how dinosaur bones were created. I'd like to witness that one. Or even better, where exactly paradise is located. Juicy stuff.

    October 17, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  19. billybob

    Umm, the pit of hell...? He discredits evolution and big bang theory with... HELL??!?!?! ahhahahahahahahhaha

    October 17, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  20. Anybody Know How to Read

    I love reading my own posts. It's almost as enjoyable and fulfilling as smelling my own farts!

    October 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      You used too many capitals and that deserves capital punishment.

      October 16, 2012 at 10:46 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.