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U.S. Rep. Paul Broun: Evolution a lie 'from the pit of hell'

October 07, 2012|By Matt Pearce
  • Rep. Paul Broun made the comments in a videotaped speech at a sportsman's banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Ga., according to the Associated Press.
Rep. Paul Broun made the comments in a videotaped speech at a sportsman's… (Gregory Smith / Associated…)

Evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are major underpinnings of mainstream science. And Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun, a physician who sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, says they are “lies straight from the pit of hell.”

Broun, who is unopposed for reelection in November, made the comments in a videotaped Sept. 27 speech at a sportsman's banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Ga., according to the Associated Press.

Here are his remarks:

“God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. There’s a lot of scientific data that I found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I believe that the Earth is about 9,000 years old. I believe that it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says. And what I’ve come to learn is that it’s the manufacturer’s handbook, is what I call it. It teaches us how to run our lives individually. How to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all our public policy and everything in society. And 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.”

Broun spokeswoman Meredith Griffanti told the Athens Banner-Herald that “Dr. Broun was speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues.”

The church had posted Broun’s full speech to YouTube  on Thursday, according to the Athens Banner-Herald, but the video appears to have been removed as of Sunday.

Although Broun’s remarks have raised eyebrows among liberals and scientists — congressional tracking service Govtrack.us rates him as one of the most conservative members of the GOP caucus — some of Broun’s strict creationist views aren’t that far out of the mainstream of American public opinion. According to the latest Gallup poll, 46% of Americans think God made humans within the past 10,000 years.

Nor are Broun’s views radically out of whack with other Republicans on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Another member is Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, still dodging flak for saying victims of "legitimate rape" were unlikely to become pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin is running for the Senate.  

Over at Wired, Brandon Keim has run down the list of other views held by House science committee members:

"The committee’s chair, Ralph Hall (R-Texas), lumps 'global freezing' together with global warming, which he doesn’t believe humans can significantly impact because 'I don’t think we can control what God controls.' Dana Rohrbacher (R-Huntington Beach) thinks cutting down trees reduces levels of greenhouse gases they absorb. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) still trots out the debunked notion that a scientific consensus existed in the 1970s on 'global cooling,' which he portrays as a scare concocted by scientists 'in order to generate funds for their pet projects.' "

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