Congressman Paul Broun’s Lies from the Pit of Hell

The news has been circulating for several days that congressman Paul Broun described evolution, the big bang theory, and embryology as “lies from the pit of hell.” Here is the video:

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In terms of initial plausibility, which is more likely: that the vast majority of the world’s scientists (including many Christians among them) who have helped provide insight into and treatments for countless diseases, to say nothing of other innovations, are all conspiring to spread a lie from the pit of hell, or that a congressman’s statement about evolution being a lie from the pit of hell is a lie from the pit of hell?

(Broun describes himself as a “scientist” in the video. He is a medical doctor, which is a laudable and impressive profession but not the same thing as being a scientist).

Unlike Greg Mayer, I am not surprised that Broun would turn his sights on embryology as well. Indeed, it is high time we saw a young-earth creationist with that sort of consistency. The Bible depicts God as knitting us together in our mother’s womb. Saying that DNA does it instead is clearly a secularist lie from the pit of hell – just like secular meteorology, which says that it is not God that sends the rain on the just and the unjust, and I am confident that Broun will continue to be consistent and will turn his opposition there next.

Broun’s statements about the Bible being his guide to public policy worries me as much as, and perhaps more than, his statements about science. What else is he referring to? Which texts does he have in mind? Why do I suspect that he will ignore the Jubilee law and anything related to social justice, and promote all sorts of “unbiblical” laws while perhaps even believing that he is being biblical?

After all, if his misunderstanding of science is anything to go by, I wouldn’t have much confidence in his ability to understand the Bible.

Be that as it may, the scary thing is that Rep. Broun is on the house science committee.

I assume that any Christian who watches sports would prefer an umpire or referee who knows the rules of the game but is an atheist, to a Christian who doesn’t know them or doesn’t care about their being applied fairly and accurately. So why do Christians vote for people who pander to their faith, while telling lies about science, to be on a science committee?

I want to conclude by sharing an image from the blog Unreasonable Faith with a quote from Carl Sagan:

I’m not sure whether the image depicts the closing or the opening of a book as representing the quest to know and not merely believe in a manner uninterested in truth, evidence, or anything else that matters. But either way, it is crucial not to just limit oneself to a single book, but to open many, and to do so often. The Bible doesn’t address embryology, or the Big Bang, or evolution. Those issues and perspectives weren’t even around yet. And to suggest that the Bible provides scientific information, or public policy guidelines for a democracy, are all lies from the pit of hell.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.matzke Nicholas J. Matzke

    “Unlike Greg Mayer, I am not surprised that Broun would turn his sights on embryology as well”

    Actually, probably it’s a reference to creationist claims about the 19th-century Haeckel’s embryos diagrams. The creationist claims about these are mostly crap too, just a different kind of crap than the stuff you suggested. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/iconob.html#haeckel-embryo

  • Beau Quilter

    Hell. Eternal torture. One of the most pernicious and intrinsically evil notions ever invented by religion. I would prefer no one use the “pit of hell” in any kind of argument.

    Let’s not sink to Congressman Broun’s level.

  • Philip Bruce Heywood

    “Those issues and perspectives weren’t even
    around yet.”

    You mean, God hadn’t thought of them yet? He made the universe, but dared not tell his
    creatures anything they might find relevant down the track?

    Small wonder Ham gets such a hearing in the
    U.S. We Australians heard enough of him,
    but keep this up, Prof., and every thinking person will side with him.

    “ The Bible doesn’t address embryology, or the Big Bang, or
    evolution. Those issues and perspectives weren’t even around yet. And to
    suggest that the Bible provides scientific information, or public policy
    guidelines for a democracy, are all lies
    from the pit of hell.”

    Funny how these lies from the pit of somewhere
    or other keep popping up. From which
    part of Hades does the following emanate?

    Lifted from my comments at Peter Enns’ blog:

    If anyone is actually serious about this topic, they are ahead
    of me. I was never serious about it but I am a geologist and was in need of a
    topic to teach in a school. I had scarcely even heard of Young Earth
    Creationism. I had a task — to teach: I needed info.: I asked to be enabled to
    do the job. All I am interested in is doing my job. This has limited relevance
    to real Christianity. If anyone is actually interested, I will show how Ken Ham
    & co. undermine the literal accuracy of the Bible every time they open
    their mouths. Here is an example. The Hebrew can say two things that are
    equally and concurrently true, with the same set of words. I repeat, equally
    and concurrently true. The only accurate extant English translation is the
    Authorised with margin. The margin is equal concurrent. I will reproduce
    GENESIS 1:20. ” And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving
    creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open
    firmament of heaven. EQUAL CONCURRENT And God said, Let the waters bring forth
    abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and let fowl fly above the earth
    in the open firmament of heaven.”

    Now, reproducing GENESIS 2:19. “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every
    beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to
    see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature,
    that was the name thereof. ”

    Spot the contradictions? A contradiction is a key.

    The
    Authorized Version (the only fully reliable translation I have encountered), in
    1:20, translates the Hebrew as ‘fowl that may fly’. These ‘fowl’ were brought
    forth abundantly by the ‘waters’. This of course is a direct reference to the
    Cambrian so-called ‘explosion’, Day 5, approx. 500 mil. yrs past. If we take
    only the equal concurrent listed first, we have a problem with accuracy. ‘Fowl
    that may fly’ means exactly what it says. We shall not quibble over flightless
    birds and similar incidentals, which are covered. The Bible was not written to
    satisfy academic nit-pickers. ‘Fowl that may fly’ include birds, bats, flying
    reptiles — and the most prolific and ancient of all — the insects. Herein the
    potential contradiction, if the equal concurrent is ignored.

    According
    to the literal meaning of 1:20, all complex life (i.e., above plant level)
    leaped into existence on Day 5. All of it. Yet it was water-generated and by
    implication water-based and water-dwelling. Exactly as the fossil record shows.
    Large swathes of it had not yet appeared, but, excluding (in some vital sense),
    Man, every species was effectively created, and alive, at that point in time.
    That is exactly what the Bible demands. On Day 6, already created divisions of
    life were merely modified or ‘formed’ (in the sense of over-formed) of earth.
    Precisely as the fossil record shows. The ‘over-forming’ of earth did not
    cancel the water base.

    Which
    division of ‘fowl that may fly’ was not ‘formed’ (over-formed) of earth? Try
    squashing one.

    And the insects are far older than the earthy fliers, and first appeared in
    conjunction with aquatic and amphibious species — long before even the gliding
    reptiles. Birds, bats, flying reptiles appeared in conjunction with the land
    animals — Day 6.

    Comparing
    now 2:19 against 1:20 : Note the changed wording referring to flight. ‘Fowl of
    the air’. Real fowl of the air, species that fly strongly and rule the skies.
    Like all complex life, they are water based, but — birds, bats and reptiles are
    —formed out of the ground. They are earthy, as distinct from insects.

    Where
    were they, at the ‘Cambrian Explosion’, Day 5? They were in existence, as
    living species, as information, pre-programmed to automatically be transmitted
    into a living cell. Hence, they were all alive. As the Bible implies of all
    species. (See GENESIS 2:4&5). Man, of course, is exceptional — how
    exceptional in terms of genetic engineering I am not certain. GENESIS could be
    taken to suggest he more-or-less pre-existed in an embryonic way with God
    himself.

    Not
    all creatures capable of flight or of the flying category leaped into visible
    view during the earliest outbreak of complex life. This is the testimony of the
    fossil record. GENESIS 1:20 informs the reader that some ‘fowl that may fly’,
    were ‘let fly’, but it leaves us with an unspecified generality. As we have
    learned, there was a category of flying life which the waters brought forth but
    which was not subsequently brought forth out of the ground, or formed of earth
    — the old and ubiquitous insects. GENESIS 2:19 goes on to explain that earthy
    fliers are associated with the land animals. Thus, the text of GENESIS is so
    accurate, it gives the origin of all complex (including flying) life at the
    Cambrian Day 5, says that watery water related flying creatures were a definite
    aspect of that far-off ‘explosion’, gives precedence to the insects, allows for
    future appearance of the birds, bats, and reptiles, giving them future rule of
    the air and association in time with land animals.

    You
    might see why some people find geology dull. Teaching this in a classroom could
    have its moments.

    Reply

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Human-Ape/100001623230964 Human Ape

    I was wondering which Bible Belt state the science denier lives in. I looked it up. It’s Georgia. By the way I noticed this website has an ad for Liberty University, the most anti-science fake university in the world. darwinkilledgod.blogspot.com

  • Robert Cargill

    Methinks Nicholas is correct. My guess is that by “embryology”, Broun is referring to Recapitulation Theory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recapitulation_theory) or “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. I know he’s ignorant, but he can’t be denying the existence of embryos.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Well, I didn’t think that he was doing that. Maybe it is just that I have wondered for so long why young-earth creationists don’t object to “secular embryology” that I missed a more obvious interpretation of his words, that he is repeating the common creationist jibe at Haeckel’s drawings.

  • Kaz

    I’m wondering what his probable objections are to big bang theory. Is it because the theory, as currently understood, suggests and old earth? Or could there be something else behind it of which I’m not aware? I ask because I think that big bang theory ultimately provides more of a problem for atheists than it does for theists.

    • BoOgEr

      how does radiometric dating provide a problem for atheists? It is an exact science.