A petition asking from the removal of Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) from the House Science, Space and Technology Committee has garnered well over 40,000 signatures in the two days since a video of his views on the topics he oversees was made public.
"All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell," Broun told the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman's Banquet last month. "It's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior."
His words received warm applause from his audience.
As a scientist, he said, he had found evidence that the Earth was quite young – about 9,000 years old, to be accurate – and that it was created within six 24-hour days. Government policy should be ruled by the Bible, he said, claiming that it was a "manufacturer's handbook" that answered all life's questions.
If Rep. Broun does indeed have this evidence, The Reg suggests that he should make it known immediately – such proof that geology, most of physics, much of chemistry and biology and a fair amount of history is just wrong should net him the Nobel Prize. Even the traditionally conservative Catholic Church accepts the Big Bang and evolution as solid science, since there is nothing in either theory that conflicts with their notion of God.
Broun was selected for the House science committee in part because he is, by training, a scientist: he holds a degree in chemistry and practices as a doctor in his home state of Georgia. But given Broun's role on the Science, Space and Technology Committee, the fact that he has problems with two out of three of the areas it oversees has many people worried.
"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," Bill Nye (aka the Science Guy) told The Huffington Post in an email. "For example, the Earth is simply not 9,000 years old. He is, by any measure, unqualified to make decisions about science, space, and technology."
Nye is not alone in his concerns. This El Reg hack would have severe doubts about going to a doctor who didn't believe in evolution, since that would mean certain problems in dealing with antibiotic resistance and pretty much all of genetic science, which is yielding some superb now drugs to treat human illnesses.
As for the science side of the equation, the Bible clearly states that the value of Pi is three (1 Kings 7:23), which would cause engineers and mathematicians some problems.
Broun's oversight of space priorities might also be slightly askew, since the Good Book notes in Chronicles 16:30, and Psalms 93:1 and 96:10, that the Earth is fixed in place – a claim Galileo accepted (under threat of torture) before legendarily asserting "and yet it moves."
Broun is not, however, out of tune with the electorate. According to the latest Gallup data, 46 per cent of US voters believes God created mankind in its current form, compared to 15 per cent who think we evolved without a guiding hand from a deity.
Biblical literalism is a peculiarity of some sects of the Christian faith and it's very common in the US, albeit with a lot of flexibility. Paul Broun himself claims to live by the Bible's teachings, and particularly those of the New Testament, yet he's been married four times. Obviously he missed Jesus' teachings on the subject:
"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery," Jesus says in Luke 16:8.
Incidentally, Broun is joined on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee by Todd Akin (R-MO), who has some interesting ideas about biology. Akin caused huge controversy with his views on the ability of women to control their own bodies in the event of being raped to stop getting pregnant by their attackers.
"First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akin said. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
El Reg wonders if the doctor in question sits with him on the science committee – and if possibly another petition might be in order. ®