October 8, 2012
US Congressman Calls Big Bang, Evolution Lies From The Pit Of Hell
Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Most Americans wouldn´t be surprised to learn that the title of this article, ℠Lies Straight From the Pit of Hell´, is an actual quote, in reference to evolution, the Big Bang theory and embryology, that was spoken on an altar at a Southern Baptist church. We´ve come to understand that evangelical pastors have a strict adherence to the letter of the Bible. Do you think most Americans would be shocked to learn that this quote came out of the mouth of a sitting congressman who also happens to chair a subcommittee for the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology?
Perhaps not, after another member of this committee, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) shared his complete ignorance of how the female body works, asserting, "If it is legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down." For those comments, Rep. Akin was very nearly cast out of the Republican Party, drawing condemnation from other members of congress who saw any affiliation with Akin as toxic to their election or re-election chances. Even bigwigs within the party, such as Karl Rove and the Republican Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, sought to distance themselves from the comments and the man, himself.
Rep. Paul Broun, who has a medical degree, spoke before a sportsman´s banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Ga. Below is a transcription of 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.”
The church had posted a copy of the video to YouTube on Thursday of last week. By Sunday, it had been removed. You can, thanks to the permanence of the internet, view the video here.
Rep. Broun´s assertion that “as a scientist” he has found data that shows the Earth is no older than 9,000 years old flies in the face of mainstream scientific thought that has, through carbon dating, stated the true age of our planet is approximately 4.5 billion years old.
My biggest problem with the representative´s statement is his assertion that he is a scientist. Especially when one bothers to look up the actual definition of scientist. According to thefreedictionary.com, a scientist is a person having expert knowledge of one or more sciences, especially a natural or physical science.
What Representative Broun espoused on that altar was not science, was not truth, but was, in fact, belief. We know this because, in a statement to the Athens Banner-Herald, Rep. Broun´s spokeswoman, Meredith Griffanti told us so, saying, “Dr. Broun was speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues.”
Apparently belief is as effective as cocaine for creating and perpetuating delusions. I can´t imagine how someone who obviously had the intelligence to get through medical school could not only discount, but outright ignore the vast sums of scientific discovery and knowledge that have been accumulated throughout our human history. On that altar, speaking those words, Rep. Broun seemed as deluded and grandiose as Charlie Sheen during his ℠winning´ days.
Science has a hero to the rescue, though. While many in the scientific community were aghast not only that an adult could make these comments, but that said adult was also on a very important congressional committee, it was the ire drawn from legendary science educator Bill Nye that put voice to their discontent.
"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," Nye told The Huffington Post in an email. "For example, the Earth is simply not 9,000 years old," he continued, contradicting a remark made by Broun later in the video. "He is, by any measure, unqualified to make decisions about science, space, and technology."
This wasn´t the first time Bill Nye, the Science Guy stepped into this debate, either. In August of this year, documented in a fantastic article by redOrbit´s own Brett Smith, Nye was quoted from a web video posted to BigThink, saying, “So, once in a while I get people that really – or that claim – they don´t believe in evolution,” Nye said. “And my response generally is ℠Well, why not? Really, why not?´ Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don´t believe in evolution. I mean, here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they´re at a different point in their lifecycle.”
“The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us” he added. “If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.”
“We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future,” he said. “We need people that can – we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.”
For an interesting read on the origins and perpetuations of creation myths throughout human history, I highly recommend reading Smith´s article, in full.
Broun, who won a special election in 2007 to fill the seat of deceased Rep. Charlie Norwood, is running unopposed for his congressional seat next month. He has been ranked by Govtrack.us as one of the most conservative members of the GOP caucus. But he and Rep. Akin are not the only members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee to have decidedly anti-science views.
According to Brandon Keim of Wired, “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 1970´s on ℠global cooling´, which he portrays as a scare concocted by scientists ℠in order to generate funds for their pet projects.´”
Even the hero of the modern Republican Party, Ronald Reagan, walked back his comments that trees cause pollution, recognizing the abject ignorance of the statement. And that was some 30 years ago. Rep. Rohrbacher must not have gotten the memo.
As of press time, Rep. Broun´s press secretary, Jessica Morris, had not responded to e-mail or phone calls for comment.