To our friends in America—For just a moment, put aside the coming presidential election. Rise above politics, skin color and debate polish. Focus, instead, on this question: Exactly how does a guy like Paul Broun get elected to your national congress? As these Palinesque characters proliferate in your high offices, the esteem and importance of America in world affairs gradually erodes. Do the views of this man represent what they teach children in your country?—Your adult voters apparently agree with his position on science and technology. By God! It’s the devil’s work…
U.S. Congressman (GA-R), Paul Broun, is a trained medical doctor and serves on the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Recently he spoke at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Georgia. He told his audience that the Earth is about 9,000 years old, and that the Big Bang Theory and Evolution are “lies from the pit of hell”.
Let’s assume that constituents elected an individual who represents the religion of the majority. But most adults are reasonable to basic truths. They understand that religion and science needn’t be interpreted as contradictions. One is a set of moral constructs backed by customs, ethics and a long history of tradition. The other is a gradually improving knowledge of the universe, through the analysis of evidence, specifically, the observation of measurable properties and laws. Even if we let the unbalanced religious interpretation go, how can the citizens of Georgia appoint such an ignoramus to the United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology? Do you suppose that it baffles elementary school students In Europe and Asia. It certainly baffles my 11 year old daughter. She is incredulous. Wake up Americans! It’s not like Congressman Broun hides his whacked out beliefs. Ignorance is displayed with pride on his sleeve. The problem isn’t his devotion to scripture. It’s the empty-headed, literal interpretation.
Congressman Paul Broun on Evolution, Embryology & Big Bang Theory:
“These are lies from the pit of hell” [Full speech: 47 minutes]
The first 24 minutes of the congressman’s speech are about his great hunting prowess. Europeans might overlook the Yahoo factor…After all, he is an American and he is speaking at a sportsman’s banquet. But then, as he begins to speak about his religious re-birth, he explains that modern science is filled with lies. To bolster this arguments, he emphasizes that he is a medical doctor and a scientist. Clearly, he has no clue what is a scientist. How disappointing that Broun chose to serve in congress rather than preach on a street corner. His neandrathal view raises doubts that he can serve citizens who don’t share his head-in-the-sand, southern, born again revelation. He certainly doesn’t represent non-Christians in his district and cannot possibly lend substance or credibility to his role on a legislative body for Science, Space and Technology.
In the above video, he boasts of his credentials as a scientist, and explains that “evolution, embryology, and big bang theory are all lies from the pit of hell.” (Geez!) He also says that the Bible is the “manufacturer’s handbook” and that as Congressman he holds the Holy Bible as a directive for all of his votes and decisions in Washington.
This is precisely the type of nut case that Bill Nye refers to in this video: Creationism is not appropriate for children:
Bill says to adults:
“If you want to deny evolution and live in your world that is completely inconsistent with everything that we observe in the universe, that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it, because we need them! We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems.”
It is sad that the phenomenon of confusing religion and science is unique to the United States. The rest of the world is devoid of whack jobs like Congressman Broun, with the possible exception of Muslim regions under Taliban and Al Qaeda influence.
Ellery Davies, freelance columnist and editor of AWildDuck, focuses on the intersection of technology, politics, law, privacy and social phenomena. He is a frequent contributor to Yahoo, Amazon, Engadget and The Wall Street Journal.
Nice article, but your article closes with very sweeping statements. From my standpoint, it is bad enough that Broun is in office, but that doesn’t mean that there is no one else like him in the entire world except for the narrow exceptions you carved out. It would probably be accurate to say that most (not all) western (not all) countries have few (not are devoid of) people like Broun in elected office (not all people in that society). That’s a big difference from saying –
“It is sad that the phenomenon of confusing religion and science is unique to the United States. The rest of the world is devoid of whack jobs like Congressman Broun, with the possible exception of Muslim regions under Taliban and Al Qaeda influence.”
The only place you hedge is where you say “possible” exception. Only a “possible” exception in these regions? Also, what about countries like Iran that have Muslim influence that are not Taliban or Al Qaeda. Yes, Iran has a nuclear program and that proves that they have scientific knowledge. So does the United States, and I am sure that Broun supports nuclear power and nuclear weapons development in the US. He is still a wing nut that confuses religion and science.