In August, Todd Akin—Republican candidate for the US Senate from Missouri—got into hot water with his party and became the “laughing stock of the planet” for remarks that he made about how women who are “legitimately raped” rarely get pregnant. Akin said the following during an interview on KTVI-TV:
First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. . . But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
Writing for Wired, Brandon Kleim said of Akin:
Aside from the sheer biological ludicrousness of Todd Akin’s ideas on female physiology, one unsettling subplot to the debacle is his presence on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
That’s right: A man who, to put it gently, ignores what science tells us about how babies are made, helps shape the future of science in America. It would be shocking, but for the fact that many of the committee’s GOP members have spent the last several years displaying comparable contempt for climate science.
Kleim also wrote about other Republicans on the committee who seem to show a contempt for science and scientists:
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-CA) 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.”
‘We ought to have some believable science.’
Dan Benishek (R-Michigan) strikes that climate-scientists-as-charlatans note, dismissing contemporary research as “all baloney. I think it’s just some scheme.” Paul Broun (R-Georgia) says that “Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human-induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community.”
For the rest of this post, I’ll focus on Rep. Paul Broun, the chairman of the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. Broun doesn’t just think that the “scientific community” has perpetrated a hoax about climate change—he also thinks scientists have made up lies about evolution, the age of planet Earth, the Big Bang Theory, and embryology…and that those lies come “straight from the pit of Hell.”
During a speech that Broun gave at the 2012 Sportsman’s Banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Georgia on September 27th, he said this:
God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the 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 were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.
In his speech, Broun claimed that as a legislator he takes direction from the Bible:
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 of 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.
Our Constitution was written by men that believed that! And in fact, the Constitution’s written on Biblical principles — in fact, the three branches of government come right from Isaiah, Isaiah 33:22, go look it up!
In an inexorable speech that is available in full on YouTube (but which we will mercifully summarize), Broun attributes his 2007 election to the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ, shows slides of a Kodiak bear and a lion that he heroically shot, and tells a story about heroically shooting another lion in the face, explaining that “God directed that bullet, because if I’d missed, that lion would have been in the back of the truck with me and I’d have been clawed to death.” He even tells a story about his heroic deployment to Afghanistan for 31 days earlier this year as a member of the Naval Reserve, where he saw an Afghan soldier who’d been seriously injured by an IED but survived somehow. And what those awful injuries reminded him of, said Broun, was that the Bible tells us that human beings are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Broun knows this “as a physician,” and this line from Psalm 139:14 somehow proves that evolution is fake.
But did he learn that in college, or in med school? No. He was taught that
we all came from a ‘Big Bang,’ and we were trained in all this stuff about evolution…what I was taught in college and medical school and even high school that we went ‘from Goo to Zoo to You.’ And I believed that.
Phil Plait of Discover Magazine’s Bad Astronomy blog wrote in his post The US Congress Anti-Science Committee that Broun sits on the committee with other anti-science legislators—including Akin—whom “the Republican majority placed on that committee. Men who think global warming is a fantasy. Men who think women have magic vaginas. Men who think the Earth is thousands, not billions, of years old.”
Kind of scary, don’t you think, that we have legislators like Broun who have little respect for science serving on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology?
NOTE: One might think that a man who is so anti-science may not be an educated person—but that is far from the truth. Braun graduated from the University of Georgia in 1967 with a B.S. in Chemistry—and in, 1971, he received his Medical Doctor degree from the Medical College of Georgia.
Paul Broun: Evolution, Big Bang ‘Lies Straight From The Pit Of Hell’ (Huffington Post)
The US Congress Anti-Science Committee (Discover Magazine)