Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA): An Anti-Science Legislator Who Serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

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.

He continued:

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!

From Wonkette:

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)

Republican Senate Nominee: Victims Of ‘Legitimate Rape’ Don’t Get Pregnant (TPM 2012)

Todd Akin and the Anti-Science House Science Committee (Wired)

Video shows ‘scientist’ in Congress saying evolution is from ‘pit of Hell’ (NBC News)

Rep. Paul Broun, High Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science: Evolution, Big Bang Theory ‘Lies Straight from the Pit of Hell’ (Gawker)

Hero Rep. Paul Broun Takes Bible-Based Stand Against Hell-Spawned Lies of ‘Science’ (Wonkette)

Wingnut Watch: Paul Broun Says Progressives Trying to ‘Destroy America’ (Rolling Stone)

Members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight

123 thoughts on “Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA): An Anti-Science Legislator Who Serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology”

  1. Todd Akin: No ‘Science’ Behind Evolution
    By Amanda Peterson Beadle
    Oct 12, 2012

    Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) has had trouble with facts about reproduction. He said in August that women cannot get pregnant from “legitimate rape” because “the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” And in 2008, Akin claimed that it is “common practice” for women “who are not actually pregnant” to get abortions.

    Now, the GOP Senate candidate who’s running against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said Thursday at a Tea Party meeting in Jefferson City, Missouri, that there’s no science behind evolution:

    AKIN: I don’t see it as even a matter of science because I don’t know that you can prove one or the other. That’s one of those things. We can talk about theology and all of those other things but I’m basically concerned about, you’ve got a choice between Claire McCaskill and myself. My job is to make the thing there. If we want to do theoretical stuff, we can do that, but I think I better stay on topic.

    Akin is far from the first member of his party to doubt the scientific evidence behind evolution. Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), a physician who sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, last week said that “evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory” are “lies straight from the pit of hell.” During the GOP presidential primary, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) similarly argued that schools should teach students the creationist theory of intelligent design.

  2. Raff said:
    you are so right that when the policians say that “you” weren’t supposed to hear that so it didn’t really happen. It is like a little kid who thinks you can’t see him or her when the child closes their own eyes!
    Think thats what Romney thght when talking to his monied friends, hey that 47% line, no one will know outside of these guys so i can then say I am concerned about “100%” of the population

  3. Malisha 1, October 12, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Wait, wait, since Hubbard thinks slavery’s OK but others seem to think it’s not, we should just let HIM have it and nobody else. So he can be a slave and nobody else will be. I particularly don’t want to own him (I think it’s kinky and besides I don’t want to give him a lifetime supply of cornmeal) but others may.
    Corn syrup, or maybe it’s corn starch. Dent corn.

  4. Paul Broun and What the Democrats Cannot Do
    By Charles P. Pierce

    Congressman Doctor Paul Broun is running for re-election and he is unopposed.

    The Democratic Party in his home district couldn’t find a single person to stand up and offer the voters in that district a chance not to be represented in Congress by an obvious crackpot. No local assistant DA. No ambitious college professor; the University of Georgia is in this district. Nobody wants to stand up and make the argument that it is better for all concerned that your congresscritter not be a nut. Nobody?

    “You’re the third person to ask me this question over the last few days,” said Joe Wisenbaker, the Democratic Party chairman in Clarke County, a piece of which also is part of Broun’s district, when I spoke to him just now. “The last one was a Republican woman who was very, very angry that we don’t have a candidate. So here’s what I tell everyone who asks: We do everything we can to encourage people to engage politically and to run as Democrats. Last time, we had a good candidate, a lawyer named Russell Edwards, and he went to work full-time to run against Paul Broun, and he got a third of the vote.”

    Since then, the district’s gotten sliced and diced good and proper, but, if we’re ever going to get out of the god-enfeebled fever swamp into which the radicalized Republican Party is pushing the nation, sooner or later, there has to be organized, relentless push back at the ballot boxes everywhere in every election, whether that turns out to be ultimately futile or not. (Of all the things about which Howard Dean was right, this is the most important.) To his everlasting credit, an Army veteran named Stephen Simpson primaried Broun last August, and that was a good thing, even though Simpson got beaten pretty badly. If the Republicans could come up with a candidate to a least raise the question of why we should have frothing loons in our national legislature, the Democrats should do their part as well.

    “I’ve got a great number of people telling me that they don’t want to be represented in Congress by a nut,” says Wisenbaker. “I mean, we’re all embarrassed here.”

    Dammit, do something about it, then. Find an unemployed UGA grad who can give a speech. At the very least, voters should hear somebody on a platform calling Paul Broun out instead of leaving it at a distance to impotent media snark.

  5. Wait, wait, since Hubbard thinks slavery’s OK but others seem to think it’s not, we should just let HIM have it and nobody else. So he can be a slave and nobody else will be. I particularly don’t want to own him (I think it’s kinky and besides I don’t want to give him a lifetime supply of cornmeal) but others may.

  6. leejcaroll,
    you are so right that when the policians say that “you” weren’t supposed to hear that so it didn’t really happen. It is like a little kid who thinks you can’t see him or her when the child closes their own eyes!


    (Also: Who gets their annual check-ups from Broun? Are they still living? Has he healed them with snakes?)

    A little context: Broun is on the committee that oversees the National Science Foundation and also sincerely believes “the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old.” He says he has evidence for that, and it must be pretty awesome evidence if it refutes 4,499,991,000 years of the Earth’s 4,500,000,000-year history. Potential explanation: A 13th apostle, Camcorder.

    This leads us to the second assertion from Griffanti, which is that Broun was speaking about “his personal beliefs regarding religious issues.” Religious issues, of course, have somehow moved past “this wine is actually blood that you should drink” and become “the study of fetal development is the work of the devil, and my invisible friend should dictate all public policy decisions.”

    A guy that we have put in charge of real things is standing up and saying that true things are not true. That’s not a “religious issue,” that’s a learning disability.

    It’s like saying the Moon is made of cheese and calling it a “dairy issue” — evidence that the Moon is made of Moon and not of gouda might be inconvenient for gouda enthusiasts, but that doesn’t mean we’re being rude to the goudists by pointing out they’re being dumb.

    It doesn’t matter though, because this is a democracy, which means if you can get enough goudists into one congressional district, it doesn’t matter what the Moon is made of — the government says it’s cheese, and that Broun is so good at his job.

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