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.

SOURCES

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. I have a visual disorder so I sometimes do hit the wrong keys. “off the record” = not for the public

  2. leejcaroll 1, October 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Gotta love these guys: Its off the record so it doesn;t count?
    ===============================================
    Your punctuation is incorrect. What exactly does “off the record” mean?

  3. Fact Check: What a 9,000-year-old Earth really looked like
    By Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
    http://news.yahoo.com/fact-check-9-000-old-earth-really-looked-183713773.html

    Excerpt:
    Creationist beliefs

    Broun is far from the only believer in a literal, or Biblical, creation. According to a Gallup poll conducted in June, 46 percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years, a creationist belief. Only 15 percent said they believed in evolution without God’s hand, while 32 percent said they believed in evolution guided by God.

    That survey did not ask adults how old they believed Earth to be, but estimates based on literal interpretation of the Bible normally range from 6,000 to 8,000 years. (It’s not clear why Broun believes in a 9,000-year-old Earth.)

    The most popular 6,000-year-old figure comes from James Ussher, a 16th-century Irish clergyman. Ussher, whose position as Archbishop of Armagh made him head of the church in Ireland, published two works in the 1650s using genealogies from the Bible to date the creation of the world to Oct. 23, 4004 B.C. [Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus]

    Other estimates differ based on the use of different Bible translations and whether biblical scholars take the Bible’s six-day creation period literally or assume the “days” to be longer periods of time.

  4. Congressman draws fire for calling evolution, Big Bang ‘lies from the pit of hell’
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
    10/10/12
    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/10/congressman-draws-fire-for-calling-evolution-big-bang-lies-from-the-pit-of-hell/comment-page-47/

    Excerpt:
    Most creationists believe in the account of the origins of the world as told in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

    In the creation account, God creates Adam and Eve, the world and everything in it in six days.

    For Christians who read the Genesis account literally, or authoritatively as they would say, the six days in the account are literal 24-hour periods and leave no room for evolution. Young Earth creationists use this construct and biblical genealogies to determine the age of the Earth and typically come up with 6,000 to 10,000 years.

    The Gallup Poll has been tracking Americans’ views on creation and evolution for 30 years. In June, it released its latest findings, which showed that 46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution.

  5. Nal,

    Broun’s comments were off the record–and he’s off his rocker!

    **********

    Atheist facepalm! U.S. House Representative Paul Broun from Georgia.
    by Don Lacey on Oct. 09, 2012
    http://tucsoncitizen.com/freethought-arizona/2012/10/09/atheist-facepalm-u-s-house-representative-paul-broun-from-georgia/

    Here is another incredulous entry from Jim Wilson:

    Americans display disinterest, distrust, or illiteracy when it comes to science. They enjoy their smart phones and the other toys and conveniences science produces, but few delve further than that. Many felt a sense of nationalistic pride with the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars in August but these moments seem all too infrequent. On a given day, there is more interest in sports or celebrities than scientific issues. Too many in this country reject scientific thinking in favor of new age superstition or ancient religious nonsense.

    Today’s case in point is US House Rep. Paul Broun from Georgia; he recently told an audience at Liberty Baptist Church that:

    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. And 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. 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.

    In other words, we have a superstitious, religious zealot in our government who rejects all scientific findings that contradict his favorite story book. The theories he rejects as being conspiracies from Satan himself are the cornerstones of our understanding of the universe. Evolutionary biology, old Earth geology, and the big bang cosmology are consistent with all existing evidence and are contradicted by none of it. The universe we live in makes no sense without these theories. Scientific literacy requires knowledge of these theories. Representative Broun rejects them in favor of willful ignorance.

    Can you believe that this superstitious ignoramus is on the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology which has jurisdiction over NASA, the Department of Energy, EPA, ATSDR, NSF, FAA, NOAA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, FEMA, the U.S. Fire Administration, and United States Geological Survey as well as over federally funded scientific research and development that is not military-related? He shares this position with Todd “legitimate rape” Akin, who recently made news because of his incorrect belief that pregnancies are not likely to result from rape. There is certainly disagreement, among freethinkers about what role government should have in the sciences, but nearly all will agree that if we are to have a science committee the last people on it should scientific illiterates like Broun and Akin.

    There are quite a few problems with Broun’s claims that the Bible is a good source of information on how to run society or a family. It is silent on many important issues like Nuclear proliferation, space travel, vaccinations, fossil fuel usage, and television to name a few. The New Testament’s main political instruction is to be obedient to earthly authorities: The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves (Romans 13:1). The Bible’s instructions on family life are completely insane. For example, it prescribes killing rebellious young people as well as family members who suggest you join other religions. Jesus himself was surprisingly anti-family when he said: If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.(Luke 14:26)

    Unfortunately, as of the time of writing Representative Broun is running unopposed. We need to free our government from the influence of superstitious crackpots and scientific illiterates who cling to Bronze Age mythology. Science has endless potential for improving our lives and our understanding of the universe we live in. We need law makers who understand this, rather than ones who want to base policy on primitive stories and outdated belief systems.

  6. Rep. Broun Spox: Comments Decrying Science As Satanic Lie Were ‘Off Record’

    Now a spokeswoman for Broun, Meredith Griffanti tells CNN Broun will not comment on his remarks. But she added that they weren’t meant for public consumption and that Broun was “speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues.” The church group posted a publicly available video of his full speech on YouTube after the event.

  7. Science From Hell
    By Seth Shostak.Senior Astronomer, SETI Institute
    10/08/2012
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/seth-shostak/science-from-hell_b_1948633.html?utm_hp_ref=science&utm_source=buffer&buffer_share=61f19

    Here’s an idea you probably haven’t considered. Astronomer Edwin Hubble, who first discovered the expansion of the universe, was part of a devilish plan. Measurements of nearby galaxies suggesting that the cosmos began with an explosive event — what we now call the Big Bang — were a conspiracy to ensure that you don’t yearn for spiritual salvation.

    What?

    No, really. This is the claim of Paul Broun, a Republican representative from Georgia. According to the Associated Press, the Congressman recently made a banquet speech in which he said “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

    The skeptical representative went on to say that the Earth is less than 10 thousand years old, and was formed in six days. A lot of planetary scientists are clearly barking up the wrong tree.

    Well, the approval rating of Congress is an anemic 10 percent these days, and these bizarre statements might just be another reason to be unhappy with those representing your interests under the Capitol dome. But here’s the zinger: Broun sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

    No doubt this reassures you about the chances that this country will continue to be in the forefront of groundbreaking research.

    It’s enough to make you alternately laugh and cry. But this daffy performance speaks to a problem even larger than Broun’s dreadful ignorance. Why is this gentleman in Congress at all?

    Does the Georgia electorate think that Broun simply has a right to his opinions, and — since much of science’s teachings are merely “theory” — you can’t fault him for harkening to the beat of a different drum?

    Well, that rationalization has a faintly Jeffersonian ring to it. Unfettered speech, freedom of religion, and structures ensuring that government won’t inevitably dictate what’s right and wrong all hit a resonance with Americans.

    So yes, you’re entitled to believe what you want — including the existence of leprechauns and the Wicked Witch of the East. But since the Renaissance, a concept called “progress” has been baked into our society. Progress — founded on an accumulation of knowledge through experience (and in the case of science, through experiment). To build on the past, rather than endlessly relive it. That’s what separates us from the beasts.

    Examples are legion, and most familiar in medicine, which today is very much entwined with the principles of evolution and embryology that Broun finds so heretical. A particularly lucid demonstration of how evolution interacts with pharmaceutical research is the effort to maintain an arsenal of effective antibiotics to stave off lethal infections.

    But rather than become embroiled in specific rebuttals to goofy indictments of major intellectual ideas, I ask again the larger question: Why is science’s blood pressure in this country so low that someone with Broun’s opinions could be considered suitable to guide our research priorities?

    It’s not just a “rural Georgia” problem, and it’s not just a problem with the literal interpretation of biblical texts favored by fundamentalists. The problem is cultural and it’s deep. America’s popular heroes have seldom been its great thinkers, and even less its scientists. The success of TV’s Big Bang Theory, which seems to give the lie to this claim, is more the exception that proves the rule. Typically, only about 2 percent of the American populace tunes in to PBS’s Nova series — the most successful science show on the tube. Survivor and X Factor get twice the ratings.

    Everyone talks about science literacy, and how it’s essential if we wish to remain an important player on the world stage. And yes, moving the needle is hard. But one thing we don’t need is a crazy fox in the chicken coop.

  8. jbrianharrisphd 1, October 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Malisha (and others),

    Yes, to me, authoritarian parenting and authoritative parenting are approximately polar opposites, to me.

    My wife and I adopted an eleven year old boy who was available for adoption because his parents had been found to have severely neglected him and his six siblings. Not long after the adoption was completed, a daughter was born to us.

    The contrast between our two children was astonishing, and, eventually tragic. However, just over a month before the car our son and his wife were taking to her job in a nearby town, their car exploded and they were killed. The car exploded in large measure because of seriously defective (not fully fused welds, or,as such welds are sometimes called, “crystallized welds”.
    ======
    Sounds like you’re full of sti!.

  9. Arkansas State Rep: ‘If Slavery Were So God-Awful, Why Didn’t Jesus Or Paul Condemn It?’
    By Aviva Shen on Oct 9, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/10/09/975021/arkansas-state-rep-if-slavery-were-so-god-awful-why-didnt-jesus-or-paul-condemn-it/

    After Arkansas Republicans disavowed a book by state representative Jon Hubbard (R-AR) claiming slavery was “a blessing in disguise” for African Americans, Hubbard’s colleague, state Rep. Loy Mauch (R-AR) has been outed by the Arkansas Times for his pro-slavery, pro-Confederacy letters to the editor over the past decade. Mauch’s run for reelection this year is backed by the Arkansas Republican Party.

    In letters to the Democrat-Gazette, Mauch vehemently defended slavery and repeatedly suggested Jesus condoned it:

    If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it, why was it in the Constitution and why wasn’t there a war before 1861?
    The South has always stood by the Constitution and limited government. When one attacks the Confederate Battle Flag, he is certainly denouncing these principles of government as well as Christianity.

    His other letters call Abraham Lincoln a Marxist and celebrate the Confederate flag as “a symbol of Christian liberty vs. the new world order.” He also organized a conference in 2004 praising John Wilkes Booth and calling for the removal of an Abraham Lincoln statue. Mauch has been supported mainly by contributions from the Republican Party and other Arkansas candidates. Now, the state GOP is pulling all funds from Mauch, Hubbard and another state legislative candidate, Charlie Fuqua, who wants to expel all Muslims from the country and thinks rebellious children should receive the death penalty.

  10. Malisha (and others),

    Yes, to me, authoritarian parenting and authoritative parenting are approximately polar opposites, to me.

    My wife and I adopted an eleven year old boy who was available for adoption because his parents had been found to have severely neglected him and his six siblings. Not long after the adoption was completed, a daughter was born to us.

    The contrast between our two children was astonishing, and, eventually tragic. However, just over a month before the car our son and his wife were taking to her job in a nearby town, their car exploded and they were killed. The car exploded in large measure because of seriously defective (not fully fused welds, or,as such welds are sometimes called, “crystallized welds”.

    We used authoritative parenting methods; our children were encouraged to ask us to clarify any suggestions we made, the better for our children to learn the ways of “evidence-based decision-making.” A few weeks before that car exploded, our son said to his wife, their children, my wife and me, and others, “you were the only real parents i ever had.”

    I am of the view that the present “sociopolitical malaise” is of long-standing development, having evolved over thousands of years. I have studied the history of science with what I hold to be a sustained, decent effort. One scientist whose work I have found to have been uncommonly relevant to the human social predicament was Herbert A. Bloch, a sociologist whose work was focused on aspects of social and personal disorganization.

    The earliest of Bloch’s books in my library is, “The Concept of Our Changing Loyalties,” originally published in 1934. Bloch’s “Disorganization: Personal and Social” (1952) was my second semester introductory sociology text.

    Bloch and Melvin Prince authored, “Social Crisis & Deviance: Theoretical Foundations (1967), which was published after Bloch’s death. Forty-five years ago, Bloch and Prince wrote, as the opening two paragraphs of Chapter I, in Social Crisis and Deviance:

    “Today’s students have never known the fruits of social stability and peace. They have made their adaptations to the contemporary scene during periods of international threat and counterthreat, tactical crisis, limited ‘hot’ wars, domestic civil rights turmoil, and economic dislocations of workers and entire industries. It is this unsettled world that the youth of today may soon be called upon again to ‘settle’ with their lives. Upon this generation will ultimately devolve the responsibility of forging those instruments, technical and social, that may satisfy the enduring hope of mankind for a just and orderly world. One response to these unsettled and tense conditions has been the proliferation of student activist movements on campuses across the nation.

    Other evidences of a world in malaise are overwhelming. The statistical pointer-signs—indicators, in the professional terminology of the sociologist—are so diverse that it is difficult to piece together the general pattern of disorder. Universities, research foundations, and social agencies are producing an enormous mass of detailed statistical data indicating he gravity of domestic and international social disorder. They provide ample testimony for the conclusion that it maybe considerably ‘later than we think..’ ”

    My sharing of my research methods and results has tended to result in remarkably intense variations of the Stockholm Effect, as a response to my research, from people who I find regard themselves as exceptionally successful in adapting to contemporary society. I have found those intense responses remarkably similar in form and function to post-traumatic stress disorder flashbacks.

    As I have been able to study biographical research about political despots, as, for example, through the works of Alice Miller, the correlation between despotism and authoritarian parenting is about as good as social science correlations ever seem, to me, to be.

    However, i my work the correlations between authoritarian parenting and child abuse and destructive human conduct appear to be “effectively perfect.”

    The late psychoanalyst, Martin Cooperman, wrote to the effect that, in a psychoanalytic dyad, reciprocal retaliation is a defeating process. To me, reciprocal retaliation is a defeating process wherever it is in use.

    And,, to me, escalating reciprocal retaliation is an annihilating/exterminating process,

    Sorry to say, but Braun and Fuqua remind me, perhaps more than anything else, of Daleks in the Dr. Who television programs.

    Daleks, “You will obey! You will obey! Exterminate! Exterminate!”

    What better model than Daleks for the astonishing-to-me notion of imposing the death penalty onto children who wisely, and for cause, rebel against authoritarian parental abuse?

    I admonished and implored my children to rebel against anything about me that troubled them enough that rebelling made sense to them; the better for me to be able to elude authoritarian parenting abuses.

    And the effect of that? Comments from schoolteachers, to the effect that, if every student were like our daughter, schoolteaching would be the most perfectly beautiful vocation in the whole world.

    Starting at birth, if not before, I taught my wife’s and my daughter to truthfully respect herself, and, thereby, to comparably respect other people.

    From a system dynamics perspective, the seeming escalation of social disorganization may be the hallmark of soon to arrive improvement in the human condition.

    The future has yet to happen, what it will bring is not yet here.

    The present “malaise” has been forming for many more years than I have lived; hence my searching through “out of date” books for their historical contents value.

    Given my druthers, I prefer to not be abysmally ignorant of relevant-to-today human history.

    Sorry, Attorney Fuqua, I find your interpretation of “scripture” to be characteristic of some form of abysmal ignorance of recent work in the biology field of neurology regarding trauma.

    I am unable to find any conjecture other than trauma-induced brain damage that can usefully account for the expressed views about biology and “rebellious children” of Atty. Fuqua.

    Claiming to be a research scientist, or having worked in a job that is labeled, “Research Scientist,” does not guarantee scientific competence in a field or sub-field in which actual competence is absent in the one making the claim.

  11. Malisha contributed:
    “Darren S, if he had his way you’d be on your way to the gallows for blasphemy, having said that.”

    If only I had the opportunity to bellow it out two inches from his face. 🙂

  12. Bill Nye: Paul Broun ‘Unqualified To Make Decisions About Science, Space, And Technology’
    The Huffington Post
    By David Freeman
    Posted: 10/08/2012
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/07/bill-nye-paul-broun-science-space-technology_n_1947125.html

    Excerpt:
    For someone who sits on a key congressional science advisory committee, Rep. Paul C. Broun (R-Ga.) seems to take a pretty dim view of science.

    In videotaped remarks made Sept. 27 before a church group, Broun called what he had been taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang theory “all lies straight from the pit of Hell,” adding that the lies were intended to “keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

    The remarks seemed to resonate with the audience, with several voices calling out their assent. But along with many others who viewed the video, the well-known science educator Bill Nye heaped scorn on Broun, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

    “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.”

  13. Swarthmore mom,

    Thanks. Your link led me to the following Salon article:

    Least scientific members of the House Science Committee
    Paul Broun’s not the only GOP member of the House Science Committee who’s a bit iffy on the whole science thing
    By Jillian Rayfield
    10/8/12
    http://www.salon.com/2012/10/08/least_scientific_members_of_the_house_science_committee/

    “Wait, he’s on the House Science Committee?”

    That was many people’s reaction to comments by Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., that came to light last week: ”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,” Broun said at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet recently. “And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

    But Broun’s not the only Republican on the committee who has a tenuous-at-best relationship with science:

    Let’s start with the chairman himself, Ralph Hall of Texas. Though he was once a Democrat, Hall was behind a 2010 effort by Republicans to cut off billions in funding for scientific research and math and science education. He did this by rather cannily tacking onto a bill a provision that would have forced Democrats to vote in favor of letting federal employees view pornography while on the job. Hall also once said of climate change: “I’m really more fearful of freezing. And I don’t have any science to prove that. But we have a lot of science that tells us they’re not basing it on real scientific facts.”

    Then there’s Todd Akin. In the course of his campaign for Missouri Senate, Akin made the following comments about rape: “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

    Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett had a similar take on pregnancies resulting from rape: “There are very few pregnancies as a result of rape, fortunately, and incest — compared to the usual abortion, what is the percentage of abortions for rape? It is tiny. It is a tiny, tiny percentage.”

    Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer is best known for yelling out, “It’s a baby killer!” during the House debate on Obama’s healthcare reform bill. But did you know he also drafted a resolution for Americans to ”join together in prayer to humbly seek fair weather conditions” after a series of destructive tornadoes and droughts?

    In 2007, Congress held a hearing on a report that found global warming to be “unequivocal.” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, who has no truck with man-made global warming, was skeptical about testimony regarding a period 55 million years ago when similar dramatic climate change occurred: “We don’t know what those other cycles were caused by in the past. Could be dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows?”

    Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin is a renowned climate change skeptic who has alternately decried ”scientific fascism” and described research on climate change as an “international conspiracy.”

    Allen West-backed Sandy Adams lost her Florida primary this year, but she still managed to serve on the committee while bad-mouthing evolution. “I’m Christian. I believe in the biblical terms of how we came about,” she once said. Adams also voted in favor of a bill to have teachers “teach theories that contradict the theory of evolution.”

  14. Dr. Harris, you say: Authoritarianism is, to me, the epitome of child abuse. Authoritarianism, as a parenting style, denies the integrity of the child.

    There you have it. Being authoritative helps the child figure things out so that he can make his way without making the kinds of mistakes (like running across the street without looking both ways first) that are dangerous or harmful. Being authoritarian destroys part of the child’s growth potential.

    I have a grown kid who insists I’m the best mother he’s ever seen or known, although I never did much. All I did was NOT to do much. I didn’t interfere with his own doing of as much as he could do. I basically shared any authority I had if I was asked to and other than that, fed and clothed him until he got his land legs under him and he did the rest himself. The few times I noticed myself getting in his way, I apologized and he quickly forgave and forgot! Plenty of times he also apologized to me for things that we understood were “faux pas” against me as a co-existing human.

    This goon’s idea about “rebellious children” is about as fascist as anyone can get, and the fact that there is a political party willing to let him on their ticket is a disgrace. I shudder to ask: Does he have children?

  15. Indecent Proposal: Another ‘Religious Supremacy’ Amendment Surfaces In The U.S. House
    Sep 28, 2012
    by Simon Brown in Wall of Separation
    http://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/indecent-proposal-another-religious-supremacy-amendment-surfaces-in-the-us

    Excerpt:
    As part of a continuing effort to use religion as a way of excluding many Americans, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives recently proposed a resolution that “reaffirms the importance of religion in the lives of United States citizens.”

    Introduced Sept. 19 by Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), the resolution includes a number of statements that are offensive to anyone who supports church-state separation or isn’t Christian.

    The resolution says that Judeo-Christian heritage “has played a strong role in the development of the United States and in the lives of many of the Nation’s citizens” and that the House “rejects efforts to remove evidence of Judeo-Christian heritage and references to God from public structures and resources.”

    A long list of “evidence” is also offered to support the claim that religion is important to people in the U.S.

    One claim is that the “first act of Congress in 1774 was a prayer.” That is pretty meaningless because that wasn’t the U.S. Congress. Not only did that First Continental Congress meet for just a few weeks, it didn’t include representatives of all 13 colonies. America hadn’t even declared independence yet from Britain, so to say the Congress in 1774 set the precedent for the United States is just not accurate.

    Another meaningless claim intended to support the resolution is that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time. So what? The Bible has been available for centuries and is sold worldwide. That doesn’t prove anything about the importance of religion to people in the United States.

  16. Darren S, if he had his way you’d be on your way to the gallows for blasphemy, having said that.

Comments are closed.