Feeds

40,000 sign petition to oust Rep. Paul 'pit of hell' Broun

Politician applies Bible to science, space, and technology

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A petition asking from the removal of Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) from the House Science, Space and Technology Committee has garnered well over 40,000 signatures in the two days since a video of his views on the topics he oversees was made public.

"All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell," Broun told the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman's Banquet last month. "It's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior."

His words received warm applause from his audience.

As a scientist, he said, he had found evidence that the Earth was quite young – about 9,000 years old, to be accurate – and that it was created within six 24-hour days. Government policy should be ruled by the Bible, he said, claiming that it was a "manufacturer's handbook" that answered all life's questions.

If Rep. Broun does indeed have this evidence, The Reg suggests that he should make it known immediately – such proof that geology, most of physics, much of chemistry and biology and a fair amount of history is just wrong should net him the Nobel Prize. Even the traditionally conservative Catholic Church accepts the Big Bang and evolution as solid science, since there is nothing in either theory that conflicts with their notion of God.

Broun was selected for the House science committee in part because he is, by training, a scientist: he holds a degree in chemistry and practices as a doctor in his home state of Georgia. But given Broun's role on the Science, Space and Technology Committee, the fact that he has problems with two out of three of the areas it oversees has many people worried.

"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," Bill Nye (aka the Science Guy) told The Huffington Post in an email. "For example, the Earth is simply not 9,000 years old. He is, by any measure, unqualified to make decisions about science, space, and technology."

Nye is not alone in his concerns. This El Reg hack would have severe doubts about going to a doctor who didn't believe in evolution, since that would mean certain problems in dealing with antibiotic resistance and pretty much all of genetic science, which is yielding some superb now drugs to treat human illnesses.

As for the science side of the equation, the Bible clearly states that the value of Pi is three (1 Kings 7:23), which would cause engineers and mathematicians some problems.

Broun's oversight of space priorities might also be slightly askew, since the Good Book notes in Chronicles 16:30, and Psalms 93:1 and 96:10, that the Earth is fixed in place – a claim Galileo accepted (under threat of torture) before legendarily asserting "and yet it moves."

Broun is not, however, out of tune with the electorate. According to the latest Gallup data, 46 per cent of US voters believes God created mankind in its current form, compared to 15 per cent who think we evolved without a guiding hand from a deity.

Biblical literalism is a peculiarity of some sects of the Christian faith and it's very common in the US, albeit with a lot of flexibility. Paul Broun himself claims to live by the Bible's teachings, and particularly those of the New Testament, yet he's been married four times. Obviously he missed Jesus' teachings on the subject:

"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery," Jesus says in Luke 16:8.

Incidentally, Broun is joined on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee by Todd Akin (R-MO), who has some interesting ideas about biology. Akin caused huge controversy with his views on the ability of women to control their own bodies in the event of being raped to stop getting pregnant by their attackers.

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akin said. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

El Reg wonders if the doctor in question sits with him on the science committee – and if possibly another petition might be in order. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Australia deflates Valve with Steam sueball
Alleges breaches of Oz consumer law
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.