science in US politics (not from The Onion)

It is widely-known that some members of the US House of Representatives, especially those in the Tea Party Caucus, are hostile to science. What is not so well-known is that some of them occupy positions on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Rep. Paul Broun, who serves on the House Science Committee, told a church-sponsored banquet in his home state of Georgia that the theories of evolution and the big bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell.”  … [T]he comments from the medical doctor who also has a degree in chemistry are getting lots of attention after the Bridge Project, a progressive political watchdog group, began distributing video of the remarks.

Broun says “all that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang theory” was part of a ploy to hide how old the Earth really is, “to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.” …. [He adds] “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.” ….

His comments were greeted with applause at the Sept. 27 Sportsman’s Banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Ga. Broun’s reelection is assured next month since he doesn’t even have a Democratic challenger.

Daniel Politi, “Republican Lawmaker Says Evolution Is a Lie ‘Straight From the Pit of Hell’“, Slate, 6 October 2012.

Paul Broun (born 1946) is a member of the Tea Party Caucus and has served in Congress since 2007. His Tea Party colleague on the House Science Committee, Rep. Todd Akin (born 1947), two months ago achieved notoriety with a remark that women rarely become pregnant from “legitimate rape” because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down”. Akin was first elected to the House of Representatives from Missouri’s 2nd district in 2001. He is now running for the Senate, and next month hopes to defeat incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill (Democrat, born 1953).

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