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US House Science Committee Member: Evolution Is a Lie From Hell 1113

Posted by timothy
from the hey-at-least-it's-an-ethos dept.
First time accepted submitter badford writes "Representative Paul Broun (Georgia Republican) said that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are 'lies straight from the pit of hell' meant to convince people that they do not need a savior. It would not be quite as shocking if Broun did not sit on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. What impact could this have on policy? What impact could this have on STEM education not just in Georgia but all over the U.S.?"
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US House Science Committee Member: Evolution Is a Lie From Hell

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  • Why... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by srussia (884021) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:06PM (#41571245)
    is there even a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology?
  • Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lorinc (2470890) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:09PM (#41571271) Homepage Journal

    If you don't like evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory, and believe it's all lies, then just don't bother with it. Leave alone the poor guys believing such insanities. Let them do as they want, if it's not true, they should not achieve anything dangerous, right?

    In the end, we will see who was right...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:14PM (#41571325)

    I know it's scary to think that this fellow will be making technology decisions for the rest of us, but just voting against him doesn't solve the problem.

    It takes generations of well educated people to slough off these ridiculous old world superstitions. He probably has very nice salt-of-the-earth parents who worked hard all their lives and mis-attributed their success and happiness as gifts from a deity. A paycheck for living "good lives."

    But in every generation kids question everything their parents stand for, adopting some, discarding others. If we keep educating them, if they see enough of the wide world to know that the only justice is what we make, that their are billions of people living good lives who believe completely different things, then they'll see through these lies, and pass along a different subset of their beliefs to their kids.

    It's too late to fix this guy. if you want to vote out his successors, vote against ignorance; vote some of your hard earned money toward education. My parents did, and that's why this guy is now in the minority.

  • Re:electrion year (Score:2, Interesting)

    by noobermin (1950642) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:18PM (#41571373) Journal

    Are you saying this is okay? I'm not challenging you, but I'm not sure I get the reason for your comment.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:30PM (#41571499)

    Curiously, the Big Bang theory was often attacked for being "religious", that is stating that the Universe didn't always exist but was created a finite time ago.

  • Re:Post bigotry here (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:34PM (#41571535)

    I think it would be a better idea if you had to pass some basic science (or whatever) test before you were able to chair a committee on science (or whatever).

    But then I remember that congressmen are retarded people who got through life by pandering to the highest bidder

  • by tsa (15680) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:37PM (#41571581) Homepage

    People like this guy are worse than terrorist. A terrorist attack makes at most tens of thousands of people suffer. These Christian fundamentalists in high places can make sure that 100s of thousands of children don't get enough chances in life because they don't get the education they need.

  • by rroman (2627559) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:42PM (#41571627)
    I think that scientist ignore politics and such ludicrous claims too often. There should be strong visible position of the scientific community against these claims so that any sane even uninformed person could see, that such opinions are insane and unacceptable in modern society.
  • Fire him (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Murdoch5 (1563847) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:50PM (#41571707)
    Evolution is fact, it happens, we know it happens, there is proof. I have one question for him, "Can you prove creationism?" , The answer is no. I'm not about to debate what the right answer is but if your sitting on a board that regulates part of the school system then you must bow to logic and reason and evolution is the only reasonable choice. If you pick creationism then you need to bow to every single possible variant. There is no difference between Jesus and Harry potter as far as science goes, both had "wands" both used "magic" and both at least to me don't really exist.
  • hypocracy? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doubting Sapien (2448658) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:54PM (#41571743)
    Well, how about applying his own test to the comments under scrutiny? From his own home page [] at the HoR website:


    I am committed to protecting the constitutional rights and pocketbooks of every American. I will apply the following four-way test to every piece of legislation that comes before the House for a vote:

    1) Is it Right/Moral?
    2) Is it Constitutional?
    3) Is it Necessary?
    4) Is it Affordable?

    Ask Slashdot: Is Paul Broun fit to be:

    1) A US legislator - responsible for national policy affecting Science, Space and Technology.
    2) A medical professional - tasked with health care of the sick and ill.
    3) An American Citizen - (ideally) part of a rational, responsible, and well-informed electorate.
    4) A Christian - committed to following the teachings of Christ.
    5) A Homo Sapien - the name, more or less, means "of the same wisdom/intelligence".

  • An Apology (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:55PM (#41571751)
    As a native and resident of the state of Georgia, let me apologize to the Slashdot community on behalf of this representative. I can assure you that he does not represent my district. Also, I went to a Magnet high school that was focused on math, science, and technology, so there is a significant number of Georgia residents that do not actually believe that evolution, the big bang (maybe The Big Bang Theory, but that's another topic), and genetics are not, in fact, tricks and lies of Satan.
  • by ericloewe (2129490) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @06:03PM (#41571821)

    Obligatory xkcd: []

  • by paiute (550198) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @06:13PM (#41571911)

    In case two people are disagreeable on a topic where currently there is no scientific consensus....

    Name that topic.

  • Re:Why... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Meeni (1815694) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @06:25PM (#41572035)

    Since science is evil, maybe a bit of history could be of some use. Have you ever heard of the Ottoman empire?

    Once upon a time, Al Quaeda grand-grand-grand parents used to rule the world. They had a majestic empire which dominated a large portion of the world. They were advanced in technology, science, military, economic power. Their armies would trump occidental armies, western kingdom would envy and learn from their science achievements, mathematics, philosophy, ...

    Then, they started acting irrational(1).

    Then the empire crumbled, it was called "the sick man of Europe", was torn appart, occupied, vassaled, ridiculed, and stripped from its resources. All by the once secondary powers of the western world, who had patiently learned from it, and superseded its achievements when it stalled. Its people became miserable, and it is still today a challenged place to live, where, ironically, many have to resort to extreme bigotry as a form of comfort against the fool taste of being disdained by more powerful nations.

    1: Some exerpts from Wikipedia, but many books will tell you the same story.

    "Ottoman science and technology had been highly regarded in medieval times, as a result of Ottoman scholars' synthesis of classical learning with Islamic philosophy and mathematics, and knowledge of such Chinese advances in technology as gunpowder and the magnetic compass. By this period, though, the influences had become regressive and conservative. In 1734, when an artillery school was established with French teachers in order to impart Western-style artillery methods, [b]the Islamic clergy successfully objected under the grounds of theodicy.[67][/b] Not until 1754 was the artillery school reopened on a semi-secret basis.[67] Earlier, the guilds of writers had [b]denounced the printing press as "the Devil's Invention"[/b], and were responsible for a 53-year lag between its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in Europe in c. 1440 and its introduction to the Ottoman society [...] the printing press was used only by the non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire until the 18th century. "

    Beware. This is not without consequences.

  • Re:Why... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tmosley (996283) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @06:48PM (#41572255)
    Seems more likely that the "Big Bang" was actually the formation of an event horizon as seen from the inside. The universe is probably fractal in nature. That is the only system that I know of that can explain time that doesn't have a beginning or end, yet can appear to have a start time.
  • Re:Post bigotry here (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @06:51PM (#41572279) Homepage Journal

    You can't be bigoted against an idea.

    All ideas and concepts are fair game for critique. The ones that fail are discarded.

    If the holders of an idea declare that idea off-limits for critique, their idea automatically loses.

  • Re:Post bigotry here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @07:15PM (#41572503) Homepage

    I think it would be a better idea if you had to pass some basic science (or whatever) test before you were able to chair a committee on science (or whatever).

    But then I remember that congressmen are retarded people who got through life by pandering to the highest bidder

    This clown is supposedly a Medical Doctor. So he had to at least be exposed to the some reasonably advanced concepts and memorize them. You've got to be pretty weird to go through all of that and denounce it as essentially heresy.

    From his bio [] on his web site:

    Representative Paul C. Broun, Jr. was elected in July of 2007 to serve the Tenth District of Georgia. Since his arrival in Congress, he has been appointed to the House Homeland Security Committee, the House Committee on Natural Resources, and currently serves as Chairman of the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee for the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Dr. Broun grew up in Athens, Georgia where he attended Athens High School and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1967 with a B.S. in Chemistry. In 1971, he received his Medical Doctor degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. An internship at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon and a residency at University Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama followed.

    He's probably just pandering to the crowd, but what a friggin slimeball.

  • Re:Even more reason (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BevanFindlay (1636473) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @08:13PM (#41573011)
    The only way (realistically) to do that is to change the voting system - it was done here in New Zealand (from First Past the Post to Mixed Member Proportional) - and while it has introduced a bunch of other issues (like, more crackpots in parliament), it also utterly derailed the "us vs them" two-party dominance and allowed for a mixed set of political views (which I think America desperately needs). Seeing things like this though, I don't think MMP would mean more crackpots in the US government than are already there...
  • by Ledgem (801924) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @01:09AM (#41574603)

    Christianity seems to center around the idea of who's going to heaven and who's going to hell, but that's not the case with Judaism. (I can't speak for Islam.) It's true that "the wrath of God" is detailed in the Jewish texts, but I've never heard it mentioned as a means to frighten people. If you're Jewish, the interpretation is one of history; that God made a contract with the Jewish people, then did these things to save them from enslavement. Sure, the Jewish people screw up and incur some of God's wrath, but it's nothing like suffering in hell for all eternity. The interpretation I learned was that God's feats represented God fulfilling His part of the contract, and now it's our turn to fulfill our part. There's no threat implied in any of that, it's just stated to show that something was done for you (through your ancestors), and now you have a responsibility to uphold.

    Another big difference between Judaism and Christianity is in personal responsibility, and the purpose of life. Christianity seems to dictate that we're all powerless vessels floating on a sea dominated by currents of good and evil. Satan lures you one way, but you need to believe to be saved and reach heaven. The purpose of life is simply to find that belief and stick with it, avoiding the temptations of Satan. By comparison, Judaism focuses on more "practical" things. According to some texts, God left Earth to Man; that is, we're tasked with turning Earth into a paradise. Satan exists in Judaism, but he isn't a source of evil. Rather, the belief is that when you die, your soul goes before a "spiritual court," where Satan is the prosecutor who points out all of the evils that you committed. Basically, while Christianity views evil as some external force, Judaism recognizes that evil can come from within, and claims that everyone should take responsibility for it themselves.

    Honestly, it all sounds pretty silly if interpreted in a literal manner. Being Jewish (although "spiritual but not religious") I am obviously biased, but one of the things that I really appreciate about Judaism is that it seems designed to be a guideline to living and finding meaning in life. The focus is on being a better person, improving the world around you, appreciating and enjoying your life. If you can do all of that without reading the Bible or praying to God, wonderful! Formal religion may not recognize you for it, but there's a line in the Bible which claims that you would be considered Jewish simply for that. This is one reason (among others) why you don't see Jews going around trying to convert people. Not pushing the beliefs on people, I might add, is another appealing factor to the Jewish belief set.

    TL;DR: What you say accurately describes most forms of Christianity, but there's at least one religion (Judaism) that doesn't quite fit it. I don't think anyone needs religion, but please keep an open mind and don't condemn all religious beliefs just because Christianity can get a bit nuts.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]