Planet Earth is "about 9,000 years old," and the study of evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang Theory is based on "lies straight from the pit of hell," according to a Congressman responsible for crafting US government policy on science and technology.
Paul Broun, a fundamentalist Christian who occupies a safe Republican seat in Georgia, found his grasp of modern science being subjected to unwelcome scrutiny yesterday, after video of him espousing Creationism during an after-dinner speech was uploaded to YouTube.
“God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,” he told guests at a fieldsports-themed fundraiser for a local Baptist Church.
“It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a saviour. There’s a lot of scientific data that I found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I believe that the Earth is about 9,000 years old. I believe that it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.”
Broun, who sits on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and occupies a seat in Congress so staunchly Republican that local Democrats are not even bothering to oppose him, added that a literalist interpretation of the Old Testament informs how he governs.
“[The Bible] 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 our public policy and everything in society,” he added. “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.”
Broun’s spokesman attempted damage limitation yesterday, claiming that he’d been speaking “off the record” about “personal beliefs.” The Church which organised the event where he made the comments meanwhile removed its video of his contentious speech from YouTube.
Regardless of how they dovetail with mainstream science, the Congressman’s comments views may strike a chord with many right-leaning US voters. A recent Gallup Poll suggests that 46 percent of Americans think God made humans within the past 10,000 years, while only half the nation believes in evolution.
Broun, a medical doctor, is not the only Republican member of the House committee whose views are at odds with the scientific establishment. Also among its members is Todd Aiken, the Senate candidate who thinks women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape.” The committee’s chair is Ralph Hall, a Texan who (in common with most in his party) reckons man-made climate change is a hoax.