Less big bang for his buck

Jonathan Hanrahan

In the U.S. Congress, someone’s got a lot of explaining to do. Ideally, this person would be whoever, at this very moment, is in closest proximity to Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga), to whom much explaining is due.


Two weeks ago, speaking in front of a wall with much too many mounted deer heads — check out the video — Rep. Broun, an M.D., declared 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.”


He then argued that “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.”


We cannot pass judgment on his beliefs alone; to do so would be to narrow-mindedly lose sight of the enormity of this conundrum. What we should do is question the fact that a congressman with such unscientific opinions is a member of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.


Our disappointment should not just stem from the present situation, but from the knowledge of our origins. The Founding Fathers were rational, scientific and enlightened men. What would they think of this absurdity?


In the words of George Washington, “There is nothing which can deserve our patronage better than the promotion of science and literature.” How would he respond to a man who makes legislative decisions regarding science, and then rejects widely accepted scientific theories as damnable and false?


And what does Broun mean when he says that embryology is one of those satanic scientists’ lies? Are our theories about the genesis and development of the fetus, which are have been so clearly observed and so irrefutably proven, not as common sense as they seem? Was my mother deceived by the ultrasound when she observed my tiny form for the first time?


If Broun’s beliefs affect his choices and actions, this problem truly goes against the Founding Father’s intentions. Thomas Jefferson wrote of a “wall of separation between Church and State” in order to protect the idea that “religion is a matter that lies solely between a Man and his God.” They considered it vital that religion should not be a factor in our political system. “In God We Trust,” but He does not govern.


Broun must not allow his rude and regressive opinions of today’s scientific theories impede the progress encouraged by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.


To do so would insult our founders’ reverence for science, and their dedication to the separation of Church and State. History tells us that those enlightened men knew a thing or two about effective governance. Broun would do well to remember that.