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

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, …

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FAIL

Proving yet again that the inmates are running the asylum

Things like this make me glad that I'm living in another country where I get to watch this foolishness rather than have to live it.

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FAIL

Re: Proving yet again that the inmates are running the asylum

If the Tories are any indication right wing nuttery and incompetence are transnational.

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Re: Proving yet again that the inmates are running the asylum

I live in another country too but stupidity is contagious. Our politicians have been around the Americans too much and caught the stupid disease.

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Mushroom

Re: Proving yet again that the inmates are running the asylum

And the slow motion train crash called the USA moves on a frame...

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Holmes

Re: Proving yet again that the inmates are running the asylum

Recall, please, that Bishop Usher was one of you.

I'll just deface a British classic, shall I?

There is no need with bribes to twist

The Biblical misogynist,

For when we see what he will do

Unbribed, we know _that_ job is through!

Holmes, because it's elementary, Doctor Watson.

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Mushroom

they need a savior

Apart from the fact that he spelt the word wrongly, who is this guy to tell me what I "need" and don't "need"? What an arrogant seman stain. And that goes for all happy-clappy Christians. Practice your religion but keep your views to yourself. As to the Catholics: you've forgone any right to the debate since you harboured all of those Paedos and put a Nazi in charge.

This guy needs to go. The next thing you know he'll be preaching hate against all non-believers. Just like Abu Hamza but with both hands.

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Re: Proving yet again that the inmates are running the asylum

If This Goes On..

The US has always been one Nehemiah Scudder away from that particularly nasty potential future.

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Re: Proving yet again that the inmates are running the asylum

"If the Tories are any indication right wing nuttery and incompetence are transnational."

But given their long, illustrious history of screwing up the country, Labour are just as bad (let's not forget the 'loony left').

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Oops

When pointing out spelling mistakes, please proofread your own posts with extra care..

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Re: Proving yet again that the inmates are running the asylum

stupidity is contagious

KISS: keep it stupid simple

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Anonymous Coward

@Shagbag

"This guy needs to go. The next thing you know he'll be preaching hate against all non-believers."

He hasn't done such a thing yet and he is 66 years old. What makes you think that he is going to change?

"As to the Catholics: you've forgone any right to the debate since you harboured all of those Paedos and put a Nazi in charge."

I know some Catholics. To the best of my knowledge, and theirs too, they have never harbored pedophiles or put a Nazi in charge of anything. But seeing as how you are tarring people with guilt by association, then considering that you are in the UK, you will, of course, admit to being responsible for every crime committed by anyone who was employed by the UK or British government whether at home or in any of the colonies, right? Since you are European, like Leopold II, then you will admit to being culpable for Leopold's crimes and genocide in the Congo, correct? Or, if you are an atheist, you will admit guilt for any crime every committed by any other atheist, yes? If you are male, then of course you will admit to being personally responsible for the murder of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juarez, won't you? You will, at the very least, admit that you are monster with no real right to live, because of all the guilt accruing to you by association.

You worry needlessly about Broun's narrow-mindedness and bigotry - there is no way that he even comes close to yours.

PS: "Savior" is a perfectly legitimate spelling. It might not be current in the UK but then, Broun is not in the UK, now is he?

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Legitimate rape. I never thought I'd say this; but I don't want any of what the guy has been drinking.

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Be kind to him. He's a chemist not a biologist (I suspect he might have been sampling his own wares as well)

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...or just randomly snorting the stock cupboard if half of those quotes are anything to go by.

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Anonymous Coward

@moiety: Re:"Legitimate rape"

"Legitimate rape."

A term to differentiate real, physical rape from several other things, such as "verbal rape" and "visual rape" (and possibly others); both postulated by feminists in an attempt to criminalize certain behaviors of which they disapprove, and to strengthen the perception of all women as victims deserving of special protections, compensation and other advantages and considerations.

Women who have actually been raped know the difference, however.

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Childcatcher

Chronicles & Psalms

No-one has ever seen a metaphor in a song before?

Literalism is a larger problem than I thought.

However, my experience with the US university system is that the correct answer is the one which matches the wording in the textbook. Any thought at all is discouraged. That was in a Comp-Sci degree, so its probably a cultural rather than religious problem.

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Earth is 9,000 years old...

It's my greatest fear that one day people who believe this will actually have enough power to actually do something monumentally fucking stupid to the rest of us. What's scary at the moment is that there are enough nutcases around to get this guy the support he needs to speak at anything bigger than a church luncheon.

I thought The Big Bang Theory and the vastness of the universe were difficult concepts to comprehend, but the limits of stupidity seem to extend even further.

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WTF?

Re: Earth is 9,000 years old...

Einstein must have had a lot of dealings with these wonderful nutbars that the rest of my fellow citizens keep electing. "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

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Meh

Re: Earth is 9,000 years old... @Esskay

Pace Einstein: "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not too sure about the universe."

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Re: Earth is 9,000 years old...

Esskay: How about two people? The father & son team, George & TheShrub Bush. Between 'em (and that clown Reagan setting the stage), world politics is in the sad state of affairs that it is today.

I grieve for my "born in the USofA" generation's lasting legacy in world history.

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Flame

Re: Earth is 9,000 years old...

But didn't creation occur in 4004 BC according to literalists? It's AD 2012 now. That's only a touch over 6000 yrs. Where have the other three millennia come from?

Burn the heretic!

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Happy

Re: Earth is 9,000 years old...

Remember Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman have shown that the date and time derived by bishop Usher and his co-worker was inaccurate.

By a quarter of an hour

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Re: Earth is 9,000 years old...

Especially since there's all those people (including politicians) who think that "Born in the USA" is about how great America is, just because it's in a major key and has a sing-along chorus. Go figure.

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Re: Earth is 9,000 years old...

> Burn the heretic!

Splitter!

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Headmaster

Re: Earth is 9,000 years old...

^ I thought the concept sounded familiar - I seem to have channelled the thoughts of someone much more intelligent than myself. ( Although to be honest It wasn't my intention to paraphrase Einstein - it was more "I'm trying to explain to myself how someone could believe the earth is 9,000 years old, but every time I feel I'm getting close - it slips away". Akin to trying to comprehend the size of the universe, concept of the Big Bang, etc).

Grammar Nazi is for me - need to brush up on my einstein quotes, I'm getting rusty...

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Re: Earth is 9,000 years old...

Windows ME strikes again

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Typo

Oversees, unless he is exporting topics?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Typo

Even if he were, it would be an wholly unnecessary case of noun verbing that would need to be changed.

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Happy

Re: Typo

From a Calvin and Hobbes comic, this: "Verbing weirds language."

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Devil

Which part of the bible (oops..oem manual) does it tell us how to construct the wall of death that he's speaking in front of? I think it'd be really cool for my Halloween party...

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re. 'wall of death'

I think that 'wall of death' is an attempt to use sympathetic magic to increase the kill in the next hunting season. Primitive people often attempt this type of magic, (but they hardly ever know the appropriate words of power).

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Unhappy

I'm honestly staggered people like him end up in positions of power and influence... Hell I'm a religious man, a Christian, and I think this guy is a wackjob that shouldn't be allowed near a slide-rude, let alone influencing critical science oversight...

The quest to understand the universe and how it works is a quest understand God... To disregard evidence out of knee-jerk moronic fundamentalism is to spit on God's work.

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I have insufficient upvotes for this post :) I come from a parish where the average level of education is a PhD... Wouldn't it be nice if THAT was the public face of the church instead of idiots like this guy? :P

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Holmes

Elementary

>"I'm honestly staggered people like him end up in positions of power and influence... "

Isn't the answer right in the article:

"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."

So Americans are getting precisely the politicians they want. Given the statistics, it would be quite unrepresentative if there weren't a lot of pols who believe in a 9000 year old Earth.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Elementary

Cause and effect. Nobody gets a politician "they want".

The best model for a politician is a cephalopod - relatively high intelligence for something that is inherently spineless combined with a similarly inherent ability to change its colors to match the environment around it.

The politician which gets elected is the one which matches their environment best of all. He matches his environment which says everything you want to know about it.

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I must say what most gets up my nose is that they insist on literal meaning of the bible when it comes to facts, but tend to ignore the more important moral and ethical message it has.

As a kid, I was an atheist at a Catholic (Jesuit) school (in the Netherlands). That school had very sensible ideas about science and religion, and how the two need not be at loggerheads. I was especially invited by a Jesuit priest to join a discussion group on philosophical and religious issues, precisely because I was an atheist. He did not want to convert me, he wanted someone to challenge religious dogma. "I want the pupils to think about religion, not just accept what I say" were his words.

There were, and are many scientist who are devout Christians. Let any one of them take over this idiot's place in the committee.

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Happy

@Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Unfortunately a small, vocal, minority of people claiming to be Christians and Christians leaders get so bogged down in scripture and literalism that they forget to actually be Christian, that is to be Christ-like, to be a follower of Christ, to follow the ideals of Christ, forgiveness, kindness, tolerance, gentleness, acceptance, humility, and love.

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Happy

> I come from a parish where the average level of education is a PhD...

There are some really fucking stupid PhDs out there ...

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Re: Elementary

I had a friend who once described American christianity as being like the Mississippi river "as wide and as deep".

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Re: Elementary

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."

So Americans are getting precisely the politicians they want. Given the statistics, it would be quite unrepresentative if there weren't a lot of pols who believe in a 9000 year old Earth.

That Gallup poll doesn't say anything about how many people in the US "believe in a 9000 year old Earth". Nor anything about how many voters in the US hold either belief.

More importantly, Broun is a US Representative. His constituency is part of a single state. The vast majority of the US electorate have no say in who holds his position. As usual, many posters here are making sweeping generalizations from a single (if striking) anecdote. So the people of Georgia's 10th have (for the past four years, or two elections) elected a superstitious goofball incapable of critical thought to Congress, as is their right, under federal and state law. Or, more precisely, about 60% (2002) or 67% (2004) of voters in the 10th did so.[1] That's well within the historical norm for people putting crazies into power. The US is not an outlier in that department.

It's also worth noting that the 10th has been solidly Republican since 1995 (and consistently Democratic for a century before that). And in 2001 it was gerrymandered to be more reliably Republican. I think I read that the Democrats didn't even field a candidate against Broun this year, though I haven't confirmed that. In any case, as with most districts, the incumbent and incumbent's party have a strong hold on the seat.

Now, you might well complain that even if Broun is elected, there's no need to put him on the SST committee.

I'd agree. But committee positions are typically handled as political favors; they're not assigned meritocratically.

[1] The 10th includes Athens, home of U of Georgia and a well-known alt-rock scene, among other things. I suspect a good portion of the 30-odd percent who voted against Braun hail from there.

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But one of the facts is correct; a value of 3 for Pi can be used to make a wheel, just ask Bergholt Stuttley Johnson...

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Pratchett, already!

Why hasn't my mail been delivered, then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pratchett, already!

We got a bit ... behind. Sorry.

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Re: Pratchett, already!

Your milk was on time though....

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Re: Pratchett, already!

"Your milk was on time though...."

seven o'clock on the dot!

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An important idea here.

"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."

There's an important idea there.

Since he *is* a doctor and since he *doesn't* seem to believe in evolution, (or a lot of other scientific stuff), we can follow the lead of the "El Reg hack" and wonder where are the actual, concrete examples of his anti-scientific outlook interfering with, or exerting any deleterious influence on, his medical practice. And since he seems to have been practicing medicine for 40 years or so, such examples ought to be easy to find. Especially considering the highly litigious society in which he lives and practices, and the surfeit of medical malpractice lawyers with which this country swarms.

Now, I'm not saying that such examples do not exist or can not be found - after all, that's why malpractice lawsuits are crippling the medical profession - but I would like to see some real, actual examples of the practical effects of Broun's religious beliefs on his work as a physician, and not just rhetorical examples having nothing to do with reality. If his beliefs crippled his ability to effectively act as a physician, I would expect that he would have been the object of many lawsuits - of which there will be publicly accessible records. But if he wasn't the object of numerous lawsuits, then one has to believe that his beliefs didn't effect his medical practice.

And if his anti-scientific religious beliefs did not negatively effect his medical practice, then it is clear that human nature is a closed book for the El Reg hack, and a variety of people commenting on this thread.

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Re: An important idea here.

The most fascinating, and potentially instructive, aspect of human nature would be the entire process of how and why he was appointed to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

You also raise an interesting point of how someone who _appears_ to reject modern scientific belief (in certain areas) can practice as a physician. It is probably the case that you don't need to deeply understand medications to know which ones should be prescribed for certain ailments. I don't need to believe in evolution to believe that antibiotics cure many bacterial infections and he doesn't need to 'believe in science' to know which antibiotics are best and what the side-effects and potential interactions are. Any belief that the world is 9,000 years old has no bearing on his ability to set a broken bone and give advice about diet, .... etc.

It is possible for a person to have a high level of functionality in modern society while rejecting many modern scientific beliefs, but the problem, for other people, is when that person is in a position of great influence in those areas that depend on modern scientific beliefs.

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Re: An important idea here.

Simple answer. The "good doctor" is a monumental hypocrite. As are most of his ilk. He spouts one thing, but doesn't really believe a word of it. He's talking to the lowest common denominator of his electorate, in order to get re-elected. Sadly, said sheeple will no doubt comply without thinking.

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Re: An important idea here.

I was surprised to read that though trained as a chemist, he practised as a doctor for some 40 years. I thought the practice of medicine was one of the most strongly policed closed shops both in the US and most other Western countries.

I'll just go and have dose of the panacea.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An important idea here.

The problem may not be that he medicates people badly per se. If you don't believe in evolution however, then there is nothing holding you back from prescribing antibiotics with wild abandon.

The problem is, widespread use of antibiotics has strong evolutionary effect on bacteria - we get more resistant strains. So a particular patient is healed, however globally the risk of ultra-resistant strains with potentially lethal effects goes up. But these people dying from resistant strains are different cases, so it cannot be a 'medical malpractice' - there is no one in particular who is responsible.

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