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article imageOp-Ed: Rep. Paul Broun, M.D.: Evolution a 'lie'; Earth is 9,000 yrs old

By Brett Wilkins     Oct 7, 2012 in Politics
Hartwell - A US Congressman has opined that the scientific theories of evolution and the Big Bang are "lies from the pit of hell" and that the Earth is only 9,000 years old.
He is a Republican.
And that's news, you ask?
He also sits on the House Science Committee.
Disturbing, you say, but not surprising; after all, so does a whole cadre of Republicans with decidedly unscientific views, including Todd "legitimate rape" Akin.
Here's the real shocker: Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) actually has a degree in chemistry-- and he's a bona fide medical doctor.
Rep. Paul Broun, M.D. spoke recently at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman's Banquet in Hartwell, Georgia, a gathering of Christian fundamentalists who get off on collecting the heads of the innocent wildlife they've killed. During his address, Broun attacked scientists as agents of Satan and scientific consensus as "lies."
"God's word is true... 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," Broun told his approving audience.
"And it's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior."
"You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I've found as a scientist that actually show that this is a really young Earth," he continued before dropping this howler: "I don't believe that the earth is but 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That's what the Bible says."
Broun then waxes theocratic in a way that would make the Taliban proud (if you replace the word 'Bible' with 'Koran'):
"[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 of public policy and everything in society. And that's the reason as your congressman I hold the Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington."
Setting aside questions of supernatural universal creation (for now), let's examine the validity of Broun's claim that "the earth is but 9,000 years old." It's a widely-held notion; according to a recent Gallup poll, nearly half of all Americans believe that God (presumably a Christian) created the earth sometime within the last 10,000 years.
The only problem with this belief is that it is demonstrably false. Nine thousand years ago, humans had already developed agriculture, bladed tools, houses, temples (of a decidedly non-Christian variety), granaries, decorated pottery and statues. Potatoes and beans were being grown in South America. Millet and rice were cultivated in East Asia. Wheat, barley, sheep and goats were being exploited in Aegean Greece. People in what is today Mexico were building burial mounds. And Bible-believing Christians ought to know that Jericho was a thriving city 9,000 years ago, proof that humans had developed to the point of relatively advanced urban civilization.
To deny these irrefutable facts is to demonstrate a willful ignorance that shocks the conscience of any rational human being, yet a frightening number of the men and women running our country do exactly that.
Of course, humans have been wandering the earth for much longer than 9,000 years-- Homo sapiens originated in Africa more than 200,000 years ago, the culmination of the evolution of a long line of hominids dating back more than 5,000,000 years. And by that time, the earth had already been around for something like 4.5 billion years, part of a universe that was celebrating its 13.7 billionth birthday.
That brings us back to those "lies from the pit of hell," the Big Bang and evolution. While many people of 'faith'-- which Mark Twain described as "believing what you know ain't so"-- reject these scientific theories because they are at odds with holy scripture, there is absolutely zero scientific evidence supporting creationism.
On the other hand, the overwhelming global scientific consensus accepts the Big Bang as the best explanation of the origin of the universe and evolution as the best explanation of the development of life on earth. The Big Bang theory is backed by general relativity and quantum mechanics; evolution is based on dateable fossil evidence, the geographical and spatial distribution of the earth's physical features, homologies and evidence by example.
Creationism, on the other hand, is backed by "faith" and by the Bible, which is the literal word of a God nobody can prove exists.
Of course, the Big Bang and evolution are "just" theories.
Just like gravity.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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