What hath CERN to do with Jerusalem? It might seem that the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology would be a reasonable place to look for members of Congress with a grip on science. But then, I often live in a fantasy world where things make sense. It is with some sadness, but no real surprise, that I read about the words of Georgia Representative Paul Broun, lambasting evolution and the Big Bang as theories from the Devil. Broun is a medical doctor who, under conviction of his Fundamentalist faith, has rejected the basic tenets of science. According to the Associated Press, he told a Baptist church congregation, “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.” Sounds like Satan had a very busy pre-history.
Anyone who knows me knows that I begrudge no one their personal religious beliefs. Someone who does not believe in embryology, however, might have selected a career more commensurate with his religion than medicine. Election year does tend to bring out the shock value statements in politicians. Having to convince their constituencies that they are just simple folk, they deny what their faith belies every time they accept an inoculation. If evolution is a lie, so is vaccination—something most medical doctors would have to have understood before facing medical school examinations. In the United States, however, such wrong belief is a generally apt qualifier for Congress. Especially among the Tea Party. Broun hails from the ironically named Athens, Georgia.
Over the weekend I watched the Star Trek (original series—please, I’m a connoisseur) episode, “The Mark of Gideon.” It is one of the episodes I don’t recall from childhood, but then, with Kirk and all that “mushy stuff” of being alone on the Enterprise with a woman, well, maybe it just didn’t stick when I was in my tender years. In any case, the symbolically named Gideonites have overpopulated their planet to the point of disaster by good clean living. They attempt to hijack themselves a disease “inadvertently” to reintroduce population control. Captain Kirk asks why they don’t use safe methods of birth control, even volunteering the Enterprise to be a kind of inner-galactic condom-dispenser. The Gideonites explain that they believe all life is sacred, and that preventing life is a great crime—regardless of the misery it causes. I had to smile to myself. Sounds like the people of Gideon may have had been lectured by a Georgia medical doctor who had gone off on a peculiar flight of fancy.