Least scientific members of the House Science Committee

Paul Broun's not the only GOP member of the House Science Committee who's a bit iffy on the whole science thing

Topics: Evolution, Todd Akin, Roscoe Bartlett, Climate Change, Paul Broun, House Science Committee, ,

Least scientific members of the House Science CommitteeRep. Paul Broun, R-Ga. (Credit: Facebook/RepPaulBroun)

“Wait, he’s on the House Science Committee?”

That was many people’s reaction to comments by Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., that came to light last week:  ”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 said at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet recently. “And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

But Broun’s not the only Republican on the committee who has a tenuous-at-best relationship with science:

  • Let’s start with the chairman himself, Ralph Hall of Texas. Though he was once a Democrat, Hall was behind a 2010 effort by Republicans to cut off billions in funding for scientific research and math and science education. He did this  by rather cannily tacking onto a bill a provision that would have forced Democrats to vote in favor of letting federal employees view pornography while on the job. Hall also once said of climate change: “I’m really more fearful of freezing. And I don’t have any science to prove that. But we have a lot of science that tells us they’re not basing it on real scientific facts.”
  • Then there’s Todd Akin. In the course of his campaign for Missouri Senate, Akin made the following comments about rape: “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
  • Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett had a similar take on pregnancies resulting from rape: “There are very few pregnancies as a result of rape, fortunately, and incest — compared to the usual abortion, what is the percentage of abortions for rape? It is tiny. It is a tiny, tiny percentage.”

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  • Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer is best known for yelling out, “It’s a baby killer!” during the House debate on Obama’s healthcare reform bill. But did you know he also drafted a resolution for Americans to ”join together in prayer to humbly seek fair weather conditions” after a series of destructive tornadoes and droughts?
  • In 2007, Congress held a hearing on a report that found global warming to be “unequivocal.” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, who has no truck with man-made global warming, was skeptical about testimony regarding a period 55 million years ago when similar dramatic climate change occurred: “We don’t know what those other cycles were caused by in the past. Could be dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows?”
  • Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin is  a renowned climate change skeptic who has alternately decried ”scientific fascism” and described research on climate change as an “international conspiracy.”
  • Allen West-backed Sandy Adams lost her Florida primary this year, but she still managed to serve on the committee while bad-mouthing evolution.  “I’m Christian. I believe in the biblical terms of how we came about,” she once said. Adams also voted in favor of a bill to have teachers “teach theories that contradict the theory of evolution.”

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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