6-day working week? A job well done!

light years away Hubble

13 billion light years away? Or only 9,000 years old?

A certain Paul Broun occupies the safe Republican seat in Georgia (US): it’s so safe, that the Democrats are not even bothering to nominate a rival candidate for the forthcoming Congress elections.

Broun is a Christian fundamentalist. Some of his views made their way briefly onto YouTube, having been shot in September as the congressman made an after-dinner speech at a Baptist church. (Reminiscent of the infamous Romney video?)

What did he say?

“God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,”  he stated.

“It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a saviour. There’s a lot of scientific data that I found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I believe that the Earth is about 9,000 years old. I believe that it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.” he went on.[1]

Broun is perfectly entitled to his personal views, of course. But two things struck me as – well, peculiar.

One: at about the same time as Broun was expounding his beliefs, NASA released a short video showing composite pictures obtained by the Hubble telescope. It shows a tiny patch of sky littered with more than 5,500 galaxies composed of hundreds of millions of stars.

Moreover, this area of sky is only one of 30 million that make up the complete cosmic panorama. The galaxies pictured are so far away that it has taken up to 13.2 billion years for their light to reach Earth – less than half a billion years after the Big Bang that created the Universe 13.7 billion years ago.[2]

Two: Paul Broun is a member of the (US) House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Is Broun on his own?

Not at all: he’s not a ‘lone American cowboy’ in espousing creationist views: a recent Gallup Poll suggested that 46 percent of Americans think God made humans within the past 10,000 years, while only half the nation believes in evolution.

PS: the church that hosted Broun’s speech and uploaded the video, has now removed it from YouTube. I wonder why?

PPS: And, how to explain the content of my previous post?

[1]: The Independent

[2]: The Independent

Image: still from ITN/NASA video


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