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Juventud Rebelde, Cuba

Charles Darwin Was Up for Election

By Juana Carrasco Martín

Translated By Sara Hunter

15 November 2012

Edited by Peter L. McGuire

Cuba - Juventud Rebelde - Original Article (Spanish)

To talk about about the U.S. elections at this point may seem redundant – or at least a little boring – but I will not deny that the theme is tumultuous, so there is always something new to contest or on which to comment.

Among the stories from the election, one that attracted attention was the House race in Athens-Clarke County, located in southern Georgia – and I point this out to show that it fits a cardinal rule in American politics: it was nested in a part of the country that is far behind the rest of the nation.

One candidate was basically assured reelection like the incumbents in the majority of the districts for the House of Representatives or the Senate (which in itself demonstrates a fallacy of American democracy). The Republican Paul Broun, was first elected by the Tea Party movement (which brings together the most conservative and antiquated American thinking that is stale, intolerant, and anti-science).

But then came an unexpected opponent. Jim Leebens-Mack, a biologist from the University of Georgia, decided to enter the race against Broun. Except votes for Leebens-Mack were not counted by the election officials, because they only recognized the “certified and officially registered candidates,” they said according to the American Free Press. So for this reason, Broun won 100 percent of the ballots that were considered valid.

The name of his true opponent is well-known and respected worldwide: Charles Darwin, and he won at least 4000 votes from the citizens of Athens-Clarke County. Of course, these votes were to cast light on the ignorance of Broun, a blind follower of Creationist theory (which should be respected so long as it is not taken to the extreme and used intolerantly).

In October, in a long discussion at a banquet in the Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Georgia, Broun was videotaped saying, “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.” And he added, “I don't believe that the earth's but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them.”

One spokeswoman for the Republican campaign told CNN that Broun was “speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues.”

His personal beliefs would not be important if Broun was not a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. It is difficult to understand this, and it is easy to imagine that the committee does not recognize climate change and the warming of the planet, but imagine also that they do not see the necessity of clean and renewable energy over fossil fuels and they do not see the scientific importance of stem cells, both issues that are often discussed in the United States. In June 2010, when committee members explained why they voted against climate change legislation, they said that the concept was a conspiracy by certain members of the scientific community.

By the way, this same House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology also includes the Republican from Montana, Todd Akin*, who last month won headlines and the rejection of sensible North American women when he suggested that women could not become pregnant from a “legitimate rape” because their bodies had ways to stop it.

Both are an active part of the ultra conservative Tea Party movement. It does not take much effort to demonstrate its ignorance. Remember one of its icons, the ex Republican vice presidential candidate in the 2008 election, Sarah Palin.

Scientific educator Bill Nye commented that it was depressing to have this school of thought represented on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. And in an email sent to the Huffington Post, Nye said emphatically “Since the economic future of the United States depends on our tradition of technological innovation, Representative Broun's views are not in the national interest … He is, by any measure, unqualified to make decisions about science, space, and technology.”

And believe it or not, there are other surprising facts: Representative Broun has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Georgia and he also obtained a medical degree at the Medical College of Georgia. And according to his personal data, until 2002, he maintained his medical practice only by doing house calls ...

* Editor's note: Aiken ran for election in Missouri. The error appeared in the original article.



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