As 2012 comes to a close, I'd like to take a moment to bid farewell to a few congressmen who were voted out of office this year, hopefully for their antiscience views. But let's not get too excited. There are still many, many politicians left in office who deny global climate change, believe in magical thinking, and actually claim that Earth was created by God 6,000 years ago.
So I want to take you all the way back to "early Earth" and show you what was really happening in 4,000 BCE.
I know you're going to have a lot to say after you watch this video. I sure had a lot to say when I wrote it. Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment at the bottom of the page. Come on, talk nerdy to me!
Hi everyone. Cara Santa Maria here. Remember this guy? That's Paul Broun, congressman from Georgia and member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, an interesting appointment for a guy who apparently doesn't "believe" in science. No, he doesn't believe that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old--its actual age, a figure most schoolchildren can cite. He, like some of his colleagues, is a young earth creationist. Along with an embarrassing 46 percent of Americans, he believes Earth is less than 10,000 years old. Probably because of a 17th century archbishop, who claimed to know the exact date creation began: October 23, 4004 BC.
So today, I'd like to take you on a little journey, back to the very beginning of time, when Earth was in its infancy, all the way back 6,000 years ago.
In the middle East, Sumerians were settling Mesopotamia, where farming and fishing were popular. It was the end of the Ubaid period, marked by 1,500 years of beautiful pottery production. The plow was invented around this time and so was complex arithmetic. Over in Egypt, the Badarian and Naqada cultures were busy working with copper and gold. The Longshan people of China domesticated dogs, pigs, and oxen. The early Jomon culture of Japan was building complex dwellings, called pit houses. And in Armenia, locals were getting hammered on a dry red wine.
Hopefully I've made my point. I mean, even conservative Christian evangelist Pat Robertson knows that young earth creationists are full of crap. Listen to what he said on his CBN show, The 700 Club.
So now, I'd like to take a moment to bid farewell to some policymakers whose anti-science views got them voted out of office this year. Here we go, in memoriam:
Representative Todd Akin of Missouri's 2nd District.
Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois 8th District.
Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock, who was defeated in the Indiana senate race.
But Broun--the guy who thinks evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang theory are lies from the pit of hell--is still with us. He ran unopposed in the 2012 election, although Charles Darwin, his fiercest write-in competition, won 4,000 votes. And that is Lamar Smith, a verified climate change denier. He's our next chairman of the House Science Committee, which has jurisdiction over United States Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, NASA, and the National SCIENCE Foundation.
And Broun and Smith aren't alone. Honestly, there are too many anti-science politicians still in office to even list. We're still stuck with James Inhofe, climate denying senator from Oklahoma. Oh, and Florida senator Marco Rubio was recently interviewed by GQ magazine.
"At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries."
Of course, since we started production on this video, Sen. Rubio recanted his statement, saying that there's no scientific debate about the age of the Earth, and he knows it's 4.5 billion years old. Whether out of embarrassment, political pressure, or maybe he just came to his senses, his little gaffe isn't what bothers me. It's this cop-out:
"I'm not a scientist, man...I don't think I'm qualified to answer a question like that."
That is so cheap! Not qualified? You're not an economist either but you seem to have a lot to say about American finances. Do you have a degree in international affairs? Did you go to West Point? Have you served in the military? Hmmm... maybe you shouldn't be making policy decisions about national defense either. Come on, man. Get a clue. As an elected official it's your job to diligently research the issues that face your constituency! Talk to experts! Become internationally, militarily, economically, and scientifically literate! That's what you were elected to do!
Ugh, our work here is never done. So everyone, speak up! Let's keep our eye on the very people in power who should know better. Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or leave a comment right here on The Huffington Post. Come on, talk nerdy to me!