Nov 09 2012

Will House Science Committee be a Little Less Prayerful in Wake of Election?

As I wrote last month when some very unscientific “theories” were flying out of the mouths of certain Republican members of the House Science Committee, it was quite disturbing to see just how many members of the Science Committee were also members of Congressman Randy Forbes’s Congressional Prayer Caucus. The two who made news were Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia, with his statement that evolution and the big bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of Hell,” and, of course, Congressman Todd Akin with his insane theory that a woman can’t get pregnant from a rape, but, as I wrote, there were others.

When I looked at the membership of the Science Committee, I found that eleven of its members were also Prayer Caucus members, and likely held the same faith-based “science” opinions as Broun and Akin. Even more disturbingly, I found that five of the twelve members of the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education — the subcommittee with “legislative jurisdiction and general oversight and investigative authority on all matters relating to science policy and science education” — were Prayer Caucus members.

The good news? Three of these eleven prayerful Science Committee members will not be returning to Congress in January. Congresswoman Sandy Adams of Florida was out in the primary, ten-term Congressman Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland was defeated by Democrat John Delaney, and the infamous Todd Akin, of course, challenged Claire McCaskill for her Missouri Senate seat and had his pants “legitimately” beaten off of him.

Unfortunately, that still leaves eight Prayer Caucus members, including Paul “pits of hell” Broun, on the Science Committee — four of them on the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education. So, all we can do is hope that the three vacated Science Committee seats will be filled with people who actually believe in science.


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  1. 1
    Raging Bee

    Hopefully their Senate counterpart can consistently attack them whenever they say something egregiously stupid or dishonest.

  2. 2

    The thing I don’t understand about the House Science committee is why are there 3 vacancies on the Dem side? (See member list here – http://science.house.gov/about/membership – this is of course NOT reflecting any changes that will be made due to the election) I’m all about YAY that there are less loons making decisions about reality, but why in the WORLD do the Dems fail to pick up every advantage they can in these matters? Surely there are Dems in the House who understand science better than Akin? Is this due to some procedural thing that I don’t understand? I’m currently baffled.

  3. 3
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    Agree with you, but this:

    …filled with people who actually believe in science.

    would better be put as “…filled with people who actually accept science.”

    Pedantic, I know, but science is not a belief system (unlike religion) and putting it the way you did perpetuates that… belief.

  4. 4

    Or, “people who have at least a basic understanding of what comprises science and the scientific method.”

  5. 5

    Political party leadership more or less decides who is going to be on a committee. Senate and House appointment procedures are similar but have some differences. Its close to impossible to base committee assignments on who is the most capable or appropriate as long as politics are involved.

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