Georgia Rep. Paul Broun made the comment a few weeks ago that the world is 9,000 years old and any science that disputes that, like evolution, is “straight from the pit of hell.”
Broun was unchallenged in his race for reelection, but those riled up by Broun’s comments decided to run a candidate against him as a write-in. That candidate was long-deceased British naturalist Charles Darwin. Darwin is not an official candidate so not all the counties are counting his votes. Despite that, over 4,000 wrote in Darwin’s name. Darwin was not alone in receiving write-in votes. Some ballots were filled out with the name of “Big Bird” or “Bill Nye, the Science Guy.”
The 4,000 votes were counted in just one county – Athens/Clarke. Remarkably, the 4,000 votes cast for Darwin total about 20% of the total for that county.
“I think it definitely sends a message to Broun, and the country, that there are intelligent people in Georgia embarrassed by him who are saying that Broun is not their representative,” said former Athens-Clarke County Mayor Gwen O’Looney.
Broun’s opponents hope that this means a viable candidate will step forward for the 2014 election to challenge Broun. At the very least, they hope enough attention will be generated to remove Broun from the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Many scientists are already questioning his qualifications for such an important position when he dismisses the basic notions of evolution, geology, embryology and the Big Bang Theory.
Some have noted the appropriateness of a tongue-in-cheek campaign against a congressman whose beliefs are rooted in what many see as a tongue-in-cheek philosophy. The difference is that Broun really believes that what he is saying is factual science.