Friday, July 17, 2015

#1416: Ben Bridges

As we have had ample opportunity to see, lunacy is no hindrance to being elected as a US representative. But with regard to lunacy, Congress is nothing compared to what you find in state legislatures. Georgia, for instance, was for a dozen years (until 2008) plagued by the barely coherent stupidity of Benjamin D. Bridges, Sr. (10th district).

In 2007, for instance, Bridges, who has no science background, was criticized for circulating a memo condemning evolution and heliocentrism in the Georgia legislature. The memo claimed that “[i]ndisputable evidence – long hidden but now available to everyone – demonstrates conclusively that so-called ‘secular evolution science’ is the Big-Bang 15-billion-year alternate ‘creation scenario’ of the Pharisee Religion …This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic ‘holy book’ Kabbala dating back at least two millennia.” No, not the faintest trace of an even cursory understanding of evolution, but the memo did direct readers to the website of Marshal Hall’s young Earth creationist Fair Education Foundation, which claims the Earth is not rotating or orbiting the Sun and denies the existence of any stars or exoplanets outside the solar system (it also directed the reader to Gerardus Bouw’s website). Marshall Hall, by the way, was the husband of Bridges’ longtime campaign manager, Bonnie Hall.

Bridges did claim that he had nothing to do with the memo, but Hall stated that she had Bridges’s approval, and in any case Bridges confimed that he did not necessarily disagree with its claims: “I agree with it more than I would the Big Bang Theory or the Darwin Theory,” said Bridges. The memo was later circulated in the Texas legislature by their resident congressional idiot Warren Chisum.

Indeed, Bridges himself used the same sources for his own 2006 bill, HB 179, which would outlaw the teaching of evolution because evolution is a Kabbalah-based religion: “Included here is documentation which confirms that ‘evolution science’ is NOT ‘secular science’ as the Courts have viewed it to be, but is, in fact, an alternate religious ‘creation scenario’ which is derived concept for concept from the Kabbala, a mystic, anti-Christ ‘holy book’ of the Pharisee Sect of Judaism.” What’s that evidence? Glad you asked: “Nechunya ben HaKana, a 1st century Kabbalist asserted that if you know how to use the 42 letter name for God you could decipher a lengthy time between the creation of the universe and man. He estimated the age of the Universe at 15.3 billion years, some 2000 years ago, the very age modern astrophysics have just arrived at;” off by just 1.6 billion years, which I suppose is nothing to people who believe that the Earth is 6000 years anyways. But what does it have to do with evolution? Oh, you know: evolution, Big Bang, communism, LGBT rights, gun control, people who disagree with him … it’s all the same conspiracy, and it is targeted at good Christians like Bridges.

In any case, the source of the “evidence” is a collection of ridiculously absurd claims by kabbala loons who claim that modern science has confirmed their moronic religious speculations and hence that science is actually a kabbala religion. Bridges’s advisors apparently took them seriously. Note that not even Answers in Genesis wants to associate with people who think that science (including heliocentrism) is a Jewish conspiracy.

It wasn’t Bridges’s first time campaigning on pseudoscientific grounds. Also in 1999 and 2005 did he introduce legislation to have non-existent evidence against evolution being taught in public schools. In 2005, Georgia Citizens for Integrity in Science Education testified against his bill, causing Bridges to remark that he could have gotten “experts” as well, if he’d known that GCISE was going to be there. It would actually have been fun to see him bring in his “experts” to testify.

Diagnosis: Ok, so he’s not really in a position of power anymore. He is still a fine example of the level of crazy you can achieve without becoming unelectable. 

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