"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Well, I'll be a monkey's (very distant) nephew

Canada's Minister of Science and Technology Gary Goodyear won't say whether he believes in evolution.

"I'm not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don't think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate,” Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

Uh, Gary, no one asked about your religion, they asked about science. I don't care if you're a Christian, a Buddhist, an atheist, a Sihk or a Pastafarian -- if you don't believe in one of the cornerstones of biological science, you shouldn't be the science minister. Its sort of like having a defence minister who believes that the Prime Minister's ability to summon dragons is the reason the Russians and Chinese haven't invaded Canada yet or a finance minister that believes massive tax breaks for the rich will lead to economic prosperity for all.

“I do believe that just because you can't see it under a microscope doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It could mean we don't have a powerful enough microscope yet. So I'm not fussy on this business that we already know everything. … I think we need to recognize that we don't know.”
Asked to clarify if he was talking about the role of a creator, Mr. Goodyear said that the interview was getting off topic.

I agree that we do have to admit there are things we don't know -- but we also have to admit there are things that we do know, like the fact that the earth revolves around the sun, gravity works, light behaves like a wave and a particle, bodies in motion tend to remain in motion while bodies at rest tend to remain at rest and biological entities evolve over time to adapt to their surroundings or die out.

Goodyear was a chiropractor before entering politics. I don't want to criticize chiropractors - they certainly helped me when I telescoped my spine skydiving years ago - but ask an actual physician what he thinks of them sometime. Many in MDs consider the practice a tiny step up from voodoo. I'm not saying his previous occupation or simply being religious disqualifies him from being science minister, but if either of them mean he doesn't believe in verifiable scientific facts, then he belongs in another portfolio. Apparently, he's also more than a bit of dick as well, which I do think should disqualify him from getting elected, but seems to be a requirement to get into the Conservative Party Of Canada.

Update: Apparently Goodyear has "clarified" his remarks:

Jane Taber: So you do believe in evolution. You believe in the theory of evolution. Let’s just get this off the table right now.

Gary Goodyear: We are evolving, every year, every decade. That’s a fact. Whether it’s to the intensity of the sun, whether it’s to, as a chiropractor, walking on cement versus anything else, whether it’s running shoes or high heels, of course, we are evolving to our environment. But that’s not relevant. And that’s why I refused to answer the question. The interview was about our science and tech strategy, which is strong…

The appalling thing here is that if Goodyear really does believe in evolution all he has to do is say so, say "Yes, Darwin was right, man descended from apes" but he won't do that. Either because he really doesn't believe or because he's afraid of pissing off Charles McVety and his merry band of Christian Taliban wannabes. The CPC relies on the knuckledragging religious crazies in the social conservative caucus for votes, money and campaigning and doesn't dare cross them (no pun intended). So apparently in addition to being a bit of a dick, Goodyear is also a bit of a coward.

1 comment:

M@ said...

His "clarification" clarified nothing. Lots of creationists and ID loons agree that minor evolution is going on now. The question is whether the general theory of evolution is regarded by Goodyear is true or false.

A better question, in fact, might be "how old do you think the world is?" Not an unfair question to pose a Science Minister, I think. If he gets within an order of magnitude I'll give it to him.