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Minister Goodyear thinks Evolution has something to do with religion

March 17, 2009

He’s wrong.

Evolution is merely a theory about the physical world.  A theory with more supporting evidence than almost any other in history. A theory which is not disputed by any observable fraction of reasonable scientists.  You may feel unconformtable about it because you have not found a way to integrate evolution into your belief system.  That is your problem, it means you need to think harder about your faith.  It doesn’t mean you can say evolution is less likely to be true because it doesn’t sound right to you.

But you know, who cares really what Gary Goodyear thinks.  He’s just one Canadian citizen who’s free to believe what he likes.  True. He is also a federal minister of parliament, but still, his freedom to doubt evolution is entirely protected.  True.  Unfortunately, the thing he is minister of, is Science.  Yep, he’s the Federal Science Minister.

Well.  Clearly, he still has the right to his uninformed opinions. He has the right to allow emotion and religious beliefs hide a truth that most scientists accept.  What he doesn’t have a right to is his job.  There is no way he should be making decisions about science funding and strategy of research in Canada if he is not 100% behind Science.  And if you don’t ‘believe’ in evolution, then what it really says is either you haven’t spent the effort to understand it or you are willing to dismiss scientific truth if it conflicts with your beliefs.  That’s not science.

UPDATE: I’m not the only one upset about this, several good rebuttals to the minister over at Terry.  It also seems the Minister has seen fit to clarify (or has been ordered to clarify) that he does, in fact, believe in evolution:

We are evolving every year, every decade. That’s a fact, whether it is to the intensity of the sun, whether it is to, as a chiropractor, walking on cement versus anything else, whether it is running shoes or high heels, of course we are evolving to our environment. But that’s not relevant and that is why I refused to answer the question.

Um, sorry Minister, but it is relevant.  As your answer indicates a complete lack of understanding about evolution of species in nature over millions of years. I have a followup, does the minister believe in millions of years?

Perhaps using the word ‘believe’ applied to evolution was trick question, even though most of us use the word that way and don’t necessarily mean religious belief.  We mean, do you think its true? But for Minister Goodyear it seems that word must be related to religious faith and so he said he didn’t want to answer the question.  I can understand how that can happen, what I can’t understand is how someone such as Minister Goodyear becomes minister of Science.

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