Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology (who was already on shaky grounds with scientists), recently caused quite a stir when he refused to say whether or not he accepted 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… said in an interview with The Globe and Mail…
“Obviously, I have a background that supports the fact I have read the science on muscle physiology and neural chemistry,” said the minister, who took chemistry and physics courses as an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo.
“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.
Answers like this would call into question the judgement skills of any politician. The fact that it was the minister responsible for the state of science and technology compounds the issue, and looks extremely poorly not only on him, but also on Stephen Harper and the rest of the Conservatives who picked a man so utterly incapable of doing his job.
Why is he incapable? Well despite from his reasoning skills being called into question, cranks (and anyone who denies evolution is most certainly a crank) have a poor ability to inability to recognize competence in others.
One of the main things we discussed related to crankery is their inability to recognize competence in others. As a result, cranks tend not to mind the crankery of others, since they see themselves as opposed to a scientific orthodoxy. Consistency be damned, they just want to see science with egg on its face so they can prove that they are being persecuted.
This is utterly unacceptable for anyone in government, doubly so for the Minister of State for Science and Technology.
UPDATE: It seems like Gary Goodyear has tried to make things better, only to fall flat on his face:
Science minister Gary Goodyear now says he believes in evolution.
“Of course I do,” he told guest host Jane Taber during an appearance on the CTV program Power Play. “But it is an irrelevant question.”
Is it an irrelevant question? Not at all, it’s a question about science, and he is our science minister after all. The rest of his explanation was equally weak.
“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. The interview was about our science and tech strategy, which is strong.”
That answer is absurd. Is he really suggesting that shoes affect our ability to procreate? In fact it seems like he is going for the “I believe in microevolution but not macroevolution” angle. Which is still anti-science creationism.
His affirmation is of evolution is laughable to the point where it looses all credibility. At the end of the day I do not believe he is being truthful, this reeks of nothing more than political damage control. Poorly done damage control at that.
Everyone, despite political affiliation should be ashamed that our science minister is so blatantly anti-science. We are all worse off because of it.
UPDATE 2: This is too funny not to post:
When he says he believes in evolution and mentions shoes and sidewalks, he’s not talking about evolution. He’s talking about Lamarckism.
Another 200 years of research and he’ll be all caught up.
Put aside that he is a creationist for a second. The fact that our Minister of Science doesn’t even understand the basics of the theory of evolution is pretty shameful.
This whole debacle has been quite embarrassing. It shouldn’t be to much to ask, that our science minister, know a thing or two about some rather basic and fundamental scientific theories.
If Harper cares about the state of science and technology (which he damn well better) he should replace Goodyear ASAP. Though I wont be holding my breath.
The real question, is why we let our elected officials get away with such utter incompetence.