Canadian politics, christians, Conservatives, evolution, religion, science

Non Sequitur

From today’s Globe and Mail:

Canada’s science minister, the man at the centre of the controversy over federal funding cuts to researchers, won’t say if 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, ok. So, we should expect Harper to appoint a pedophile as Minister of Justice and a racist as Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism?


Not pictured: designer of blue thing in background

Near as I can tell from this account, the question was whether the individual in charge of funding scientific research in this country agreed with one of the most fundamental concepts in biology, not what his religion was. If that’s his response, I weep for biologists, chemists, geologists, etc. whose work may go unfunded because of the religious beliefs of the Minister. Although the Federal Government has set aside $2 billion for infrastructure projects, including  improvements to colleges and universities, the funds will be distributed by the government based on an application process, rather than the usual method of distribution on a per capita basis. This way, the Guv’mint can decide what the priorities are.

According to the Minister:

“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.”

I’m sorry, ‘not fussy’? You managed to finish fairly strong, but not before you completely undermined my confidence that you have a clear concept of what science is and what it should do – god is not to be found under a microscope. I agree that we don’t know everything – part of the allure of science is it has never and will never stop working to discover and explain the complexities of the universe. However, I’m not altogether confident that the pursuit of scientific inquiry for its’ own sake will not be undermined by a flawed understanding at the highest levels. Even now, the funding for the three major granting councils the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHI), which support work by students, is being slowly squeezed to support a business agenda, with SSHRC scholarship grants in particular being focused on “business-related degrees”.

We here at the ‘Kog have recognized the faint scent of the Conservative agenda for some time, but now, the scent has become an overwhelming stench. To place this guy in charge of funding scientific inquiry is irresponsible, but probably should not have been unexpected.


5 thoughts on “Non Sequitur

  1. Well, you have your answer…the fact that he is hiding behind his Christianity, and somehow conflating belief in Christianity with acceptance of evolution by natural selection tells you exactly where this troglodyte falls.

    Ken Miller would have no problem answering the question.



  2. Gather round, fellow Canadians, for our time is at hand! For nigh on a decade we’ve been able to laugh or snicker derisively at our mentally deficient neighbours to the south, what with their ridiculous Decider, their paucity of u’s, their complete ignorance of the world around them, and their apparent pride in stupidity. Well, that’s all passed now, the pendulum has swung. They have intelligent leadership and we at the top of the continent are now governed by idiots, the idiots that we apparently deserve.

    Free yourselves from the yoke of intelligence, stop feigning curiousity about the world – it’s dumb-ass time in Canada! Git yer beer, and don’t stop there – git yer beer hat.


  3. My (admittedly cynical) take on this is that as soon as Stephen Harper gets wind of this, Goodyear will be putting out a ‘clarification’ wherein he states that “I believe in evolution, while still recognizing the Hand of the Creator’. Whether this will be a honestly held belief, or his punishment for having a Non-Harper Approved Opinion (NHAO for short), I leave as a thought exercise for our readers…


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