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← Canadian Science minister's coyness on evolution worries researchers

Canadian Science minister's coyness on evolution worries researchers - Comments

glenister_m's Avatar Comment 1 by glenister_m

As a Canadian, I am disturbed by this. However since it is an appointed position, and our PM isn't one to change his mind (even when he should), I can't see much happening. Appointments are rarely given for being qualified. They aren't called political appointments for nothing...

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 10:35:00 UTC | #337083

TheCRZA's Avatar Comment 2 by TheCRZA


Wed, 18 Mar 2009 10:39:00 UTC | #337086

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 3 by NewEnglandBob

Time to deflate Goodyear and de-rim him.

A former chiropractor - did he do it the holistic method? Was he using laying of hands? crystallography? Fairy dust?

Does he even know what science and technology are?

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 10:41:00 UTC | #337088

WillM's Avatar Comment 4 by WillM

Although it is right to criticise the way the question was framed (I can't stand the word "belief" used in scientific contexts!), Goodyear's wishy-washy response was awful - better to come out as a raging Cretinist than be so meek, so utterly timid and pathetic. It's tragic that so many people in this world should be afraid of evolution - even more so for a Science Minister.

Having said that, I reject Schluter's assertion that answers about evolution have nothing to do with religion. Clearly, Goodyear knows this all too well, hence his reaction.

*Just for Fun*

Mentally replace all references to "evolution" with "gravity", then wallow in despair at how far the human race has to go.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 10:45:00 UTC | #337090

AisforAtheist's Avatar Comment 5 by AisforAtheist

Here's my contribution to the CBC blog:

Here's some info on Humanism from a Canadian perspective.

A world where reason and compassion guide public policy and beliefs are respected provided that they are compatible with the rights of others.

To promote the separation of religion from public policy and foster the development of reason, compassion and critical thinking for all Canadians through secular education and community support.

Value Statements
* Uphold honesty, reason, critical thinking, and cooperation, in every facet of human interdependence.
* Support initiatives and programs that advance secularism.
* Promote the separation of religion and state at all levels of government.

Clearly, public good flows from such values and it is in society's interest to highlight cases like this wherein the separation of church and state is at risk. Worldviews and superstitious beliefs held by elected politicians are fair game and open to public scrutiny. To become a politician in a secular nation whilst subscribing to a baseless dogma, like a creationist religion, is to invite scrutiny - if not ridicule - upon oneself.

Ask yourselves if Mr. Goodyear, and other ex-Reform Party politicians including Stephen Harper and Stockwell Day, would vote to fund scientific research into the emerging field of memes. (A meme - or mind virus - promotes its own survival by erecting an intellectual "firewall" that impedes the infected host from accepting evidence that contradicts their religious dogma).

Ask if they'd act to bolster the separation of church and sate, such as:
- removing the god reference from the Anthem;
- eliminating "chaplain" positions from the Armed Forces.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 10:49:00 UTC | #337091

firstelder_d's Avatar Comment 6 by firstelder_d

reporter's question about whether he believed in evolution

I really hate that phrase. No one believes in evolution, they either get it, or they don't.

As a religious person, he might have reason to feel that way, as the media are often not kind to religion or people in the public square with religious beliefs, especially, I find, politicians.

When the hell did that happen? I must have been sleeping.

I hate how politicians are put in charge of fields they have no expertise in.

Comment #353190 by WillM
I think he is referring to evolution having nothing to do with religion on its own. Since it conflicts with the bible the fundies have to make it about religion

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 10:56:00 UTC | #337093

AmericanGodless's Avatar Comment 7 by AmericanGodless

Minister clarifies stand on evolution:

On Tuesday, Mr. Goodyear said twice during the CTV interview that he did 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. The interview was about our science and tech strategy, which is strong.”

.. Umm.. Clarifies?

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 10:58:00 UTC | #337094

eh-theist's Avatar Comment 8 by eh-theist

NewEnglandBob - If you believe that untrustworthy guy, James Randi, Gary Goodyear is also into acupuncture. I suspect nothing but solid science :)

And his clarification makes me think "Microevolution, sure. Macroevolution, no!".

He needs to go.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 11:02:00 UTC | #337097

br0k3nglass's Avatar Comment 9 by br0k3nglass

Oi! Some of the comments for that article are truly mind-numbing.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 11:10:00 UTC | #337099

AmericanGodless's Avatar Comment 10 by AmericanGodless

To be fair to the Minister, the question really does put any politician on the spot (in the US, and apparently in Canada, too). It asks, essentially "are you an evolution denialist, or do you accept the evidence that says that the Holy Creator God is an unnecessary just-so story?" It is just that most politicians have smoother ways of ducking the question, or pretending that there is no conflict, or tailoring a hypocritical answer to a particular audience. Mr. Goodyear needs to evolve a better pair of political running shoes.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 11:11:00 UTC | #337100

Eshto's Avatar Comment 11 by Eshto

Our openly religious president was asked if he believes in evolution and he said yes. And Obama's kindofa Jesus freak if you ask me.

So I don't think it's that much of a dilemma.

I think it more likely that your Minister just hasn't thought the issue through very much and probably doesn't know anything about evolution, so he floundered.

Which might be even worse considering.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 11:14:00 UTC | #337102

AmericanGodless's Avatar Comment 12 by AmericanGodless

Eshto: I agree, Obama is a very smooth politician. He just affirms both his belief in God and evolution, ignores any conflict, and lets both the religionists and the scientists think that he is on their side. And, when it serves his political purposes, he indeed is on their side.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 11:20:00 UTC | #337106

meinsla's Avatar Comment 13 by meinsla

I think Obama's a closet agnostic.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 11:30:00 UTC | #337113

Linda's Avatar Comment 14 by Linda

Goodyear has blown his cover. He has publicly declared Evolution is a fact but is it now too late for his career? He waffled and only after a lot of media attention on the issue 'came out' for Evolution. Which is really true though? If the politician embraced science dismissing Creationism-Intelligent-Design as irrational then he would have answered for it without needing to think about it.

God or evolution: Which is it?

Yesterday's Globe and Mail poll question asked
Do you believe in Evolution?

I am shocked to know that 46% said NO!

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 11:31:00 UTC | #337114

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 15 by rod-the-farmer

His constituency office is not that far from me (2 hours drive) so next time I am on the road in that direction I will drop in.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 11:44:00 UTC | #337122

Contrivanced's Avatar Comment 16 by Contrivanced

It hurts when this kind of news hits so close to home. We even have a creation museum here in Alberta! I predict Canada will have the reputation of a backwards, super relig(u)lous country in the near future, while the states are seen as enlightened.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 11:49:00 UTC | #337127

beanson's Avatar Comment 17 by beanson

Goodyear's response to a reporter's question about whether he believed in evolution.

"I'm not going to answer that question," Goodyear told the Globe and Mail. "I am a Christian, and I don't think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate."

err... the question was about evolution you foolish twonk

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 11:52:00 UTC | #337130

mlgatheist's Avatar Comment 19 by mlgatheist

The question was do you ACCEPT that all life on Earth evolved to what we have today, not "believe".

A question about Evolution is in no way a religious question. Most of the xtians that I know will tell you that they accept the "Theory of Evolution" as the only scientific theory on how modern life came to exist.

Goodyear's response implies that he is a fundamentalists who does not accept the FACT that Evolution is how we all came about.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 11:59:00 UTC | #337133

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 18 by kaiserkriss


Don't despair. Even though we have that scherz of a place in Stettler, we Albertans had the second highest percentage of non -religious respondents at 23.1% according to the last census.

Linda, your G&M poll link does not work.

While it is a bit worrying that Goodyear could be a closet creationist, the reality is that during tough economic times, there will have to be cut backs on everything, including science projects, and using his supposed religious convictions as an excuse to point a finger at him for cutting funding is nothing better than political gamesmanship. jcw

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 11:59:00 UTC | #337132

PERSON's Avatar Comment 20 by PERSON

"Consequently, I would hope that if a worthy research project on evolution were proposed, the minister would agree it should be funded."

This is pretty embarrassing too, frankly. A research project on evolution? How about one on the colour of the sky?

OTOH, perhaps her words have been misleadingly or inaccurately condensed, or she's just not put the point across well. Perhaps she meant something like "a project based on the principle of evolution" But even then, it's missing the point. The danger is from woo-woo views being imposed by legislators.

Not as brazenly as by the Bush maladministration with outright banning of projects, but e.g. by the support of non-objectionable projects over objectionable ones. Not denial of funds, exactly, just alteration of priority.

It's not enough that he claims to be impartial and his buddies back him up: he needs to be seen to be impartial. Fundie views are evidence against him being so.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 12:00:00 UTC | #337135

pkruger's Avatar Comment 21 by pkruger

Ok, no more pussyfooting for me. I am going to hit creationists/christers as hard and as often as i can, and I encourage all to do the same. I constantly refer them to YouTube ( the 29-part series 'Why People Laugh at Creationists' ) is excellent, as well as:

and ( Whenever I hear that 'eye' argument )

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 12:06:00 UTC | #337136

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 22 by Bonzai


While it is a bit worrying that Goodyear could be a closet creationist, the reality is that during tough economic times, there will have to be cut backs on everything, including science projects, and using his supposed religious convictions as an excuse to point a finger at him for cutting funding is nothing better than political gamesmanship.

Have to cut back on everything? That's a nice recipe to shrink the economy even further. When the whole world is pumping money into the economy to counteract a big crunch the con philosophy of cutting back in tough time should be dead in the water by now.

The only way to put money into the economy that the cons know is the magic mantra 'tax break', never mind the unemployed don't even pay taxes to begin with. What do people do with their tax breaks if they manage to get one? They'll spend the money on consumption, probably buying all consumer goods made overseas while driving up trade deficit. Consumption is not an investment to the future, money just got spent and maybe create a few low waged, service sector jobs. Investing in science, education, R&D and productive infrastructure on the other hand will generate return in the future.

Our Alberta Alliance minority government only agreed to spend when the opposition threatened to topple it.

Obama is pouring money into scientific research. Let the trend of 'necessary' cut backs in science continue for a few more years Canada will become a back water country in science and development as our researchers would have moved south, not because they want lower taxes, but because they want to find works that can use their knowledge instead of driving cabs and working in retail,-- jobs created by those wonderful tax breaks.

This kind of conservative economical fundamentalism is even more dangerous than religious fundamentalism. As it happens here if you vote for one you get the other in the same package. Alberta may have a high percentage of non religious (without looking at the details of your numbers) but Albertans always vote for the cons, so what difference does it make whether they are religious or not?

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 12:10:00 UTC | #337140

Ascaphus's Avatar Comment 24 by Ascaphus

4. Comment #353190 by WillM

...I reject Schluter's assertion that answers about evolution have nothing to do with religion. Clearly, Goodyear knows this all too well, hence his reaction...

I agree. His reticence to address the issue stems from his realization that his particular brand of religion is indeed incompatible with science.

Actually, I find the appointment of a Chiropractor to a position requiring knowledge of science just as troubling as appointment of a person unwilling to admit religious conflict. Both of these stances require faith understood as maintaining a perspective despite contrary scientific evidence. Not exactly an attitude that inspires confidence.


Wed, 18 Mar 2009 12:26:00 UTC | #337149

canatheist's Avatar Comment 25 by canatheist

As a Canadian, I am appalled at the lack of relevant experience and education of the new Minster of Science, and outraged at his lack of backbone in answering such a basic question.

It leaves no doubt in my mind that he is a closet Creationist and is unfit for the job.

Those of you who feel the same can send you comments directly to Prime Minister Harper at this address:

Keep your eyes open for a Facebook group to petition for his removal. I am starting one, if someone else has not already beat me to the punch.

This proves once more that Intellect and Stupidity are not mutally exclusive.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 12:30:00 UTC | #337152

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 26 by Bonzai


This proves once more that Intellect and Stupidity are not mutally exclusive.

That may be true in general, but what intellect are you seeing in the Harper government?

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 12:33:00 UTC | #337153

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 27 by kaiserkriss

Bonzai... I hate to say it, but we already ARE a scientific backwater despite what the press keeps telling us.

I agree spending money on "necessary" infrastructure is probably the best way to get the economy going. I'm not a fan of big tax breaks either, nor of printing money the way the US currently is, since it is very inflationary, and just passes the bill of over consumption onto the next generations.

The concept of a trade deficit should eventually go the way of the dodo bird in a global economy, so in my books that part of your argument does not wash. The evidence is pointing to the world economies coming closer together into bigger and bigger units such as the EU and NAFTA, just to name a couple.

Don't forget that consumption products require raw materials, many of which are globally sourced, which will also help Canadians for example. However bailing out failing, poorly managed industries, and poorly made products such as the North American auto industry at tax payers expense is foolhardy and an absolute waste of money.

One of the biggest problems we have here is the lack of accreditation of immigrants to Canada, where highly qualified people do drive cabs, because of ridiculous attitudes regarding their qualifications. To me this is job protectionism and elitism, nothing more. Truly disgusting and shameful.It doesn't matter who is in power in Ottawa,all parties are guilty of that crime.

When these overqualified people are let into the workforce at the appropriate level, the cost of research will come down, and the tax payer will get more bang for its buck. So, since you have indicated in the past that you are also an immigrant(if I remember correctly)petition your MP to get rid of these protectionist policies towards immigrants qualifications. jcw

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 12:38:00 UTC | #337155

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 28 by kaiserkriss


If you think the feds are bad, check out the qualifications of the Ministers of the Crown in Alberta on the government website. It is embarrassing. If I recall correctly, only 4 Ministers were University graduates, two in Political Science.

The Finance Minister Hon Irene Evans, is a Piano Teacher, who took a couple of nursing courses at a Hospital. The rest are no better, and in many cases worse.jcw

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 12:43:00 UTC | #337156

EnlightenedBlasphemy's Avatar Comment 29 by EnlightenedBlasphemy

sigh, it seems its time to start protests in the cambridge riding to get this guy booted out of office. door to door with leaflets explaining that this man values his own religious beliefs over the good of the canadian people.

sadly i live about as far from there as one can and still be in canada.

stupid life, needing a job to eat. cant run off and pick up causes where i see the need

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 12:58:00 UTC | #337162

SamKiddoGordon's Avatar Comment 30 by SamKiddoGordon

Comment 16 by Contrivanced.

It is embarrasing the Creation Museum in Big Valley was built to counter the Royal Tyrell Museum just a few miles to the south. We definately need better political candidates both provincially and federally but they have been doing a good job for the most part. We cannot let this slide and we must let them know its not appropriate for any religious opinion to influence policy.

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 13:05:00 UTC | #337165