This whole “theory of evolution” thing is still open to debate, according to the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology. (In other news, Canada has a “Minster of State for Science and Technology.”)
Update: Jon Kay, and some of my readers, say Goodyear is being unfairly targeted because of his Christian faith. Dan Gardner responds that it’s Goodyear who made this a religious issue:
Imagine a minister of women’s equality who may not believe in women’s equality. A minister of industry who may prefer industry didn’t exist. A minister of health who may think HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. A minister of the environment who may not accept that anthropogenic climate change is happening. (That last one isn’t such a stretch.)
I doubt we would say, hey, whatever. As long as your actions and policies don’t match the kooky beliefs you may or may not be harbouring, it’s none of our business. And I really doubt we’d say that if the actions and policies in question were as sketchy as the Harper government’s have been on science.
And we’d be right not to let it slide. This isn’t a mere personal belief. It is a personal belief that goes right to the core of the job which the minister is supposed to do.
And let’s be precise here. No one quizzed the minister about his religious beliefs. He was asked if he accepted that evolution is the scientific fact it absolutely is.
It was the minister who set up evolution and religion as antagonists — which they are not, according to most scientists, most churches, and most theologians — and then protested being quizzed about his faith.
Rob Breakenridge agrees:
…First of all, nobody is asking him about his religion – one only need to look at scientists like Dennis Lameroux or Kenneth Miller to see what a non sequitor that is (or simply phone up the Vatican). Accepting science does not mean rejecting religion, but people like Gary Goodyear are sending the message that it has to be one or the other. How profoundly disappointing.
Secondly, why is this man in the Science and Technology portfolio? Is there no one else in the caucus who might fill that position?
Thirdly, this is not only embarrassing for the Conservatives, it’s potentially quite damaging politically. The Liberals had great success in the 2000 election targetting then-Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day along similar lines – I’m sure they’d like nothing more than to be able to portray the Conservatives as a bunch of religious fanatics who believe the Earth is 10,000 years old and that man walked with dinosaurs (or rode them).
Mr. Goodyear is certainly entitled to believe whatever he wants to believe, but it’s clear that he does not belong in his current portfolio. If the Conservatives do not want to be painted as anti-science fundamentalists, they will nip this in the bud.
Yes, this country was once governed quite ably by a fellow who regularly held major policy discussions with his dead mom. And if Goodyear was the Minister of Transport or National Revenue or something, I don’t think his (presumed) creationism would be a problem.
For a cabinet minister directly responsible for science, however, it’s a very big problem.