Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gary Goodyear is Right

Under attack for suspicion of being a Christian and a creationist. Gary Goodyear has responded:
"My personal beliefs are not important," he said, after speaking to the Economic Club of Canada on the government's vision on research and development. "What is important is that this government is doing the right thing for science and technology to support scientists."
He's absolutely right. Despite the flurry of criticism from media and some scientific circles, I'm certain Goodyear will survive this 'crisis' because he's focused on the task at hand and clearly a competent cabinet minister. I hope to have more to say on this later.


Christopher said...

How can scientists be confident in his opinions on where to put money for science, if he'd rather believe what some two thousand year old book tells him over a reasoned, well-thought out science-based theory?

I think his personal opinions are important, and relevant to how he will do his job.

Ted said...

How is he being attacked for his Christianity? Most Christians believe in evolution, even the Pope says there is not contradiction between the Bible and evolution.

I keep hearing this line and it sounds very insulting to the majority of Christians that you would define Christianity as requiring disbelief in evolution, a basic precept of modern biology.

Ted said...

I guess, more importantly, what makes him "clearly a competent cabinet minister" in your mind? I've not seen him do anything that makes him stand out in any positive way - cutting funds for scientific research is not, in my books, making a good case for being clearly competent - but maybe you know something the rest of Canadians don't know?

pettitji said...

I am not against adjusting a budget up or down based on one's priorities but I have difficulty with someone not understanding the basic organizing principle of biology making those priorities.

Alberta Girl said...

Hey you libbies trying to justify even being asked this question.....did he say he did NOT believe in evolution - NO - he said that it wasn't relevant and the reporter jumped to the very conclusion that the question was designed to elicit.

Tell me - would this question have been asked of anyone other than a Conservative???????

That was a rhetorical question by the way - I know the answer.

Ted said...

Misrepresenting reality again Alberta Girl?

He did not simply say it was not relevant. He immediately tied a basic science question to religion. It is like asking someone "I heard you believe magnetisim keeps on the ground. Do you believe in gravity?" or "I heard your cult religion believes aliens dropped us on the planet and built the pyramids. Do you believe in alien creation or evolution?" If he responded by saying you were attacking his faith, how would you react?

Most people simply assume that all others believe in some form of evolution at least. It is after all a basic underlying understanding of a ton of science that has proven to be consistent with that understanding.

As the article indicates, however, word was Goodyear believed the earth was formed in 6 days and humans just simply appeared.

So would this question have been asked of anyone other than a Conservative? It would have been asked of anyone that seemed to believe in Creation. Prior Conservative cabinet ministers have in fact NOT been asked this question.

The social conservatives are struggling hard to make this a liberals vs conservatives, liberals vs Christianity issue. Almost everyone is seeing through that ploy, as countless conservatives like Colby Cosh for example take the same view as the liberals on this.

I mean, how can asking a question about evolution possibly be anti-Christian when most Christians believe in evolution, the Pope believes in evolution and the Roman Catholic Church for at least almost a century has said evolution and the Bible and Chrisitan faith are completely compatible?

That was a rhetorical question by the way - I know the answer.

wilson said...

This article speaks for me,

The liberal war on faith:

''...This is part of a larger problem that began on a national scale in 2000, when a Liberal strategist mocked Stockwell Day's Christian beliefs (and, by implication, all other creationist religions, from Islam to the animist faiths of Canada's natives) by proudly showing a Barney the Dinosaur doll to a chuckling media horde. Ha ha, how witty.

Things continued in this vein in the years following. After the resignation of Paul Martin as Liberal leader in 2006, interim leader Bill Graham rose in the House of Commons and attacked the credibility of a senior staffer in Rona Ambrose's office for his evangelical Christian beliefs.

Throughout the growth of the current Conservative party, starting with the establishment of Reform, the Alliance and then the merger with the Progressive Conservatives, there has been a festering undercurrent of anti-religious bigotry in the methods of attack used by left-wing critics...
But what happened this week is part of a larger and more insidious political strategy designed to make voters fear Conservatives on the basis of individual religious choices. There's just no other way to view it.''

Ted said...

Wilson, like your colleagues, are avoiding the question.

How is supporting evolution anti-Christian when most Christians believe in some form of evolution and the Pope says there is nothing inconsistent between evolution and the Bible?

Attila said...

A true scientist should be skeptical of virtually everything. Remember, Einstein showed that Newton's LAWS of motion and gravity were inadequate - it's a good thing he was allowed out of the groupthink, eh? I find it extremely alarming, illustrated beautifully with the example of global warming, that scientists are being pressured to bow to dogma rather than freely question and critisize. The same things that many critisize about religion are happening to science! While I agree that evolution has held up as a good model, I do not fear skepticism because, in all likelyhood, our understanding of evolution is incomplete. So if a minister says he is not completely comfortable with evolution (did he even say that?), but will continue to perform his job professionally and allow us to continue to learn about the world around us (including evolution), why is that a problem?
I believe this whole hubub has been more about painting the CPC as "knuckledragging" Christians than any real worries about the minister's competence.

Ted said...

The important difference, Attila, is that Einstein did not question the existence of gravity.

He simply said it did not explain everything, which is pretty much what any evolutionary scientist will enthusiastically agree with when it comes to evolution.

If Einstein had said a question about gravity was not a science question but a question about his religion, THEN you would have a comparable situation.

Would someone who denied gravity, as a matter of his or her faith, be the right person to decide what science should receive funding if they promised - and we all know what a politician's promise is worth - not to let it influence their decisions?

Rob West, Ottawa ON said...

Ted, you can conduct an experiment to verify gravity. You cannot do the same to verify Darwinian Evolution. The FACTS say that there are minor variations in the species over time (Dog Breeds, the size of the bills of finches etc) But there are no FACTS to support the idea that all living things came from a single cell animal. Since we do not have time machines, none of us can travel back in time to see what really happened. Because of this both Darwinian Evolution and Creation are philosophies of Science based on faith.

Nerdbeard said...

I would like to see some examples of Goodyear being a competent minister. I have to admit that I have a very poor view of Goodyear. I am only a couple ridings away and I get exposed to a lot of the things he says and does. I cannot think of anything that demonstrates "clear competence". Perhaps someone can mention a couple examples.

Ted said...

Not at all Rob, not at all.

There are lots of tests you can do to show that organisms do and have evolved, both directly and indirectly, positively and negatively.

Direct studies of small and micro-organisms with much shorter lifespans have demonstrated evolution in real time.

Indirectly, there is a ton of science in many other disciplines that is consistent or supports evolution - geology, chemistry, anthropology, etc.

There is tons of research that has ruled out all other options as well, most especially a 6 day creation some 6000 to 10000 years ago.

Science is a process, not a faith or an ideology or a theology. You observe facts, you come up with theories about what causes those facts, you test them out in various ways and reach conclusions. Evolutionary scientists from Darwin on have observed facts and have found time and time again through various testing that it most strongly explains all those facts.

Faith starts from a completely different place. Faith starts with the conclusion and then looks to find facts that support that conclusion.

Almost every single scientist believes in some form of evolution. Almost every single Western Christian believes in evolution.

We must stop this conservative war on science.

Ted said...

Nerdbeard, I've been asking that question as well as you can see above with no one answering.

He is a Conservative cabinet minister. That seems to be all anyone needs to know about his competence.

Anonymous said...

A cartoon in the Globe and Mail yesterday making fun of Christianity and another today in the National Post (I believe) making fun of the Pope. I'd love to see them make fun of Islam this way.

Ted said...

Globe cartoon is here:

How on earth do you characterize that as making fun of Christianity?

I mean, aside from the fact that belief for or against evolution has nothing to do with Christianity, this cartoon is not even about this issue. It's about funding cuts.

Talk about hyper-sensitive.

Patrick O'Neil said...

Thanks for all the comments. I read them all and I'm responding to many in the next post.