Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Canadian Parliament Rejects Theory of Evolution?

 
The Canadian Press is reporting that the House of Common rejected a motion to recognize Darwin's theory of evolution as the only scientific explanation for the origin of the human species [Ottawa rejects motion to favour Darwin theory over other scientific explanations].

Here's what happened. Yesterday, Pierre Paquette, the Bloc Québécois member for Joliette, rose in the House to make the following request as recorded in Hansard.
Mr. Speaker, I seek the unanimous consent of the House to adopt the following motion: That the House acknowledge the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, which launched the theory of evolution, the only proven and recognized scientific explanation for the origin of man. I believe you will find unanimous consent for adoption of this motion.
Some honourable members shouted "yes" and some shouted "no." The speaker ruled that there was no unanimous consent.

According to the Canadian Press report, most of the naysayers were on the Conservative benches and most MP's answered "yes."

I'm a little bit uneasy about the scientific accuracy of the statement but that's not my main objection. My main objection is that the House of Commons should not be voting on motions concerning the accuracy of scientific theories. That's none of their business.

The motion should have read ...
That the House acknowledge the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of "On the Origin of Species."
That motion would have stood a much better chance of getting unanimous consent.


6 comments :

  1. Back in the 19'th century, a state legislature (Indiana's, I think) had a resolution to fix the value of pi.

    Source: Underwood Dudley's Mathematical Cranks. :-)

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  2. Dear Larry

    I agree "that the House of Commons should not be voting on motions concerning the accuracy of scientific theories. That's none of their business." However, I do intend to write my federal (Conservative) MP to ask him how he voted and if he voted nay, why?

    Could you explain why you are "a little bit uneasy about the scientific accuracy of the statement"?

    PS: Thank you for recommending Janet Browne's 2 volume biography of Darwin. I'm almost finished the first volume and I am really enjoying it.

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  3. According to a blogger at Macleans the failure to pass this motion wasn't part of some sinister anti-science agenda by the Conservatives. Apparently Tory MPs are under orders not to give unanimous consent to opposition motions, regardless of the content of those motions; unless there is all party approval beforehand.

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  4. "should not be voting on motions concerning the accuracy of scientific theories That's none of their business"

    Right. That's for Professors at the University of Toronto to decide and the rest of us just have to live with their conclusions.

    What about talking about scientific theories in pubs? Can we have an exemption for commoners under the influence?

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  5. PS. I notice you talk a lot about the validity of religion.

    Perhaps scientists should leave religion to the priests. After all, it's none of their business...

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