Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Liberal Science Critic Marc Garneau Says that Believing in Evolution Is not a Job Requirement for the Science Minister

 
Marc Garneau (right) is the Liberal science critic in Canada's House of Commons. The same Globe and Mail article that mentioned Goodyear's "clarification" of his position on evolution has the following quotation from Marc Garneau [Minister clarifies stand on evolution].
On Tuesday, Liberal science critic Marc Garneau said that believing in evolution is not a job requirement for the science minister.

“It is a personal matter. It is a matter of faith.… I don't think it prevents someone from being a good minister,” said the former astronaut, who has been a vocal critic of the government for its cuts to the three granting councils that fund university-based research in Canada.

But Jim Maloway, the New Democratic Party science critic, said that if the minister did not believe in evolution that could influence government policy. “I don't see a commitment to a really broad approach if you are encumbered by the denial of evolution,” he said.
Garneau is dead wrong. If you reject evolution you are anti-science. There's no two ways about it. You cannot deny evolution without attacking the very core of scientific reasoning and evidence-based conclusions. What Garneau is saying is that it's OK for a science minister to be anti-science.

That would be like putting a witch doctor (or a chiropractor) in charge of health care, or a soothsayer in charge of finances.

There may be a place for anti-science creationists in the Federal Cabinet but not in charge of science. Acceptance of the core principles of science is a job requirement because part of the job is gaining the confidence of the scientific community. You can't have a science minister who questions the honesty and integrity of Canadian scientists. Make no mistake about it, that's exactly what creationists do.

We need a new minister of science and we need a new Liberal science critic.1


1. What do other scientists think about this? See Science minister's coyness on evolution worries researchers. Note that the scientists are worried about a creationist in charge of science while the non-scientists don't see it as a big problem.

21 comments :

  1. "It is a personal matter. It is a matter of faith.…"

    Phththttht! I suppose acceptance of gravity is also a matter of personal faith.

    So your political parties up there have "science critics"? What qualifications does one need to fill that job?

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  2. So your political parties up there have "science critics"? What qualifications does one need to fill that job?

    The Opposition runs what's called the "shadow cabinet". Basically, every Minister has a corresponding critic whose job it is to make life hard for him during Question Period. Garneau is falling down on his job.

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  3. I checked Garneau's background on Wikipedia. He has an engineering background. Will there be a need to invoke the Salem conjecture?

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  4. Yet another way to spot a hidden agenda - people answering a question about biological evolution as if it is a personal question...

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  5. I think there is a difference between what should and ought to be a requirement for a minister of science, and what is a requirement for a minister of science. The only requirement that I know of for ministers is that they be part of the legislature, i.e. a senator or a member of parliament, and that they be appointed by the Prime Minister. There is no actual requirement for Mr. Goodyear to believe in science.

    That said, I completely agree that Mr. Goodyear cannot be trusted to minister science correctly if he does not believe in science.

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  6. What do other scientists think about this?

    Well this scientists thinks you guys are in for a world of hurt. I am relieved your southern colleagues, like me, finally booted numbnuts like this from the administration and am happy we elected someone who actually values science and publicly states that fact. Maybe at the next election you can being to undo the ultimate damage...of course it took us 2 elections.

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  7. OT, but maybe not

    The Website for THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF ONTARIO http://www.lt.gov.on.ca/
    offers this information on DAVID C. ONLEY"

    "In view of his success in life,
    Mr. Onley credits his Christian
    faith. . . ."

    Why does a government website mention the Lieutenant Governor's religion?

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  8. I don't believe in God. Can I be the Anglican Archbishop of Toronto? Or Catholic, whichever pays best.

    William Hyde

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  9. I don't see a problem with a government website mentioning the lieutenant governor of Ontario's religion. The point of the website is that it describes the lieutenant governor.

    and so...?

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  10. Dunbar said

    "I don't see a problem with a government website mentioning the lieutenant governor of Ontario's religion."

    The way you phrased your comment may have been unintentional, but the words "the lieutenant governor of Ontario's religion" are consistent with my point: mentioning that the lieutenant governor is Christian implies that Ontario's religion is Christian.

    Here is the longer passage from the website:

    In view of his success in life, Mr. Onley credits his Christian faith and the ongoing support of his wife, singer and Christian recording artist Ruth Ann Onley, and their three sons, Jonathan, Robert, and Michael. The Onleys live in Scarborough and are active members of the Safe Haven Worship Centre in Pickering.
    _______

    Dunbar also says

    and so...?

    That is a difficult question to answer. Please clarify: and so what?

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  11. mentioning that the lieutenant governor is Christian implies that Ontario's religion is Christian.
    No it doesn't. You'd have to be a simpleton to take one fellow's religion and believe it applies to everyone where he lives.

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  12. I agree with the general sentiment. I wrote the post below for the earlier thread, then realise you'd picked up the essence of what I was saying in this thread.

    Original post to other thread:

    Wouldn't that mean he has such a fundamental (no pun intended) conflict of interest that he at the very least needs to formally declare it, or resign?

    After all, it'd run along the lines of "My job is to support/promote science, but my personal beliefs are anti-science".

    It'd be like an anti-semite heading a Jewish organisation! Well, OK, that's an extreme example, but the point is the same. It's unreasonable to claim he can provide unfettered support for something he is against.

    I'm would imagine somewhere in the legal requirements for this job, he is required to provide unfettered support for this portfolio and to formally declare any obvious conflicts of interests prior to taking up the position—?

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  13. Dunbar says
    "You'd have to be a simpleton to take one fellow's religion and believe it applies to everyone where he lives."

    I did not say or imply that "one fellow's religion applies to everyone where he lives."

    I guess I need to be more precise.

    Your sentence structure in your post at 1:13 today is faulty. The correct way to phrase the sentence is, "I don't see a problem with a government website mentioning the religion of the lieutenant governor of Ontario. David Onley is the lieutenant governor of Ontario; he is not the lieutenant governor of Ontario's religion.

    Your faulty sentence structure led me to my comment at 4:45: Mentioning that the lieutenant governor is Christian implies that Ontario's religion is Christian.

    Obviously, not everyone in Ontario is Christian or even religious. That's why I object to a government website highlighting the fact that the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario is a Christian.

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  14. 1st question: Should there be a 'Science Minster' at all?
    If that's not avoidable in modern bureaucratic times, then the job of a Science Minister is to coordinate public research projects - and to decide where the taxpayers money is going to.
    I'm not sure whether there should be a 'faith check' or an inquiry if a candidate for this office is 'scientifically correct'. Maybe it would be better - but on the other hand it's a public office, and there are already democratic rules how someone can get it.

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  15. "If you reject evolution you are anti-science."

    This kind of intolerant statement serves no useful purpose. How interesting that so many evolutionists decry religious intolerance yet engage in their own pseudoscientific variety.

    "You cannot deny evolution without attacking the very core of scientific reasoning and evidence-based conclusions."

    In order to bolster evolutionary theories, scientists must subvert the scientific method and rely on circumstantial, non-repeatable evidence. Interpreting fossils requires more guesswork than science. The genetic evidence is spurious as well. This is why even scientists cannot agree with each other about any aspect of evolutionary theories.

    A true advocate of science questions any evidence that depends on opinion and wild guesses above hard data. Questioning is a key part of true science. If no one can question the current dogma, then no advancements can occur. If all scientists shared the view that questioning a shaky hypothesis is anti-science, we would never have made it out of the Dark Ages.

    Lisa A. Shiel
    author of The Evolution Conspiracy
    http://EvolutionConspiracy.com/

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  16. As far as I am concerned, the debate got off on the wrong foot as soon as someone asked Goodyear if he "believed in evolution". So now the debate has been framed in terms of freedom of religion instead of acceptance vs rejection of scientific fact. The fact that Garneau apparently does not understand that is tremendously disconcerting and disappointing.

    As for the LG of Ontario, if the statement "In view of his success in life, Mr. Onley credits his Christian faith and the ongoing support of his wife, singer and Christian recording artist Ruth Ann Onley, and their three sons, Jonathan, Robert, and Michael. The Onleys live in Scarborough and are active members of the Safe Haven Worship Centre in Pickering." is just made for the purpose of biography, I see no problem with it. I would look at it in the same way as, for example, a former Olympic athlete turned politicion woul credits their success in life to the years of discipline of getting up at 5am every day to go running.

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  17. Lisa A. Shiel said...
    In order to bolster evolutionary theories, scientists must subvert the scientific method and rely on circumstantial, non-repeatable evidence. Interpreting fossils requires more guesswork than science. The genetic evidence is spurious as well. This is why even scientists cannot agree with each other about any aspect of evolutionary theories.

    LOL. Thanks for a laugh, Lisa! Your book must be hilariously funny.

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  18. From Lisa's book:

    Evolutionists focus their defensive efforts on Creationist claims, giving the impression that nobody except religious zealots disputes evolution. Either
    God created man 10,000 years ago or every organism alive today evolved from a single cell produced by molecular magic. Evolutionists ridicule nonbelievers as fools, misled by blind faith in what the Bible says. They ignore the facts—that
    scores of intelligent people believe in Christianity, that people of other faiths eschew evolution too, and that plenty of others find answers somewhere in the gray area between religion and science. Even Creationists span a spectrum of beliefs, from strict 10,000-year Creationism to the evolution-like variety.


    Talk about inventing a false dichotomy for us out of whole cloth. Think we've been giving Harun Yahya and Michael Behe a pass?

    If you take a cursory glance at the landscape of people in North America who are trying to dilute, lie about or subvert basic evolutionary theory, what do you suppose ties the majority of those people together? Hmmm?

    That your first chapter talks about abiogenesis without referring to actual abiogenesis research does not give me much hope of a fair treatment of the subject in your table of contents.

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  19. (Correction:
    "subvert basic evolutionary theory" should be "subvert basic evolutionary theory education")

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  20. It seems logical the claim but in politics nothing happens by chance but by issue circunstancias.Asi that something must be the minister of science and insurance is clear that other issues have more to do with anything other than to science.

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