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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Creationism Attacked in the Canadian Parliament

Yesterday the Canadian government under Stephen Harper was defeated for contempt of parliament [Canadian Government Falls]. This is the first time that this has happened in the history of the British Commonwealth.

During the debate preceding the vote, the Leader of the Bloc Québécois party, Gilles Duceppe, had this to say about the government leaders, [Hansard]
This government is very transparent. When we look at the Conservatives, we know exactly what they are thinking. We can see right through them. Quite apart from the image they like to project, if you look closely, you can see right through them. The Minister of State for Science and Technology is a creationist and believes that dinosaurs walked the earth with humans. He thinks that The Flintstones was a documentary and Dino was the star. We can see their old Reform roots, which are likely what inspired the Tea Party.
This actually resonates within the House of Commons and with Canadians. Creationists don't get much respect in Canada.

I'd definitely vote for this guy if he wasn't a separatist.


  1. Gilles Duceppe is a politician. Politicians often say what they think will be helpful to their party.

    Do you have any actual evidence that creationists don't get much respect in Canada?

  2. Duceppe is often the most reasonable of the leaders and the Bloc have often been a voice of reason in national debates. A regional party per se is not contra federal politics (that's how the Reform party started), but I too wish they were not separatist.

  3. It's interesting how the "Flintstones was a documentary" line has moved out of the anti-creo blogosphere into the mainstream over the last few years.

  4. In addition, the said minister, Gary Goodyear, is also a chiropractor. Absolutely amazing that in a progressive country like Canada, such a whackjob could be appointed to any post in a government, much less one dealing with science.

    For comparison purposes, contrast Mr. Goodyear with President Obamas' appointments, Steven Chu, Nobel Prize winner in physics, Harold Varmus, Nobel Prize winner in medicine, and John Holdren.

  5. SLC says,

    Absolutely amazing that in a progressive country like Canada, such a whackjob could be appointed to any post in a government, much less one dealing with science.

    The rules in a parliamentary system are quite different. In the parliamentary system all cabinet positions have to be filled by members of parliament—usually from the House of Commons. When you have a government like Harper's the pickings are quite slim. He doesn't have the option of appointing people who haven't been elected (except for the occassional Senate appointment).

    "John Holdren was involved in the famous Simon-Ehrlich wager in 1980. He, along with two other scientists helped Paul R. Ehrlich establish the bet with Julian Simon, in which they bet that the price of five key metals would be higher in 1990. The bet was centred around a disagreement concerning the future scaricity of resources in an increasingly polluted and heavily populated world. Ehrlich and Holdren lost the bet, when the price of metals had decreased by 1990.[5]"

    Glad I did not put my money on Holdren.

    "Chu was instrumental in submitting a winning bid for the Energy Biosciences Institute, a BP-funded $500 million multi-disciplinary collaborative project between UC Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and the University of Illinois. This sparked controversy on the Berkeley campus, where some fear the alliance could harm the school’s reputation for academic integrity.[21][22][23][24]"

    "He currently serves on the advisory boards of the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, an organization dedicated to opposing the religious right, and Scientists and Engineers for America, an organization focused on promoting sound science in American government.
    Varmus endorsed then-United States Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) for the 2008 presidential election.[9] He has been selected as one of co-chairs of the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to serve in the Obama administration."

    He knows how to play the game.

  9. Anonymous

    Don't you know that readers can access Wikipedia and find info on John Holdren, Steven Chu,and Harold Varmus if they were interested.

    The post is about Canadian Parliament; please stay focused.

  10. vote for him anyway Larry; perhaps the creationists will be driven from government and the English-French problem of our nation finally solved in a sense

  11. Re anonymous
    1. Ah gee, Prof. Holdren was wrong about something. I will quote Enrico Fermi, "a scientist who has never been wrong is a scientist who has never accomplished much." Just for the information of Mr. anomymous, the three most important scientists who ever lived, Issac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein were occasionally wrong.

    2. Re Stephen Chu. This occurred long before the evidence of BPs' negligence in deep water drilling. In fact, at the time, BP was considered one of the more progressive energy companies relative to research in alternative energy sources, including a major research facility in Fredrick, Md. on solar energy.

    3. Re Harold Varmus. Apparently, Mr. anomymous considers opposition to the attempt of far right wing religious fascists to hijack scientific research, e.g via creationism, anti stem cell research, etc. to be a liability. Not hardly.

  12. Re Larry Moran

    It says something about the intellectual quality of Conservative MPs in Canada that nobody better then Mr. Goodyear can be found for that position. Are they really as bad as the tea partiers in the US?

  13. Don't get me wrong, but look who the Liberals had for Minister responsible for Science before Goodyear... We need more than a new Government!

  14. I don't think ministers have to be MPs because they are advisers to the Crown, not the Parliament. So a government can appoint whomever it wishes as a minister, it's just that the convention is that ministers are MPs so they are answerable to Parliament and have the privileges of parliamentarians.

  15. SLC said:

    For comparison purposes, contrast Mr. Goodyear with President Obamas' appointments, Steven Chu, Nobel Prize winner in physics, Harold Varmus, Nobel Prize winner in medicine, and John Holdren.

    For comparison purposes, George Bush.

    Twice. :)

  16. I'm not so much bothered by the separatist aspect of the Bloc these days. It's a backburner issue. Wayyy back. What the Bloc's about these days is lobbying for Quebec within the federation, though I don't deny they have an eye for a different future if such becomes a viable option, sure. But in this, I don't seem them as hugely different from most parties that have been prominent in Quebec since Lesage. This is to say, despite dreaming of a separate Quebec one day, they know they're in Canada now, and don't strike me as the sort to cut off their noses to spite their faces while they still share that nose and face with the rest of us. Frankly, I tend to look at them as the most progressive lot in Parliament, amid an awful lot of Blue Tories representing a broad swath of WASP troglodytes ("yabba dabba doo, where's the dino-mobile, we gotta get to church!") in rural Ontario and a lot of the West. I'm so glad guys like Duceppe are still in Canada.