Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back that Goodyear Truck Up

I like piling on Gary Goodyear as much as the next guy, but Marc Garneau is right despite claims to the contrary by critics of the Liberal party.
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.
It's not what someone believes that is dangerous for a politician, it's how much that personal belief shapes their perception of public policy. Right now, neither the Conservative Party nor Gary Goodyear have given us any indication that they believe in the scientific process. Rather, they allow their personal impressions of academia in general dictate public policy.

I don't expect a Minister of Health to understand surgery or pharmaceuticals -- even if she is a doctor -- but I do expect a Minister of Health to take professional advice when setting up policy regarding governance of the medical profession. I expect a broad consultative process to take place.

Today, as in the past, the Conservative government formulates opinion on public policy without even asking the basic questions.


Anonymous said...

How much faith would Mr. Garneau have if the Minister responsible for the Canada Space Agency chose not to accept the theory of gravity?

Anonymous said...

Better yet what if they refused to answer the question because "it wasn't relevant" or was "a personal matter."

Then, when clarifying later in the day, the explanation was that they too "have seen fruit lying on the ground."

That's about as concrete as the Goodyear's "clarification" is.

It is relevant when arrogant dogmatic people are making policy for the nation.

Extremely relevant.

I say "Hammer away."

D said...

Good post Jim.

I posted a similar thread on my blog, Right of Center Ice.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Garneau comes from Quebec and is aware that catholic votes can me
ake a huge difference there. You may feel that you can harm the Conservatives by extrapolating a refusal to answer into a statement, but you are bringing religeon to the forefront. remember many recent leaders of the Liberal party were catholic. If the Libs are seen as anti-catholic they will suffer.

Anonymous said...

Being Catholic has nothing to do with understanding or acknowledging or discussing or believing in evolution. I'm Catholic.

No one "extrapolated" a statement. He issued one later in which he "kinda, sorta" explained accepting something distantly related to evolution. But what he described was clearly NOT evolution. It was, however, one of the most meandering statement I've read from a politician in a long time . . . and that's saying a lot.

KC said...

I think its ridiculous that some think that religion should be a get out of fact free card. Its one thing when there is no real inconsistency between beliefs and known scientific phenomena. But once a politician denies science because it conflicts with religious dogma you cross my "right" to reason-based governance. The rest of us done get to dsleny reality and neither do the religious.

The Rat said...

But once a politician denies science because it conflicts with religious dogma you cross my "right" to reason-based governance.

You have just disqualified all members of any religion from public office. Whether it's a Christian who believes Jesus rose from the dead and walked on water, or a Hindu who believes in Karma, reincarnation, and humanity being 10 billion years old, right to a Muslim believing an Imam will rise from the dead or ascend to heaven from the Dome of the Rock, each belief denies science.

Chretien and Martin fail your test. Almost every politician of the past fails your test. And I'd bet if we examine your belief system we'd find you're not so rational yourself. Oh well, lets turn power over to the machines.

KC said...

Rat - No that is not the case at all. Even though some Christians believe that Jesus walked on water they don't deny that as a general principle gravity operates on easth and that solids can pass through liquid. I'm not entirely sure how they rationalize the contradiction (I don't believe Jesus walked on water) but they have not denied science. There is a difference. The religious often carve out exceptions for their prophets, etc without denying the science.

Anonymous said...

The Minister of Science was asked a science question, not a religious one. He should have answered it.

Anonymous said...

The Minister of Science was asked a 'do you still beat your wife' question, not a scientific question, and he had every right not to answer.

Jim (Progressive Right) said...

Evolution is an easy thing to pick on, but let's extrapolate my general opinion outward.

The NDP Science critic, Jim Maloway, holds a degree in political science and owns Maloway & Eliason Insurance & Travel Centre.

Can we question his credentials in commenting on federal spending in science? Sure! But, can we so long as he relies on broad consultation for his recommendations? Less likely. It's a reasonable position to take.

I'm sure he probably shares a view of evolution like the rest of us, but I don't really need to know what his on beliefs are on tachyon condensation is, so long as before he commits funds to string theory research, he has taken all reasonable approaches to ensure it makes sense for Canada.