Gary Goodyear is the Conservative government’s federal Minister of State for Science and Technology. In a Globe and Mail interview published last week he answered a question this way:
I’m not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate.
And what was the question, you ask? It was simply, “Do you believe in evolution?” If he doesn’t believe in evolution, I question how fit he is for his seat, but what really makes me pause is his bringing religion into it. There are plenty of scientists who are religious. Even biologists. If Goodyear can’t make peace between evolution and his religious beliefs, I really question whether he’s fit for his post.
As you might imagine, scientists across the country freaked. The Minister’s beliefs can affect their research and livelihood. Later the same day, he reversed course and answered the question during another interview. Pulling in his personal experience as a chiropractor, he said:
Well, of course, I do, but it’s an irrelevant question … We are evolving every year, every decade. That’s a fact, whether it’s to the intensity of the sun, whether it’s to … walking on cement versus anything else, whether it’s running shoes or high heels, of course we are evolving to our environment, but that’s not relevant and that’s why I refused to answer the question.
He should’ve stuck by his earlier plan to keep his mouth zipped because he made it worse. None of the examples he gives, his ‘proofs’ of why evolution by natural selection is so obviously true, have anything to do with evolution. Our species is evolving every year and every decade, but we as individuals certainly do not physically evolve throughout our lives in the ways he suggests.
Goodyear really has no idea what he’s talking about. I really detest politicians who talk without really saying anything, but despite being more honest, talking and proving you have no idea what you’re talking about is worse.
I haven’t been comfortable with the Conservative government’s treatment of science in this country, but Goodyear as Science Minister is nothing short of alarming.