Looks like we’re getting some “Expelled” action going on here in Canada as well:

Federal Science Minister Gary Goodyear’s refusal to say whether he believes in evolution has left scientists questioning what that means for Canadian research.

Dolph Schluter, a professor at the University of British Columbia, told CBCNews.ca in an email that he was “first flabbergasted and then embarrassed” when he heard Goodyear’s response to a reporter’s question about whether he believed in evolution.

“I’m not going to answer that question,” Goodyear, federal minister of state for science and technology, told the Globe and Mail in an article published Tuesday. “I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate.”

… “We can’t have people in government who ignore the facts because it doesn’t jibe with their personal religious beliefs. To the extent that this is going on with the minister, it raises very serious questions .… Exactly the same attitudes had enormous implications in the States under the previous administration.”…

“None of us who use evolution or do research in evolution ‘believe’ in evolution,” he said. “It’s a matter of accepting a vast body of information that’s been collected from all fields of human investigation.”…

More… (source)

None of those who believe in evolution ‘believe’ in evolution, they’re just accepting facts? I understand that these people actually do believe that evolution is a fact (and by this I mean progressive, macro-evolution – goo-to-you), but to assume that the Hon. Goodyear is ignorant of science (or even of the theory of evolution itself) if he doesn’t believe in evolution seems to me to portray a fair amount of ignorance in itself.

The real question at issue is whether or not someone who doesn’t belive in evolution can properly promote science. That requires us to consider two things: is evolution an important component of science, and is it true?

The whole idea that evolution is a solid grounding necessary for all of science is just ridiculous. Evolution is added as window dressing often enough, but usually has nothing to do with much of the actual scientific work that is being done. The only tangible thing that anyone can point to in terms of science and evolution is antibiotic resistance, but an understanding of antibiotic resistance hardly warrants considering full-fledged evolutionary theory as an all-encompasing, all important aspect of science. It could easily be argued that the full-fledged, progressive theory of evolution actually hurts our understanding of antibiotic resistance. The emphasis put on progression tends to minimize emphasis on the affects of fitness-reducing mutations on bacteria and viruses. And since pretty much all mutations involved in resistance are either function reducers or  HGT elements, there isn’t any real progression going on – just specializations and minor (and probably predefined) recombinations. This scope, however, is not denied by any knowledgable Creationist, so having a Creationist involved in science promotion won’t hurt science in this area of research.

The other question is about whether or not progressive evolution is true. Anyone can say they believe in evolution if they define it broadly enough, but those who defend “Evolution” are actually talking about progressive evolution. Is there evidence of progressive evolution that puts it in the same category as Newtonian Physics, Relativity, or Chemistry? No. The evidence is drawn from micro-evolutionary examples that have little to nothing to do with progression at all. An inference is then made that any change = positive change = progression = goo-to-you. Despite the probabilistic problems, it is asserted that with enough time anything can happen. In other words, lots of time = miracles. This thought, however, assumes that the physical and chemical properties of matter and the makeup of the universe must allow for the possibility of undirected and random assemblage into complex life (within an infinite time frame), but it in no way demonstrates it. The argument that we’re here, so it must have happened begs the question – it assumes Naturalism to begin with and rules out Design a priori. If science is supposed to be grounded on observation and reproducibility (as it should be), then progressive evolution has certainly failed to be verified. Yet if we take the above article to be true, even topography must prove evolution somehow… (I’d love to hear the topographical arguments used to prove biological evolution).

Given that macro-evolution is not as important to science as many make it out to be and that it has not been proven, it isn’t really a threat to true science to have someone who promotes science not believe in it. The real fear that these commentators seem to have is that Mr. Goodyear might not be as vociferous in promoting Naturalism as someone who they might prefer.

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