Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Take it Away, Gary!


Gary Goodyear, Minister of Science (!) in Canada's federal government, won't say whether or not he believes in evolution. When asked, he replied "I'm not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don't think anyone asking a question about my religion is appropriate."
In other words, no, he doesn't.

Memo to Mr. Goodyear: evolution has nothing whatever to do with religion. Yes, those icky atheists believe in evolution, but I've got news for you:SO DO A MAJORITY OF CHRISTIANS.

It's only the fundycostal literalist types that insist Earth was created at 9:00 A.M. on October 3, 4004 B.C. The rest of us understand that Genesis is essentially poetic. A great teacher I once had viewed it as a myth: defined Reverend McCombe's way--and Joseph Campbell's--a myth is "the song of the universe: music so deeply embedded in our collective unconcious that we dance to it, even when we can't name the tune."

Let me make this clear. It's perfectly acceptable for a Minister of Science to be a Christian. What's unacceptable, at least to me, is a Minister of Science who takes an unscientific (by which I mean unquestioning) view of a text which supposedly guides his life. 

Ah, but evolution is called a theory, not a fact.

GRAVITY is called a theory, too. In both cases, it's the best theory we have that fits what we know of the facts. That's the difference between science and religion: in science, even the things we're sure of we label "theories"...and if evidence comes along which conclusively disproves either evolution or gravity, a scientist will  accept the evidence. 

Why is evolution so important? Why don't you insist that Goodyear believe in, say, dark matter or something?

Someone who believes in evolution has, one might say, a fundamentally different worldview than someone who doesn't. Those who reject evolution overwhelmingly tend to be of the opinion that mankind is the pinnacle of God's creation. It's not too much of a leap from that to the assertion made by James Watt, Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, that "we don't have to protect the environment, the Second Coming is at hand."
Someone who accepts evolution is considerably more open to the thought that, just perhaps, humanity has some evolving left to do. That, quite frankly, ought to be the requisite worldview for anyone involved in science.

1 comment:

Rocketstar said...

If he is elected he needs to be impeached, if he is appointed, he needs to be removed.