Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Disbelief in Evolution Should Not Be Protected As A Religious View


This is from the newspaper The Globe and Mail:
Canada's science minister, the man at the centre of the controversy over federal funding cuts to researchers, won't say if he believes in evolution.

"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," Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

A funding crunch, exacerbated by cuts in the January budget, has left many senior researchers across the county scrambling to find the money to continue their experiments.

Some have expressed concern that Mr. Goodyear, a chiropractor from Cambridge, Ont., is suspicious of science, perhaps because he is a creationist...

“It is the same as asking the gentleman, ‘Do you believe the world is flat?' and he doesn't answer on religious grounds,” said Dr. Alters. “Or gravity, or plate tectonics, or that the Earth goes around the sun.”

Minister won't confirm belief in evolution
is the link...

I've been reading this great book (Stanovich, 2004) with a great chapter on memes. A meme is an idea that gets spread through a population of people, somewhat like the way a gene gets spread through a population. He talks about how certain memes or sets of memes protect themselves from scrutiny. For example, by saying "everyone has a right to their opinion" is an implicit suggestion that the views being discussed should not be questioned, examined or justified. In the article above, Mr. Goodyear is asked about evolution. He probably doesn't believe in it, so what does he do? Rather than risk getting into a debate, he refers to his belief/non-belief in evolution as a religious issue.  And we all know that we can't question people's religious views? Right? So I guess we can't talk about evolution [insert sarcastic emoticon here].

With some of the absurd claims that religions have, it's no wonder they carry memes with them to protect them from rational thought. Faith is good, people have a right to believe whatever they want, etc. 

Pictured: A cartoon by Tom Schmal

References

Stanovich, K. (2004). The Robot’s Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin. University of Chicago Press. 

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