Canada’s Science Minister: A Creationist?

Is Canada’s Minister of State for Science and Technology a creationist?

In today’s news stories he’s trying to obfuscate the remarks that caused an uproar; the Globe and Mail calls it “clarifying:” Minister clarifies stand on evolution.

OTTAWA — Science minister Gary Goodyear now says he believes in evolution.

“Of course I do,” he told guest host Jane Taber during an appearance on the CTV program Power Play. “But it is an irrelevant question.”

That’s a different answer from the one Mr. Goodyear, a chiropractor and minister of state for science and technology, gave The Globe and Mail when asked the same thing during an interview published in Tuesday’s paper.

“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,” he said at the time. “I do believe that just because you can’t see it under a microscope doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It could mean we don’t have a powerful enough microscope yet. So I’m not fussy on this business that we already know everything. … I think we need to recognize that we don’t know.”

Evoking religion in response to a question about evolution drew heavy criticism from people like Brian Alters, an expert in evolution at McGill University in Montreal, and Jim Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

On Tuesday, Mr. Goodyear said twice during the CTV interview that he did believe in evolution.

“We are evolving every year, every decade. That’s a fact, whether it is to the intensity of the sun, whether it is to, as a chiropractor, walking on cement versus anything else, whether it is running shoes or high heels, of course we are evolving to our environment. But that’s not relevant and that is why I refused to answer the question. The interview was about our science and tech strategy, which is strong.”

Based on these latest evasions, I’d say the answer is: yes, he’s a creationist, but he’s trying to avoid admitting it.

UPDATE at 3/18/09 1:46:54 pm:

This issue is not just an academic one, because Goodyear has been responsible for cutting funding for science programs—especially denying funding for the “Genome Canada” project, which could be directly related to his creationist beliefs.

In early 2009, Goodyear oversaw a series of contentious funding cuts for science programs, the most prominent being the lack of any funding for new projects for Genome Canada.

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