Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Canadian Government Continues to Dig its own Scientific Grave

Our government continues to inch its way closer to being scientifically six feet under. The latest anti-science nonsense from Harper's regime: rejecting a motion to recognize Charles Darwin on his birthday and the marvelous theory he formulated.

According to the official records, MP Pierre Paquette rose to make the following request:
Mr. Speaker, I seek the unanimous consent of the House to adopt the following motion: That the House acknowledge the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, which launched the theory of evolution, the only proven and recognized scientific explanation for the origin of man. I believe you will find unanimous consent for adoption of this motion.
It was promptly rejected.

According to The Canadian Press, most of the "nays" came from the Conservative MPs (big surprise there), whereas the majority of votes were "yays" from the other parties. Unfortunately, Paquette was looking for a unanimous decision, so "mostly yes" wasn't good enough.

In other words, our government has officially rejected evolution.

Now, perhaps the wording has something to do with this. Including "unanimous" was probably a big mistake, but the bigger problem lies in calling evolution "the only proven and recognized scientific explanation for the origin of man." While this is technically correct - evolution IS the only scientifically accepted theory of man's origins and has been observed, tested and pretty much proved over and over again - politicians are not scientists. They are laypeople who have a cursory understanding of evolution at best and a complete ignorance at worst. Asking them to pass a motion firmly stating that evolution has been proven and is the only accepted theory in the scientific community, when they don't really understand the nature of the theory and its proofs, is a dumb idea. Even if the nay-sayers DID accept evolutionary theory, their lack of understanding of evolution would probably have prevented them from voting for the motion.

This article from Maclean's argues that the reason it was rejected was because the conservatives have decided that they are going to vote no on any motion presented by the other parties, which, if true, is incredibly petty.

Either way, our government just gave another "Eff You" to science.

A nod to Larry Moran for bringing this to my attention.

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