Thursday, March 19, 2009

Of Jane Taber, Gary Goodyear and really dull knives.

Given the last few days of milk-snorting fun involving Canada's Minister of Scientific Illiteracy Gary Goodyear and his "clarifications," it's hard to know what to think, but there is one thing we can finally say without fear of contradiction:

Canada's science minister Gary Goodyear does not believe in evolution.

Surprised? Let's go to the record, shall we?

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." ...

Yesterday, Mr. Goodyear said twice during the CTV interview that he believes 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."

So, what can we conclude from the above? First, we can conclude that Jane Taber is an imbecile -- far and away not the sharpest knife in the drawer -- for reasons that will become obvious shortly. And we can conclude that Gary Goodyear most emphatically does not "believe" in evolution in any meaningful way, which I will now explain.

Note how carefully Goodyear provided his own definition of "evolution" -- that, as humans, we are "evolving" to adapt to our environment. Sounds impressive, doesn't it? Until you remember that the first symptom of being a creationist is to always carefully distinguish between "micro" evolution and "macro" evolution. "Sure," say the creationists, "we're evolving, but only within our species. That's not the same as actually creating new species. That's where we draw the line." And that's where Goodyear drew that line -- right under Taber's nose, and she was too dense to realize she was being conned.

Taber's mistake was in not having a clue as to how to ask the question. It's worthless to ask a creationist publicly if they "believe" in evolution, because you're almost certain to get the vague, nebulous weaselitude you got from Goodyear, who can state that he "believes" in evolution while quietly redefining the word to basic worthlessness.

What Taber should have asked was, "Do you accept the mainstream scientific position that life evolved over the last 3.5 billion years?", a question that Goodyear would not have been able to mangle beyond recognition and redefine into utter meaningless without being howlingly obvious about it.

But because of Taber's stupidity, we will never have the opportunity to go back and revisit that because every attempt to do so will give us nothing but, "I'm sorry, but I've already addressed that question." Yes, Goodyear has. And he suckered Jane Taber, and he got away with being a sleazy douchebag and, at this point, we'll never be able to hold him accountable for it. Thanks, Jane. Thanks ever so much.

CTV's Jane Taber: Perhaps she's not a complete retard. She just plays one on TV.

AFTERSNARK FOR THE HARD OF THINKING: Just in case you're not convinced by my impeccable logic, go back and read Goodyear's meandering idiocy after being asked about his belief:

"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."

If Goodyear wanted to make it clear that he "believes" in evolution, he could have just said, "Of course I do. Absolutely. Without reservation." But he didn't. He said he believed, but didn't stop there, instead going on to make it clear how he understands the concept and how he defines it as simple and limited adaptation within a species. In short, Canada's Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear believes in evolution, as long as you allow him to define evolution in a simplistic, restricted, utterly useless way.

Only truly stupid people are going to be suckered by Goodyear's sleazy douchebaggery. Some of them already were.

BONUS TRACK: I'm assuming that most intelligent readers caught Goodyear's reference to the idea that we are evolving "every year, every decade." Um, no, Gary, evolution works with timeframes slightly longer than that. Really. I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere.

BY THE WAY, KIDS, just to make sure this angle gets as much airplay as possible, feel free to, you know, link to it. And recommend it. As I understand it, that's how this whole bloggysphere thing works.

OH, MY. Let the piling on begin.

Which means that thousands of people from all over the world are going to follow one of those links above and learn that Patrick Ross is a retarded doofus.

It's not what I was going for. Just think of it as entertainment at no extra charge.

, there's no need to be cruel to Gary Goodyear.


I am such a kidder.


Pearce said...

Thanks for the link. Patrick buzzes my blog from time to time, this time just made me chuckle more than most.

Red Tory said...

Unfortunately, I think the significance of this is lost on most people. It's been dismissed as a "slow news day" story with little regard for its broader implications.

sooey said...

I wonder if he thinks climate change is just the "sun intensifying", too...

Balbulican said...

I just had a chat with Patrick about what happens when an ideologue who doesn't understand what evolution means - but THINKS he does - gets put in charge of science policy.

Trofim Lysenko was a biologist who believed, as our Science Minister appears to, that evolution occurs "year by year" - that organism "evolve" in response to their environment, and pass those changes on to the next generation. In other words, if I practice guitar hard enough, my kids will inherit my callouses.

Because that view lines us nicely with certain strains of Marxist thought, Lysenko was a great favourite of Joseph Stalin's, who forbade criticism of his theories and methods, and mandate him to reform Soviet agriculture.

Big lab. Long experiment. Millions died.

MgS said...

One point - the issue isn't one of belief here.

I don't really care if Goodyear believes in the tooth fairy.

What I do care about is whether he understands the science and evidence behind it. ... and that is a question that he has quietly not answered at all.

CC said...

RT writes:

"Unfortunately, I think the significance of this is lost on most people. It's been dismissed as a "slow news day" story with little regard for its broader implications."

I suspect you're right, Red, but I just wanted something out there that refutes the myth that Gary Goodyear has publicly stated that he accepts evolution. He's done no such thing and, as I demonstrate, only deeply stupid people can read what he said and come to that conclusion.

The fact that Twatsy is one of those data points is just a bonus.

Red Tory said...

CC — Anyone with half a clue was quick to realize that Goodyear's evasive dissembling was anything BUT a confirmation that he was on board with the generally accepted principles of evolution. Instead, he offered up a quirky interpretation focused on observable adaptation that sidestepped evolution's theoretical underpinnings. That Taber didn't take him to task shouldn't surprise anyone — that woman has the mental acuity of a turnip.

Zorpheous said...

CC feel free to use my Gary -Flintstone- Goodyear cartoon if you like, and congrats on get link at PZ place, you freaking bastard!!!! The traffic must be going a little nutz-oh

Mike said...

I shrugged a few months ago when I read that Canada's new Science Minister is a chiropractor. But now he's demonstrated that he really is a lousy choice for the portfolio. Like Sooey, I do wonder what he thinks of anthropogenic climate change.

mikmik said...

Climate change is a year to year... no, that won't work. It is a day to day change in the weather that humans cannot modify, let alone control the climate for the next day. Farther into the future is a religious question, just look at Katrina and other wraths.

mikmik said...

posted, by me, @ canadian spades:
Goodyear completely illustrated his ignorance of evolution, and apparently, Patrick Ross, your comment does likewise for you.
PT = allegedly not believing in evolution, is unfit for a scientific portfolio in government?
Yeah! Not only that, but anyone that is so very illinformed about one of the most basic foundations of science, or more specifically, incredibly profound research and profuse tech(medicine and pharmacy, genetic disease, et-effin-cetera) based on the understanding of evolution, like MSRA and HIV and dozens of other pathogens and disease vectors like mosquitoes et-effin-ceterra,

if he don't git the basic importance, like you, then he don't git basic science, because, like I said, it is a backbone of our most important area of research and discovery.

I suppose if a science minister didn't believe in weather being a natural phenomenom and thought it was divinely created, then we wouldn't have weather forecasters, would we, ya wee ninny.
Of course, then we wouldn't have climate research.
But of course, if everything was a matter of religion, WE WOULDN'T HAVE ANY SCIENCE, WOULD WE, TWATSY??

Zorpheous said...

Oh, this is getting better and better, Patrick Ross is now down at PZ's place trying to out science PZ and PZ's minions,... LOL


Oh this is going to be such one side bitch slap it will not be even funny,.. ok it will be funny,... it will be fucking hilarious

JJ said...

That pharyngula thread is getting painful..."ROTFL good lord LOL you stupid retards!"

The horror. The horror.

MgS said...

Asserting that ID is in any way, shape or form a "scientific theory" is pretty much proof of cluelessness.

Rositta said...

Just for my own curiosity, would you be as hard on say, a Muslim Member of Parliament for holding the same beliefs or is it just a Christian that offends you? I don't care either way, like I said, just curious...ciao

sooey said...

There's a Muslim MP in Parliament?!

Sheena said...

Did that chick who married Rahim have to convert?

Giggle snort.
WV = puble

JJ said...

Rositta - "...would you be as hard on say, a Muslim Member of Parliament..."

Of course not. We're "leftists". We adore Muslims, especially if they're Jihadists.


Let's put that paranoid little meme to rest. As I said at my place this morning:

"It’s just that a creationist Christian (or Muslim, or any other religionist) who has difficulty reconciling his beliefs with scientific fact might be a catastrophically bad fit for that particular office (Science)."

Hope that helps.

Cameron Campbell said...

One always feels like people who ask that question shoudl just come out and call us all racists and be done with it...

at least then they would be honest about it..

sooey said...

Actually, aren't those Muslim vs Christian internutters white supremacists pretty much? I mean, they sound like they are. It's all white Christian superiority stuff they yak about.

Metro said...

I just feel Goodyear needs to be slapped for claiming a simple question about established scientific theory was somehow "about my religion."

Conservatives, of course, are known for prickliness and delusions of persecution. I'd say Goodyear's a fine example.