Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tell us more, Mr. Science

Gary Goodyear, the Minister of State for Science and Technology who has been in the news of late for budget cuts to science funding and for a reported unprofessional outburst is the subject of a big Globe report today: "Science minister won't confirm belief in evolution." Here is the response that's going to haunt him:
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 new entry for the annals of wrong answers that can define a political career. Things the federal science guy should know...evolution, not a religious question. Given the budget cuts for scientific research - yes, there's money for buildings and labs, but research funding is being cut - it's reasonable to ask whether the government's views on science are affecting their actions:
Many scientists fear 10 years of gains will be wiped out by a government that doesn't understand the importance of basic, curiosity-driven research, which history shows leads to the big discoveries. They worry Canada's best will decamp for the United States, where President Barack Obama has put $10-billion (U.S) into medical research as part of his plan to stimulate economic growth.
The concerns of the scientific community about the Harper government's research funding cuts are real. Today's news about Mr. Goodyear is not going to do anything to alleviate them.

Update: A Globe web poll just for the occasion...