Our minister of science continues to argue that his unwillingness to endorse the theory of evolution is not relevant to science policy. As quoted by the Globe and Mail:
My view isn’t important. My personal beliefs are not important.
I find this amazing. How can the minister of science’s views on the fundamental unifying theory of biology not be important?
I don’t expect him to understand the details of evolutionary theory or to have all of his personal beliefs vetted and religious views muted. However, I do expect him – as minister – to champion and support Canadian science, especially basic research. When our minister refuses to acknowledge the fundamental discoveries of science, our reputation is diminished.
There is also a legitimate – though rather exaggerated – concern that the minister’s views on the truth can influence policy and funding decisions. The funding councils are more than sufficiently independent to prevent any undue ministerial influence here. The real problem is an apparent distrust or lack of interest in basic research from the federal government.