Is it the job of the Governor General to mock every single religion in one fell swoop?
Because that is what Julie Payette did this week all in the name of science.
I’m sure that our vice-regal, the computer scientist turned astronaut turned governor general thought she was making simple and true statements as basic as water is wet when she spoke to a group of scientists, but she went further than that and forgot what her new role entails.
She made comments about climate change, about junk medical science but also ridiculed pretty much all major religions when she made these comments.
“And we are still debating and still questioning whether life was a divine intervention or whether it was coming out of a natural process let alone, oh my goodness, a random process,” Payette said.
Now plenty of those who agree with Payette, who cheer her on in the media and elsewhere likely are happy that she’s mocking those backwards Christians that think God had something to do with making the planets and human life. And she is mocking them. And the elites in this country will love that because who among them doesn’t like a good “let’s mock the Christians session.”
So maybe I need to explain this in the language of the elites. Diversity.
If this how Madame Payette feels about religion that is her business but as the Queen’s representative it is not her role to mock religious belief. I should also point out that the Queen herself is the head of a religion, the Anglican Church, that believes in this idea Payette just mocked.
It seems that our esteemed vice-regal has a simplistic view of the interplay between science and religion, that they cannot co-exist. You meet these people all the time, they yell about Galileo but ignore hundreds of years of fides et ratio working side by side.
Georges Lemaitre was the Catholic priest that first put forward what is now called the big bang theory on the creation of the universe in 1927 and published what became known as Hubble’s Law two years before Edwin Hubble did.
Francis Collins is one of the scientific leaders that helped map the human genome and yet is an Evangelical Christian who calls scientific discoveries “opportunities to worship.”
There are many others I could point to including many from other faiths. All of them, and all of their coreligionists, have been dismissed as rubes by a woman that is supposed to be a unifying force.
Payette also mocked people that think sugar pills can cure cancer – I’m not sure those people actually exist. She mocked horoscopes, something most people ignore and those that do read them generally do so for amusement. And she challenged the idea that climate change can even be debated.
“Can you believe that still today in learned society, in houses of government, unfortunately, we’re still debating and still questioning whether humans have a role in the Earth warming up or whether even the Earth is warming up, period,” she asked.
If Ms. Payette is the scientist she claims to be then she should be encouraging debate, not stifling it.
Much of what we now consider settled science was once dismissed and scientific theories that we believed true for hundreds of years have been dismissed. Newton’s laws of physics held sway for years and yet scientists keep arguing if they hold.
A few years ago a group of scientists used lasers to “break” Newton’s third law, an experiment still being argued over. If it is declared invalid then it will simply join the long list of other theories debunked by a new generation of scientists.
Ms. Payette may think she is standing up for science with her comments but she is doing the opposite.
The biggest and best thing that Julie Payette could do, if she wants to be successful in her new role, is to learn what job she has just accepted. Given her comments this week, her high-handed and dismissive tone to those she disagrees with, I’m not sure she has a clue what she signed up for.
Let’s hope that changes. Quickly.
UPDATE: A reader sent me the video of Payette’s comments. Watch the eye-rolling, the disdain is complete.