Oh, how I wish we had more politicians like Julie Payette, Canada’s Governor General, who have the courage to stand up in public for plain common sense.
In a week that saw Rick Perry, America’s godly Energy Secretary, making a complete arse of himself by saying that fossils fuels could reduce sexual assaults in Africa, Payette, in delivering the keynote speech at the Canadian Science Policy Conference in Ottawa, made it clear that she has a very low opinion of creationists or those who don’t believe in climate change.
According to this report, on climate change Payette said:
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.
Addressing religious superstition, and the idea of divine intervention and creationism, Payette declared:
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.
On alternative medicine she said:
And so many people – I’m sure you know many of them – still believe, want to believe, that maybe taking a sugar pill will cure cancer, if you will it!
As one might expect, some were not happy with the Governor General’s firm rejection of religious superstition.
According to this report, conservative political strategist Alise Mills said Payette went way over the line with her speech, which she characterised as not only political but:
Mean-spirited. I definitely agree science is key but I think there is a better way to do that without making fun of other people.
Mills said Payette wasn’t just promoting science, she was mocking people with religious beliefs, and specifically, evangelical Christians who don’t believe evolutionary science.
Payette also made a point of rubbishing astrology, which made popular Canadian astrologer Georgia Nicols very cross indeed. Nicols said had “no wish to take on a woman who is as accomplished as Julie Payette,” whom she notes is a “feisty Libra with three planets in Scorpio”, but she did suggest Payette would be better to stick to what she knows.
Astrology is not the stuff of horoscopes in newspapers, albeit I do write them. It is actually a complex study based on mathematics. Not fairy dust falling from the stars.
However, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved of Payette’s remarks, declaring:
I applaud the firmness with which she stands in support of science and the truth.
Payette was trained as a computer engineer and later became an astronaut. In 1999 she was the first Canadian to board the International Space Station. She was appointed to her position as Canada’s Governor General by Trudeau.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn (Perry report).