February 22, 2024

Stupidity is bipartisan. There are terrible ideas, stupid arguments and inept parliamentarians on all sides of the political aisles in this country. In late February a pair of Canadian politicians looked particularly buffoonish.
First, Ontario Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls wasn’t content with just heckling the education minister during a presentation on the new sex-ed curriculum. No, Nicholls doubled down on dumb by later remarking that opting out of the teaching of evolution in science class was “not a bad idea.”
Nicholls then, perhaps poetically, received a fair amount of heckling for his denial of evolution. Enter B.C. Conservative MP James Lunney. Lunney took to Twitter and said, “(Just) stop calling #evolution fact!” He also went on to say that he had no problem with it being a “theory.” And here’s where the real trouble starts.
A Google search, something that can be completed in a matter of seconds, will immediately yield to even the most uninitiated, why there is an important distinction to be made when using the word “theory” in everyday language than in scientific endeavours. A scientific theory acts as an explanation for a process, aspect or phenomenon in the natural world. As a rule, if something becomes a scientific theory it has undergone the most scrutinizing process we have ever created for vetting information. What Lunney and Nicholls fail to understand is evolution is a fact in the same way that water is wet. You can say that it isn’t and in the country we live in you’re entitled to that opinion, and that expression, however, that doesn’t make reality conform to your statement. Those who would tell you that water is dry, or that they don’t believe in evolution can, and should, be challenged on their statements.
As much as the two men may wish to say that their beliefs are “personal,” that goes out the window when you are tasked with the governance of an entire nation or province. Consider that Nicholls and Lunney have the ability to speak for thousands of constituents, and cast a vote on anything from what to teach in public schools to a declaration of war. Having a difference of opinion is fine, MPs cannot hope to perfectly represent the residents of their riding, but disputing known facts, like saying that water isn’t wet, simply isn’t a valid opinion to have and thus will not be respected.
And if future MPs seek to disbelieve in a scientific theory perhaps they will test the theory of gravity.

The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.

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