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Friday, February 27, 2015

Tory Rick Nicholls: “I don’t believe in evolution”

Just what the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario did not need, a member of the legislature who says he doesn’t believe in evolution. Nevertheless, it seems to have found one, namely, Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls. I hope no one asks MPP Nicholls about his belief in gravity.

Some days I feel like I’ve stepped through a time portal and been transported hundreds of years back in time. In this pre-modern time, women are stoned for adultery, men have several wives, women cannot vote and are, in general, second class or third class citizens, and conventional wisdom holds that the world was created by a supernatural being in six days and human beings and all other animals were created on the sixth day.

Then, of course, I realize I’m still in the twenty-first century, but I’ve been spending too much time with religious fundamentalists.

Most of us have become used to reading about Medieval laws and beliefs in places like Saudi Arabia and other majority Muslim countries, and we are no longer shocked by them. I, though, am dumbfounded when I hear otherwise intelligent Canadians expressing beliefs in myths that fly in the face of scientific discovery and common logic.

If Mr. Nicholls does not believe in evolution, how then does he explain the presence of modern humans? Considering he is a member of our provincial parliament and, as such, might someday serve as a minister of the crown responsible for some critical element of our lives, one can only hope he does not believe, literally, in the biblical myth of creation and that the world is only about 6,000 years old.

Admittedly, Christians, however fundamental their beliefs are, do not behead unbelievers or blow up innocent civilians on a regular basis. I do, though, find some of their bible stories hard to swallow and doubt anyone is really expected to take them literally.

Most Old Testament stories are, I believe, based on some elements of truth and often carry a useful moral lesson. Beyond that, it seems to me, literal belief in such stories is anti-intellectual and is the antithesis of the sort of thing we would want from our political leaders and lawmakers.

I, like most Canadians, have been taught to tolerate religious beliefs and to believe in religious freedom. I do not, however, have to respect the more outlandish of those beliefs.

Furthermore, I believe when holders of public office express a belief in a supernatural myth, it is incumbent on me to call them out and show that I see such nonsense as socially unacceptable.

I would feel much the same about a member of parliament who professed to be a “truther” who believes individuals within the United States government were responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks.

I see the one being as silly as the other. And it’s high time these people—with their anti-intellectual beliefs and conspiracy theories—were not taken seriously and elected to high office.

17 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. A lot of people take global warming seriously also.

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    1. It has been scientifically proven if you increase CO2 and hold everything else constant, the earth will warm. Where the debate is, is to how much of the current warming is due to man or natural factors as well as how sensitive is the earth to CO2 and does an increase in CO2 through feedbacks accelerate warming or does it create feedbacks to limit it. Otherwise the debate isn't whether global warming exists or not, rather the degree or full impacts.

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  2. Your beloved prime minister believes in the same God. Your only sure bet in the next election is Trudeau. He doesn't believe anything.

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    1. Believing in God doesn't automatically mean one must not believe in evolution. While Harper has never been asked on the question, I would certainly criticize if he did say he didn't believe in evolution. As for Trudeau, he was raised a Catholic although I am not sure how religious he is. Nonetheless both the current and recent past Popes have accepted evolution as have many Christian scholars and those in fact from many other religions too.

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  3. Russ
    Lots of very well educated scientists don't believe in evolution. Remember - its a THEORY not a fact. There are lots of holes in the theory and it is by no means regarded as the only explanation for how mankind came to be. The schools have taught it as fact for so long that most people just accept it and never look at all the facts that prove it is not right.
    In the same way the alphabet people want to have sex ed taught in a way that will support their warped view of things as undeniable facts so that in a few years society will simply acknowledge them without question. That's what I see as the main thrust behind Ontario's new sex ed program, and that's why I will stand opposed to it.

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    1. Anon 6:19 p.m.:

      "Fact" in science is generally meant to mean data confirmed to such a degree as to become generally accepted. A scientific "theory" is the generally accepted explanation of such facts. To not understand this is to not understand basic science such as the "theory" of relativity.

      You say, "There are lots of holes in the theory and it is by no means regarded as the only explanation for how mankind came to be…." But you provide no examples. What are the "holes" of which you speak, and who are the "very well educated scientists" who you say "don't believe in evolution"?

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    2. There are many scientific theories that are taught as theories, however for many years evolution has been taught as fact - not other explanation is looked for or tolerated. That's what I'm referring to.

      As to the holes - there have been no findings of intermediary or transitional fossils between one category and another. By the laws of natural selection eyes could not be formed because it would require numerous mutations over an extended period with most of them not having any benefit.
      As to the very well educated scientists I would refer you to http://creation.com/creation-scientists who have a long list of them in various fields.

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    3. Anon, I'll not debate you further on this. This apparent belief of yours in pseudo science is quite beyond me. Thanks for your comments.

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  4. russ who are you to tell him what he can and cannot believe in. I believe in god but that is my opinion. this is his opinion we don't have to like it but it's his opinion and I really don't know why this is an issue.

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    1. Roy, you ask, "[W]ho are you to tell him what he can and cannot believe in?". I don't see where I did anything of the kind. Rather I expressed my opinion about his belief. He is, of course, free to believe anything he wishes, and I have to tolerate his beliefs, but I certainly don't have to respect them. He is the holder of public office and a lawmaker and I believe it is incumbent on me to challenge those of his beliefs that fly in the face of scientific evidence.

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  5. Well said. I agree that whomever wins (hopefully its Christine Elliott) will need to modernize the party and focus on going after the Liberals where they are vulnerable liking driving away business, the business killing new pension plan, and huge deficit, not issues like this which just show the party is stuck in the past.

    For those bringing up the religion aspect, there are many Christians who believe in evolution and as such politicians should be knowledgeable not ignorant. There may be holes in terms of evolution in that we do not know the exact chain of events and what the original ancestor looked like, but it is known with 100% certainty that the earth is a lot older than 6,000 years and that humans did not appear magically in their current form. Religion is suppose to answer what science cannot, not as an alternative to science.

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  6. Only Human Secularists need apply?
    “Admittedly, Christians, however fundamental their beliefs are, do not behead unbelievers or blow up civilians on a regular basis.”

    Wow thank you for the shout out! I mean yeah, not on a “regular basis” we do that on a semi-regular basis but not on a regular basis. We have that going for us right?

    Seriously though, if someone’s religious beliefs do not align with your understanding of orthodoxy, in this particular instance Christian orthodoxy, at the very least, their beliefs should be “called out” (whatever that means) at most, they should be excluded from public office? Really? Maybe we should apply the same standards to millions and millions of superstitious voters who happen to believe in God? A belief test before the vote if you will; if they believe in creation, the literal virgin birth, death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ (something established science says is impossible) or Christ’s claims of exclusivity, which believe you me is VERY VERY “socially unacceptable” their vote would only be worth half or something like that.
    We have effectively silenced the Christian voice from the public forum. Politicians who hold to a fundamental evangelical Christian view are mocked. They are an anachronism an embarrassment. You forget: the moral absolutes, values and ethics of Christianity have guided and shaped Western Civilization for two millennia. Now we have the socially acceptable moral relativism of people like Ms. Wynn to guide us. My, my, how smart we are.

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    1. "…at most, they should be excluded from public office?" Your words, newcenturion, not mine. Is it supposed to be some clever debating trick to attribute words to someone and then criticize them for using them? I'll let my article speak for itself, but thanks for your comment.

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  7. http://blogs.windsorstar.com/open-newsroom/letters/evolution-never-observed

    Full letter:

    I would like to share some thoughts and facts on the stories of MPP Rick Nicholls’ denial of evolution. My background is 42 years of teaching high school science.

    The assumptions of evolution and an old Earth and universe are invalid. Evolution has never been observed, has no supporting evidence, has no supporting transitional fossils, and has no known mechanism to have occurred within the laws of chance.

    Besides, it denies the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that natural processes tend toward disorder and the simple will never produce the complex without the input of programmed information.

    The emptiness of the fossil record was exposed at a 1980 conference of evolutionists when they proposed the “hopeful monster” theory — the sudden occurrence of new species from an internal buildup of changes.

    As Newsweek reported, “The missing link between man and apes is merely the most glamorous of a whole hierarchy of phantom creatures in the fossil record … the more scientists have searched for transitional forms that lie between species the more they have been frustrated.”

    The hopelessness of mutations to produce to new fruit flies was confirmed in the classic fruit fly experiments. In spite of 90 years of experiments with radiation to speed up mutations involving 25 million flies, they still only produced fruit flies.

    Microbiologists have indicated that a single cell contains as much as 4,000 volumes of information. Yet, evolutionists who assume it came about by chance have no problem accepting the vast amount of intelligence required to build a car or a computer.

    Michael Denton, who is not creationist, stated in Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, that: “Ultimately, the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the 20th century.”

    TERRY SNYDER, Windsor


    Just FYI, but metamorphosis and genetic adaption are not examples of evolution.
    And it takes more faith to believe we've evolved from a puddle of goo struck by lighting, than to of been designed by a superior being or whatever.

    Your also taking the 6 day thing too literally, the biblical term "day" can refer somewhere from 24 hours to 1000 years. So when they say "6 days" they mean "thousand year days". only a miniscule minority take it as 6 literal days. So you've been making 'strawman' argument that virtually no one relevant to Ontario politics is arguing in favor of.

    And they really mean 6 thousand years of creation plus another 1000 years of Sabbath.

    I am not a christen or biblical scholar, so I can't speak much more beyond that.

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    1. So, Anonymous March 9, 2015 at 12:53 PM, according to your reasoning that a year in Genesis is equal to 1000 modern years, Methuselah, would have lived for 969,000 years. Wow! A human being living for nearly a million years. Really? But surely you are just being provocative.

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  8. Thats the conclusion you drew? Thats not what I meant at all. We were talking about the creation period. That that period wasn't a literal 6 day sequence.
    A position no one in Ontario is seriously trying to push.

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    1. Your logic eludes me. In one part of Genesis a day is 1000 modern years, but elsewhere (without explanation) Genesis years = modern years? Too much for me to grasp, obviously.

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