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.