Ireland’s economy surged as “the Celtic Tiger” in the 1990s thanks to the nation’s embrace of the biotechnology industry, so it must be deeply gratifying to everyone in my ancestral homeland that Conor Lenihan, Ireland’s junior minister for science, technology, innovation and natural resources, has come out as supportive of creationist loons.
I infer that’s the case because of Lenihan’s short-lived announced intention to speak at the launch party for a new creationist screed called The Origin of Specious Nonsense, by John J. May. “Short-lived” seems to be an appropriate description because within a day of this news becoming public, Lenihan had canceled his appearance. And what a pity that is, because according to the Irish Times, he will be missing quite an event: actors will be dressed as Charles Darwin and King Kong; the author will give a talk entitled “How Evolution Made Monkeys Out of Men”—you know, the sort of classy affair one normally finds only at Trinity College.
And of course, there will be undoubtedly be stacks of the book itself, which promises to be enlightening, as in this passage about the seven reasons why May “detests and rejects evolution” (all sic):
1. It teaches us to be satisfied with – not understanding origins.2. It promotes the dangerous nonsense of no first cause –no supreme scientist and suggests order came from disorder.3. It is a mataphysical speculation, a doctrine dressed up in scientific garb.4. Anyone who teaches evolution is either ignorant or deliberately suppressing the known scientific facts.5. It is a toxic poisonous mind virus which destroys the hearts immune system against hope and common sense.6. It is an anaesthetic against reason.7. It cripples sanity, promotes myths, obscures reality and elevates matter above a maker.
Outstanding . We can all find a favorite reason on that list, but mine is definitely #5, because it opened my eyes to the fact that evolution is both toxic and poisonous, and that in its evil capacity as a mind virus it attacks the heart’s immune system, which protects us against hope and common sense, although I think he means that hope and common sense are good things. In any case: enlightening!
So it’s safe to say that May, who appears to be an autodidact on evolution, is some form of creationist. But we should not make the mistake of thinking that Lenihan is a creationist because, as the Irish Times quotes him as having said in Galway, he “remained to be convinced” about the book’s content and believed “diversity of opinion is a good thing.” Which is a very broadminded sentiment for a Minister of Science to embrace, and I can only hope that this new opening in his schedule will allow him time to speak at this upcoming Geocentrism Conference, because people like Phil “Bad Astronomer” Plait and Ethan “Starts with a Bang” Siegel and, hmm, the rest of civilization seem to be very hung up on this heliocentric view of the solar system.
No, it appears that Lenihan did not agree to endorse May’s book out of scientific conviction—because, really, who knows whether he even has those? Rather, Lenihan seems to have done so because May is “a friend and a constituent,” or so May describes their relationship. I believe this to be so, because the alternative would be to think that Lenihan would randomly agree to speak at any stupid event without regard for its significance. And how irresponsible would that be?
Besides, Lenihan had asked May to remove all mention of his status as a science minister from the publicity materials, no doubt so that the event would not be contaminated with politics. And when the furor about Lenihan’s involvement erupted, did the science minister instantly withdraw his own name? No: May says that it was he who insisted Lenihan stay away, because he was “so embarrassed that the Minister for Science has been so insulted” and “eviscerated,” according to the Irish Times.
Lenihan, ladies and gentlemen, is a true and stalwart friend. Because what else can one call a man who is willing to put his loyalty to a friend (and constituent, and anti-scientific laughingstock) ahead of his nation’s scientific reputation?