Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Some may remember a few months ago when I bemoaned the fact that we have a scientifically ignorant hack as Science Minister. Well, Mr. Goodyear has emerged again to say something ignorant. Regarding a proposed conference on the prospects of peace in the Middle East, he complained to the funding board that "some of the participants may be biased against Israel". You know, I bet some of the participants are biased against Palestinians, too... if you are having a conference on an issue as contentious as political relations in the Middle East, you are going to have people coming into the conference with preconceptions and personal biases. Rather than a problem, that is the point of having a conference like this. It lets people air their opinions, debate, and perhaps think about the issues from another perspective. If you try to withdraw funding because people with opinions you don't agree have been invited to a conference, then you aren't so much have a conference as a one-sided party of self-affirmation. Of course, actual groups purporting dogmatic hatred and violence should not be invited. That, however, does not sound like it was the case, and I think the incident provides another piece of evidence that Gary Goodyear should not be our Science Minister. I don't have a lot of vested interest in or knowledge about the political climate of the Middle East, though, so I won't comment further on this.