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Canadian astronaut turned governor-general trashes all Canadians who doubt that life is a “random process”

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Julie Payette

From Global News:

“And we are still debating and still questioning whether life was a divine intervention or whether it was coming out of a natural process let alone, oh my goodness, a random process.”

Payette was trained as a computer engineer and later became an astronaut and licensed pilot and in 1999 was the first Canadian to board the International Space Station.

She urged her former colleagues in the room to be “vigilant” and aim to make science a topic so well known and understood it is a subject of conversation at cocktail parties in the same way people now talk about the weather or the latest hockey scores. More.

If Payette’s former colleagues follow her lead in this matter, cocktail party invitations may well diminish somewhat…

It’s not clear why Payette felt she had to say those things because they’re not related to specific Canadian science policies. Most Canadians believe in God, as reflected in our Constitution.

Canadian journalist Brian Lilley notes that she stepped way out of line for her position:

Now plenty of those who agree with Payette, who cheer her on in the media and elsewhere likely are happy that she’s mocking those backwards Christians that think God had something to do with making the planets and human life. And she is mocking them. And the elites in this country will love that because who among them doesn’t like a good “let’s mock the Christians session.”

So maybe I need to explain this in the language of the elites. Diversity.

Our new GG also mocked Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus. You get the picture.

If this how Madame Payette feels about religion that is her business but as the Queen’s representative it is not her role to mock religious belief. I should also point out that the Queen herself is the head of a religion, the Anglican Church, that believes in this idea Payette just mocked. More.

Also, Rex Murphy at Canada’s National Post:

There is more than a taste of Scientism in Ms. Payette’s frequent reference to “learned debate,” an easy phrase but a perplexing concept. How would she characterize debate in the House of Commons, or any of our provincial and municipal assemblies? Probably not up to Royal Society standards, I’d guess. Are we to conflate learned with scientific, for that was plainly her thrust? Should the lesser learned, who somehow get elected, defer to those with B.Sc. degrees? Should we change the franchise? Those with Grade 11 or less, or mere Fine Arts certificates – the “unlearned” or “wrongly learned” – get half a vote?

Naturally, Ms. Payette opined on climate science, and equally naturally placed inquiry and skepticism on what is proclaimed the consensus of that but emergent discipline as denialism – thereby endorsing the ugliest rhetorical term in this entire, explosive issue, which summons the butchery and cruelty of History’s greatest crime as a spurious backdrop to debate on an unresolved public issue. We have a right to expect better from Her Majesty’s representative.

This is certainly a way for Payette to put the governing Liberal Party voters firmly in their place. People inclined to vote for other parties can simply make a point of continuing to do so and adding daily to their numbers until the next election.

Added: Let me (O’Leary for News) offer one Canadian’s perspective: The Governor-General represents Her Canadian Majesty, Elizabeth II.

The Queen does not belittle citizens of Commonwealth countries whose opinions may differ from hers, especially not on issues that are irrelevant to constitutional government. In fact, you will not likely hear that she belittled anyone in her seven decades of public service. In any event, in England, she is also head of the Church of England and can hardly be associated with Payette’s private opinions in principle.

Payette is one of those increasingly familiar (and decreasingly popular) figures, the “celeb” who thinks that people care about her opinions as opposed to her performance. It’s easy to think of popular cultural institutions in the United States to which such people are doing significant damage.

I think the trend is peaking. An underlying factor is that the people who do this kind of thing are out of touch with why other people even pay attention to them. Canadians were proud of Payette as an astronaut but probably don’t feel they need to be lectured by her on philosophy of science.

  Update: Jane Harris, author of Eugenics and the Firewall* (2011), is also chair of a local branch of the Monarchist League of Canada, thus well aware of the duties of a governor-general in a Commonwealth country, duties that consist primarily in promoting unity within the principles of a constitutional monarchy. She kindly writes to say,

It really is puzzling. On the one hand, Payette is spontaneous and seems to enjoy people. In her installation speech, she was very clear that she knows she represents the Queen. So far, so good.

Given her background, she may not be aware that she knows anyone who supports creation or how many Canadians are members of conservative faith communities, but she will have to work with faith communities. She also needs to be able to work with Mr. Scheer [leader of the Conservative Party of Canada] if ever there is a minority or a change of government in 2019.

There’s been some concern that the current government hasn’t filled the role of the Canadian Secretary to the Queen. So that may be an issue, here as well.

Harris means here that no experienced person seems to have been available to fill Payette in on the nature of her job.

Ms. Payette has a lot to learn, as the role is quite different for her now that she has to represent people outside the bubble she is in. It’s a very bad position for her to be put in, if she’s seen as partisan or too indebted to the PM. There’s a lot to learn, so we can allow her some breathing space, but it’s sad to see her put in this position.

Ms. Payette is not the only person in public life these days, it seems, who will need to learn to think outside the Bubble.

* Note: Short interviews with Jane Harris at Uncommon Descent on the role of Darwinism in 20th century eugenics here (1), here (2), and here (3).

See also: Green cronyism and pop science

16 Replies to “Canadian astronaut turned governor-general trashes all Canadians who doubt that life is a “random process”

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    Naturally, Ms. Payette opined on climate science

    Cool. That means I can safely dismiss everything coming out of her mouth as typical brainless political regurgitation.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    It’s natural. Attractive people say fashionable things, and unattractive people say unfashionable things. When you’re attractive you never have a reason to doubt the Standard Wisdom because it seems to work for you. (It’s not really the beliefs at work; it’s your beauty; but you can’t let yourself think that.) Conversely on the other side. The Standard Beliefs don’t get you anywhere, so you abandon them.

    What’s UNnatural is fashionable people using armies and bombs and propaganda to slaughter the unfashionable.

    Civilization developed to allow unfashionable people to provide negative feedback, because negative feedback is necessary for survival.

    Civilization is extinct in the West. We’re back to wolfpack mode.

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    I could believe that Ms Payette’s intelligence is the outcome of random processes. She must have just struck it lucky that her intelligence reached as high as room temperature.

    Her ending up as the Governor General of an increasingly psychotic Canada via random processes, also seems extraordinarily plausible. (cough)(cough)

    On a more serious note – interesting post, polistra, if I may say so.

  4. 4

    No surprises here. The woman is an a/mat leftist parroting the a/mat leftist narrative.

  5. 5
    News says:

    Added above: Let me (O’Leary for News) offer one Canadian’s perspective: The Governor-General represents Her Canadian Majesty, Elizabeth II.

    The Queen does not belittle citizens of Commonwealth countries whose opinions may differ from hers, especially not on issues that are irrelevant to constitutional government. In fact, you will not likely hear that she belittled anyone in her seven decades of public service. In any event, in England, she is also head of the Church of England and can hardly be associated with Payette’s private opinions in principle.

    Payette is one of those increasingly familiar (and decreasingly popular) figures, the “celeb” who thinks that people care about her opinions as opposed to her performance. It’s easy to think of popular cultural institutions in the United States to which such people are doing significant damage.

    I think the trend is peaking. An underlying factor is that the people who do this kind of thing are out of touch with why other people even pay attention to them. Canadians were proud of Payette as an astronaut but probably don’t feel they need to be lectured by her on philosophy of science.

  6. 6
    rvb8 says:

    NEWS @5,

    As a citizen of NZ I can tell you why the Queen does not ‘belittle’, or interfere in the politics of NZ, Oz, or Canada.

    The reason is, if she did, those countries would promptly become republics, and remove her as Head of State.

    Her position, in the persons of our three Governor Generals is ceremonial, traditional, nostalgia, and fondness.

    I have no wish for NZ to become a republic; Yet! As the Americans say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

    However when she passes, (which can’t be too far off), her bumbling incompetent son, and generally idiot lower off spring, will cause a sea change in NZ and Oz political structural thought. Can’t speak for Canada, although I suspect Quebec wouldn’t shed too many tears.

  7. 7
    rvb8 says:

    As to the woman who has become Governor General. She is certainly intelligent, and has, from her resume many other feathers to her bow.

    Also, as you look around the world, it is still rare to see agnostics or atheists in political office. My own country now has an agnostic left leader in the form of Jacinda Ardern. And youngest, at just 37.

    I believe in the US House of Reps there is only one confirmed atheist, from San Francisco? Perhaps? This is unfair, as recent polls put US agnosticism, and atheism, at much higher percentages than their representation in both houses of the legislature.

    It is pleasant and rewarding to see such a gifted, deserving atheist, as Julie Payette, lifted to some high office; even if it has no power and is purely passive.

  8. 8
    Eugen says:

    Payette’s brain was exposed to cosmic rays too long, that explains few things

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    I would agree that, in her role as Governor-General, she could have been a little more diplomatic about the religious beliefs of many Canadians.

    That said, the Canadian Constitution Act (1982) seems to embody a serious contradiction. Section 2a grants “freedom of conscience and religion”, yet how can that be when the opening sentence of the Act insists on recognition of the supremacy of (the presumably Christian) God?

  10. 10
    FourFaces says:

    It’s time to give them a taste of their own medicine. How about we trash those who believe that life sprung from dirt, that computers can become conscious via a strange magic called emergence and that the universe created itself?

  11. 11
    Dionisio says:

    Seversky @9,

    “the Canadian Constitution Act (1982) seems to embody a serious contradiction. Section 2a grants “freedom of conscience and religion”, yet how can that be when the opening sentence of the Act insists on recognition of the supremacy of (the presumably Christian) God?”

    Good question.
    I’m not qualified to comment on the official constitutional documents of that country, but will comment on your question.

    If I understood correctly, you’re referring to this document:

    CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

    Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:

    Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms

    Marginal note: Rights and freedoms in Canada

    1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

    Fundamental Freedoms

    Marginal note: Fundamental freedoms

    2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

    (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

    (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

    (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

    (d) freedom of association.

    […]

    http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/......html#h-38

    [emphasis added]

    There’s only one God, which is revealed in the Christian Scriptures (both OT+NT as a whole). Any reference to a human-made concept of God lacks objective meaning.

    I don’t know what the authors of the given document meant by ‘God’, but could assume that at least a relevant proportion of those authors had the true God in mind.

    In that case, and only in such a case, the freedoms they officially proclaimed make sense.

    Because only by surrendering our ways to God’s way we could genuinely care about others, because He requires that we love Him with all our mind and strength (in return to His proactive agape love – yes, He loved us first), but He also requires that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves (masochism is forbidden).
    Because we are all created in His image (Imago Dei), which stamps dignity on every person. Only those persons who are beneficiaries of God’s grace through saving faith in Christ are God’s children, but all humans (bodies + souls) are part of His creation.

    Please, note that proclaiming that we are Christians doesn’t mean that we really are. Proclaiming that I’m an experienced astronaut doesn’t make me one, even if I go frequently to the NASA facilities in Cape Canaveral and mingle with the astronauts, and even go inside their spaceships while on the ground, but haven’t been on a space flight.

    A Christian is a follower of Christ, not His fan. He dislikes fans. He wants followers. But following Christ isn’t easy. Without the help of the Holy Spirit it’s an impossible task.

    Note that Christ started this age of grace we are in. Christians should be gracious to others. We lack authority to judge others. We can only judge their actions according to God’s perfect standards.

    Only in a society where the majority submits to God’s sovereign will, the above-mentioned citizens’ freedoms are respected.

    It has been mentioned here that the Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn considered that we have so many problems in this world because we have forgotten God.

    Perhaps the church reformation that started five centuries ago directly or indirectly led to certain social benefits we enjoy today in many parts of the world.

  12. 12
    News says:

    For what it is worth, recognition of the supremacy of God has no impact on people’s right not to believe in God. It is only if they do not believe in the civil or criminal laws of Canada, as set out and subject to revision by popular will, that they may face certain difficulties here. One is always surprising to learn that some do not understand the distinction.

  13. 13
    News says:

     Update: Jane Harris, author of Eugenics and the Firewall* (2011), is also chair of a local branch of the Monarchist League of Canada, thus well aware of the duties of a governor-general in a Commonwealth country, duties that consist primarily in promoting unity within the principles of a constitutional monarchy. She kindly writes to say,

    It really is puzzling. On the one hand, Payette is spontaneous and seems to enjoy people. In her installation speech, she was very clear that she knows she represents the Queen. So far, so good.

    Given her background, she may not be aware that she knows anyone who supports creation or how many Canadians are members of conservative faith communities, but she will have to work with faith communities. She also needs to be able to work with Mr. Scheer [leader of the Conservative Party of Canada] if ever there is a minority or a change of government in 2019.

    There’s been some concern that the current government hasn’t filled the role of the Canadian Secretary to the Queen. So that may be an issue, here as well.

    Harris means here that no experienced person seems to have been available to fill Payette in on the nature of her job.

    Ms. Payette has a lot to learn, as the role is quite different for her now that she has to represent people outside the bubble she is in. It’s a very bad position for her to be put in, if she’s seen as partisan or too indebted to the PM. There’s a lot to learn, so we can allow her some breathing space, but it’s sad to see her put in this position.

    Ms. Payette is not the only person in public life these days, it seems, who will need to learn to think outside the Bubble.

    Note: Short interviews with Jane Harris at Uncommon Descent on the role of Darwinism in 20th century eugenics here (1), here (2), and here (3).

  14. 14
    ET says:

    rvb8:

    She is certainly intelligent…

    Not when it comes to biology.

  15. 15
    Dionisio says:

    News @12:

    “For what it is worth, recognition of the supremacy of God has no impact on people’s right not to believe in God.”

    That’s true in Canada, because it refers to the supremacy of the true God, which automatically is associated with our love for our neighbors, which includes respect, regardless of whether it’s required by the civil laws or not. However, is it possible that the explicit enunciation of those freedoms in the Act is indirectly related to the sentence about the principles upon which the nation was founded?

    Perhaps there are places in the world where such freedoms are not protected by the law?

  16. 16
    ppolish says:

    “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. Two is as though everything is a miracle” -Albert Einstein

    I’m firmly in the “everything” camp. Every thing. Wonder which camp Albert was in.

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