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

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

  • richard

    Truly a “space cadet.” Then again, look who appointed her to the position.

    • Martin B

      Yup, any Governor-General appointed by Shiny Pony was bound to be a turd.

  • Millie_Woods

    Getting appointed as governor general must be a random thing, because it obviously isn’t intelligent design.

    • Felix_Culpa


    • I believe you have won the Internet.

    • Blacksmith

      Nice one!

  • Oracle9

    Arrogant POS. Where does she get off giving us rubes lectures on her false morality?

    We need to be rid of the whole nest of vipers and get some real representatives of Canadians installed in such positions.

    • bob e

      good luck ..

    • A Hamilton Guy

      I think she lacks CDF, It comes with her blonde hair.

  • garyk2

    Lack of oxygen in zero gravity causes brain damage. Just sayin’

  • tom_billesley

    Science shouldn’t have a “policy”.

  • simus1

    A lot of smart engineers tend to be found towards the nasty realism end of the human condition but most of them also seem to know it belongs in the office and up on structures, not at public meetings.

    • Felix_Culpa

      I’m a practicing Catholic and an engineer. Actually, I meet quite a few practicing all-sorts-of-religions people in my field. The smug, self-satisfied, “new atheist” types tend to be social science grads, in my experience.

      • They just have to pretend to be smart and let the smugness do the rest.

  • Felix_Culpa

    QUOTH LILLY: “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.” Indeed.

    • Alain

      Payette is a mockery of the position she holds.

  • canminuteman

    Payette is an idiot. I don’t know what I believe about the origin of life, but as far as I know the current state of scientific knowledge as stated in the second LAW of thermodynamics – The entropy of an isolated system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium – means that things that are not alive, don’t suddenly become alive. Until someone disproves this law, I will remain skeptical about theories on the origin of life.

    And regardless of what you believe, there are good reasons to not call everyone who might disagree with you an idiot when you are a public figure.

    • Amen. “Life” is not in fact a random process. I studied Evolution and Evolutionary Genetics in U. and got a good passing grade (and the course was taught by a real research scientist in the discipline, who was not religious btw).

      What is in fact a “random process” is micro-evolution, in reference to evolutionary genetic changes brought about by “mutation”, the latter of which is in fact a rare process in and of itself because mutation rarely results in anything lasting and constructive for the species and usually dies out. Hence that particular process is random and unpredictable. Except that it’s more likely to not occur at all!

      I’m no expert, but to extrapolate from that rare micro-evolutionary process to the macro, and claim that it therefore proves that “All life is a random process”, is a total misrepresentation. And if Payette is a scientist then she would know that. She’s just another example of academic dishonesty and the politicization of science.

  • Thomas Henderson

    “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:22-24

    Our elites have adopted Nietzsche’s nihilism (nothingness, no absolute truth) and Derrida’s deconstructionism (break apart language as a weapon against meaning) as their creeds. Christianity, the religion at the heart of western civilization, is much maligned, even though it gave the world universities, hospitals, and science in its pursuit of truth and justice.

    None so blind as those who will not see.

    God save us from our modern day scribes and Pharisees.

  • bob e

    extended periods in space seem to be hard on people. I was sort of
    waiting for Alien to climb out of her mouth .. !

  • ontario john

    Attila the Hen is going to spend her time instructing all of us peasants what to think.

    The Liberal Party is a Saturday morning cartoon show. Super Socks, Climate Barbie, and Attila the Hen.

    • felis gracilis

      I up voted you because your comment is clever and amusing. But the reality is probably worse because for the next couple of years anyway it is not only the Liberal Party but the Government of Canada that is a Saturday morning cartoon show.

    • Clausewitz

      Finally, somebody worse than Adrienne Clarkson. It took a while, but job well done. /sarc off

  • deplorabledave

    Make sure you watch the video folks. This smug bitch has got to go.

    • Shebel

      Why? You want a Parrot.

  • Old Guy

    Please feel free to correct me if I’m in error.

    The Governor General is appointed by the Prime Minister and is the representative of the Queen in Canada. But, the Governor General also serves at the pleasure of the Sovereign.

    This is, I believe, is one of finer points of the parliamentary system of government that Canada adopted from Britain. That being said, it behoves Governor General Payette to choose her words carefully when speaking on behalf of the Sovereign she represents. The Queen’s reach is considerable.

    One only needs to be reminded that the Sovereign has put the powerful in their place on more than one occasion, Sir Winston Churchill be one those who received both rebuke and instruction on his duty as Prime Minister .

    She as Sovereign expects her representative to carry out the duty of the office to which they have been chosen in a reserved and dignified manner befitting the Sovereign.

    Else wise the Queen may, at her pleasure, remove the Governor General.

  • Starlord

    Just another car in the train wreck called the liberal government of Canada

  • Shebel

    She sure as Hell shot JUSTIN and ALL his BULLSHIT lies — DOWN.

    I thought it was Great.

    • Shebel

      Maybe- I-was wrong.

  • Shebel

    So you believe that Humans , especially Liberals- can control the Climate ?
    I don’t.
    I still think she did a good job.