To be sure, it was a bad decision that Irish science minister Conor Lenihan made when he agreed to launch an antievolution book.
Appalled Irish scientists were swift to respond when the news broke yesterday that the Fianna Fáil politician, who picked up the science portfolio in April last year, was due to present The Origin of Specious Nonsense in Dublin tomorrow (15th September). The book’s website refers to the launch event as the ‘Gorillas and Girls Party’.
The situation was resolved within 24 hours – curiously by the author himself, John May, who ‘disinvited’ the minister from the launch. He told the Irish Times and other news outlets that he was embarrassed by the insults that Lenihan had received on a blogsite and by email.
Lenihan accepted the disinvitation. But the message he gave to the Irish Times about his views on evolution was ambiguous – he ‘remained to be convinced’ by May’s arguments, but believes that ‘diversity of opinion is a good thing’. Lenihan has no scientific qualifications, and apparently no good source of science advice.