I really wish we could be over creationism. I see countries torn over bigger issues — racism, misogyny, deep inequalities, climate change, war — yet it’s clear that some people see an involvement with crises in the world as an opportunity to push their trivial stupidities on us. Case in point: Brazil and the Bolsonaro regime. They have a fascist running the country, rapid deforestation, oppression of native minorities, and what do we have to deal with? The appointment of an open creationist to run their science agency.
President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration on Saturday named Benedito Guimarães Aguiar Neto to head the agency, known as CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior). Aguiar Neto, an electrical engineer by training, previously served as the rector of Mackenzie Presbyterian University (MPU), a private religious school here. It advocates the teaching and study of intelligent design (ID), an outgrowth of Biblical creationism which argues that life is too complex to have evolved by Darwinian evolution, and so required an intelligent designer.
Is it a coincidence? Michael Behe visited Brazil and specifically the campus of MPU this past fall, where the Discovery Institute has a chapter, and Jonathan Wells visited the year before. Whenever we take our eyes off those wankers in Seattle, they’re off to build another foothold in some dogmatic religious institution somewhere, and next thing you know, some criminal politician hands them some tidbit of power over science.
This is the second time under Bolsonaro that a nominee’s views on creationism have become an issue. In January 2019, Damares Alves, Bolsonaro’s newly appointed minister of women, family, and human rights, drew criticism for saying, in a 2013 video, that Brazil’s evangelical churches had lost influence in society by allowing scientists to “take control” of the teaching of evolution in schools. Brazil’s evangelical Christians are among Bolsonaro’s strongest supporters.
Evangelical Christians everywhere are among the most ignorant and fanatical supporters of fascism, so this is not surprising. Creationist idiocy just never ends.