Governor General of Canada Julie Payette, in her speech to Canadian Science Policy Centre, November 1, 2017:
"Can you believe that still today in learned society and in houses of government, unfortunately, we're still debating and still questioning whether humans have a role in the earth warming up, or whether even the earth is warming up, period. That 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, lo and behold, random process. Yet so many people — I'm sure you know many of them — still believe, want to believe, that maybe taking a sugar pill will cure cancer, if you will it — good enough. And that your future and every single one of people here's personality can be determined by looking at planets coming in front of invented constellations. But the problem is the explosion of communication means, the Internet, social media, 24-hour news. They have open access to information, to more people that we can say, and that is a good thing. They have enriched, enlarged . . . [ video garbled ] public discourse. Democracy and society have always gained from learned debate, whether it is political, scientific, economical. But we have to remain vigilant and we cannot let ourselves fall into complacency. And we must be vocal all the time, everywhere, every single one of us, so that we can deconstruct misinformation and don't end up in an echo chamber, where we [are] just listening to what we want to hear."
Response from Richard Peachey:
Can you believe that still today in learned society there are people who believe that life arose from unguided reactions in some mythical primeval soup, contrary to all known chemical tendencies of the relevant biomolecules? Yet so many people — I'm sure you know many of them, Julie — believe our cosmos arose all by itself from a quantum fluctuation in a vacuum, and that zillions of other universes exist, all invisible and forever out of reach (like so many unicorns). And that your future and every single one of people here's personality was determined by mutations and natural selection — that is, genetic mistakes plus elimination of the weakest. Now, Julie, I agree with you that learned debate is a good thing for democracy and society — so let's have that debate, rather than using your bully pulpit to mock those whose views don't match yours! But I do applaud your concluding sentence, and I hope you will have the humility to allow others to apply it to you: "And we must be vocal all the time, everywhere, every single one of us, so that we can deconstruct misinformation and don't end up in an echo chamber, where we [are] just listening to what we want to hear."