We’ve known about the problems with Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro since he began campaigning. He’s creating a conservative government that resembles an even worse version of Republican dominance in every branch of the U.S.
His latest move in that direction the appointment of a Creationist to run the agency that oversees graduate study programs within the Ministry of Education.
Over the weekend, Bolsonaro named Benedito Guimarães Aguiar Neto to head up the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES). It’s a change that’s already upsetting scientists because he will be in change of teacher training, scholarship funding, and research oversight.
Researchers are decrying the move. “It is completely illogical to place someone who has promoted actions contrary to scientific consensus in a position to manage programs that are essentially of scientific training,” said evolutionary biologist Antonio Carlos Marques of the University of Sao Paulo’s Institute of Biosciences.
Aguiar Neto was recently quoted in an MPU press release as saying that ID should be introduced into Brazil’s basic education curricula as “a counterpoint to the theory of evolution,” and so that creationism could be supported by “scientific arguments.” He made the comments prior to the 2nd Congress on Intelligent Design, which was held at Mackenzie in October 2019.
It’s unclear if the appointment will lead to less government funding for actual science or more funding for Christian pseudoscience. But you wouldn’t put someone like Aguiar Neto in charge if you cared about doing the proper, responsible thing. You do it because reality is your enemy and you’ll do everything in your power to hide it — or, in this case, stifle it.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Brian for the link)