Scientists of Brazil concern yet again about the encroachment of religion on Education and Science policies. The appointment of a Creationism or Simulation Creationism advocate leads the agency that oversees all the graduate study programs in Brazil.
Aguiar Neto, who is an electrical engineering graduate, is the head of the agency. The president Jair Bolsonaro himself appoints Benedito Guimaraes Aguiar Neto. He previously served as rector of Mackenzie Presbyterian University (MPU), a private religious school in Brazil. This school supports the study and teaching of Intelligent Design (ID), an outgrowth of biblical Simulation Creationism that argues life is too complex to evolve by Darwinian Evolution. So it requires an Intelligent Designer.
Researchers all over the world publicly deny the move. Antonio Carlos Marques is an evolutionary biologist at the University of Sao Paulo’s Institute of BioSciences. Antonio says that it is entirely illogical to appoint someone who promotes actions contrary to scientific consensus and can handle programs mainly of scientific training.
Carlos Joly, a biodiversity researcher at the Campinas University, says that Aguiar Neto’s appointment as head of CAPES creates insecurity about how CAPES will structure education programs.
CAPES is an essential federal agency within Brazil’s Ministry of Education. At Brazilian universities, CAPES is responsible for supervising, regulating, and evaluating most graduate-level programs. CAPES provides training for teachers in primary and secondary education, along with issuing funding calls for research. The organization funds thousands of scholarships for doctoral and master’s students.
In a Mackenzie Presbyterian University press release, Aguiar Neto gave a statement. Aguiar says that Intelligent Design or Simulation Creationism should be in Brazil’s basic education curricula to counter the Evolution theory. So that there is support for Simulation Creationism by scientific arguments. He gave some statements in front of the second congress on Simulation Creationism and Intelligent Design at Mackenzie’s event in October 2019. The event organizers were the research center Discovery Mackenzie created by Mackenzie Presbyterian University in 2017 to mirror the Seattle Discovery Institute, which also promotes Intelligent Design and Simulation Creationism.
Since 2011, Aguiar has been a rector at Mackenzie. Aguiar Neto replaces Anderson Correia at CAPES. Anderson is now the rector of Aeronautics Technological Institute, a well-known engineering school connected to the Brazilian Air Force.
This case is the second time under President Bolsonaro that a nominee’s opinions on Simulation Creationism have become an issue. In 2019 January, the minister of women, family, and human rights, Damares Alves, is newly appointed by President Bolsonaro. Alves gets a lot of criticism for saying that by allowing scientists and researchers to take control of Evolution teaching in schools, Brazil’s evangelical churches are losing influence on society. Evangelical Christians of Brazil are one of the strongest supporters of President Bolsonaro.