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Sunday, February 05, 2006

"This is more than a science issue..."

Seen on Atrios, original on NYTimes...

There's been a slowly brewing storm over NASA PAO people wanting to vet all NASA communiques on climate science, starting with Dr Hansen.
The issue apparently has gone beyond that:

``... The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose résumé says he was an intern in the "war room" of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he was also the public-affairs officer who sought more control over Dr. Hansen's public statements.

In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word "theory" needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

It continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most." ''


Unbelievable.
It is also midnight, don't think I'd better comment right now.
Later...

4 Comments:

Anonymous britton said...

This story seems to be all over the place. At this point, most comments that could be made would be preaching to an already angry choir. What I would like to hear is, what can we do about this?
I think that those on this side see the gravity of this, but this is a fight that most of us never really wanted to have to fight. Nevertheless, it seems that something will have to be done, otherwise something Bad will happen.

Forgive me, it's the 3rd quarter and no one came to my Super Bowl get-together, so I'm drinking all the beer.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just the local incarnation of the Soviet political officer. As far as a course of action, the only thing *we* can do is to encourage the actual NASA scientists to loudly tell the PR people to go fuck themselves when they step outside their area of expertise. Basically any time they are away from the copy machine. Unfortunately, this is not something that can be solved from outside of NASA. At least not until 2008.

Of course, if W. goes on TV and talks about how physicists and astronomers should "Teach the Controversy" about the Big Bang vs. the creation fables of farmers in the ancient Levant, then that will be our cue to bathe the streets in Evangelical blood... Nothing personal, but the consensus is that the Middle Ages sucked :-)

Sorry you're left drinking all the beer, Britton. Don't tell me all the grads have become teetotaling wankers?

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, now that I think about it, isn't being left drinking all the beer the best possible situation?

Sipior

11:35 AM  
Blogger Adam Solomon said...

Ooooh boy, first evolutionary bio and then earth science, but now it's getting personal. It's starting to become less and less funny.

7:58 PM  

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