08 February 2006

NASA meltdown

Today we learn, thanks to the skepticism of blogger Nick Anthis (sort of a U.K. analog of Chris Mooney), that one of George W. Bush's political appointees at NASA's public relations office lied about graduating from university on his résumé. The New York Times reports this morning that George Deutsch has now resigned.

Anthis got curious when he realized that a 24-year-old with no science education was trying to limit media access to NASA PhDs. All it took was one phone call to the alleged alma mater to confirm that Deutsch did not, in fact, graduate.

But that's not the scariest part of the story. As reported back in October, also by the Times and followed up in NASAWatch last week, Deutsch is responsible for writing the following:
"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."
Deutsch made the comment in an email to a NASA contractor responsible for the agency's website. Apparently, Deutsch didn't want to see any references to the Big Bang without the proviso of "theory" attached. Which in itself isn't a problem, as the Big Bang is, indeed, a theory. (Much in the same way that evolution is a theory, but let's not get into that right now.)

So here we have more evidence of Bush's efforts to slip religion into the public's scientific agenda. How much more of this can America take? The lesson Bush hacks can take away from this is: it's OK for someone with no science training to serve as a PR officer for a scientific organization, interfere with scientific messages, and play secret agent for the Christian right. Just don't get caught lying about your record.


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