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Tilting at Windmills

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February 7, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BLINDED BY SCIENCE....George Deutsch, a 24-year old former intern with the Bush/Cheney campaign, is the guy who instructed a NASA web designer to add the word "theory" to every reference to 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."

I'm happy to report that the top Google result for "George Deutsch" is now this post at World O'Crap, which documents Mr. Deutsch's youthful adventures in journalism at Texas A&M. Enjoy.

Kevin Drum 5:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (202)

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Comments

I'm standing by, waiting for the MSM uproar over this.

Still waiting...

Hmmm...

Hello? Is this thing on?

Posted by: craigie on February 7, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

According to Scientific Activist, he didn't actually graduate from A&M either.

Posted by: latts on February 7, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Now that NASA is in the religion business, the doors should really open up.

But, isn't there a 'third half' in this debate that's still being overlooked?

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on February 7, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Deutsch's resume claims he graduated. Oh well, just another lying Bush appointee.

Posted by: nechiaev on February 7, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Bush:
"Science, Political Science, what's the difference?"

Posted by: craigie on February 7, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

NASA has been the American people's top source for religious information for over two decades now. Get used to it.

Posted by: Cryptic Ned on February 7, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

a journalism degree from Texas A&M?

oh well. doesn't matter whether he actually graduated.

Posted by: lib on February 7, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

How many Brownie/Deutsch hybreds are littered thoughout the executve branch?

Lets start a pool.

Posted by: Keith G on February 7, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Yer doin a heckava job!

Posted by: CParis on February 7, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, craigie, a better way to say it would be, "for Bush, political science is the only true science."

Posted by: mmy on February 7, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

It really makes me angry that such a moron could be a fellow former student.

Although, journalism was one of the degrees people turned to at A&M when they couldn't cut it in the the engineering school, then the biz school, then...

advocating ID as he does, you would think he went to Bob Jones U instead...

embarrassing.

(me:TAMU'99, chemistry)

Posted by: Rudy on February 7, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Similar to much of the original Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq immediately following "Mission Accomplished".

Nearly the entire organization was staffed with Bush/Cheney campaign workers. Press releases and other key announcements were run thru the Bush "vision filter" before getting out.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on February 7, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Fire the bastard! Better yet, hang him by his ears from the nearest tree!

Posted by: buck turgidson on February 7, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

As was pointed out above -- George Deutsch did not even graduate from Texas A & M. He left without a degree.

Details here:
http://tinyurl.com/7kgry

Posted by: herrbill on February 7, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2006/02/04/outrage-at-attacks-on-nasa-science/

Posted by: buck turgidson on February 7, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

So, it turns out that Bush is treating government as a kind of ideological summer camp for party operatives. Why is this not surprising?

Posted by: matt on February 7, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

And one more thing before I drop the subject:

Science HQ George Deutsch (202) 358-1324
george.deutsch-1@nasa.gov

Make this his last month at NASA. And make it miserable.

Posted by: buck turgidson on February 7, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

I love the differences in administrations. Clinton bangs his interns; Bush has his instruct NASA scientists on how to compose reports.

"You're doing a heck of job, Brownie!"

Of course, this says speaks volumes about how the (presumedly) male scientists at NASA have been emasculated. If they really cared about what they were doing, they would have gone straight to the press with this at the time it happened. Or at least refused to particpate in the charade and removed their names from the report.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 7, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Deutsch apparently too stupid to join the college Republican elite who were put in charge of the Provisional Authority in Iraq, and did such a bang-up job.

So he's sent to NASA. Makes you wonder what kind of fucktard GOP Youth got sent to FEMA, or the Siberia of the Bush administration, the EPA.

Posted by: Heckofajob, Deutschie! on February 7, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Well that explains the moral at Moffett.

Posted by: B on February 7, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

How many Brownie/Deutsch hybreds are littered thoughout the executve branch?

I think it's safe to assume at this point that the majority of Bush's appointees are incompetent buffoons with only one qualification: they like Bush.

This is the Sovietification of American people.

Republicans want to run their party like the old Soviets did. They want a minister of propaganda, they want to control the very idea of "truth," they want complete control of government, and they want to crush any and all dissent.

Not a good thing, folks. Not a good thing at all.

Posted by: teece on February 7, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Gig 'Em!

Just kidding.

After all, NASA's mission is ultimately altruistic, shouldn't it be insulated from political appointees, save for maybe the director of the agency?

Posted by: Stephen on February 7, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know why anybody would be offended by some 24 year old kid from Texas who couldn't even get a degree in journalism delivering pronouncements to NASA scientists on behalf of GWB. Of course, these days most 24 year olds who don't bother to get a degree can't get a job of any kind and end up on the firing line in Iraq. Has anybody done the research to determine how this guy is connected? I know it says he was an intern in the campaign, but how did he get the intern job? What does his daddy do? What about his mommy?

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 7, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Super post Kevin. I'll be reading this stuff for the next 15 minutes, more or less.

Posted by: Lou Delgado on February 7, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

If you believe that government is a bad thing and that most of its functions are useless at best and probably harmful, these kinds of appointments are what you get. It isn't just that W. and the Bushies happen to be incompetent -- although they happen to be -- this is what I like to call "ideologically-induced incompetence." When you have nothing but contempt for an enterprise, you staff it out with hacks who want jobs. Then you get Brown, Deutsch, and ... add anyone you'd like.

Posted by: C.J.Colucci on February 7, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Al, defend this fine young man immediately.

Posted by: HeavyJ on February 7, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, I thought that fundamentalists believed that the Big Bang 'confirms' the beginning of the Genesis creation story. Now they're against it? And how can Deutsch claim that the Big Bang only constitutes half the debate? What about the old Mayan belief that the heavens are held up by jaguars at the ends of the earth? And isn't there one with a stack of turtles? America's youth needs to hear about every creation myth on a science website!

And has any anti-science believer ever given any remotely credible explanation why God might have gone to so much trouble to make it appear that the universe's evolution is governed by unchanging natural laws? Given all forces as they are currently understood, the fact that all galaxies are moving away from us with speeds approximately equal to their distance makes the Big Bang (if not any particular details) an inescapable conclusion. Why would God want to mislead us?

Posted by: ChiSoxfan in LA on February 7, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

I can't wait until the Republications form "The Dept. of Snake Handling and Speaking in Tongues"

Posted by: Neo on February 7, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Wait, I thought that fundamentalists believed that the Big Bang 'confirms' the beginning of the Genesis creation story."

I have never known fundamentalists to argue with the big bang. Except for timing, it sort of fits their mythology pretty well. "Let there be light" and all that.

Young Mr. Deutsch isn't even a competent fundamentalist. He is just plain old incompetent in pretty near every thing he does, at least in public.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 7, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'm no expert, but I thought the Big Bang theory was really just a theory - and I thought scientists had a lot less support for it than for evolution, etc. Is this untrue? I thought the jury was out

Posted by: MDtoMN on February 7, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Good time to re-introduce the other theory.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on February 7, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

For the trillionth time, scientific statements are not "opinions." They are statements of science.

There's a difference between an opinion that the world is flat and a scientific statement that it is round. Hell, there's a difference between the opinion that the world is round and the scientific statement that it is round.

I mean, hell, it's not like it's been indisputably established as a fact that the world is round, really. You know, in all those pictures from space, it looks like a flat circle...

Posted by: theorajones on February 7, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Al? Here trollie, trollie, troll! Can you believe how these so called liberals are ready to indict Mr. Deutsch, and declare him guilty, without the courtesy of a trial? Hypocrites.
;-)

Posted by: decon on February 7, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Al, defend this fine young man immediately.

OK: here's NASA on the subject -

"The Big Bang Theory

Representation of the universe according to inflationary cosmology.
The Big Bang Theory is the dominant scientific theory about the origin of the universe. According to the big bang, the universe was created sometime between 10 billion and 20 billion years ago from a cosmic explosion that hurled matter and in all directions.
In 1927, the Belgian priest Georges Lematre was the first to propose that the universe began with the explosion of a primeval atom. His proposal came after observing the red shift in distant nebulas by astronomers to a model of the universe based on relativity. Years later, Edwin Hubble found experimental evidence to help justify Lematre's theory. He found that distant galaxies in every direction are going away from us with speeds proportional to their distance.

The big bang was initially suggested because it explains why distant galaxies are traveling away from us at great speeds. The theory also predicts the existence of cosmic background radiation (the glow left over from the explosion itself). The Big Bang Theory received its strongest confirmation when this radiation was discovered in 1964 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, who later won the Nobel Prize for this discovery.

Although the Big Bang Theory is widely accepted, it probably will never be proved; consequentially, leaving a number of tough, unanswered questions.

Updated December 2, 1997. Contacts"

http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/academy/universe/b_bang.html

Gee, who was President on December 2, 1997???

Posted by: Al on February 7, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

So when has the Big Bang been established as fact?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 7, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the entire universe just came into existence one nanosecond ago, complete with what seems to us to be our own "memories" of "past experience", as well as all phenomena that we interpret as having originated in "the past", including those phenomena which we interpret as showing that the universe is some 13 billion years old and began with a "big bang".

Not only that, but this happens every nanosecond.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 7, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Deutsch....

Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you a true friend of mine. He is what I have in mind when I say we need to improve math and science education in America.

By adding "theory" to theories that contradict the evolving creationist babble he is intelligent designing public policy.

I cannot think of a better representation of what I have in mind when I look to the future of science and math instruction in this country.

(GWB parody..not actual quotes)

I had an uncle who helped NASA navigate machines to Mars and Jupiter. Everyday he was confronted with the need for young competent minds to help him re-calculate orbits based on unexpected alterations in vehicular velocities (Viking and Galileo missions). It would be ludicrous to him to conceive of orbital mechanics being only a "theory."

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 7, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

So, let's see, according to Kevin, it is SO TERRIBLE for NASA to call the Big Bang a theory. And yet, there's a NASA web FROM 1997 which says exactly that.

Bwahahaha!!!

The left is so full of hate that the can't even recognize the reality based community anymore!

Posted by: Al on February 7, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Right on theorajones. "Just a theory" does a disservice to scientific theories. In this case the big bang explains pretty much everything it is predicted to explain right up to small fractions of a second after the event. What it doesn't explain, if anything, will require a modification of the theory, which will happen. Just saying "God" or "The Intelligent Designer" or the "Flying Spagetti Monster" made it doesn't constitute a scientific theory.

God I wish our schools really taught the "scientific method" in the classroom.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 7, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

I'm no expert, but I thought the Big Bang theory was really just a theory - and I thought scientists had a lot less support for it than for evolution, etc. Is this untrue? I thought the jury was out

In the last 10-20 years, the evidence in favor of the Big Bang has mounted greatly. Evidence against in has not surfaced.

There are a few key, experimental phenomenon that are only explained adequately (and correctly) by the Big Bang. The cosmic background radiation being one of them.

The Big Bang is just a theory -- but Deutsch is not using that word the way a scientist would, and his reason for inserting it had nothing to do with science.

Posted by: teece on February 7, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Al? Real Al? I'm bad at this.

That's not pure NASA, that's NASA as filtered thru Deutsch. Aren't you using his own words in his defense of those words? Like saying "The Bible is the truth, because it says so in Romans 13" -? (please don't look that up - I don't know my bible that well).

Help - did I fall for the fake?

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on February 7, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Al it is not that he called the big bang a theory. It is. It is his stated reason for calling it a theory. That stated reason is that there are "two sides" that need to be presented--the science side and the religion side.

The guy is an almost product of our education system and lacks any understanding of science. Shit, he works for NASA for goodness sake.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 7, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

that's NASA as filtered thru Deutsch

Really? Deutch was there in 1997??? He was only 15 years old then!

Posted by: Al on February 7, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Someone on scientificactivist suggested that the all of the administration's unqualified-except-for- their - political-reliability appointees be called . . .

. . . Brownies.

I like that.

Posted by: Stefan Jones on February 7, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

And much more importantly: Deutsch is not even remotely qualified to be censoring and modifying the words of NASA scientists.

He's a know-nothing 24-year-old college drop out and a political flunkie.

Like I said, welcome to Soviet America. Good job, Bush.

Posted by: teece on February 7, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'd transfer him to the CDC, H&HS, or FDA where he could utilize his find and replace word processor skills to update reports on medicine. He could start with Louis Pasteur's germ theory of disease, William Harvey's theory of blood circulation, Stephen Paget's theory of metastisis, and Prevost and Dumas's crazy theory that sperm is somehow involved in reproduction.

Posted by: B on February 7, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

The really neat thing about the Bible vs science thing is that the Bible actually says we are still in the eighth day...

Posted by: wayne on February 7, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Al quotes a NASA website: In 1927, the Belgian priest Georges Lematre was the first to propose that the universe began with the explosion of a primeval atom.

However, according to Wikipedia, Edgar Allan Poe proposed a similar idea eighty years earlier:

Eureka, an essay written in 1848, included a cosmological theory that anticipated the Big Bang theory by eighty years, as well as the first plausible solution to Olbers' paradox. Though described as a "prose poem" by Poe, who wished it to be considered as art, this work is a remarkable scientific and mystical essay unlike any of his other works. He wrote that he considered Eureka to be his career masterpiece.

Poe eschewed the scientific method in his Eureka. He argued instead that he was reasoning from pure intuition, using neither the Aristotelian a priori method of axioms and syllogisms, nor the empirical method of modern science set forth by Francis Bacon. For this reason, he considered it a work of art, not science, but insisted that it was still true. Though some of his assertions have later proven to be false (such as his assertion that gravity must be the strongest force--it is actually the weakest), others have been shown to be surprisingly accurate and decades ahead of their time.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 7, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Al, you are correct.

But, why are you working the 'teen' NASA site?

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on February 7, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the same trolls that think this is a fair and wise thing to do would object to my suggestion that the Federal Reserve issue a disclaimer with every press release or official statement that says "The Fed acknowledges that Capitalist eeconomic theory is exactly that, only a theory, and may be subject to some disagreement among scholars. There are other opinions about what economic systems or theories may or may not be superior or more effective than Capitalist theory, including the theories of Marx, Mao and Mussolini. We encourage people to inform themselves about all possible systems or theories of economic thought and decide for themselves."

Posted by: Doug-E-Fresh on February 7, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz?

[crickets chirping]

Tbrosz???

Posted by: chuck on February 7, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

But, why are you working the 'teen' NASA site?

One never knows where the magic of google will take you.

Posted by: Al on February 7, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion,"

I see. Time-tested scientific theories are just "opinions", no different from anyone else's opinions. Woe be unto liberal elitists who insist upon giving more credence to the peer-reviewed papers of elite scientists than to the astrophysical pronouncements of good, populist churchfolk.

In related news, NASA has chartered a Prayer Team to plot the orbital trajectory of the next space shuttle mission.

Posted by: Violet on February 7, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

If you read the NYT article closely, the NASA scientists are not upset at the *fact* that Deutsch made the change. The style manual backs him up.

The problem came with Deutsch's additional, non-style manual rationales and pontificating regarding the appropriateness of excluding deist explanations.

Simply, he couldn't resist the allure of jamming his fundamentalist opinions down a PhD's throat, even when a more banal rationale would have sufficed.

Posted by: hotspock on February 7, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Wayne-- I think it's pretty clear we're still in the 7th day.

Posted by: Violet on February 7, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Bush:
"Science, Political Science, what's the difference?"

outstanding.

Posted by: shortstop on February 7, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Hoo boy, Al and Georgie have not taken well to that whole English thing.

theory (thē'ə-rē, thr'ē) pronunciation
n., pl. -ries.

1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

2. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.

Posted by: HeavyJ on February 7, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

I sure am glad that we have 24 year old journalism major hacks telling NASA scientists how to run things.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 7, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

PBS commish - investigated, stepped down

FEMA Head - stepped down after massive failure

NASA inspector general - now under FBI investigation

CPA - joke of an organization run by conservative college kids who couldn't get a job in the real world. Everything worked out great.

Bush's FIRST PICK for Homeland Security - Mob ties, totally corrupt, nomiation withdrawn

Harriet Meyer's anyone?

Where are the smart people?

No pattern here. At all. No way...

MOST CORRUPT AND INCOMPENTENT LEADERSHIP SINCE...NIXON.

Posted by: The Hague on February 7, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

My experience is that the NASA scientists are a pretty arrogant bunch, congenitally unable to take any direction from their superiors. My guess is that some manager who was fed up with their intransigence unleashed a fine young Republican on them.

It would be a typical of liberals to pin this on the white house.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 7, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

What Ron Byers said. Although it is a theory, there is nothing the least bit controversial about the big bang theory as it is most commonly expressed. It does not attempt to explain what occurred prior to the time for which direct observations are available (when the universe was less than 1/100,000,000 th of its current size).

Posted by: B on February 7, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

As evidence for inflation has mounted the last few years, it has pretty well put to rest any controversy that the big bang did occur.

Posted by: The Bobs on February 7, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Gravity is "just" a theory as well. Perhaps Deutsch(bag) can jump off a tall building and test it out for us.

Posted by: Robert on February 7, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

It would be typical of Americans to DEMAND BETTER, if they were so inclined.

Hey, wait, here comes an election.

Posted by: The Hague on February 7, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

MOST CORRUPT AND INCOMPENTENT LEADERSHIP SINCE...NIXON.

Shit. Give the Nixon people some credit. They did, at least, get a few things done. And while they were evil bastards, they were at least quasi-competent evil bastards.

With Bush, you've got some asshole like Dr. Evil running the show. Not only is he evil and corrupt, he's completely fucking incompetent, to boot.

Bush is much worse than Nixon. Worst. President. Ever. In the entire history of the union. We'll still be trying to undo Bush's damage in 50 years.

Posted by: teece on February 7, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

We are in much worse shape than even I could possibly imagine.

Posted by: Hostile on February 7, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Not only that, but this happens every nanosecond.
Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 7, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

. . . the latest research suggests that it's actualy every 37/142nds of a femtosecond.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 7, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

The alternative theory to the big bang is the steady-state theory, propounded by creditable astrophysicist Fred Hoyle and others c. 1940s.

The findings of the background radiation, and its uniformity in all directions, c. 1965, seemed to tip the scales to the big bang theory, and probably the majority of the professional community of astrophysicists became adherents to that theory over the intervening years.

However, it is incorrect to say there have been no challenges or problems for the big-bang theory since. In the 1990s, a couple of major problems were found-- chiefly, that the expansion seen in the universe was accelerating, and an unknown force, unaccountable by the big-bang theory, was responsible. Other problems seemed to indicate a feature of 'INFLATION' of the big-bang, a mind-blowing expansion during the big-bang from a radius of about nothing to very large indeed had to occur within scant microseconds.

As a result, quasi-steady-state theories have been suggested to fix the problems with the big-bang, pushing the theory back toward the Hoyle hypothesis, with modifications.

In other words, this is far from the entirely decided matter for science in favor of the big-bang version that is being suggested, not, rather, as the question of the earth's being round has been quite decided, is actually beyond theory, and therefore an established scientific FACT.

It is not, and instead remains an active area of dispute and ad hoc theorizing, based on quite recent problems discovered within the past 10 years.

Posted by: sofla on February 7, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

I sure am glad that we have 24 year old journalism major hacks telling NASA scientists how to run things.

Well, to be fair, sometimes scientists need a little help on the "verbiage/communication" skill set. Let's measure twice and cut once.

Posted by: hotspock on February 7, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans need to start making some hard decisions about their loyalities.

Are they loyal to the US, or to power?

This NASA bullshit is a PERFECT EXAMPLE of the Administration's problems. Arrogant, underqualified, totally not right for the job.

No one around here even dares to mention they LIKED Bush.

No one even mentions HIS NAME anymore, they are so embarrassed.

Cue the 24 year old GOP trolls who "have extensive experience" with NASA. From the GOP call center.

Posted by: The Hague on February 7, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_Been_Forgotten: . . . the latest research suggests that it's actualy every 37/142nds of a femtosecond.

Well, whatever is the quantum of time.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 7, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

President Bush is urinating on the corpse of the NASA we grew up dreaming about.

Fucker.

Posted by: melior on February 7, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

The one thing I don't understand about this whole "Intelligent Design" bruhaha is why it's such an issue for high schools.

Are high school students expected to bring the accumulated knowledge of man and rigorous scientific technique to bear on the truth of opposing hypotheses? Are we to fund particle accelerators and archealogical expeditions so our high school students can settle the issue?

If there are really massive problems with evolution and the Big Bang, why don't the "experts" just submit these issues to those who have proven they can determine the truth?

I'm of course referring to commenters on those internet bloggy things.

Posted by: fracas_futile on February 7, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

To echo a couple of comments above: I always thought there was considerable resistance to the Big Bang theory precisely because it made the universe look a little too much like the product of an act of creation. The preferred theories of atheists generally involved an eternal universe of some kind either a steady-state one, or else an oscillating one in which the Big Bang was eventually followed by a Big Crunch, then another Big Bang, and so on ad infinitem.

And though this Deutsch person does appear to be a prize ass, the Big Bang theory is a theory, not a "fact," and NASA shouldn't call it anything else. Evolution is also a "theory," and a much, much better established one at that, though admittedly you could fill a decent-sized reservoir with the ink spilled trying to explain to the public what scientists mean by "theory." I don't see anything particularly outrageous here (beyond of course the ho-hum appointment of perfect idiots to various gov't sinecures, which is one Washington tradition Bush seems mighty determined to keep alive).

Posted by: waterfowl on February 7, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't you be so proud to have your own son grow up to be like George Deutsch, a guy who will no doubt continue to contribute so much to the world?

Vote pro-ignorance, pro-bigotry, and pro-intelligent design. Vote republican.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 7, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

I agree. It is totally agreeable to me, or any other decent American, to expect a 24 year old college drop out to lecture a NASA "scientist" about religion.

After all, this is what the promise of NASA is about. Religion.

Posted by: Frank Franklin on February 7, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

He didn't leave Texas A&M; he transferred to Alabama A&M /snark

Posted by: miriamsong on February 7, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

It's only a theory that Bush was elected president in 2000.

Posted by: artcrit on February 7, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Well put, waterfowl.

Even if he was an ass about it, the overreaction here has made him look rather civil and reasoned in comparison, and the real transgression (albeit minor)gets lost in the scuffle.

The resume issue? Well, may be trouble there, but really, is this worth the hullabaloo?

I have differ with the administration in many areas, but getting blue in the face over the Peter Principle seems to me a very ill-advised line of attack on this.

Measure twice, cut once.

Posted by: hotspock on February 7, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Bush wants to promote the study of math and science> My Aunt Fanny he does.

By "science" they mean "technology" and by "technology" they mean being computer literate. That's enough to get you a little over mininum wage, after all.

You know these asswipes just didn't get the whole "science" thing back in school and woe to us that they didn't. How much better off we would all be if they had learned to make judgements based on facts and evidence rather than what they would LIKE to be true?

Posted by: LAS on February 7, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, hotspock, for letting us know that we are "ill-advised".

I so want you to frame everything for me "albeit minor" in the future.

Cut first, balance later.

Posted by: The Hague on February 7, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

It would be a typical of liberals to pin this on the white house

I'm blaming "chuck" further up the thread for summoning up tbrosz. Thanks a lot, chuck.

Posted by: SED on February 7, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

The Domino effect is just a theory.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 7, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

It gives me such a warm feeling knowing that my government is permeated by he likes of George Deutsch, a fellow who has really earned that good job he has.

Our tax money is being put to such good use by that wonderfully good and religious man we elected President.

Practically the entire world may see him in a poor light, but the Bible says that good guys like him get persecuted by the evil.

That explains all the hostility.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 7, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

And though this Deutsch person does appear to be a prize ass, the Big Bang theory is a theory, not a "fact," and NASA shouldn't call it anything else. Evolution is also a "theory," and a much, much better established one at that, though admittedly you could fill a decent-sized reservoir with the ink spilled trying to explain to the public what scientists mean by "theory."

Then you aren't paying attention. No one at NASA was trying to say that the Big Bang was anything other than it was: far and away, the leading scientific theory of the day in its realm.

What Deutsch did was require that the word "theory" be inserted everywhere, pointlessly (if you don't realize that the Big Bang is a theory, you don't know what that word means anyway). Further, not only did the unqualified twerp "correct" the scientists, he showed his true colors in doing so: he felt this contradicted religious beliefs.

This is a government censor, censoring scientists, ensuring that their statements conform to (brain-dead) Republican political ideology.

That's a really fucking big deal. I'll say it again: welcome to Soviet America.

NASA is not the only place Republicans are willing to do this. You name the dept., and you'll find Republicans willing to completely discard evidence and fact and expert opinion to satisfy a political ideology.

That's about as unhealthy a method of running a gov't as you're going to find.

Republicans == Soviet America. Party above country. Party above even the idea of an objective reality. The Party creates reality.

Posted by: teece on February 7, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Remember - no pattern emerging here. Just keep looking the other way. They got Iraq right, so everything...yeah...

Posted by: The Hague on February 7, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter said: "So when has the Big Bang been established as fact?"

My apologies to the 99% of you who already know the distinction between fact and scientific theory, you'll want to skip this. The problem is that the English word 'theory', in regular usage, can mean anything from 'model' or 'paradigm' to 'supposition' or 'assumption'. Technically, a scientific theory never graduates up to fact, so the Big Bang theory will never be a fact. A scientific theory is a model of the way some part of the natural world operates, and to be valid it must be, at the very least, consistent with the facts, which are generally experimental observations. If a theory is fundamentally inconsistent with a an incontrovertible fact, then the theory must go or be modified. In practice, of course, even the understanding of facts often depend on the use of other theories, generally well-accepted ones; evolutionary theory is supported by the finding of sufficiently ancient dinosaur bones, the age of which is determined by utilizing the theory of exponential C-14 decay, which itself is based on observations of radioactive decay on observable timescales, etc. And there's no such thing as a proven theory, since the next fact could blow it out of the water; obviously, a theory becomes better accepted the more it stands up to challenge.

And no, the scientific method does not always produce the most accurate theory, even when correctly applied. Let's say Newton, when formulating his theory of motion, had also come up with special relativity. Both theories would have fit all the known facts of the time; in fact, I highly doubt that any experiment possible at the time could have distinguished between them. Occam's Razor (or, hell, just plain common sense) would dictate going with the simpler, more intuitive theory laid out in Newton's Laws. But, of course, eventually they were replaced by Einstein's Special Relativity, which to first order still reduces to F = ma. So the correct use of the scientific method did not get the most accurate result in Newton's case, though the result has been very useful to this day for all sorts of applications. But the scientific method has been the best, and only, method for understanding and exploiting natural laws. We might want to stick with it, even at the cost of offending fundamentalists. Even? Sorry, I meant 'especially'.

This is one of the things scientists laugh about, at least those of us with dark senses of humor. Calling natural selection or the Big Bang model 'theories' is not an insult or an aspersion, even though it's intended as such. There's nothing more they can possibly be. It's like a 9th grader calling another kid a Homo Sapien to insult them. Too bad that our school systems and government research agencies are being taken over by people like this.

Posted by: ChiSoxfan in LA on February 7, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Shit. Give the Nixon people some credit. They did, at least, get a few things done. And while they were evil bastards, they were at least quasi-competent evil bastards.

With Bush, you've got some asshole like Dr. Evil running the show. Not only is he evil and corrupt, he's completely fucking incompetent, to boot.

Bush is much worse than Nixon. Worst. President. Ever. In the entire history of the union. We'll still be trying to undo Bush's damage in 50 years. Posted by: teece

I agree. Nixon's failings, like Clinton's, were mostly personal. Except for expanding the Vietnam War into Cambodia, his foreign policy was fairly steady as she goes, and the reproachment with China was brilliant and ten years overdue.

People forget the Nixon was the first president to lower the speed limit in the interest of conservation (still the simplest thing to do).

Otherwise, he had this chip on his shoulder the size of McKinnley. Unlike Sally Field, he was never convinced (quite rightly) that we really liked him. I don't think even his family liked him. However, had he rolled over on the Watergate break-in, that probably would have been the end of it, and he probably would have served out his second term.

Bush, however, is a fucking moron not fit to hold public office. He's apparently wilfully ignorant and incapable of learning. If possible, he's even lazier than Reagan was, not even considering all the vacation time. He is no judge of character or, worse yet, actually seeks out the low lifes he's with which he's staffed his administration.

Easily the worst president since Warren G. Harding, who was also famous for cronyism of the worst sort.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 7, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Instant idiot quiz:

Is "theory", as it relates to science, another word for "opinion"?

It is? Congratulations, idiot.

Posted by: The Tim on February 7, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, hotspock, for letting us know that we are "ill-advised".

I so want you to frame everything for me "albeit minor" in the future.

Cut first, balance later.

I said it seemed ill-advised to me. Sheesh.

Look, I want this story to have legs as badly as you do. But when you attack me for trying to focus the criticism, you are no better than a right-wing ideologue. In fact, in many ways you undermine legitimate critique of the adminstration.

Posted by: hostpock on February 7, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

If Al (and his ilk - and make no mistake, they *are* an "ilk") wants to look at alternate theories of universal creation, check out this one - it's about as good as Intelligent Design: www.timecube.com

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 7, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

I don't pretend to NOT be arrogant.

You assume you are not.

Just lousy writing, that's all.

Posted by: The Hague on February 7, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, I was calling you arrogant.

Just to make things clear.

(if you can't unwind in these forums, go somewhere more civil - I do all the time. Every tone has its place.)

Posted by: The Hague on February 7, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

I don't pretend to NOT be arrogant. You assume you are not. Just lousy writing, that's all.

You don't pretend to NOT be a jerk, either. Good night.

Posted by: hotspock on February 7, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

However, had he rolled over on the Watergate break-in, that probably would have been the end of it, and he probably would have served out his second term.

Maybe. People forget that the whole reason for not rolling over on Watergate--other than the Nixonian tendency, mirrored in spades by Smirky, to dig in his heels simply because he's mad at someone questioning him--was to avoid having to answer for a whole host of nasties that Watergate would unearth. Everything from the Segretti dirty tricks program to the Ellsberg psychiatrist's office break-in to a heinous misuse of campaign funds was in danger of coming out...plus, some administration figures allege, a lot of stuff that never did see the light of day.

But on the rest of it...couldn't agree more. And before all this is over, Harding will look like a choirboy.

Posted by: shortstop on February 7, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

And how, sir, should we "focus" our "criticism"?

You didn't say ANYTHING CONSTRUCTIVE in your posts.

Lousy writing.

Good night.

Posted by: The Hague on February 7, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

How come nobody says(I.D is just a theory).

Posted by: a poor Iraqi on February 7, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

What does the Church of Scientology say about this topic.(It is too a Church)

Posted by: a poor Iraqi on February 7, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

What does the Church of Scientology say about this topic.(It is too a Church)Posted by: a poor Iraqi

Who cares? But it probably has something to do with a superior race of aliens that talked only to L. Ron Hubbard (who cribbed his best material from Joseph Smith).

Posted by: Jeff II on February 7, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Don't be hatin' now
Xenu knows all

Posted by: Xenu on February 7, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

sofla -- have an executive summary of Hoyle's latest and greatest?

Posted by: B on February 7, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

In no way to defend this clown Deutch - quite the contrary - jeez, I always thought the Big Bang had the effect of affirmed God's existance. Not that any of our theories need to do that, of course, but it certainly is more affirming than, say, the old Steady State theory. Deutch is another example of ye of little actual faith.

Posted by: AMax on February 7, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II: But it probably has something to do with a superior race of aliens that talked only to L. Ron Hubbard (who cribbed his best material from Joseph Smith).

I've read that L. Ron Hubbard, addressing a convention of science fiction writers in the 1940s (of which he was one at the time), said "It's all very well writing stories for the pulp magazines at three cents a word, but if a man really wanted to become wealthy, he would start his own religion."

Got to give the man credit for follow through.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 7, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Are high school students expected to bring the accumulated knowledge of man and rigorous scientific technique to bear on the truth of opposing hypotheses?"

If we have any hope of competing with the Chinese or the Indians or the Europeans during this century high school students should all be expected to learn the scientific method and how to bring rigorous scientific technique to bear on the truth of opposing hypotheses.

We just don't have enough people to waste a single high school student.

Can all high school students be PhDs in physics? No. No chance. Can all or nearly all of them learn how to think scientifically. Absolutely, and they should, especially if we intend they compete with kids who do.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 7, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

How come nobody says(I.D is just a theory).

Because it doesn't even rise to that level.

Posted by: Nemo on February 7, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers: If we have any hope of competing with the Chinese or the Indians or the Europeans during this century high school students should all be expected to learn the scientific method and how to bring rigorous scientific technique to bear on the truth of opposing hypotheses.

True, and even more basically, they need to learn the body of accumulated knowledge and understanding that is the product of science, and to understand how this knowledge and understanding was obtained, and the nature and limits of this knowledge and understanding. Even people who will never in their lives have any occasion to "bring rigorous scientific technique to bear on the truth of opposing hypotheses" should understand the nature, the power, and the limitations of "scientific technique" and what it has contributed to human knowledge and understanding.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 7, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Is Georgie's last name pronounced 'Dutch' or 'Douche'?

Wonder if his federal employment application says that he graduated from A&M?

Posted by: grape_crush on February 7, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Can all high school students be PhDs in physics? No. No chance. Can all or nearly all of them learn how to think scientifically. Absolutely, and they should, especially if we intend they compete with kids who do. Posted by: Ron Byers

We debate this issue here frequently.

In the last century, it was the Japanese who we needed to keep pace with. Having taught in Japan for three years and knowing more about the culture than is healthy, I can tell you that we had next to nothing to fear if that was our previous benchmark of academic achievement. Group dynamics and industrial organization, well that was a different matter.

I suspect that the same is probably true with the Chinese and Indians today. The latter are supposedly turning out engineers of all stripes by the boat load with the result being that you have a lot of engineers working in call centers because there relatively few jobs for engineers in Indian, and only so many in the U.S. for those lucky enough to get VISAs.

I can't say where the Chinese are headed. But I suspect that for at least another decade their commercial and industrial efforts will be concentrated on filling the spiritual void we have here in the U.S. with more and cheaper "stuff" mostly designed (still) by the Japanese.

People forget that individual productivity is so much higher today than it was during the last big science/technology push in the 1960s. Engineering is overrated for that reason. I'd like to see more money dumped into biological and chemical research to combat the more likely scenerio of being infected with something like avian flu or SARS, and in reducing all forms of pollution.

If the Chinese really want to do themselves a favor, rather than worrying about how to better service Western consumer needs (surely they have enough scientist to spare) or in building a better domestically equipped military, how about figuring out how to keep the Gobi Desert from spreading east and converting all their coal-fired power plants to some clean technology (boy those 2008 Games in Beijing are going to be cough, fun, cough)? Then all they have to do is emulate the Japanese in terms of fertility, and they might make something of their country.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 7, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Psst! Hey Pickles! I just farted...

Posted by: George (Ass of Death) Bush on February 7, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'm posting this here and on the FISA thread. I think it's important.

This has been a subject on several other threads, so I did a little research to see if we, as a country, are legally at war. Despite what many say, including Professor Volokh, I don't think we can legally say our country is at war. Here is my reasoning.

Congress passed legislation in 1976 terminating all existing declared national emergencies, and that statutory provision continues in effect despite the present United States involvement in Iraq. See 50 U.S.C. 1601. The United States has declared war on other nations eleven times in its history, the last time being June 5, 1942, when war was declared against Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. The United States did not specifically declare war in either Afghanistan (military action authorized by Congress on September 18, 2001) or Iraq (H.J. Res. 114, October 16, 2002).

The current situation in Afghanistan and Iraq resembles Vietnam. The United States never declared war in Vietnam. Authorization for the Vietnam War was provided by the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, August 7, 1964, and on March 4, 1965, the State Department issued this statement:

The fact that military hostilities have been taking place in Southeast Asia does not bring about the existence of a state of war, which is a legal characterization of a situation rather than a factual description. What we have in Viet Nam is armed aggression from the North against the Republic of Vietnam. Pursuant to South Vietnamese request and consultations between our two Governments, South Viet Nam and the United States are engaged in collective defense against that armed aggression. The inherent right of individual and collective self-defense is recognized in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

Department State Bulletein, Vol. LII, No. 1343 at 403 (Mar.22, 1965).

Now, there is some dicta that supports in case law that supports the view that a state of war doesn't have to be declared to exist. Eugene Volokh mentions this here http://volokh.com/2002_09_08_volokh_archive.html#85444270 . The good professor doesn't quite go into all the case law. In Montoya v. United States, 180 U.S. 261, 266-67 (1901), the Supreme Court implied that war may exist without a declaration and that such war may be levied by a group that is not a nation:

If [the] hostile acts [of a collection of marauders] are directed against the government or against all settlers with whom they come in contact. . . it is evidence of act of war. . .
We recall no instance where Congress has made a formal declaration of war against an Indian nation or tribe; but the fact Indians are engaged in acts of general hostility to settlers, especially if the government has deemed it necessary to dispatch a military force for their subjugation, is sufficient to constitute a state of war.

Montoya at 266-267.

This case is based on two earlier cases: in The Prize Cases (The Brig Amy Warwick), 67 U.S. 635, 666, 668-669, the Court made the following statements: [w]ar may exist without a declaration on either side, and [i]f a war be made by invasion of a foreign nation, the President is not only authorized but bound to resist force by force. In Bas v. Tingy, 4 U.S. 37, 40-44 (1800) several justices agreed that a state of war may exist between two nations without a formal declaration of war.

A series of more recent cases have defined the term war for purposes of determining whether an insured party may be compensated for loss, and provide a better framework for determining when a nation is at war. In Pan American World Airways, Inc. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 505 f.2d 989 (2nd Cir. 1974), the court stated that war is a course of hostility engaged in by entities that have at least significant attributes of sovereignty. A later case, Holiday Inns Inc., v. Aetna Insurance Co., 571 F.Supp.1460 (1983), permitted Holiday Inns to recover on a policy by Aetna, as war, a peril that would have excluded coverage, did not exist. The Court held that war exists when it is between sovereign or quasi-sovereign states, and that no sovereign or quasi-sovereign states were involved in the destruction of the Holiday Inn in Beirut. Although the earlier cases have not been explicitly overruled, the more recent cases better address the issue of what constitutes a war and are more persuasive.

Since the United States currently has diplomatic relations with both Iraq and Afghanistan, and no war was declared against either country, personally, I don't think we are, legally, in a state of war.

Bart

Posted by: Bartholemew Throckmorton IV on February 7, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

sofla,

Good stuff.

When I was in college a lifetime ago, I studied the theories of Carl von Weisacker, Fred Whipple and Fred Hoyle. Collectively we referred to their work as the Weisacker, Whipple, Hoyle Cosmology which sort of evolved into Fred Hoyle's Steady State Theory. As I recall a guy named George Gamow brought some previous work to prominance with a Big Bang Hypothesis. At the time the two theories were competing. The competition ended when a couple of engineers named Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson working for Bell Labs discovered that some microwave background radiation exists in every direction and thus proved the existence of the big bang. I was in college in 1966 and Wilson and Penzias did their work in 1965. There was still a lot of debate when I was in school. The steady state boys were still holding on. The steady state theory was pretty well accepted as a reasonable scientific theory before Penzias and Wilson's experimental work. The speed with which that work changed the scientific theory has impressed me the rest of my life.

Everybody is entitled to their own theory, nobody is entitled to their own facts. If new facts are uncovered the theory changes. That doesn't happen in religion or intelligent design.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 7, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

teece,

Hmmm . . . spent most of yesterday and a chunk of today editing the website I publish every Tuesday, so the AP Style Guide was sitting right here. AP recommends "big-bang theory." [Oops: I see that this was in the linked article as well.]

I repeat: What exactly is the problem here? We are not talking about this guy haranguing scientists; we are talking about this guy issuing a style decision to a Web designer. It's a perfectly reasonable style decision, consistent with the most widely-used general-publication style guide in this country (and I think we can reasonably assume that we're talking here about material to be read by the general public, not specifically by other scientists). The only occasion for hoopla seems to be that he mentioned religion. Well, I did say that the guy appeared to be a prize ass.

Not even worth blogging about. (Yeah, yeah, so why am I commenting on the post? Whaddaya want, consistency or something?)

Posted by: waterfowl on February 7, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

It's illustrative of a pattern. Illustrative of the quality of people put in place by the Bush boyz.

Of course it's worth blogging about.

Anything is worth blogging about.

Posted by: The Hague on February 7, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

I should have added that the AP entry for "big-bang theory" goes on to describe the "oscillating theory" (that's the Big Bang/Big Crunch/next Big Bang one) and the "steady-state theory."

Query to anyone who might know: What, if anything, is the scientific consensus about what caused the Big Bang? I took tons of physics at Cal, but no cosmology, and the last I heard on that subject consisted of journalistic accounts of Stephen Hawking's speculations, which (since the journalists themselves hadn't any clue what anything meant) were basically unintelligible anyway. Granted that we know the universe is expanding, and supposing that we can deduce from that an explosion a hell of a long time ago, what happened before that? (And, just because I'm in a devil's-advocatey mood at the moment, is any conjecture we might have "science"?)

Posted by: waterfowl on February 7, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm: "we are talking about this guy issuing a style decision to a Web designer"

I would be very, very reluctant to edit Hansen's words, and I am a lot more than 24 and know a lot more than the kid ever will.

Didn't you read this: "It is not the job of public-affairs officers," Dr. Griffin wrote in an e-mail message to the agency's 19,000 employees, "to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA's technical staff."

Posted by: Guy Banister on February 7, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

Waterfowl,

What happened before the big bang nobody knows. That is where science ends and religion or whatever you want to call it begins.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 7, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

I was lonely.

I spread myself out across time and space.

Each one of you, each particle of reality, is an extension of myself.

Sorry about that.

Posted by: Mr. Topps on February 7, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

"What happened before the big bang nobody knows. . ."

--yet.


Off topic, but you've got to read this on Stephen Cambone,


http://www.counterpunch.com/stclair02072006.html


He's Dick Cheney's rival for king rat.

Posted by: cld on February 7, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

The phrase "big bang" was coined as a phrase of derision. But over time as the evidence accumulated it became the mainsteam theory (in the scientific sense of the word) of the scientific community.

I think in order to ensure consistency, the creationists and their little brained ID cousins need to start talking about the "round earth theory," "gravity theory," "thermodynamics theory," and so forth - since the latter all have essentially the same scientific status as the Big Bang.

But such trivial issues of terminology aside, did anyone else notice that this so-called "press officer" does not in fact know how to use commas!

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

Posted by: baked potato on February 7, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl on February 7, 2006 at 8:13 PM:

We are not talking about this guy haranguing scientists...

Actually, we are. Lil' Georgie has also been in the news recently for a little something else...from an earlier NYT article:

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.
The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.
Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.
The fresh efforts to quiet him, Dr. Hansen said, began in a series of calls after a lecture he gave on Dec. 6 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. In the talk, he said that significant emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, particularly in the case of motor vehicles, and that without leadership by the United States, climate change would eventually leave the earth "a different planet."
After that speech and the release of data by Dr. Hansen on Dec. 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century, officials at the headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr. Hansen that there would be "dire consequences" if such statements continued, those officers and Dr. Hansen said in interviews.
Among the restrictions, according to Dr. Hansen and an internal draft memorandum he provided to The Times, was that his supervisors could stand in for him in any news media interviews.
In one call, George Deutsch, a recently appointed public affairs officer at NASA headquarters, rejected a request from a producer at National Public Radio to interview Dr. Hansen, said Leslie McCarthy, a public affairs officer responsible for the Goddard Institute.
Citing handwritten notes taken during the conversation, McCarthy said Deutsch called N.P.R. "the most liberal" media outlet in the country. She said that in that call and others, Deutsch said his job was "to make the president look good" and that as a White House appointee that might be Deutsch's priority.
"He's not trying to create a war over this," said Larry D. Travis, an astronomer who is Dr. Hansen's deputy at Goddard, "but really feels very strongly that this is an obligation we have as federal scientists, to inform the public."
Dr. Travis said he walked into McCarthy's office in mid-December at the end of one of the calls from Deutsch demanding that Dr. Hansen be better controlled.

So, IMHO, this is worth blogging about.

What exactly is the problem here?

I dunno. You tell me.

Well, I did say that the guy appeared to be a prize ass.

Looks like you called it correctly without even knowing why.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 7, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

baked potato: I did notice. My eye got hung up on the place where that comma should have been (between "be" and "to").

But are you also arguing (I can't tell) that the semicolon after "fact" should be a comma? Although it's become common usage to use commas in such instances, I remain convinced that a semicolon is preferable. It's perfectly correct, in any case.

And, while Deutsch is worth blogging about as a typical representative of the intellectual perfidy that is Bushco, his weak grasp of grammar hardly sets him apart among press officers. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: shortstop on February 7, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

What exactly is the problem here?

Massive scientific ignorance. Coming from someone in charge of a scientific agency. All because of religious beliefs.

WHAT THE HELL DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND ABOUT THIS?

And, oh, yeah, the political appointees ARE haranguing the real scientists. Do pay attention....

Posted by: gwangung on February 7, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

If it makes anyone feel better, I understand that there is no longer a journalism department at Texas A & M. They killed it a while back. Not because of this guy, presumably.

Posted by: BWR on February 7, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for posting that, grape crush. "Prize ass" would seem to be an overly benign descriptor. Oh, well, feeling "devil's advocatey" is hard work! Hard!

They killed it a while back. Not because of this guy, presumably.

But can we be sure? I think not.

Posted by: shortstop on February 7, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Grape_Crush,

You rarely fail to impress. Great post.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 7, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

I always liked Issac Asimov's "Relativity of Wrong" theory. Some believe the world is flat - others believe it to be round - As it turns out they're both wrong - the earth is an Oblate Spheroid....
So, although both are wrong, it would seem the the round earth proponents are closer to the truth than the flat earth proponents... in this world of science vs intelligent design I'm simply placing my bets on the scientists being closer to the truth (round earth) then the ID folks (flat earth).....I see no hope in placing my belief in people who can see no further then their fathers religion...

Posted by: Truth to power on February 7, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

no texans in this group , because i do not see one aggie joke ; even though george douchebag is a joke.EX-TEX

Posted by: EX-TEX on February 7, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to point out to the defenders of this poorly qualified individual that even though the Big Bang Theory is a Theory, so is just about everything historical. Reality is underpinned by consensus based narrative - this includes human history.

Here's an illustration of what I mean (Al and FreedomFighter):

"Despite the fact that there is significant documentation establishing that the French Revolution took place, no one alive today was around to see it. Although the French Revolution Theory is widely accepted, it probably will never be proved; consequentially, leaving a number of tough, unanswered questions about the nature of the modern French state."

Theory has become a buzzword in the deconstruction of science by the right, hoping to distort the notion of scientific consensus to insert uncertanties and justify the encroachment of religion into the public sphere. We all know that the Big Bang Theory cannot be proven - adding the word theory is useless except to capitalize on a modicum of uncertainty to promote a non-scientific agenda. Theory is understood and used by laypeople (like Deutsch) in the same way that scientists use the word hypothesis. Theory is actually implies a robust and well founded idea that can conceivably be disproven.

Science shouldn't be politicized. If it is, the United States will fall behind in scientific endeavor to the wonderfully secular societies of Europe, Japan, and China.

Posted by: AmericanInOsaka on February 7, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Ex-Tex, I told mr. shortstop about Mr. Deutsch, and having one as a boss, he made the requisite Aggie jokes. A great boss, actually, who makes Aggie jokes about himself. But then being a black man at A&M likely requires keeping one's sense of humor in good working order.

Posted by: shortstop on February 7, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

[blushing]

Aw shucks, guys...Hopefully I've redeemed myself in Ron Byers' eyes for the Child Support thread back in January...

Try not to be too hard on waterfowl. She's one of the few honest (slightly) right-of-center commenters that occasionally posts here.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 7, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

China is not really the main challenger to the US in terms of space exploration - it is of course that quiet achiever India.

How many people know that the US is planning to put a small payload on the upcoming Indian unmanned moon landing?

The scientific objectives of Chandrayan-I, which should zoom into space in 2007-08 at the head of the four-stage Indian-built PSLV, include preparation of a three-dimensional atlas of the regions on the moon and the chemical mapping of the entire lunar surface. India will then join the elite club of space-faring nations that have the wherewithal to undertake such complex and challenging space missions...

...The government-controlled Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is leading the country's attempt to join the elite lunar club. ISRO has said the Indian lunar mission will not be an exercise in reinventing the wheel but will be a quantum jump. The mission is being viewed by ISRO as a stepping-stone to far more ambitious projects that will include landing a robot on the lunar surface and visits by Indian spacecraft to other planets of the solar system.

In an additional boost, ISRO has also announced that the country's first fully commercial satellite launch will take place around April or May when the Italian satellite Agile will be carried to outer space aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-8.


All Indian designed and built, of course.

And in other news, NASA is involved in discussions about the meaning of 'theory'.

Pretty sad - under this administration it looks like the US has started a relative scientific and technical decline.

Posted by: floopmeister on February 7, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, pretty sad, but it's to be expected, since this Administration considers competency to be a Deomcratic value....

Posted by: gwangung on February 7, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Nah, their attitude towards 'competency' is like their attitude towards true 'morality':

It's been tried, and found...

...to be too difficult.

Posted by: floopmeister on February 7, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't George Deutsch remind anybody else of the talentless apparatchiks who tormented Shostakovich, Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov?

I'm still working on the assonance, but slipshod Lilliputian Lysenko, sounds pretty good for an insult to be getting on with.

It was hard to find a rhyme for Lysenko.

John Hill

Posted by: John Hill on February 7, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

Guy Banister,

Didn't you read this: "It is not the job of public-affairs officers," Dr. Griffin wrote in an e-mail message to the agency's 19,000 employees, "to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA's technical staff."

And "engineering or scientific material" is going out on publicly-accesible websites? What are the people who copy-edit for NASA's publications (online or otherwise) supposed to do, exactly? Not touch anything, because it might change the meaning? I mean, I copy-edit myself, so I know that it does sometimes happen that an edit changes the intended meaning; but the worst anyone has said so far about putting "theory" after "Big Bang" is that it's cumbersome and unnecessary, not that it changes any meaning. I don't think that's an "alter[ation], filt[ration], or adjust[ment]" of any "material," just ordinary editorial process.

grape_crush,

So, IMHO, this is worth blogging about.

This being a reference to an incident (and NYT article) that Kevin didn't blog about. Glad you brought it up, but you really ought to be talking to him, not me.

gwangung,

And, oh, yeah, the political appointees ARE haranguing the real scientists. Do pay attention....

Yes, yes, but what Kevin posted was not an instance of it. It was a frickin' style question. Lord knows that I've been held to AP style enough in the last few months by my own boss (new boss; we didn't work from AP before) that this doesn't strike me as particularly strange.

shortstop,

Thanks for posting that, grape crush. "Prize ass" would seem to be an overly benign descriptor. Oh, well, feeling "devil's advocatey" is hard work! Hard!

Gee, you're all love today, aren't you? Not that either you or grape_crush actually bothered, y'know, answering the devil's-advocatey question, but then why should I spoil your fun? Ron Byers did answer it, I think correctly, and you might bear his answer in mind.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 7, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

According to nasawatch.com, Deutsch has resigned from NASA.

Posted by: Bill H on February 7, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hi guys, I haven't commented here in about a year, but I thought everyone would find this fun. This Deutsch character pissed me off enough to make a little movie about his nonesense.

Hope you enjoy and (unless you're a neo-con) it doesn't annoy.

Posted by: Mark Adams on February 7, 2006 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Waterfowl, regarding your Satanic Advocacy, it implies a contradiction to ask what happened before an event that is postulated as the beginning of everything.

What happened before the beginning?
Why, the real beginning, of course.

The Big Bang is theorised as The Beginning. Asking what happened before that is the same as asking what/who created The Creator.

Alpha Point is still Alpha Point - neither religion or science can solve that contradiction.

Posted by: floopmeister on February 7, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Bill H: Wow, that must have just happened. I was at Nasawatch less than an hour ago. Well, no matter; George will likely land another nice cushy Bushco patronage spot. Perhaps he'll go to FEMA, arguing with the Army Corps of Engineers about levee-building techniques in between selecting agency administrators' shirts and ties for such photo ops as Category 3 hurricanes. Or he might end up at the NIH, where he'll write press releases urging (Jesus-focused) prayer as an antidote to non-insurance-covered maladies.

waterfowl: I am resisting the urge to copy edit your post of 10:03 and will limit myself to saying: "all love today"? Huh? You love to play rough with the sarcasm, but cry foul at the first verbal volley that's returned. Would you be more at home watching Oprah?

Posted by: shortstop on February 7, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps he'll go to FEMA, arguing with the Army Corps of Engineers about levee-building techniques....

Oh, nicely done.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 7, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Political Officers

Political Officers in every government department.

Political Officers in every government administration.

Political Officers approving all public information.

Political Officers defining correct speech.

Political Officers turning in those who don't speak correctly.

Political Officers "We can't scuttle our brokedown sub and surrender to the enemy destroyer because it will make the Fuehrer look bad."

What exactly is the problem here?

Posted by: fracas_futile on February 7, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop,

I am resisting the urge to copy edit your post of 10:03 and will limit myself to saying: "all love today"? Huh? You love to play rough with the sarcasm, but cry foul at the first verbal volley that's returned. Would you be more at home watching Oprah?

I "cried foul" at nothing, and you might at least have noticed that you were fourth in line in the comment in question, not "first." I answered everything civilly up to that point, and only made a mild response to your much more offensive comment, which (if I may) didn't have anything to do with what I actually wrote.

I have successfully managed never to see Oprah in my life. That includes the show as well as the woman herself. I'll go back to my new CD of Jorge Liderman's Aires de Sefarad now. You can go revisit Oprah if you feel like it.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 7, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, who was President on December 2, 1997???
Posted by: Al on February 7, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Who gives a flying f*ck? The point of this thread distinguishes the difference between science and the needs of certain politicals to pander to the religious demands of fundamenalist christian-wannabes.

Posted by: jcricket on February 7, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Chuckles. Heard about your little run-in with the authorities. The circumstances were pretty funny; we enjoyed them immensely. Less amusing for you, of course, but that's how it works, isn't it?

Posted by: shortstop on February 7, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Someone on scientificactivist suggested that the all of the administration's unqualified-except-for- their - political-reliability appointees be called . . .

. . . Brownies.

I like that.
Posted by: Stefan Jones on February 7, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

This is actually quite grand! Going forward, let's "knight" them as "Brownie Al" "Brownie McA" , "Brownie rdw" , etc.

Because really they all do a heckuva job here on PA!!!

Kudos to you Stefan!!

Posted by: jcricket on February 7, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

People are starting to stand up to these fucks!

Cya, Deutsch.

By the way...how much did your family give to the Bush campaign?

Good luck getting a real job (outside of the Cato Institute) without a college degree.

Posted by: The Hague on February 7, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Brownies" it is.

Great "anti" branding.

Posted by: The Hague on February 7, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl on February 7, 2006 at 10:03 PM:

This being a reference to an incident (and NYT article) that Kevin didn't blog about.

Actually, Kevin did devote a few words to this topic in an earlier posting. George Deutsch is the subject of this topic and the larger issue concerns the manipulation of government agencies and personnel for partisan/ideological purposes...Not a 'frickin style question', as you seem to think.

Not that either you or grape_crush actually bothered, y'know, answering the devil's-advocatey question

Wasn't trying to, 'cause I don't think that the question 'is any conjecture we might have "science"' was particularly relevant to this topic.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 7, 2006 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

Damn linky. Here's Kev's earlier posting featuring Deutsch.

Plus, I screwed up the italics placement. I'm slipping...

Posted by: grape_crush on February 7, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

NYTimes article on Deutsch:

Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his rsum on file at the agency asserted.
Posted by: bad Jim on February 7, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Chuckles. Heard about your little run-in with the authorities. The circumstances were pretty funny; we enjoyed them immensely. Less amusing for you, of course, but that's how it works, isn't it?

Oh, do tell!

Posted by: floopmeister on February 7, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

grape_crush, the link above is bringing up a blank page, and I'm not sure how to get at the guts of it.

As a matter of fact the "conjecture" is very important, because there's a big difference, for one thing, between a "Big Bang" universe and an "oscillating" one, from a philosophical point of view. And I still want someone to explain how the entire universe, rules and all, is supposed to have sprung out of absolutely nowhere all by itself.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 7, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Another paragraph from the Times article:

A copy of Mr. Deutsch's rsum was provided to The Times by someone working in NASA headquarters who, along with many other NASA employees, said Mr. Deutsch played a small but significant role in an intensifying effort at the agency to exert political control over the flow of information to the public.

Guess the kid's not too popular with his co-workers.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 7, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

The Big Bang is a theory. So is Democracy. Neither one has been proven to exist despite the best efforts of great people. George W. Bush is discrediting both. The mightiest labors succumb to the lowest worm. All hail King George W. the First....the final victor over all those who only talked.

Posted by: murmeister on February 7, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

And I still want someone to explain how the entire universe, rules and all, is supposed to have sprung out of absolutely nowhere all by itself.

As I mentioned when 'answering' your question above - the question itself is a paradox, and therefore unanswerable by either science or religion.

"The Big Bang is theorised as The Beginning. Asking what happened before that is the same as asking what/who created The Creator."

Posted by: floopmeister on February 7, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

I have one small point of agreement with Al. The info-piece he copied may well have been written at any time, including 1997. The problem is, it's on the NASA-teen site.

I suppose, if you are trying to explain science to most Americans, then something aimed at 13-year-olds is about the best you can hope for. But there is more. The word "theory" is quite different in its normal use and in the use by the fundies. And it is quite clear that Deutsch's use of "theory" here was intended to parallel the use by creationists and IDers, not even the teeny-bopper use on the NASA web site.

What is worse, the teen-NASA description is likely all he knows about the Big Bang (until he got to NASA he probably thought the Big Bang was something that Bill Clinton did with cigars). Furthermore, Deutsch openly tried to insert religion into his argument.

But here comes the good news. George Deutsch is not a martyr to the cause! The first MSM story on the subject (aside from the Hansen fiasco, Dan Froomkin column and some British commentary)?


A Young Bush Appointee Resigns His Post at NASA

Posted by: buck turgidson on February 8, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

h, Chuckles. Heard about your little run-in with the authorities. The circumstances were pretty funny; we enjoyed them immensely. Less amusing for you, of course, but that's how it works, isn't it?

Oh, do tell!
Posted by: floopmeister on February 7, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK


Oh, please, yes!!! Do tell!!!

Posted by: jcricket on February 8, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

The kid was a hack who talked above his pay grade, got busted for lying on his resume, and got thrown under the train.

It's probably symptomatic of deeper flaws and plenty reason to keep hammering, but it's not exactly Watergate.

Posted by: fugly on February 8, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Also from the NYTimes article--

Yesterday, Dr. Hansen said that the questions about Mr. Deutsch's credentials were important, but were a distraction from the broader issue of political control of scientific information.
"He's only a bit player," Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Deutsch. " The problem is much broader and much deeper and it goes across agencies. That's what I'm really concerned about."
"On climate, the public has been misinformed and not informed," he said. "The foundation of a democracy is an informed public, which obviously means an honestly informed public. That's the big issue here."
Posted by: Nemo on February 8, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

shortstop ~ you're killin' me! You gotta share....it isn't fair to tease us like this....

Chuckles....authorities....????????????

Posted by: jcricket on February 8, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Check the post directly following where I corrected the link, waterfowl...my fault for not previewing.

As a matter of fact the "conjecture" is very important...

Interesting, yes, and also way off-topic...

Posted by: grape_crush on February 8, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

A couple of points: 1) I am a bit late to the party--I stepped out for a while and did not post the NYT link right away; now that I put it up, I see a bunch of people already found it; 2) the resignation will be spun as "the resume fall-out"--that is, they'll claim that he resigned because he lied on the resume, not because he's done anything wrong AT the agency; 3) Dems, as usual, will fail to capitalize on this--yet another competency scandal, comlete with bad resume, and there will not be a peep from them to the press or to even to each other trumpeting "the culture or cronyism and incompetence" to go hand in hand with the congressional "culture of corruption".

I said, "Let's make it his last month on the job," because I thought making it his last day on the job would be too much to hope for. Now, the real question is, will anyone keep track of his meteoric career after this point? Is going to be hired by some senator as the aide in charge of protecting science? Maybe go to the Education Department and join the new science literacy initiative? Or maybe to go speak to College Republicans at $60,000 a pop, a la Brownie? The possibilities are endless. Keep your eyes peeled.

Posted by: buck turgidson on February 8, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

We're getting there. How about "New Orleans Brownie Points" ?

Posted by: opit on February 8, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

I repeat: What exactly is the problem here?

I already gave you my problem here, waterfowl, at length. Did you not read it or do you just disagree?

This is most certainly NOT something about a style manual.

Posted by: teece on February 8, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

And I still want someone to explain how the entire universe, rules and all, is supposed to have sprung out of absolutely nowhere all by itself.

Some super theories have something to say about this. Others don't (string theory, for instance, can provide a reason for the Big Bang. It's a completely unproven theory, though, so who know if it's any good)

But currently, all the evidence points toward a Big Bang. The fact that that hurts your brain (what was before?) is 100% irrelevant. That's what deep-sixed Einstein's career (an insistence that QM was wrong because Einstein did not like it).

As it turns out, empiricism is all you have. The Big Bang poses some unpleasant questions (what was there before the Big Bang?). Maybe we'll find answers for those questions, or maybe we won't. But right now, the Big Bang is on firm ground as a well-established theory borne out by experimental evidence.

It's not important that it sits well with the human mind.

Posted by: teece on February 8, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

It's a deal, Cheney, as long as by "best" you mean "worst." ;-p

Posted by: teece on February 8, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK
"Gravity 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 a system of Intelligent Falling by a creator."

It continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that the bloc of religious-leaning voters would only be getting a scientific explanation from NASA. That would mean we had failed to reward the very people who voted us into office and rely on our patronizing the most."


Posted by: Windhorse on February 8, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

teece, I read your "problem" and responded to it as best I could. And I really do think it is "something about a style manual," having personally been (figuratively) beaten over the head with AP for the last few months. There really are editors who insist on AP for everything seen by the public. Trust me.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 8, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

In a similar matter, from today's Oregonian:

The federal government has abruptly suspended funding for Oregon State University research that concluded federally sponsored logging after the 2002 Biscuit fire in southwest Oregon set back the recovery of forests.
The action came after a team of scientists from OSU and the U.S. Forest Service published their results last month in Science, the nation's leading scientific journal.
Posted by: Nemo on February 8, 2006 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

No, in the beginning, XXX created God, and then God created the world, etc...

That's it, isn't it?

Posted by: floopmeister on February 8, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

First a boner, now a douche...

Posted by: fedUp on February 8, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

We are willing to accept Worst. President. Ever. As long as Rummy gets Best-Secretary-of-Defense-the-United-States-Has-Ever-Had.

How about Worst President Ever, Worst SecDef Ever, and Worst Theocrat-Wannabe Chuckles Ever?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on February 8, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

What do we get in exchange for THAT, Dustbin?

A copy of John Edwards's Son, 500 Cut And Pastes, And Other Stupid Ayatollah Chuckles Tricks.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on February 8, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Now, everyone here is confusing 'the beginning' with the start of time. Until the sun was created to measure time, there wasn't any. The beginning simply refers to the fact that this is where our story starts...

How's that for rationalizing ID????

And you all thought I had fallen asleep!!.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: jcricket on February 8, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

OK, so in the beginning, XXX created the compressed matter, and then the Big Bang created the universe, etc...

That's it, isn't it?

Posted by: floopmeister on February 8, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

Oh yeah....forgot about Alaska and the Arctic Circle six months of the year.

Never mind.

Posted by: jcricket on February 8, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

OK, I am seriously signing off here. Y'all have fun.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 8, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

Goodnight waterfowl. It has been a fun evening!

Posted by: jcricket on February 8, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

But first XXXX created XXX, after XXXXX created XXXX, and after XXXXXX created XXXXX...

Yep, looks like an unsolvable paradox to me.

Been fun.

Posted by: floopmeister on February 8, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

We are willing to accept Worst. President. Ever. As long as Rummy gets Best-Secretary-of-Defense-the-United-States-Has-Ever-Had.

Part of what makes Bush the Worst. President. Ever. is that he refuses to fire the Worst. SecDef. Ever.

Posted by: Irony Man on February 8, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and as far Deutsch and his alleged promotion is concerned...I guess in this administration, shit rolls uphill.

Posted by: Irony Man on February 8, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

Pyrrhic Victory.

Posted by: hotspock on February 8, 2006 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/08/politics/08nasa.html
A Young Bush Appointee Resigns His Post at NASA
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: February 8, 2006

George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word "theory" at every mention of the Big Bang, resigned yesterday, agency officials said.

Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his rsum on file at the agency asserted.


But he was doin' a heck of a job, right?

Posted by: CFShep on February 8, 2006 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

You should put the link about George Deutsch under "George Deutsch" rather than "this post at world O'Crap" so that the Google rankings continue...

Posted by: Chuck on February 8, 2006 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

As for the worst ever - historians might still be able to point to U.S. Grant as the nadir, but I do think Dear Leader's overtaken Harding in the race to the bottom, if only because Harding died of 'food poisoning' before he could do as much damage.

Posted by: CFShep on February 8, 2006 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

I believe Al's "point" was that NASA was using the word "theory" after Big Bang on it's web sites well before GWB was (s)elected - in fact, when Al Gore was the statutory head of the space agency - go figure.

Posted by: Cheney on February 7, 2006 at 11:06 PM

You know what the funniest thing is? As one of the posters (ChiSoxFan, I believe) explained eloquently in a later post, the Big Bang is a theory. But it's a scientific theory, and in science everything is a theory, and will always be. An example: today no one questions gravity, but gravity is also a theory, in the sense that, if someone suddenly starts levitating, the theory of gravity will have to be revised to account for it. That's what a theory means in science.

So it's not exactly incorrect to refer to the Big Bang as a theory. Do you know what this dumb kid Deutsch did wrong? He disclosed the politics behind his action (the religious motivation-ID). I also don't agree with a government agency censoring a science agency, even if the science agency reports to it - I think scientific censorship should always be peer-based - but if he had stuck to journalistic standardization, citing the AP manuals, for example, he might have gotten away with it.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 8, 2006 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, a question from a foreigner, regarding this ID brouhaha: is this really a huge issue or do I see it being exaggerated?

The reason I ask that is, since I understand that the separation of church and state is such a central tenet of your system of laws (isn't it?), I simply cannot fathom how America as a whole might be really discussing such an abhorrent and absurd proposition as this ID thing. Unless, of course, this is more of an overreaction.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 8, 2006 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

Well, whatever is the quantum of time.

Scientists have actually measured the smallest possible unit of time.

It is the interval between when the light turns green and the ahole behind you honks his horn.

Posted by: Tripp on February 8, 2006 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Brazil,

I don't get your point. The Creationist ID has become an issue for many of us because the proponents are trying to shove it into our public schools and use it to censor scientists.

Some polls show, what, maybe 40% of Americans believe it, or at least agree with some statement referring to it.

Posted by: Tripp on February 8, 2006 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

My point is exactly that: as far as I could keep track of, it was approved in Kansas and discussed (and rejected) in Dover. I don't recall any other instances of it, so that's why I don't know if this is a serious issue in the sense that it could spread throughtout the whole country, or if it's something that is creating a lot of academic discussion but in the end would only be restricted to a few places.

I always saw the poll results saying that americans in a majority (that's what a 'plurality' means in English, btw?) are more likely to believe in creationism than in evolution. Does that mean they would also be willing to discard the separation of church and state by supporting religious teaching in public schools? Or do you believe they don't know the equivalence of both positions? Or maybe they think ID is not religion?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 8, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Poe eschewed the scientific method in his Eureka. He argued instead that he was reasoning from pure intuition

I have been working on an idea that all of nature's dynamics is already known and understood uncounsciously through genetic knowledge and physical experience of stimuli. Poe is already acknowledged for anticipating psychological discoveries and his musings on the origins of the universe are another indication of his special consciousness.

Posted by: Hostile on February 8, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

And the office number for the young wunderkind George Deustch is:

ScienceHQ George Deutsch (202) 358-1324

(courtesy of the NASA Media page...)

Posted by: Yoshi on February 8, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

MOST CORRUPT AND INCOMPENTENT LEADERSHIP SINCE...NIXON. Posted by: The Hague on February 7, 2006 at 6:39 PM

As much of a paranoid wanna-be dictator that Nixon was, he certainly wasn't incompetent.

Boy do I wish Nixon was in the White House instead of Bush. That's how bad things have gotten.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 8, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Brazil Connection,

The ID issue is as big as the President would like to make it.

As long as it involves a few isolated school systems that is probably not too big of an issue, because usually the local people wake up and correct things.

But Bush himself believes in ID and we are starting to see how he has appointed people in his administration who also want to push that idea.

And there is a well-funded group that would very much like to see the elimination of the separation of church and state. They claim that the constitution states no such thing, and they blame 'activist judges' for making the separation.

So, yeah, it is starting to be a big issue to me. The fundies are getting too much power and steering our country away from science and towards religion - specifically their religion.

Posted by: Tripp on February 8, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil,

There was recently a school board in California who tried to insert the ID stuff into some required philosophy class. Also, because Texas buys so many school books many publishers want to go along with what Texas requires and not supply different versions of the texts to different states.

So don't assume that the separation of church and state could never be breached in the US. There is a well funded and determined group that is trying to do just that, and I wouldn't assume anything at this point.

Posted by: Tripp on February 8, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

And there is a well-funded group that would very much like to see the elimination of the separation of church and state. They claim that the constitution states no such thing, and they blame 'activist judges' for making the separation.

Yeah, and Iran seems to be their model. Ironic, isn't it.

Posted by: Irony Man on February 8, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

FYI, George Deutsch has resigned from NASA.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 8, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

FYI, George Deutsch has resigned from NASA.

I look forward with interest to seeing which completely unqualified ass will be appointed in his place.

Posted by: tam1MI on February 8, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

And there is a well-funded group that would very much like to see the elimination of the separation of church and state. They claim that the constitution states no such thing, and they blame 'activist judges' for making the separation.

You're fucking kidding me (can I use this word here?):

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

How the hell can they claim your constitution does not state this? Or do they base their claim on subsequent Supreme Court rulings on the matter?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 8, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil Connection,

They want to amend the Constitution if they have to.

I see that it took a blog writer to expose Mr. Deustch's resume fraud. What were the press doing?

Posted by: Tripp on February 8, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

What were the press doing?

Weather reports, shark attacks, and missing white women.

Posted by: floopmeister on February 8, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: david on February 9, 2006 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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