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(Cosmic Variance)   Twenty-four year old Bush campaign worker with no science background gets rewarded with appointment to NASA, tries to promote intelligent design, discount the Big Bang on NASA's web page. Hilarity ensues   (cosmicvariance.com) divider line 531
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43029 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Feb 2006 at 1:32 PM (8 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-02-05 10:27:32 AM
Wow. This deserves to go green. Absolutely incredible.
 
2006-02-05 10:27:57 AM
Having RTFA, I really hope this gets greenlit. I can't believe the crap this administration has pulled on the science frontier in the past six years. Big Bang just an idea? An idea that competes with ID? Whaaaa?
 
2006-02-05 10:37:36 AM
First the FDA and the morning-after pill, then FEMA and Katrina, now NASA and the Big Bang. We haven't had so much free material for satire and jokes since the Nixon years.

/Vote for green light too.
 
2006-02-05 10:41:33 AM
Mr. Chairman, I and my constituents vote "YEA" on the greenlight of this article.
 
2006-02-05 10:44:32 AM
Just FYI so everyone realizes exactly what the scientists at NASA are dealing with, here's a little more info on the aforementioned appointee

The great thing about science is that truth and facts always prevail, no matter how much people try and censor them. It's just sad that they have to waste so much time and energy fighting these people. *sigh*
 
2006-02-05 10:56:55 AM
And on the 6th day, god created solid rocket boosters, and removed the dinosaurs from this great planet called earth...


/I don't work for N.A.S.A, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
//What a Deutsch bag.
 
2006-02-05 10:57:25 AM
He deserves the smackdown for the "intelligent design" tripe, but the "Big Bang" really is a theory. In fact, it's almost a bunch of competing theories. Inflation? Dark matter? Dark engery?

The "Big Bang" offers a resonable explaination for a lot of otherwise very hard to explain facts, but it's not been "proven", and a lot of the evidence is rather indirect.

As a comparision, the Theory of Relativity has enourmous amounts of direct evidence backing it, and yet it's still a "theory". The Big Bang, while quite possibly where we will end up, has quite a bit less direct evidence.

In fact, the "Big Bang" was originally a derisive term used to mock the theory by Sir Fred Hoyle.

If this guy's trying to leave wiggle room for God, he's an idiot and should not be doing it on our dime. If he's clarifying the "Big Bang" isn't a a closed case then that, by itself, isn't a reason to diss him.

I think the intelligent design bit is enough to boot him out.
 
2006-02-05 11:10:09 AM
aecarol

Deutsch, like every other ID proponent, is using the common definition for the word "theory," i.e. an opinion. The Big Bang, however, is a scientific theory, like eveolution, which has scientific data to support it. If there was no data to support it, it would cease to exist to be a theory and scientists would make another to try and better explain their hypothesis.

This is one of the biggest strawmen fundamentalists throw out there - "It just a theory! It's just their opinion! You have to teach our opinion too!" Wrong. Unfortunately most of the general public can't distinguish between an opinion and a scientific theory either, so their hysterical claims don't go away.
 
2006-02-05 11:28:22 AM
I guess most Bush voters knew and approved of the theocracy they voted to allow the Bush administration to (attempt) to put in place in the US.
 
2006-02-05 11:32:35 AM
A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M,
Explains it all.
 
2006-02-05 12:16:40 PM
Jmast7: Unfortunately most of the general public can't distinguish between an opinion and a scientific theory either, so their hysterical claims don't go away.


I do think that this is vital. The general public needs to learn the difference between a scientific theory: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; and the layman's theory, which more closely resembles a scientific hypothesis.
 
2006-02-05 12:24:05 PM
aecarol: but the "Big Bang" really is a theory.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to drop the word "theory" when you're talking about something as well-known as the Big Bang. Otherwise every press release coming from a science organization would be bloated with repetitions of "theory."

In fact, it's almost a bunch of competing theories. Inflation? Dark matter? Dark engery?

All of which can fall under the Big Bang umbrella.
 
2006-02-05 12:27:52 PM
Agreed Mutilato

But there is hope. Check out this Darwin Exhibit at the New York American Museum of Natural History.

Aside: To all NY farkers BTW, I went last weekend and it's fabulous. Get tickets in advance though, we showed up in early afternoon and all the shows except the very last one of the day were sold out. We got to see much more of the museum than we expected. End aside.

Anyhoo, the exhibit also has this one wonderful segment that absolutely delighted me. What is a theory?.
 
2006-02-05 12:29:12 PM

Here's the NPR interview with James Hansen that Deutsche didn't want you to hear:

http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2006/02/20060203_a_main.asp

NASA and Global Warming
Aired: Friday, February 03, 2006 10-11AM ET

The lead story on page one of the New York Times last Sunday read: top NASA climate scientist says the Bush administration is trying to stop him from speaking out on global warming.

The scientist is James E. Hansen - NASA's number one climate watcher, who says he's been muzzled on a dire threat facing the planet. The media James Hansen was trying to talk to? Well, yes, it was NPR, as the Times reported, but more specifically, it was us -- On Point.

And today he will talk to us about the danger of a different planet being inevitable soon without dramatic action, and the danger of politics cutting the public off from the warnings of their own scientists.

Listen to a conversation with NASA's top climate scientist James E. Hansen -- unmuzzled.
 
2006-02-05 12:31:06 PM
Bush's policy of demonizing the science that doesn't support his policies seems to have come back to bite him in the ass. Didn't he recently admit that America is falling behind the rest of the world in science and technology?
 
2006-02-05 12:44:38 PM
Did anyone expect anything different from an arrogant ninny like Bush? I wonder how long it will be before science that contradicts religious conservatives faith is branded as evil witchcraft. Being willfully ignorant and drunk on your own illusions of righteousness are no way to go through life.
 
2006-02-05 12:44:56 PM
www.kakiseni.com
 
2006-02-05 12:47:25 PM
What you won't read in the NY Times account (or the Fark account for that matter) is what's really happening.

A career scientist, who can't be fired no matter how incompetent he is, wants to use his tenure at the taxpayer expense to advance his personal agenda. Agencies are filled with grumpy guys like Hansen who have an axe to grind after the public didn't elect Kerry or Gore who would have elevated them to more prominent and relevant positions. To get back, they whine to the New York Times -- always eager to listen -- any time they get upset.

This is the byproduct of our absurd career civil servant system. Deutsch can be fired if he doesn't do his job. Hansen can't be fired even though he isn't doing his job, he's advancing the agenda of the administration that lost the election.

Personally, fundamentalists bug me, but the knee jerk reaction to those who don't realize the big bang is a theory shows they're no different than the fundamentalists.
 
2006-02-05 12:51:45 PM
Taxcheat: A career scientist, who can't be fired no matter how incompetent he is, wants to use his tenure at the taxpayer expense to advance his personal agenda.

Fine. Then let science settle the dispute. If he's just advancing a personal agenda without scientific basis, then he'll get reamed when he tried to publish papers about it, and eventually become a nobody.

You don't use the PR department to deal with those kinds of issues.
 
2006-02-05 12:55:25 PM
Taxcheat:

Hansen can't be fired even though he isn't doing his job, he's advancing the agenda of the administration that lost the election.

Bullshiat. He's being harassed for doing his job, which includes discussing any policy that heeds the findings of his research and thousands of other climate scientists.
 
2006-02-05 12:57:12 PM
Taxcheat:

Personally, fundamentalists bug me, but the knee jerk reaction to those who don't realize the big bang is a theory shows they're no different than the fundamentalists.

According to Deutsche, the big bang is just an "opinion".
 
2006-02-05 12:58:32 PM
Wonder where Taxcheat works in D.C.? Inquiring minds want to know...
 
2006-02-05 01:02:12 PM
No, actually you do use the PR department to shut him down. NASA's mission is to explore space, not babble on about "global warming" or publish in journals. The PR department's job is to keep the agency on-message.

The only person who sets NASA's mission is the Administrator. If the appointed personnel in the PR department is acting out of line, they'll be fired. Only the career types have the freedom to do whatever they want without fear of ever being fired. I'm assuming Hansen is SES, which means he's pulling down $140,000-150,000 to go off on his own personal crusade-- at taxpayer expense.

Don't exhale, you're creating greenhouse gases.
 
2006-02-05 01:03:04 PM
Jmast7

I've got 2/1 odds on the American Enterprise Institute.
 
2006-02-05 01:04:38 PM
Jmast7

Wonder where Taxcheat works in D.C.? Inquiring minds want to know...

White House Communications Agency, methinks?
 
2006-02-05 01:05:04 PM
I'll take those odds, ponte. It's Superbowl Sunday, after all - a full blown pool would certainly be in the spirit of things...
 
2006-02-05 01:05:23 PM
Taxcheat:

NASA's mission is to explore space

Really? So you think Landsat is pointing in the wrong direction?
 
2006-02-05 01:05:45 PM
Jmast7 good catch, but I don't work for NASA. I hate the agency and think it's a monumental waste of money. Billion dollar space probe? Oops, lost it.

I like the Hubble, though.
 
2006-02-05 01:06:52 PM
Do the proponents of ID describe it as just a theory? Do they have the intellectual honesty to admit that ID is nothing more than creationism disguised as science?
 
2006-02-05 01:07:24 PM
Couldn't they just say that God was the one who said "BANG!" and then there was everything? Maybe it's because I'm not a Christian that I can't understand their "nothing else can be right even if it sorts fits" position.
 
2006-02-05 01:08:53 PM
Taxcheat A career scientist, who can't be fired no matter how incompetent he is, wants to use his tenure at the taxpayer expense to advance his personal agenda.

Two questions:

1. Are you inferring that Dr. Hansen is incompetent?

2. How is this a "personal agenda?" His job is to research climate change. Obviously his salary is from tx revenues since he is a government employee, but if he has been told to research climate change, and he's doing it - how is that personal? I don't see how talking to the NY Times is at taxpayer expense.
 
2006-02-05 01:10:22 PM
ifarkthereforiam: Do the proponents of ID describe it as just a theory?

The proponents of ID can't describe it in scientific terms - either as a theory, a hypothesis or anything else.
 
2006-02-05 01:13:35 PM
taxcheat I hate the agency and think it's a monumental waste of money.

Oh, you're just an ignorant troll. Nevermind.

Anyone else find it ironic that a farker with the handle Taxcheat is biatching about a scientist doing his assigned job "at taxpayer expense"?
 
2006-02-05 01:20:57 PM
I am generally not very into religion, but I have to admit that I see the viewpoint of intelligent design to an extent. The idea that the world is just too planned out to be random makes sense to me. But what I don't understand from the fanatics is why they have to be mutually exclusive. The big bang could very well be part of that design. How else do you jump start a universe? Evolution could help the design evolve over time as software goes from 1.0 to 2.0. I could never get why there is an argument or "this or that" either way.

As far as the guy, I would want my tax dollars to go towards real problems, not whether the word "theory" should be tacked on to a phrase. And when is the administration actually going to hire someone who knows about the job for which he's hired?

What's next? The WH janitor will now be the Intelligence Director (although the janitor is probably smarter than most of them).
 
2006-02-05 01:26:23 PM
Science does not accept the process of elimination as proof of anything. The scientific method requires a positive hypotheses. You cannot prove one thing simply by disproving another.

1) Is your hypothesis falsifiable? (can you come up with at least one thing that could be discovered that would completely disprove it).

2) Is your hypothesis testable? (can you show test results that back your hypothesis?)


This is why ID isn't science. Science has rules. ID doesn't allow itself to be falsifiable, and there is no test for it. It's a fairy tale. There's more evidence of Aliens from outer space than there is of ID.

But sure, believing in talking snakes makes sense.
 
2006-02-05 01:36:02 PM
Thats it, I'm kicking his ass...
 
2006-02-05 01:37:09 PM
holy shiat

the politicization of science has gone too far
 
2006-02-05 01:37:46 PM
This asshat is an embarrasment to his fellow Aggies. Also, our Journalism major was closed in 2003 because it was so terrible.

/Just sayin'
//Reads the campus paper for the comics and the crossword
///Proudest Member of the Fightin' Texas Aggies Class of 2006- WHOOP
 
2006-02-05 01:39:50 PM
And I ask, this is the MOST important reason that separation of Church and State is NOT a theory.

/NASA is our last hope...
//May a black hole suck in your ID.
 
2006-02-05 01:40:00 PM
I'm kinda with you tagarack; intelligent design, in the contemporary non-fundie philisophical sense, is actaully a fairly interesting and compelling argument. In fact, themore I've learned about cosmology, the more convinced I've become that it's highly unlikely that all these things happened by pure coincidence. However, what current "ID" proponents are selling is not intelligent design so much as strict literalist Biblical interpretation cloaked in a new term. Ironically, they've hijacked two schools of thought (philosophy and science) and bastardized them both with deceptive language and bald-faced fallacies.
 
2006-02-05 01:40:42 PM
Site farked! - after only 405 visits??? What the hell kind of service does this guy have - exceeded CPU useage - my butt!
 
2006-02-05 01:41:05 PM
If Dr. Hansen would like to call the New York Times and publish whatever he wants whenever he pleases, he needs to quit his taxpayer-funded job and get a job at a research university. I have no doubt any number of big-name colleges would welcome someone who's done so much to for the liberal causes they all share.

This is the key point: Hansen's job is to do what NASA's administrator tells him to do. He is not doing that. The only reason he hasn't been fired is our screwed up system prevents that.

NASA's official mission. Climate research not for its own sake, but for the exploration of space. See section 102.
 
2006-02-05 01:41:16 PM
The link is Farked - can anyone post the text of the story?
 
2006-02-05 01:41:26 PM
Link Farked:

"This Account Has Exceeded Its CPU Quota"

...?
 
2006-02-05 01:41:59 PM
A career scientist, who can't be fired no matter how incompetent he is, wants to use his tenure at the taxpayer expense to advance his personal agenda.

So he's not just a scientist... he's a career scientist. Is that supposed to demonize him in some way?

Also, it's too bad you pulled the Superbowl-Day shift for Bushbotting. Hope you're getting paid overtime.
 
2006-02-05 01:42:54 PM
The article is already Farked?!
 
2006-02-05 01:43:34 PM
The page has been farked. Anyone still have it up?
 
2006-02-05 01:43:34 PM
 
2006-02-05 01:43:59 PM
Text, for those who can't read it...

Administration official: Big Bang is just a theory
Sean at 6:21 pm, February 4th, 2006

Youve heard, I hope, about NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who the Bush administration tried to silence when he called for reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases. Cosmology, as it turns out, is not exempt from the radical anti-science agenda. The New York Times, via Atrios:

In October, for example, George Deutsch, a presidential appointee in NASA headquarters, told a Web designer working for the agency to add the word theory after every mention of the Big Bang, according to an e-mail message from Mr. Deutsch that another NASA employee forwarded to The Times.



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

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

The Big Bang is not proven fact; it is opinion, Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, It is not NASAs 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.

Emphasis added. Draw your own conclusions, Im feeling a bit of outrage fatigue at the moment.

Update: Phil Plait has extensive comments at Bad Astronomy Blog. Also Pharyngula, Balloon Juice, Stranger Fruit, Gary Farber, and Mark Kleiman.
 
2006-02-05 01:44:01 PM
Thank you, you 50+ million Bush voters. Please leave your name and home address, and we'll get back to you.

Well, that is another lovely nail in the coffin of scientific literacy in this country. Ignorance is strength, am I right? We need another Carl Sagan who can popularize science. This is just pitiful.
 
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