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NASA Space Censorship Government Politics

NASA Public-Affairs Appointee Resigns in Disgrace 698

belmolis writes "George C. Deutsch, who tried to muzzle top NASA climate scientist James Hansen and ordered NASA web designers to add the word 'theory' to every mention of the Big Bang, has resigned. The New York Times reports that NASA declines to discuss the reasons for his resignation, but that it came the same day that Texas A&M University, from which Deutsch claimed on his resume to have graduated, revealed that he had attended the university but did not complete his degree." The New York Times reports it today, but as of yesterday, it was the Times that had unquestioningly passed along the falsehood of Deutsch's graduation, and it was the blog Scientific Activist whose investigation revealed he'd left before graduating to work on the Bush reelection campaign. For more on the 24-year-old political appointee's interesting viewpoints, see World O' Crap; on Monday, we covered the anger over his attempts to squelch science -- something that, sadly, Jim Hansen has gotten used to.
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NASA Public-Affairs Appointee Resigns in Disgrace

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  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:28AM (#14668758)

    The increasing availability and ease of access of information is making it increasingly difficult to get away with lying.

    Good news for the people, bad news for governments.

    On a related note, that same increasing availability is starting to render traditional news outlets [nytimes.com] obselete. No wonder they're so upset [slashdot.org].
  • Number of points (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:31AM (#14668771) Homepage Journal

    1. Deutsch is young. True, while at 24, Deutsch is young, that really does not say anything about his ability to be a spokesperson for science policy....if he is capable of representing the science for NASA and not necessarily a political agenda.

    2. Deutsch did not graduate college. The fact that he is not a college graduate does not in of itself eliminate him from a spokespersons job. However, the major issue is that he lied about his graduation and because of that lapse in integrity should not be trusted.

    3. Scientific integrity. NASA is an organization that should be proud of its scientific accomplishments and should care enough to represent those achievements to the world through the best possible spokespersons possible. Having these positions as appointed posts rather than earned posts or hires based on merit circumvents this process.

    4. Motivations. Placing limits on science by appointing sycophantic toadies who are carrying out a politically and/or religiously motivated agenda is becoming a recurring theme in this administration which leads one to suspect potentially other agendas.

  • The Big Bang (Score:2, Insightful)

    by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:38AM (#14668814) Homepage
    Has the Big Bang been established as scientific fact? Not saying it isn't, just would like some more info.
  • by CaymanIslandCarpedie ( 868408 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:40AM (#14668831) Journal
    I'd just read the article below before seeing this as well.

    86 Evangelical Leaders Join to Fight Global Warming [nytimes.com]

    Could this actually mean that well intentioned christians are actually beginning to crawl out from under the thumb of the right-wing extremists like Dobson, Robertson, Bush, etc?

    I know this is only a small beginning and may be offering false hope, but at least its better than the complete lack of any hope for American socieity I'd been feeling recently.
  • by inphinity ( 681284 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:42AM (#14668842) Homepage
    It's people like this that force me to carry around a copy of my college transcript to all of my job interviews. Honestly, it shouldn't be this easy to say, "Yeah, I have a degree from xxxx University," without any reputable employer (and I usually lump the Feds into this category) checking up on such claims...

  • by millahtime ( 710421 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:43AM (#14668846) Homepage Journal
    With increasing information to the general public comes people who spin it and use that information to justify many things. Then, there is representation of information and how people look at organizations as authority figures. An example here is the Big Bang. To be scientific, as the organization is, shouldn't the big bang be described in accurate scientific terms with using terms such as model or theory? How will misrepresentation of information lead people into paths of believing things that just aren't true. Just because information is out there, doesn't mean the reporting source is honest in the way it conveys that information.
  • Re:The Big Bang (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ubi_NL ( 313657 ) <joris@id[ ]l.nl ['eee' in gap]> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:43AM (#14668850) Journal
    From now on, we should only speak of the 'Christianity theory' and the 'Islamic theory', as neither is scientifically proven. For some reason however, I have the feeling that the 'theory' zealots won't like this...
  • What's going on? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fiachra06 ( 945611 ) * on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:44AM (#14668852) Journal
    This guy was able to hold a prominent position in the government? Only a day ago we were discussing how this guy was trying to influence NASA's output for a political end and now we find that the people who put him in the job weren't smart enough to do a background check. If you've ever been in poltics this is Lesson #1. Before you put someone in front of a camera to represent you, you make sure of their job credientials.
    It's bad enough that a 24 year old was trying to tell NASA what to do but he never even graduated college. Whoever gave him that job should be fired along with him.

    On a more personal note, Serves you right you dozy eejit.
  • Re:The Big Bang (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grimJester ( 890090 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:49AM (#14668882)
    Read up on the scientific method, look up the word "fact" in a dictionary and rephrase your question.
  • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lucabrasi999 ( 585141 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:49AM (#14668886) Journal
    He should have kept his feet calm instead of walking out into political territory with creationist thing. Nobody would have ever noticed his non-existant degree.

    I have been 24 years old. And, at that age, you think you know EVERYTHING. And, I have been involed in politics (when I was about 24 years old, as a matter of fact). Guess what? In politics, when you are on the winning side and you get a political appointee job, you have a huge "ego factor".

    A 24-year old political appointee is, almost by definition, a cocky S.O.B. (not to say all 24-year old political appointees are cocky, but there is a high probability). Asking him to "keep his feet calm" is like asking a shark to ignore the chum in the water.

  • by Vengeance ( 46019 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:52AM (#14668906)

    Disgrace and shame is better than folks like this deserve, but it's the best we can realistically hope to see. The appointment of political officers to oversee scientific speech smacks of the bad old days of the Cold War, and I mean the BAD guys.

    Unfortunately, this is only one small win for the side of truth, justice, and the American way. We've still got a *long* way to go before honesty and integrity are restored to the government.
  • by BobTheLawyer ( 692026 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:54AM (#14668913)
    Really? When I studied for my degree in physics the Big Bang was certainly described as a theory. I'd understand a "model" to be something you construct around a "theory" - the two are not really alternatives.

    That said, the problem here is not the description of the Big Bang as a theory (clearly correct) but that the word is used in a deliberate attempt to mislead the public by confusing the colloquial meaning of "theory" (i.e. not much more than a guess) with the scientific meaning of "theory". I'm betting that this guy didn't insist on NASA desribing rocketry as a "theory".
  • Appointees (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:57AM (#14668945) Homepage Journal
    I generally laugh when an appointee fails. They aren't a good example of the success of representative democracy, and no matter which side is in power, there are people crying foul about whoever is appointed.

    They lie? Don't all politicians? They're too white? They're too left? They're too right? They're unqualified? They're qualified but they don't have real life experience? They're cronies?

    Let's look at how this works in a free market:

    John Johnson hires his son John Johnson, Jr, to help run his company. Nepotism. John I dies. John Jr takes over, and the general history of business shows us the John Jr has never felt pain, so he doesn't work as hard as he should. Business fails. The market solution is to give the person with the best output and lowest price the work. John Jr rarely will be that person.

    In the market of government, we don't really have much to control. We can't vote with our dollars OR vote with our ballot. We can't directly affect the actions of the appointee, and some appointees are so powerful it amazes me that the country doesn't cry foul more often (see Ben Bernanke).

    Positions of power are better suited to be competitive rather than elected, and better elected rather than appointed. Do you feel better when "your man" is the appointee? Do you forget all the damage that occurs when it isn't "your guy?"
  • by phlegmofdiscontent ( 459470 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:59AM (#14668953)
    Because some other asshole will be asked to step into his place.
  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @10:00AM (#14668960) Homepage
    Have we already forgotten Mike Brown, the ex-head of FEMA who had practically no experience in emergency services, disaster response, or incident management. Heck, in his previous job (Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association) he was forced our for "accounting irregularities".

    I'm expecting a good many of Bush's appointees follow the same pattern, much as Clinton's did (Chief of White House Personnel Security was a bouncer at a strip club). This is just how the Executive Branch of government works today. Credentials be damned, which of my childhood friends/campaign supporters/cronies needs a job?

  • Re:The Big Bang (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jasen666 ( 88727 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @10:03AM (#14668985)
    Yeah, probably not. Religions, generally, can't even qualify as theories. A theory requires some amount of factual evidence to support it. Not a lot, but at least something. Some religious events or aspects may qualify under that, but if you take the entire religion as one large entity, it would not.
    An idea that has not been supported by facts yet would be a hypothesis.
    So it would be better worded the Christian Hypothesis. :)
  • OOOHH I know! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitterAndDrunk ( 799378 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @10:17AM (#14669074) Homepage Journal
    "Now that this guy is found out to be a fraud, it begs the question as to how many other people are holding positions that they neither deserve nor are qualified to hold? "

    Let's start with the President! *ducks*

  • by NialScorva ( 213763 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @10:20AM (#14669097)
    "Law" is pretty much a relic. If you'll notice, things discovered before the mid 19th century(roughly) tend to be called laws, and things after aren't. Gravity, Thermodynamics, Ideal Gas, and Conservation are laws, while relativity and quantum are theories. Maxwell's Equations are arguably some of the most important relationships in physics, but aren't titled "Law", but Gauss's Law doesn't predate it by much.

    There are exceptions, with no sharp cut off where "Law" became deprecated, but it's usage is far more of a social and philosophical phenomenon than a scientific one.
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) * on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @10:22AM (#14669109)
    > The Big Bang is actually a model according to scientific methods. To call it a theory is a stretch. To have something as a model is not a bad thing it's just a different descriptor for it.

    A theory is a model.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @10:22AM (#14669110)
    Deutsch is young, that really does not say anything about his ability to be a spokesperson for science policy

    Yeah, I think his scientific knowledge speaks for itself [salon.com].

    Placing limits on science by appointing sycophantic toadies who are carrying out a politically and/or religiously motivated agenda is becoming a recurring theme in this administration which leads one to suspect potentially other agendas.

    I think that has become all-too-clear lately. And, more than that, it's not only science that's under assault. This administration has moved with disturbing efficiency in removing ANY dissent of ANY kind from its "message."

    Intelligence doesn't support the goal, you say? No problem, just strong-arm 'em and appoint some toadies to cook the numbers to say what we want them too! Then later, when someone complains that we were full of shit, we just say "Hey, we were working with the best information we had at the time." Brilliant!


  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @10:24AM (#14669132)
    I work in the Exploration Systems dept. at NASA.

    ---Oh really? What do you do exactly?

    So I am really getting a kick out of most of these replies.

    ---That's cool because I wouldn't want this to distract you from your work.

    Some of you guys are very good at making it sound like you know what you are talking about.

    ----Welcome to Slashdot!!

    But trust me.... You don't.

    ----Oh really? Is this some kind of Jedi mind trick?

    I think you just want to make yourself sound smart, when in reality you dont know what you are talking about.

    -----Well, reality is a subjective thing these days, but sounding smart is an art form.

    This is how bad info gets passed around.

    ---As we all know that everybody reads Slashdot as fact - and there is no room for dissent!

    If you dont know about the topic....Dont make yourself sound like you do.

    ----Well, it would be nice if you could give us an example here because it sounds like you are doing the same.

    Cuz some /.ers belive anything they hear.

    ---Sad, isn't it? But those people aren't the ones we are worried about, just the guys who resign in disgrace for making us try to believe lies that we hear from them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @10:43AM (#14669263)
    Not that I am trying to tear down any scientific theory, but acceptence of one theory does not imply that I have to accept all theories. It is just really bad logic and shouldn't be used as an argument. Sure, gravity seems to hold me down but what does that have to do with evolution, thermodynamics or any other scientific theory. I can personally observe gravity work and observe an object fall at 9.8 m\s. I am going to pick on evolution just because it is easier, not that I am trying to persuade anyone, but I can't seen a microscopic orgainsum go from its current state and over the generations be changed into a man. The process is too slow. Now there is plently of other evidence to support it but it is not something a common person can observe and be sure of. I have just seen this argument used on /. and I think it is total BS. ;P
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @10:48AM (#14669312) Homepage Journal
    Every time I hear someone say, "But it's only a theory, not a fact" I cringe and then immediately ask them if they have a problem with the Theory of Electromagnetism or the Theory of General Relativity since they too are "just theories" and not facts. The usual response is a blank stare as their mind tries to not assplode from having to defend such a ridiculous statement.

    You're in good company. Lord Macaulay in his 1841 speech to parliament on the issue of copyright extension had to deal with exactly this misunderstanding of what a "theory" is:

    My honourable and learned friend talks very contemptuously of those who are led away by the theory that monopoly makes things dear. That monopoly makes things dear is certainly a theory, as all the great truths which have been established by the experience of all ages and nations, and which are taken for granted in all reasonings, may be said to be theories. It is a theory in the same sense in which it is a theory that day and night follow each other, that lead is heavier than water, that bread nourishes, that arsenic poisons, that alcohol intoxicates.

    Always happy to plug one of my favorite writers. Macaulay's riposte probably works better than yours because he uses more homely examples.

    If I had to put the missing point in a nutshell, I'd do it this way: in science, not all theories are true, but all truths are theories. Of course it's a bit of an overstatement, in that one can certainly talk about an individual fact in isolation. But as soon as you try to connect facts, you have a theory.

    Of course religion has its theories as well, which are called "doctrines". For example you have the doctrine of original sin, and the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, which I believe any fundamentalist should be familiar with. These are, within a certain scope "testable", in the sense they can be compared to scriptural sources. The difference between a doctrine and a theory is the ultimate test, the foundation upon which all other tests reside.

    In religion, this is mystical experience. The Christian experiences the Bible as a manifestation of God's grace and love, and therefore accepts it as authoritative. In science the foundation is sensory experience.

    The reason then that many thoughtful religious people reject fundamentalism is that by confusing science and religion, you are in a sense denying grace itself. Fundamentalism is often mixed up with mystical movements like pentacostalism; indeed many individuals are both. But these are inconsistent. Fundamentalism is a form of pseudo-rationalism.

  • Can we please... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @10:53AM (#14669350)
    ...stop calling a 24 year old a kid? I have a friend who insists on calling anyone 10 years younger than him a kid, so at this point 30 years olds are "kids." Fuck, that's annoying.

    You lose the luxury of being considered "just a kid" at age 18. Period.

  • Re:Stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bloodredsun ( 826017 ) <martin@bl[ ]redsun.com ['ood' in gap]> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @10:56AM (#14669369) Journal

    It implies a source of the bang that makes Creationists salivate.

    How so? By admitting that we don't understand how it came about and what caused it? For someone to think that this supports creationism, there are two issues. Firstly, this is a "God of the Gaps" argument. This is just a statement about their disbelief that science will ever provide explanations for everything so they fall back to their default position, "God did it" which still explains or proves nothing. Secondly, "what occured before the Big Bang" cannot be answered with the creationist position of "God did" as the immediate response is "what occured before God?". The creationist might say that God has always been present which is no more or less valid that saying that the Big Bang has always been present (Big Bang --> Big Crunch --> Big Bang .... etc) so neither position has been shown to be any more valid.

    So to say that the Big Bang is no longer popular with the evolutionist debate crowd, you must be referering to the sophists who debate for fun as opposed to scientists/evolutionists who still very much believe in the Big Bang.

  • Uh, it IS a theory (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @11:01AM (#14669418) Homepage Journal
    "George C. Deutsch, who tried to muzzle top NASA climate scientist James Hansen and ordered NASA web designers to add the word 'theory' to every mention of the Big Bang, has resigned.

    Uh, last time I checked, the Big Bang IS just a theory, just as black holes are. They may be credible theories, theories with a lot of evidence, but are still just theories. There is nothing wrong with not proclaiming a theory to be fact.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @11:06AM (#14669443) Homepage Journal
    Deutsch is only a minor (and obvious) part of a larger problem with the NASA public-affairs branch.

    But he represents a more fundamental problem: the way we govern our country is broken. Given that, it's not surprising that the government is dysfunctional in the realm of space science. It's dsyfunctional period.

    Look, the guy's 24 years old and he gets a political appointment? Now prove to me this country isn't being run by an aristocracy. It used to be connected people got their kids internships, or made congressional pages. They didn't get them policy level poliltical appointments.
  • I heard that (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @11:09AM (#14669456) Homepage
    Every time I hear someone say, "But it's only a theory, not a fact" I cringe ...

    I invite them to test the theory of gravitational attraction by jumping off the top of a very tall building. After all, if they had faith the size of a mustard seed, they'd be able to land safely, right?

  • by SchrodingersRoot ( 943800 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @11:10AM (#14669464) Journal
    You could comment about how the the ToGR describes gravity as the curvature of spacetime caused by the mass-energy content therein rather than a traditional force, and the fact that our picture of gravity isn't 100% complete. Especially as we still don't have a handle on the whole dark matter/energy phenomenon, which either exists the predominant type of mass/energy in the universe, or possibly that gravity functions slightly differently than we think, as evidenced by the motion of galaxies.
    Not to mention there are also other theories that attempt to explain gravity. Like the Jordan-Brans-Dicke theory, or the Rosen bimetric theory.

    You could also point out that a law that merely describes how something acts--while useful, necessarily should be considered only part of the picture. How and/or why should be considered important questions. And if you can get them to admit that, then you might be able to leverage that.
  • Only a theory... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by underpope ( 952425 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @11:10AM (#14669471) Homepage
    Given this Administration's behavior and appointees of late... Well, any theory that President Bush really wants the US to lead in science and global competitiveness is just that: a theory. And one that has absolutely no evidence supporting it (and which seems to be pretty well falsified at this point, actually). On the other hand, it's comforting to remember that the judge who ruled against ID in the Dover, PA case was a Republican and a Bush appointee. So perhaps all is not lost.
  • by jafiwam ( 310805 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @11:17AM (#14669508) Homepage Journal
    The person that is responsible for appointing that underqualified-chucklhead needs to resign or be fired too.

    This event is a disgrace to the entire scientific community in the United States.
  • by jefu ( 53450 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @11:23AM (#14669547) Homepage Journal
    The conservatives are so firmly in control of the media that outcries tend not to be reported, and when they are reported they are quickly drowned out by the O'Reillys and similar commentators. NPR, the last bastion of moderate news reporting, is now routinely called "left-wing" and worse.

    The Republicans see the cronyism, they see the complete abandonment of most conservative values, they see the wasted money and I just don't think they care. They're in power and want to use that power and noble ideals fall quickly when the perqs of power are in reach.

  • by Grant Root ( 708354 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @11:29AM (#14669594) Homepage
    > Not that I am trying to tear down any scientific theory, but acceptence of one theory
    > does not imply that I have to accept all theories.

    You make a good point, but the parent wasn't really saying that. He was pointing out that people are confused about what constitutes a "theory" in this sense. Pointing out some of the better-known scientific theories may help to illustrate what the word means.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @11:31AM (#14669617) Homepage
    ...stop calling a 24 year old a kid? I have a friend who insists on calling anyone 10 years younger than him a kid, so at this point 30 years olds are "kids." Fuck, that's annoying.

    You lose the luxury of being considered "just a kid" at age 18. Period.

    You know -- at an agency like NASA which presumably has a large number of career scientists who have spent decades in their field (some of whom have spent over a decade on a single project like Stardust) -- a 24-year old, politically appointed, non-college graduate who tries to put Bush's political spin on science doesn't deserve anything better than kid. And, in fact, probably deserves worse.

    A grossly underqualified person with no real world experience telling people many years his senior and way more qualified they need to call the Big Bang a theory (and whatever else he did) doesn't deserve anything but contempt and scorn.

    Compared to what can only be called 'elder statesmen' of science, this guy is a kid. In this sense, 'kid' is used in the diminutive to refer to someone who is new to a field and doesn't have a lot of experience.

    Heck, rookie quarterbacks get referred to as 'kid', even if they're in their early 20's.
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) * on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @11:39AM (#14669676)
    > Uh, last time I checked, the Big Bang IS just a theory, just as black holes are. They may be credible theories, theories with a lot of evidence, but are still just theories. There is nothing wrong with not proclaiming a theory to be fact.

    Except when you single out one theory that shows that a politically powerful religious group's beliefs are a bunch of hooey, and let all the other theories pass unremarked.
  • Bush Times (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:01PM (#14669824) Homepage Journal
    Hey, the NYTimes gets credit for publishing their story of Bush's domesting spying operation, even though they did so only to preempt the story [fair.org] in the reporter's book about to be published. James Risen, the reporter, had seen his story suppressed by the Times for over a year when his book finally forced the Times to publish its version, allowing the Times to control the "framing" of the explosive issue. A year that included the 2004 presidential campaign season, while the Times therefore skipped its responsibility to inform the public about the president who would be reelected by a slim margin.

    But then, the Times allowed its frontpage cheerleader for the Iraq "WMD" War, Judith Miller, to avoid the August 2004 Federal subpoenas into her role outing Valerie Plame, the CIA/WMD agent debunking the Iraq WMD lies sending us to war. Her trial likely would have meant another few points less for Bush in November 2004.

    After these yearlong delays escorting Bush through the 2004 election, their final revelations are met with Bush's highest disapproval ratings, now in the 40% approval / 55% disapproval range. A range which itself has been escorted by the Times managing the news for minimum damage to Bush.

    With the Times telling the story, why shouldn't the newspaper look even better than Bush does?
  • Wake up... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by oroborous ( 800136 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:12PM (#14669924)
    This theocratic/ideological intervention into science by policy wanks and political hacks has some pretty serious consequences. As an active scientist I see science losing an important cultural war in the US. Yes WE all know the ideosyncratic difference between a "law" and a "theory" but to a vast majority of the public the gap between these 2 ideas seems huge. So in important debates like ID vs. evolution, the side of science and reason gets muddled because of minor differences in the connotation of the word "theory"

    I know all of us cringed at the idea of studying linguistics and rhetoric, but they are important tools to have in order to have others understand your position. We need to change our lexicon if we are going to win this argument.
  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:28PM (#14670085) Homepage Journal
    Are you kidding? If we start pointing out that 24-year-olds aren't kids any more, we may have to realise that being a drunk and a drug addict until you are forty may not qualify as a "youthful indiscretion".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:31PM (#14670105)
    Bush somehow left six months early [msn.com] from the National Guard to go to Harvard Business School. "Bush said on NBC that he had 'worked it out with the military. And I'm just telling you, I did my duty.'"

    Maybe Deutsch thought he could also just "work it out" with Texas A&M to leave before finishing his work there, but get a degree nevertheless. After all, he and his boss Bush are above such things as fulfilling one's obligations, that's for the little people that don't have connections. I mean, come on, they both had more pressing things to attend to, so why should finishing their work get in the way?
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:47PM (#14670259) Homepage Journal
    ... a hard-working Republican young man who worked hard to re-elect our President ...

    Sorry, just thought I'd correct that... :-)
  • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:47PM (#14670261)
    There is nothing wrong with not proclaiming a theory to be fact.

    He wasn't asking the web copy be changed from "Big Bang fact" to "Big Bang theory".

    The Big Bang is a scientific theory, and it is valid to call it such. But to tack the word "theory" onto EVERY SINGLE MENTION of the term is not a clarification; it is a linguistic exercise designed to create uncertainty and doubt.
  • by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:50PM (#14670297) Journal
    The definition of a Law in science is something that can be proven to exist every time at all points in the universe

    Unless you exist at every time at all points in the universe, it might be pretty difficult to prove the "law" applies there.

    Here's a hint: Grade school science books are often wrong. Very very wrong. Not just "oversimplification wrong", but completely and utterly wrong.
  • Re:IAWTP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Good Reverend ( 84440 ) <michaelNO@SPAMmichris.com> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:12PM (#14670488) Journal
    Another option - people actually wanted someone they thought was "presidental". If Dean (my choice) had gotten the nomination, the DNC would probably have tried to change him to those ends too. It's a meaningless metric, but in 2004, the dems were (and still are today) facing the "hold fast to our ideals and lose for sure" or "appear as centrist as possible and most likely lose" choice.
  • by gregmark ( 750089 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:13PM (#14670499)
    Some things simply do not lend themselves to the scientific method, and thus can never be "proven," even though we know them to be true and accept them as fact.

    HUH???? All of the theories you mentioned - gravity, relativity, evolution, etc. - can and have been subjected to proofs. Just see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_relativity [wikipedia.org]. But if by "proven" you mean "settled and unimpeachable", then nothing in science is ever proven.

    It is UNBELIEVABLE that a stupid presidential administration, one that is a mere one year into its 2nd term, has forced us to enter into negotiations over the purpose and meaning of science.

  • by winwar ( 114053 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:33PM (#14670695)
    "How does every article that mentions science turn out anti-Christian posts?"

    It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that Christians are the primary anti-science force in the US and Europe?

    Nah, couldn't be. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:16PM (#14671127)
    The vocal minority that for some reason have found a way into power

    "For some reason?" No. stop dodging responsibility. The rest of you keep voting for that vocal minority.
  • by EvilMagnus ( 32878 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:17PM (#14671132)
    Not only does he get a political appointment, but why the fuck is a PR post for NASA a Political Appointment?!

    The system of appointments-as-payoffs is broken beyond belief.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:22PM (#14671202)
    ...if I believe the Bible to be the inerent Word of God, then I too have a mountain of evidence

    You keep using that word. Not only does it not mean anything like what you think it means, I have to wonder if you even care.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:55PM (#14671549) Homepage Journal
    To be fair to the Republicans, this process started under Gore's "National Perofrmance Review" initiative, the point of which was to reduce bureaucracy. Which it did. But at the same time the role of political appointees was expanded.

    Of course nobody is holding a gun to the Republicans' heads to continue this trend, much less to encourage it.
  • by coolgeek ( 140561 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:57PM (#14671560) Homepage
    I believe the point brunson was trying to make by saying "Theory of Jesus" is you don't see organized efforts by the scientific community trying to impose their will on the worlds religions by trying to make them state their beliefs are only a theory.

    You would think some biblical teachings would dissuade this sort of behavior. Truly if Deutsch had such strong faith (or some may argue any faith at all), would he not simply pray for all of us that believe in the Big Bang? Instead of trying to exert his own will upon others, should he not accept them for they are, especially considering that such perspectives do about 0 to harm him and others who share his version of "faith"?

    It comes as no surprise to me that it has turned out such an obvious control freak has been proven publicly to be a liar.
  • by rufty_tufty ( 888596 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:01PM (#14671601) Homepage
    Let us assume I give creationism/ID etc the validity of a theory (which I don't but for the purposes of this exercise).

    We have 2 groups of theories (I would not class evolution as a single theory, neither neither would I creationism/ID - lets call them groups of theories):

    One (Evolution) tells us how life formed, how it behaves, how it will behave, what it did, what it should do and how we can expect to proceed. It tells us what we should look for to fill the gaps in our knowledge and it makes sufficient predictions that when we see evidence outside of the expected, then our understanding is incorrect and we had better think/investigate/experiment some more. Simply put it advances the human knowledge and shows us ways to push it further; it helps us understand the world and drives advancement in it
    Two (ID/Creationism) we have something which tells us how life formed, and about the motivations of a creator. Theologically this is very interesting about why a creator would create a world like this, and if you believe in a creator this is a valid exercise to attempt to understand him/her/it. This 'Theory' predicts nothing, guides us in search of nothing, helps our understanding of the world not a jot.
    However, that isn't science, understanding the wills of a creator is theology/religion's terrain; understanding the world as it is is science's domain.
    ID/Creationism helps you understand a creator, Evolutional theory helps you understand the world as it exists. That's why science is interested in Evolution and not in creationism/ID. Call it a theory all you want, I don't mind; but it's only of use in a religious/theological investigation and therefore belongs as such.
  • by egeorge ( 547281 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:51PM (#14672028) Homepage
    If you really want to piss off the fundies, you refer to biblical events and figures as "Mythology"
  • by Darby ( 84953 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @05:02PM (#14672672)
    Have you read any of the foundations of Intelligent Design?

    Yes, I have.

    It has nothing to do with motivations of a Creator or advocating Creationism.

    Which is how I know for a fact that this is exactly what it has to do with.
    You are either completely deluded since you couldn't even be bothered to read the writings of the founders of the movement who clearly state that that is their entire goal, or you are lying through your teeth.
    Which is it?

  • by LittleLebowskiUrbanA ( 619114 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:48PM (#14674459) Homepage Journal
    For the gentle reader just checking in, I just got modded as a Troll for citing facts relating to my post that contradicted the general air of global warming is happening on Slashdot.

        Moderator that modded that as a Troll, you're a ballsless wonder. Stick to actuall Trolls not bashing informed dreakign discussion.

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