Saturday, April 08, 2006

Nazi Space Cowboys!

This excerpt was in this month's Harper's Magazine:

From an email sent Oct 17 by George Deutsche of NASA's public-affairs office, to Flint Wild, a web designer for the agency. Deutsche, who was appointed after working on President Bush's reelection campaign, resigned on Feb 7th, after it was revealed that he had lied on his resume about receiving a degree from Texas A&M University.

Okay Flint, we've got a slight problem here. I like these pieces, they're interesting, but they refer to the "big bang" as if they were law. As you know, the theory that the universe was created by a "big bang" is just that - a theory. It is not a proven fact; it is opinion. Yes, the scientific community by and large may share this opinion, but that doesn't make it correct.

Two things. First of all, this is AP style as written in the latest Associates Press Stylebook. The "big bang theory" is listed beside the oscillating theory and the steady-state theory. The common denominator here is the word "theory".

Secondly, 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. I know the particular context of these pieces doesn't lend itself to getting into this particular debate, and that's fine with me. But we, as NASA, must be diligent here, because 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 that we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most.

Sorry to get on a soapbox here; I don't mean to. Please edit these stories to reflect that the big bang is but one theory on how the universe began.

We'll need to make sure that NASA suppresses that "round earth" thing too. Something like that gets around and it could poison the minds of our youth for years to come.


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