February 9, 2006

You got your politics in my science

IT IS A RARE thing for the biography of a 24-year-old NASA spokesman to attract the attention of the national media. But that is what happened this week when George C. Deutsch tendered his resignation. Mr. Deutsch had, it emerged, lied about his (nonexistent) undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University.

This was the guy forcing NASA to leave room for Intelligent Design whenever it mentioned the big bang. And muzzled scientists who disagreed with the president’s politics.

In every administration there will be spokesmen and public affairs officers who try to spin the news to make the president look good. But this administration is trying to spin scientific data and muzzle scientists toward that end. NASA’s Mr. Hansen was right when he told the Times that Mr. Deutsch was only a bit player. “The problem is much broader and much deeper and it goes across agencies,” he said. We agree.

Where is the bush Administration finding these people? Is there some sort of Hack Clone Army? As Ryan asked me “Did he think nobody was going to check into his credentials?”

Of course he did. He was appointed by the Bush Administration.

And he was pretty close to correct. At least until the pop-up timer on his turkey ideas popped.

I don’t have time to rant longer on this, but thanks to people like Julie and Bob McC keeping me informed on this while I’ve been busy. As the editorial points out, Mr. Deutsch is a symptom, not the underlying problem. That’s why the president’s mention of science in the SoTU address recently would have made me choke on my [insert necessary strong alcoholic drink] if I had been watching that night.

Posted by James at February 9, 2006 11:15 AM
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