Deutsch resigns from NASA!

By Phil Plait | February 7, 2006 9:26 pm

This just in!

George Deutsch, the NASA public affairs officer who knew too little, has resigned his post at NASA. Dean Acosta, another PAO, said that NASA doesn’t discuss personal issues, but it’s clear why Deutsch had to quit: he lied on his resume. As Nick Anthis from the blog "The Scientific Activist" discovered, Deutsch did not graduate from Texas A&M as he claimed. He left the school before graduating, since he was offered the NASA position by the Bush administration.

Andrew Revkin of the New York Times, who broke the original story about Deutsch, has the goods this time as well:

According to his résumé, Mr. Deutsch received a “Bachelor of Arts in journalism, Class of 2003.”

Yesterday, officials at Texas A&M said that was not the case.

[...]

A copy of Mr. Deutsch’s résumé 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.

Revkin credits blogger Nick Anthis for discovering Deutsch’s lie, so let it never be said that bloggers are incidental in the journalism game. Nick, the BA’s hat’s off to you. Nice work.

I know this won’t stop the political practice of putting unqualified people into positions of influence over science, but you know what? Every little bit helps.

Score one for the good guys, folks.

Comments (100)

  1. Woo

    Wait.. They can check that stuff?!?

    I hope nobody checks my resume and finds out that I’m not the legendary Bad Astronomer..

  2. Sam

    Great news!

    Mr. Douche… er, I mean, Mr. Deutsch can wave goodbye to any future he had hoped for in politics.

  3. aiabx

    What, you don’t think a public slapping from his boss and total humiliation had anything to do with his decision to quit? You did a heck of a job, Deutschie.

  4. Arlo

    So who’s up next for the position??? :O

  5. This is good news ! And did you also hear that the House Republican whois on the subcommittee which oversees the NSA has called for a full congressional investigation into the domestic eavesdropping program! Thinga are looking up!!

  6. Bish

    I think NASA did more thorough background checks on us than on this guy, don’tcha think, Phil?

    [I was just about as fumed as you were on this whole non-sense.]

  7. Michelle Rochon

    It’s gonna sound mean… Very mean in fact.
    But good riddance.

  8. brent wiese

    see? there is a santa!

  9. Bish! Hi! Nice to see you here.

    I was never a NASA employee, though. I was employed by ACC (before they got bought up by some huge megacorp). I doubt they ran a background check on me. They wouldn’t hired me in the first place. ;-)

  10. Caledonian

    I note that there is no longer any need for people in power to state their position on this matter now that Deutsch has resigned.

    How utterly predictable.

  11. What is it with these Bush appointed people and lying?

  12. Excellent news. Hopefully future appointees will be scrutinized more thoroughly in light of these incidents.

  13. skeptigirl

    Hahahahahahahha!!!!! That’s great! And let’s thank DrPhil (Plait that is) for starting the blog, that led to the post, that found the fraud, that exposed the liar, for what he was, and got him [s]fired[/s] to resign. :D

  14. Rory Manion

    Phew. Best news I’ve heard today.

  15. Lucas V. B.

    Man, I’m really glad to hear this! Good job you all on getting that guy off NASA!

    And yeah, as Arlo said, who’s up for the position?

  16. Ally

    Excellent. I didn’t get a chance to respond to your earlier post, Phil, so let me just say, I fully agreed and want to thank you for your work here defending science (and keeping us all entertained!). I emailed CNN.com the other day to express my disappointment that they had yet to cover the NASA story… and today they did (though as an overarching issue, they didn’t mention Deutsch)! They wrote an article that also includes two paragraphs on the problem of underqualified political appointees from the perspective of a Dr. Keusch, formerly of NIH. Check it out: http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/02/07/science.administration.tm/index.html

  17. Patrick McKinnion

    Good news, but I suspect, like any other political appointee or zampolit, he’ll be given a nice cushy job somewhere else. Only this time maybe not as public.

  18. Well, it’s lame that we get the non-resolution of Deutsch being offered up as a sacrifice. But given the political climate, it’s better than the, well, nothing at all we’d get otherwise.

    Am I the only one who finds himself thinking “Ding Dong the Douche is Dead,” though?

  19. HawaiiArmenian

    That’s one small step for man, still a marathon to go for mankind

  20. skeptigirl

    Correction, I guess it went from The Scientific Activist’s blog to Nick Anthis here about the guy not having a degree.

    And to that I posted:

    “Hey, someone see if the guy padded his resume. Wouldn’t that be cause for dismissal even if you had been appointed?”

    Easy call, that the resume might have said degree obtained. I knew, I just knew it. Of course, lying seems to be the one “sin” that is mostly overlooked by the groups trying to push the Bible into the science category. That and stealing public money.

  21. skeptigirl

    Second correction, whoops, Nick is the Scientific Activist I see from re-reading Phil’s blog. [Gilda Radner voice] Nevermind [/Gilda Radner voice]

    The house that jack built parody above is reinstated.

  22. Blake Stacey

    I love Dr. James Hansen’s kicker at the end: “The foundation of a democracy is an informed public, which obviously means an honestly informed public. That’s the big issue here.”

    To that I say, in a strictly secular way, Amen!

  23. PK

    Good new, indeed! And there was never any question of anybody else resigning. It’s just another mark on Bush’ record,

    Also, before I started work at NASA’s JPL, I had a background check that took three months. I was a foreign national, so that was to be expected, even before 9/11. But it is clear that they should do the same with US citizens.

  24. This is great news to start the middle of the week!

  25. P. Edward Murray

    Excellent!!!

    But…why do we allow foreign nationals to work for JPL?

    You mean we don’t have qualified folks in the United States?

    Sheesh, it’s bad enough that our jobs are going overseas but that’s ridiculous.

    PK, I do hope that you are now an American Citizen at least.

  26. “it’s bad enough that our jobs are going overseas but that’s ridiculous”

    While I agree to an extent, my thoughts are that Science and Math should have no Religious or Political boundaries. NASA is supposed to have “the best of the best”.

  27. Stuart Greig

    Actually I would hope that a foreign national got a job at JPL as he was the best/most qualified/most experienced for the job.

    All else should be secondary when you consider the importance of the work and the need for 100% accuracy/reliability/fitness for purpose.

    As a UK citizen working in another country I would hope this is the case across the board for critical positions. From a security standpoint I can see why some positions should be barred from non-nationals but I am sure that adequate checks can be made for less sensitive positions.

  28. icemith

    Well, was that swift justice or what?

    But does it cure the disease, or only the symptom? I was, and still am, amazed at the outpouring of mostly serious thinking re the NASA appointment by Bush, albeit ill-advised.

    So the score is People 1- Govt. 0.

    And thanks Phil for getting us off our butts, and a ready forum to express ourselves.

    Now what’s the next item on the adgenda?

  29. Evolving Squid

    Amazing. I’ve been asked to produce my actual degree as recently as 2 months ago. People check stuff like that all the time around here. I’m kind of surprised that his CV wasn’t checked.

  30. Scott Mooney

    Excellent news. I can breathe again.

    Did someone say something about “whack-a-mole”?

  31. “Every little bit helps”… indeed!

    Excellent news! It is nice to know that these things can be quickly investigated, the damaged repaired and the incompetent and liars condemened. I wish we could have a swift system working like that over here. There´s a lot of “cleaning” needed in many places.

    And yes, I agree, blogs are playing an increasing role in the
    “regulation” of our society.

    P. Edward Murray… with all respect, NASA would not be what it is if it would not employ “foreign nationals”. It would be a great institution, it would had achieved many things, but it would not have gone as far as it is…
    You just have to look at its history.

    And like Matt and Stuart Greig said, “the best of the best” and “the best/most qualified/most experienced” should get the job, no matter the nationality or any other secondary issues for this matter.
    I´m not disregarding the security issue here, of course.

    Actually, the US is what it is, particularly in Science, because it has always given the chance “for the best of the best” from all over the world to give their contribution for the development of the country. And as far as I know, US authorities are getting more and more concerned about America “loosing the edge” in Science because of the increasing risk of loosing many foreing brains that start to feel tempted to go back to their countries or that start to feel attracted by other uprising countries/economies.

    So, getting rid of the incompetents and atracting the best should be the “way to go”, no matter national boundaries.
    “Think global, don´t think local”.

    José Carlos Correia

    - A citizen of the world … and perhaps of the entire Universe :)

  32. TriangleMan

    I guess one of the lessons here is that you will only win if you fight. All the blog attention likely played a big role in getting Deutsch out. His attempts to promote a political and antiscience agenda was definately the reason he ‘resigned’ – the credentials issue was just the excuse NASA needed to oust him without worry of repercussions like an unfair dismissal suit.

  33. Grand Lunar

    Good to hear!
    There’s hope after all. I hope a more qualified, and intelligent, person is appointed. Too bad they can’t get the BA, huh?

  34. christian burnham

    Uh, let me dispel a myth for the Americans here. Most of the research, science and mathematics could not be done without importing masses of foreign nationals. You see, Americans aren’t that keen on the nitty gritty of science any more, and it’s not all that well paid. Plus, has it occured to you that there is practically zero attention paid to science on the network channels or in the mass media? It’s far easier to find a religious program than a science one on US television. (To be honest- you still have lots of great scientists, and I love Mythbusters, so it’s not 100% bad, but you should be worried.)

  35. Gabriels Works

    Well another ill advised appointee bites the dust. Now for the previous 1000 and counting…
    By the way NASA would have been nothing without all those Germans and Russian who escaped to freedom……
    More Power to the pen of the person who shone a real bright light on the situation…………..

  36. killedthemessenger

    Alright, so one bad apple is wrenched from a very bad crop!
    Keep on pickin’!
    Well done Nick, thanks for taking the good fight to ‘em for those of us who can’t.

  37. ioresult

    Did you consider the possibility that Deutsch was appointed at this post especially because he was “unqualified”? If you appoint someone to a position of power, shouldn’t you make it easy to get rid of the person the minute he messes up? Maybe I’m being paranoid, but how did Nick know to ask Texas A&M for Deutsch’s credentials? Wouldn’t it be possible someone leaked the info to him? And maybe he was even paid to shut up about the “leak” so I guess he should deny it if asked…

    ok, enough with my conspiracy theories, have a good day!

  38. Cindy

    Good job to Nick Anthis, Phil, and the NY Times for shedding light on this. Keep it up.

    Of course, in today’s NY Times on the page opposite the article about Deutsch resigning is an article with the headline “Evangelical Leaders join global warming initiative”. So I guess the tide is turning about global warming when even Bush’s core supporters are starting to believe the scientists.

  39. Pro Libertate

    Interesting how often government appointees are caught faking their educational background on their resumes. Or “attending” schools that are just diploma mills. Me for that mail-order M.D.!

  40. Why does everyone think this is good news? The real culprits go free. Does anyone think that this was a one man operation mastermined by a 24 year old A&M dropout? We offed the patsy. The people who assigned him this task are still uinknown.

  41. Valiant Dancer

    Should we start worrying about a future announcement of Deutsch being named to the head of FEMA.

  42. “Maybe I’m being paranoid, but how did Nick know to ask Texas A&M for Deutsch’s credentials?”
    If you know A&M and thought to search the Batt, it was pretty easy to see that something was up, as Deutsch’s opinion columns continued for a semester and a half after he claimed he’d graduated. I figured he was just fibbing about his graduation date, which I thought was bad enough. (It’s common practice at A&M to call yourself “Class of (year you entered university + 4)”, even if you graduate a year or so afterward, so I thought he’d taken advantage of that discrepancy to give the illusion of more experience.)

    And since Nick graduated from A&M and was a Batt columnist, I suspect he just asked one of his friends from the paper.

  43. PK

    P. Edward Murray Says: PK, I do hope that you are now an American Citizen at least.

    LOL! Why would I give up my Dutch citizenship? It’s much safer abroad when you’re from a small harmless country!

  44. Kaptain K

    “But…why do we allow foreign nationals to work for JPL?”

    You are on a very slippery slope here! Unless your family tree is 100% Native American on both sides, your ancestors were also foreign nationals. By you’re reasoning, Albert Einstein should never have been offered that cushy job at Princeton! Much of America’s pre-eminence in science is built on the work of “foreign nationals”!

  45. This is great news, for NASA. Congrats to Nick, for exposing him.

  46. PK, there’s people out there that can’t tell the difference between a Dutch and a Dane. :-)

  47. Tara Mobley

    Is it ok to cheer? This makes me very happy, knowing that Deutsch will no longer be doing PR for NASA.

  48. PK

    Thomas Siefert Says: there’s people out there that can’t tell the difference between a Dutch and a Dane.

    I know, it happens to me all the time! And not just in the US…

  49. monolithfoo

    @PK,

    Unless there are thousands of protestors burning your embassies and threatening mas violence at the mere publication of insulting cartoons of Mohammed. Was that not the Dutch embassy burned in Syria? The pen is truly mighter than the sword.

    But on topic. I rather like the outcome here. Political operatives from both parties have exploited or suppressed scientists for their own agendas. They will continue to do so. It is a backhanded tribute to science that it’s power and effectiveness will be envied and hated by those motivated towards power. I like the idea of an army of Davids keeping the Goliaths in power… scared. That is how it should be.

  50. PK, happens to me too and by the way our liquorice is better than yours ;-)

  51. PK

    monolithfoo Says: Was that not the Dutch embassy burned in Syria? The pen is truly mighter than the sword.

    You’re kidding, right? That was the Danish embassy!

  52. PK

    In your dreams, Thomas!

  53. monolithfoo

    urk. Count me as one who gets the Danish and Dutch mixed up. My apologies PK. And my apologies to any Danes reading.

  54. ToSeek

    There was a lot of concern not that long ago about government employees with dubious (“mail-order”) or nonexistent degrees, though I don’t think it got much press outside of the Beltway.

  55. James (Doodler)

    Good to hear, this one shocked me cold when I read the earlier blog.

  56. Chicago Astronomer Joe said…

    I admire Nick from Scientific Activist for his work in spotlighting this breech of trust.
    My post in his blog:

    Nick,

    You are to be congratulated and recognized for revealing what should never have been allowed to occur. You did the job that NASA wasn’t allowed to find out.

    Was the punk a patsy?…perhaps. A cog in a large wheel of ignorance, but you got him! And in a sense, you got them all. In my activities, I have been instrumental in the removal of incompetence and corruption from high positions in this fair city…and let me tell you, I sleep better. Sometimes, the little guy wins!…

    I have highlighted this thread on my astronomical forum, and if you were here in Chicago, I would buy you a drink!

    Kudos, my friend.

    Joe Guzmán
    Administrator
    The Chicago Astronomer
    http://astronomer.proboards23.com

    ——

    A great job all around in this good piece of journalism.

  57. One should in my opinion not mix up science with politics here. Naturally, Big-Bang cosmologists would like to see their theory being the ‘official truth’ and other groups theirs (not only for idealistic reasons but also in order to secure further funding for their work). In the end however it is solely NASA who are responsible for what they publish or not.
    One can just hope that this affair doesn’t affect the scientific discourse as such.

  58. {I’ve also posted this on my personal blog if anyone wants to comment there — uh, not to hijack your blog or anything}

    … practically zero attention [is] paid to science on the network channels or in the mass media[.] It’s far easier to find a religious program than a science one on US television.

    The observation is valid, yet incomplete. American television is dominated by fictional entertainment: comedy, drama, and such. Even the bulk of the “non-fiction” on television, sports, “news shows,” and “reality television”, are portrayed in a dramatic and sensationalized fashion to make them more entertaining – along the lines of the dramas and sit-coms upon which American’s thrive (often by creating drama that isn’t really there).

    Yes, religious programs outnumber the science shows, but even religious programs are in the minority compared to entertainment shows that provoke almost no thought.

    The central issue here is that American’s want to be entertained above all else. The vast majority do not want to learn about the world around them – be it science, news, history, or otherwise. Like children who don’t eat vegetables, the American’s want their candy and nothing else.

    We can’t blame the TV networks for this – they’re just putting the programs on that bring in the viewers. Unless something changes in American culture so that life-long learning and education is seen as valuable, that will never change.

    In truth, I don’t see that happening any time soon. No immediate motivation exists to facilitate such a change. Why bother to learn or accomplish when you can vegetate in front of the TV and consume candy?

  59. Hawkeye

    Two words:

    Suh. Weet.

    *g*

  60. Mario Dinis
  61. Phobos

    Interesting comment on this topic over at Pharyngula…
    (even stellar “evolution” was a problem)
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/02/we_gave_deutsch_too_much_credi.php#comment-10238

  62. stephen

    I would like to see a picture of this guy…I have a feeling he would look like the pilbury dough boys for some reason.

  63. Phobos, many creationists love to call astronomers “stellar evolutionists”, which is as transparent a tactic as they use. It’s a ridiculous phrase, and makes it clear all they have to fight science is dogma and framing.

  64. I think it is interesting that neocons treat NASA like “journalists”. I always thought they were researchers, which is not exactly the same as journalists. Although there undoubtedly are similarities, the treatment of NASA as an institution of press-character demonstrates the paranoia of neocons about “journalists out of control”.

    Considering “religion vs. science”, I am a hard scientist and religious at the same time. I used to be atheist for some time. I used to be a lot of things. Ideologies change. I think research in its direction should not be subject to day-to-day attitude. Same goes to religion. Would I start or stop to believe in god or completely change my political attitude when a new insight from Mars or about molecules is made? I come to the conclusion that ideology/religion and science have to be separated to some degree for the sake of a functioning of both.

    P.S.: apologies for combining ideology and religion into one, did for brevity reasons.

  65. In truth, I don’t see that happening any time soon. No immediate motivation exists to facilitate such a change. Why bother to learn or accomplish when you can vegetate in front of the TV and consume candy?

    I’m glad I tend to plunk down in front of (the better parts of) the History and Discovery Channels… at least until Adult Swim comes on.

  66. skeptigirl

    monolithfoo Says:
    “… Political operatives from both parties have exploited or suppressed scientists for their own agendas. They will continue to do so….”

    No political party until now has sought to convert the government into an Evangelical Christian mouthpiece.

    Cindy Says:
    “… the headline “Evangelical Leaders join global warming initiative”. So I guess the tide is turning about global warming when even Bush’s core supporters are starting to believe the scientists….”

    I wouldn’t be so quick to buy this conclusion. Two different issues are involved. One is government control by large corporate interests and the other is government control by an unprecedented religious movement.

    Some in the religious movement are also on the side of corporate profits they themselves share in. Pat Robertson is an example, having been convicted now of diverting $400,000 dollars of religious charitable donations to his private mining operation in Africa. I doubt all in the Evangelical movement are so corrupt as Robertson.

    Nonetheless both factions use each other to gain and maintain power and influence. Bush seems to be the ‘perfect storm’ so to speak for linking the two in an incredibly schizophrenic way. On the one side he appoints people and directs money and legislation to benefit the corporate interests. Brownie, for example, awarded a very large FEMA no bid contract to his predecessor, who happened to be the one who directed Bush to appoint Brownie and had just left FEMA to enter the private sector after a very short term in the FEMA position setting up the contract. Two officials involved in the Medicare Drug Bill that were instrumental in passing the legislation pushed by the Bush administration resigned and went to work for the companies that benefited from the bill as soon as it was passed. Billions and billions of the dollars going to pay for the Iraq war are going to companies with direct connections to the Bush administration. The list is endless.

    On the other side Bush appoints people and directs money and legislation to benefit the Evangelical religious movement that it appears Bush genuinely believes in. The complete saturation of all? federal agencies with “faith based” programs in an unprecedented way gives evidence of Bush’s convictions. Deutsch was a member of the Young Republicans when he was selected to fill the NASA position. That group, to my understanding, is more Evangelical than Republican, but no less political.

    The Bush attack on science thus is an assault from two fronts. One manned by corporate money and lobby influence, colored with corruption on a scale I’ve not seen in my lifetime, and the other manned by a fanatical religious movement that imagines persecution and has been insidiously working for ~25 years to correct that mythical persecution. They are well funded and extremely well organized. They have a plan and we are now seeing just how busy this group has been over the last 3 decades. Scientific evidence clearly discredits much of the Bible’s text. Science is therefore seen as a threat to the religious beliefs of those who are invested in that Biblical text.

    I imagine the Evangelical group is split on such things as global warming. You have Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell proclaiming man cannot destroy the Earth by pollution, God is too powerful, and man too weak to allow that. However, that is an interpretation and there is nothing in Biblical text that makes such a statement. It is not surprising then to find some Evangelicals who see people as caretakers of the Earth.

    This may be a small crack in the extreme unity of the Evangelical movement. It may indeed be a good sign. But I doubt it is a sign the religious movement is starting to question Biblical accounts that science contradicts.

  67. This made my day, it did! Score one for /real/ science.

  68. Sarcastro

    This is funny and this is poetic, but the man needed to be canned for what he did not what he didn’t do.

  69. monolithfoo

    @skeptigirl,

    About trying to turn the government into a christian mouth piece. That may be true, but as far as I’m concerened, censored and corrupted science for the sake of ANY political agenda is equally evil. The soviet union did not need a christian agenda to make a miserable mess of science with very deadly concequences.

  70. george

    [b]Gig ‘em Nick [/b], (pretty literal, too). Nice to see an Aggie be the one credited for the discovery!

    George, class of ’74 Texas A&M (ok, it was really Dec. ’74 for the record; I didn’t graduate on time, but I did graduate with most of my class.:))

  71. P. Edward Murray

    Kaptain K & everyone,

    There is a HUGE difference between “foreign national” and immigrant.
    An immigrant is a foreign national that decides he wants to become an American citizen usually. I have no problem with anyone who wants to immigrate and does so legally. Today there apparently are lots of companies that go out of their way NOT to hire American citizens even to go to India to seek out candidates for employment when there are lots of Americans who could do the job.

    I’m sorry, I did not intend to offend anyone but this current administration does everything it can to make sure that American citizens have a rough time keeping their jobs.

    I’m one of those “Outsourced” folks.

    Every nation has the right and obligation to employ its own people and any nation that can’t has a severe problem.

  72. PK

    P. Edward Murray, sorry to hear about your job. I am not too pleased with the idea of outsourcing either. However, there is a policy in the US that a university/government lab can hire foreign nationals only if there are no valid US citizens available. I guess I’m pretty special. ;)

    So don’t worry too much much about US jobs going to foreigners, because your government is still quite protectionist.

  73. P. Edward Murray

    PK,

    Thank you, believe it or not I am Danish too!

    Good Luck to you!

  74. P. Edward Murray

    Skeptigirl,

    Please explain how science discredits the Bible? Are you talking about Genesis? Just how, pray tell.

    I’ve said it once and I will say it again:

    There isn’t any problem with Religion and Science.

    Ever hear of the “Pope ‘Scope”?…aka The Vatican Observatory?
    Ever hear of the order of The Jesuits, the order devoted to Teaching?

    Better do some homework…a fair amount of scientists were Catholic Priests.

    I believe that there are two extremes in this debate, those who are the Fundamentalist Fanatics and those who are the Fundamentalist Left who do not believe in God and who will throw anything available at you if you do.

    Both are extreme and in my opinion both have their heads in the sand.

  75. Thanks Phil for the heads up. This is great news to the world of Science and Astronomy. Let’s hope the next runner up is more in tune with the mission of NASA.

  76. gopher65

    PK said:
    “However, there is a policy in the US that a university/government lab can hire foreign nationals only if there are no valid US citizens available.”

    This doesn’t just apply to government workers. My dad is currently applying for a green card using the “There is no one in the US who can do this job” part of the law. Looks like he will get it too, since there is no one in the US who can do that job:). But anyway, he works for a oil sub-pump manufacturing company, not any government institution.

  77. Great job on this! Too bad Deutsch won’t be our whipping boy anymore. If anyone’s interested. I made a funny video about this idiot at my homepage. Click on my name to see it. Man the internets move fast . . . one day and it’s already out of date, but still fun.

  78. And Deutsch did such a Heckofajob, he got enough media attention to get the Director to issue CYA statements and the papers (saddly little other media) ran with the story and will go to press with any new developments.

    The rest of Deutsch’s Gestapo friends are on notice that we’re on to them, and that’s a very good thing. Autocrats don’t work effectively in the daylight.

  79. skeptigirl

    monolithfoo Says:
    “@skeptigirl,

    About trying to turn the government into a christian mouth piece. That may be true, but as far as I’m concerened, censored and corrupted science for the sake of ANY political agenda is equally evil.”

    ??? Did I not spend half my post agreeing with this??? I thought I had.

    P. Edward Murray Says:
    “Skeptigirl,

    Please explain how science discredits the Bible? Are you talking about Genesis? Just how, pray tell….”

    So this whole business about Intelligent Design, Creationism, the dating methods are flawed and the Earth is 6,000 years old (and dinosaur fossils are either the work of the devil or dinosaur’s existed at the same time as humans), Noah’s ark and flood (the one that carved out the Grand Canyon) is not an attempt to make the evidence fit the belief?

    Biblical accounts, meet the evidence. Sorry you two don’t have a lot in common.

    Surely all the work and money the Evangelicals have put into “wedging” themselves into science circles wasn’t because they just had a whim to?

    Other Christian religions have chosen to call those Biblical accounts myths or “stories” that supposedly have meaning but aren’t literal accounts. I did not intend to imply all believers of religion were threatened by science, but clearly the Evangelical crowd has “issues”.

    P. Edward Murray continued:
    “I believe that there are two extremes in this debate, those who are the Fundamentalist Fanatics and those who are the Fundamentalist Left who do not believe in God and who will throw anything available at you if you do.

    Both are extreme and in my opinion both have their heads in the sand.”

    As an atheist who believes in an evidence based interpretation of the world, I do not consider religious moderates to be in between me and fundamentalists. You can believe anything you want.

    **BTW, as a disclosure, I’ve used beskeptical, beskeptigal and skeptigirl on forums for a while and did not intend to log on this blog under different names. It was accidental and I just noticed. Sorry.

  80. PK

    P. Edward Murray and skeptigirl, you are talking past each other. While biblical statements regarding the natural world (in its broadest sense) are for the most part shown to be false, this does not preclude a belief in a deity.

    On a related note, the “Fundamentalist Left who do not believe in God” (PEM) is an oversimplification. You seem to equate the political left with rampant atheism. Even though that is true for communists, the political left is a house with many chambers. More to the point, so is the political right. There are lots of libertarian atheists just as fundamentalist. Do we see here a manifestation of your own prejudices?

    For the record, I am an atheist , leftwing, and Dutch (no Danish ;) )

  81. icemith

    I have to add an explanation re my previous comment on Sunday 5th Feb. 10:21 in Phil”s first mention of the NASA story. My last sentence in my comment included a reference to a certain ” Pauline “, and her catch phrase, well known to Australians, ” Please explain! “.

    Now I have to explain. You see, her last name is HANSEN, something that escaped my attention when I quoted her. Pauline Hansen was a politician here that was notorious for putting her foot in it so to speak, and would ask to have the obvious explained. I hope nobody thought it was a slur on Dr James HANSEN, the NASA Scientist who was the subject of our petty- minded PR person, Mr Deutsch. I had not noticed the co-incidence of the names. My apologies anyway.

    I wonder if we will get a satisfactory explanation.

  82. Martyism

    I think we need to dig deeper. I’m sure that an organization like NASA would never hire any individual without thoroughly checking their resume unless pressure was brought to bear. I suggest that there may have been a discussion with someone that went along the lines of “Hire this man or you’ll find your job in jeopardy.

    Who exactly brought that pressure to bear and against whom was the threat leveled?

    Martyism

  83. skeptigirl

    PK Says:
    “P. Edward Murray and skeptigirl, you are talking past each other. While biblical statements regarding the natural world (in its broadest sense) are for the most part shown to be false, this does not preclude a belief in a deity.”

    While I much appreciate your objective opinion as I often post in emotional haste, I would call attention to the following snip from my above post”

    Other Christian religions have chosen to call those Biblical accounts myths or “stories” that supposedly have meaning but aren’t literal accounts. I did not intend to imply all believers of religion were threatened by science, but clearly the Evangelical crowd has “issues”.

  84. To icesmith: I thought it was Pauline Hanson and not Hansen, I don’t think she would like to be mistaken for a Dane right now.

  85. Irishman

    Martyism Said:
    >I think we need to dig deeper. I’m sure that an organization like NASA would never hire any individual without thoroughly checking their resume unless pressure was brought to bear.

    Actually, that part doesn’t seem unlikely. He’s getting a position as a press release reviewer, not a security clearance. I don’t think NASA even did a background check on me when I was hired (civil servant co-op, some years ago). They did one for me to get access to Mission Control, but that was recently (currently contractor). I wouldn’t be surprised if they took his resume at face value, especially if he was an appointee.

    Which is something else I have yet to see fully explained. How exactly was he an appointee? It is said he was appointed by the White House, how exactly does that work? I’d like more details on that aspect, rather than whether anyone at NASA reviewed his resume and fact-checked it.

  86. This was just another Bush hush up. His stooge was hushing up NASA’s findings about more global warming. Boo, Hiss!

  87. John B

    Not sure how this Deutsch blog got into questions of “foreign nationals” having jobs in the US, but since it came up, here’s my 2cents.

    I have lived here for 24 years: I am a UK citizen, immigrated legally back in ’82, got my “green card” a few years after. I pay the same taxes everyone else does – the same Fed withholding, FICA, and Medicare, state and local, same 1040 each April. etc. I contribute useful work (I hope) to the economy and my earnings go to all sorts of US companies (well, nowadays that means a good chunk to China, huh?) and I don’t send anything out of the country except Christmas presents to relatives.

    Now some posts here suggest I “should” take citizenship. Here are some points about that:

    - Although I’m probably here for the duration, sometimes I wonder about retirement to a little cottage in the English – or maybe Welsh – countryside (Gets less affordable each year what with the dollar an’ all, but still). Obviously that is much easier for a UK national. May become a bigger issue if the US slides into a semi-fascist nutty-religious autocracy (though hopefully that will be corrected as the Bush craziness becomes more widely understood).

    - The UK passport is actually a European Union passport. So with the US green card and the EU passport, I can live and work, if I need to, in the US, or in any of the countries of the EU with no further ado, no visas, etc. Now, taking US citizenship does not explicitly require you to give up another one – dual, even triple citizenship is becoming much more common – but it works fine the way it is.

    - There is one pro and one con to the green card. Pro: you can’t get called for jury duty. For a self-employed hourly-paid person this is significant (and regarding “civic duty”, I am sure there are more than enough US citizens able to fill any slot I might have had). Con: obviously, you can’t vote. I try to make up for that by discussions and writings to promote the good cause (when I can find it).

    I just thought of another Pro – the way Iraq is going, I see people my age getting called up and sent there! Wonder if, if I took citizenship, they would track my British Royal Navy service and consider me eligible….no thanks!

    Hope this information is helpful. Oh, and on Deutsch – everyone, keep up the pressure! Expose those useless, harmful flacks, because for sure there are plenty more of them!

  88. Leon

    christian burnham Says:

    Americans aren’t that keen on the nitty gritty of science any more, and it’s not all that well paid. Plus, has it occured to you that there is practically zero attention paid to science on the network channels or in the mass media? It’s far easier to find a religious program than a science one on US television. (To be honest- you still have lots of great scientists, and I love Mythbusters, so it’s not 100% bad, but you should be worried.)

    I am worried. I’m dismayed by the lack of educational (including scientific) programming available on TV, and here in California we have pretty good programming, compared to what I’ve heard about many other states.

    It does also worry me that people just don’t seem to be interested in science any more. I think part of the problem is that we’ve gotten so used to instant gratification. We demand complete, immediate answers. Science doesn’t always provide those–but wait, religion does! And so, I think that’s had a lot to do with our country’s increasing apathy toward science.

    I am worried–not so much for myself as for what kind of country and society my daughter will have to live in.

  89. SUPER M

    why do people make these pages so long?

  90. Irishman

    We have lots to say. Or we just want to annoy you. You decide.

  91. HenrikOlsen

    I just wish he’d been removed for promoting ID over science, instead of this “let’s cover our posteriors and distance ourselves from this guy” thing.

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