People at NASA must be breathing a sigh of relief…

By Phil Plait | February 10, 2006 12:46 am

… because now that George Deutsch doesn’t work there any more, the patently ridiculous things he said today on a Texas radio show (in four parts: 1, 2, 3, 4) don’t reflect badly on NASA.

I better stop here and once again reiterate that what I am writing here is my own opinion, based on the evidence presented. I don’t speak for anyone but me. People at NASA, at my workplace, my friends, family, passersby and pets may hold their own opinions independent of mine.

Remember now, for those of you who have forgotten what has happened in the past two days (allow me to refresh your memory), that Deutsch resigned shortly after it became clear that his resume did not accurately reflect reality. He said he graduated from Texas A&M, but in fact he never got his degree.

His defense?

“When I left college,” he said, “I did not properly update my résumé. As a result, it may appear misleading to some. However, I was up front with NASA about my undergraduate status when they hired me.”

Think this through, fellow BABloggers. You have not yet graduated college. You are offered a job. You give them your resume. Remember, you have not yet graduated college. Does your resume say you graduated? No, it won’t. It’ll say you’re still in college. After you graduate, you update it to say you graduated, not before.

So if he gave them a resume that was "not properly updated", then why did it say he graduated? We know his resume said that; someone at NASA provided it to Andrew Revkin, the New York Times reporter who broke this story. When I was finishing graduate school, I was applying for jobs. On my resume, I had something like "PhD in Astronomy, 1994 (expected)". I remember quite clearly writing that, to make sure people understood I was close to finishing my degree. So I have some experience here. If I had it written on my resume that I had graduated before I really had, I would have been lying.

Of course, the fact that Deutsch didn’t have a degree is not the real issue here. The real issue is the culture of scientific suppression and distortion being fostered politically in this country. But this particular post is about Deutsch. I’ll tackle the greater issue later.

So I ain’t buying that claim about his resume. But he has so much more to sell!

What I said about intelligent design did not affect the presentation of the Big Bang theory in the subsequent Einstein Web story. This is a very important point, because I have been accused of trying to insert religion into this story, which I was not trying to do.

I certainly never accused him of trying to "insert religion" into the web site, when he told the author to put the word "theory" in every time the Big Bang was mentioned. I said he was motivated to do that due to his religious beliefs about Intelligent Design, a non-scientific ideology which is antithetical to science. His own email about this makes it very clear: "[The Big Bang is] not proven fact; it is opinion…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." He was allowing his religion to motivate his decisions about how science should be taught. That’s a big no-no. Our Constitution makes that clear, and Judge Jones reiterated it after the Dover trial.

Next!

Talking about Jim Hansen, the global climate researcher he is on record as trying to stifle, he said:

What’s sad here is that there are partisan ties of his, all the way to the top of the Democratic Party. And he’s using those ties, and using his media connections, to push an agenda, a worst case scenario agenda of global warming… and anybody who is even perceived to disagree with him is labeled a censor and is demonized and vilified in the media, and the media of course is a willing accomplice here.

Did I say my irony gland exploded a few posts back? I must have been wrong, because what was that huge bang I just felt in my head?

This guy is claiming someone else has partisan issues? Let me remind you, we have a 24-year-old college undergrad with no apparent relevant science or public affairs experience, given the post of Public Affairs Officer at NASA, again apparently on the basis of working for Bush and Cheney during the 2004 campaign. If he had some actual qualifications for the job, they have yet to surface.

And he’s trying to smear Hansen on politics. Wow.

He goes on to say

The interesting thing, is that [there] is no evidence for censorship…

Maybe he should read a NYT article written by Revkin (a story which increasingly seems to be writing itself), which says that several scientists have come forward with evidence that they were censored: "They called or e-mailed The Times and sent documents showing that news releases were delayed or altered to mesh with Bush administration policies (emphasis mine)."

Oops!

And yet, Deutsch isn’t finished:

… what you do have is hearsay coming from a handful of people who have clear partisan ties and they’re really coming after me as a Bush appointee and the rest of the Bush appointees, because this is a partisan issue.

Well, we actually have emails Deutsch sent, and documents from scientists, but forget about those for the moment. What’s more important is the idea that Deutsch is claiming he’s in trouble due to politics.

Well, duh. But apparently it hasn’t occurred to him that it’s his politics that landed him where he is.

When asked "Was it NASA policy or Bush policy to make scientific opinions in line with creationism or certain ideals?" he says:

It has never been NASA policy or Administration policy to insert religion into any science. At all. Period. I have never been told to censor science, to squelch anything, or to insert religion into any issue.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Deutsch didn’t censor, squelch, or insert. It just means he was never told to. That doesn’t change the fact that he was politically and religiously motivated, and there’s evidence he censored and squelched. And as far as religious injection goes, I covered that already.

On the radio show, he was asked about why he resigned.

I resigned of my own volition. I resigned because I was unhappy with the negative media publicity I was getting… I wasn’t happy with the negative media publicity NASA and NASA PR was getting, which I felt was wholly unfair.

Actually, the NYT article, the articles by Nick Anthis, and of course my own, have been scrupulously fair to NASA (though Anthis does lay some blame on NASA for letting Deutsch do what he did– this is certainly debatable, but hardly "wholly unfair"). We understand this political appointment was foisted on them. I cannot speak for Revkin and Anthis, but I know I don’t hold NASA responsible for Deutsch or his actions. I hold him responsible, 100%.

I find all this sad, infuriating, and maybe just a little bit funny (in an outrageous, satirical sort of way). And exasperating. I thought this would blow over today, but evidently Deutsch can’t resist reloading after shooting himself in the foot.

I’m glad he’s gone from NASA. They have enough on their plate at the moment without having to deal with Deutsch’s claims. Mr. Deutsch, if you read this: you did this to yourself. You can try to blame Dr. Hansen as much as you want, but playing the politics card shines a big light on what you yourself did, and your motivations behind it.

You can try to sell it, but I’m not buying. And I don’t see a whole lot of others folks reaching for their wallets, either.

Comments (80)

  1. Mr. Deutsch’s (I can think of another name for him) statements surprise me. It seems everyone who has no arguement always play the same card for which they are guilty – in this case partisanship. Science is all about collecting and analyzing data. How partisan is that?

    But in a way, I am glad of his statements because it really does show what an idiot he is. Hopefully everyone is able to clearly identify his intent as you.

    Thanks Phil for your hard work in keeping us up to date with this outrageous story.

  2. Rory Manion

    “It has never been NASA policy or Administration policy to insert religion into any science.”

    Well, isn’t he a good little soldier? Still dutifully towing the line after a public lashing. Why do I get the sinking feeling that this guy will have a high-paying consulting job with the Discovery Institute within the week?

  3. As infuriating as the events at NASA lately are, a lot of it’s just the first public exposure of malarkey that’s been going on behind the public’s back for quite awhile. Now that it’s out in the open and the stories are rolling out in rapid fire, let’s hope the hints of change manifest themselves to positive effect.

  4. I’d be surprised if he didn’t get offered a gig at The Discovery Institute. Birds of a feather.

  5. PK

    The shameless twisting of the truth (Hansen had a political agenda) never ceases to amaze me. This is spin in its worst form, and the scary thing is that they often get away with it!

  6. Phil said:

    “I said he was motivated to do that due to his religious beliefs about Intelligent Design, a non-scientific ideology which is antithetical to science. His own email about this makes it very clear”

    Phil, I find your black and white ideology (Big-Bang proponents= good guys; creationists = bad guys) a little bit odd considering the fact that the Big-Bang theory is actually the only cosmology approved by the (previous) pope just because it allows (in contrast to a steady state theory) the possibility of a creator. The fact that George Lemaitre (the ‘inventor’ of the Big-Bang theory) was an ordained catholic priest is not exactly a good reference for scientific objectivity either.

  7. Alphgeek

    Is it just me of does Deutsch sound like Gomer Pyle?

    “Weeell GOH-LEE!”

  8. Fantastic coverage Phil! You have been thorough and fair throughout. Deutsch deserves everything he’s gotten, and the wonder of it all appears to be his unapologetic partisanship.

  9. It is Deutsch and his whole sick crew that insist on setting out a notion of God is incompatible with science, not Phil, and their notion of God is, to say the least, a rather childish one.

    After reading these lines from Deutsch, frankly, I feel like showing him Garibaldi’s “magic trick”. (I trust everyone here knows “Babylon 5″; if not, why not?)

  10. CousinoMacul

    His comments don’t surprise me at all. Earlier this week I went to the online archives of The Battalion (Texas A&M student newspaper) and looked up his old columns. I found his writing to be unoriginal, unconvincing, and poorly written. What he said yesterday perfectly meshes with the student writer whose opinion pieces I had read.

  11. P. Edward Murray

    During my senior year in college, I worked on a campaign for City Council of Cincinnati. My candidate, Arn Bortz ( later Mayor of Cincinnati ) won and I was given a job as a staff aide for 8 months.

    Arn Bortz knew I was a senior at Xavier University because he had come to one of my political science classes and that is how I came to be on his campaign staff.

    The kid is just a arrogant period, probably more arrogant than any of us were at that age.

    But, in the heat of the storm, where was this guy’s supervisor?
    Why wasn’t this quelled before it got out?

    One has to wonder here….

  12. Sid

    Phil said:

    “I said he was motivated to do that due to his religious beliefs about Intelligent Design, a non-scientific ideology which is antithetical to science. His own email about this makes it very clear”

    Phil, I find your black and white ideology (Big-Bang proponents= good guys; creationists = bad guys) a little bit odd considering the fact that the Big-Bang theory is actually the only cosmology approved by the (previous) pope just because it allows (in contrast to a steady state theory) the possibility of a creator. The fact that George Lemaitre (the ‘inventor’ of the Big-Bang theory) was an ordained catholic priest is not exactly a good reference for scientific objectivity either.

    ——————————————————————

    It doesn’t matter who originated the theory or who has “approved” it. It also doesn’t matter how the originator of the theory came to his or her conclusion, as long as somewhere along the line, proof is found. I don’t read anyone here writing that the Big Bang is either inclusive or exclusive of God or other religious beliefs.

    All I’m saying (and Phil is, too) is that you can’t say ID or any other religious belief is based on any FACT. Just because people “know” there is a God doesn’t give anyone the right to say that God is a fact. They ain’t got no proof! Therefore, in science, it can’t be used.

    There s no reason not to BELIEVE God started the Big Bang in motion. Heck, I haven’t heard any good explanation based on evidence for any reason for it, so God is as good as aby other cause. The same can be said for evolution. There are facts that make evolution the reason for us being able to have this discussion. As to what put that all in motion – again, God is as good a possibility as anything.

    You can’t say God is a provable fact, ’cause, no matter how many noodles you think it/he/she has, there just isn’t any proof beyond a website and some t-shirts.

  13. P. Edward Murray

    Not being a Republican, I’ve always found it fascinating that Republicans always talk about Non-Republicans being partisan. Usually, I take this to mean that the Republicans are being extremely partisan, which leaves no room for anyone else.

  14. Sid

    I left out something:

    In addition, God cannot be used to trump any scientific theory because the idea of God doesn’t fit into science at all. That only works in dictatorships and other POLITICAL environments where religion is used as a club. It doesn’t fit into what this country was founded to be.

  15. Caledonian

    One of the defining characteristics of spin is to respond to arguments that haven’t been made. It forces the other side to not only refute what was first said, but to refute the new arguments, and once that’s been done there is even more material to generate false new refutations from.

  16. Roger Tang

    Phil, I find your black and white ideology (Big-Bang proponents= good guys; creationists = bad guys) a little bit odd considering the fact that the Big-Bang theory is actually the only cosmology approved by the (previous) pope just because it allows (in contrast to a steady state theory) the possibility of a creator. The fact that George Lemaitre (the ‘inventor’ of the Big-Bang theory) was an ordained catholic priest is not exactly a good reference for scientific objectivity either.

    This is an ad hominem argument.

    Their positions MAY not have been a good reference for scientific objectivity….but the SCIENCE was.

    Look at the evidence. That’s where the focus should be.

  17. I think Deutsch’s continued efforts to reaffirm the validity of every Aggie joke ever told is distracting everyone from the more important issue: Many folks have been saying that Deutsch is just the tip of the iceberg as far as political interference with NASA research goes. So Deutsch was particularly stupid, and made himself an easy target. Great. He’s no longer a threat to good science. But what of the rest of the iceberg? Now that the problem’s been exposed to daylight, shouldn’t more attention be given to other appointees at NASA (and elsewhere) who may be doing as much, if not more, damage than Deutsch, but aren’t so dumb to be obvious about it?

  18. monolithfoo

    Dr. Hansen not being politically partisan? Color me skeptical.

    After all, he did mention that he would vote for Kerry, prefering to vote for McCain if he only had the choice.

    Duestch deserved to be fired, and I think we are all better off for it.

    I DO respect Dr. Hansen and I do think he has worked hard to keep his science and politics seperate. At some point though, they have crossed. He IS a scientist and puts his facts and evidence out and draws his conclusions from data available to you and me, but he does think that time is running out in order to prevent a world wide disaster of biblical purportions. In the current climate how can he help not being a bit politically partisan?

    (please excuse any puns… I can’t help myself ;) )

  19. Leon

    John W. Kennedy Says:

    After reading these lines from Deutsch, frankly, I feel like showing him Garibaldi’s “magic trick”. (I trust everyone here knows “Babylon 5″; if not, why not?)

    I am, but I forget the magic trick. What was that?

  20. TJ

    I can’t believe how this ID hogwash is moving. Are people really THAT stupid? Answer: yes.

    I’m so disappointed in the Human Race right now, I could vomit. When will the stakes be reconstructed and the burnings begin again?

    We’re having this Internet discussion because of SCIENCE, people, and some people’s insecurities of their own mortality SHOULD NOT be used to influence scientific fact.

    Believe in god if you want to, what is this drive to shove him down everyone’s throat? I’ll take the facts, if you please, and you can keep your imaginary friend. There’s no reason we can’t just agree to disagree and coexist.

    Eventually, we will all need to turn to science for our survival. Prayer won’t help.

  21. monolithfoo

    @TJ,

    Not to talk to your essential point, but you do realise that you said that insecurities of peoples own mortality should not be used to influence science… then used an argument based on insecurities about peoples own mortatlity to drive your point home?

  22. Peptron

    That feels so odd… When I was a kid, there were religion classes where I live (Québec, Canada). Of course, it was possible to take a moral class instead of a religion class, otherwise it would have made it a “state religion” and be unconstitutionnal.

    But the things I’ve learned in those classes were THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what the fundamentalists are pushing right now. The religion was exalting science and reason, and that through scientific research we should be filled in awe at the beauty of the world. It was explaining the fact that looking through a telescope to see other planets, stars and galaxies and the ensuing awe were a very religious experience that helped to understand the greatness of the virtually infinite universe we live in. It was explaining that the fact that we live so much better today than in the past is because of science, and that science helped us to understand the world and that we are essencially nothing in the universe that God created.

    Our religion class also explained that the catholic religion in the middle ages was an example of a religion going bad, and that at that era, the entire message of love of Jesus and God was flying right over the head of much of the populace, and that the “fear and terror” was used to put into power people that were just too incompetent or insecure.

    The fundamentalists seems to be doing the exact opposite. It’s: BELIEVE or go in hell! If you don’t agree with us you are persecuting us. And in their case too, their point of view is there to push an agenda and the message of love of Jesus and God flies right over their head unnoticed, because they really don’t care about it since it’s not part of their agenda. This is odd that in the religion classes that I got, we have been warned that those things happened in the past, and that religion must never go back there again (my class was a Christian Catholic one, so they know what it means to go bad, and they know the signs of a religion going mad).
    The fundamentalists seems to be preaching ignorance of reality in order to make their agenda easier to push… and they keep saying that science is the ennemy of religion, which is the exact opposite point of view of what I’ve learned in my religion class that science was a very strong ally of religion. Of course you must not have a dogmatic view of Christianity to think that. But it’s so simple, I mean when you study the infinitely small and the infinitely big, it’s much easier to have a “religious feeling” than when you are living in your cave screaming persecution on all sides.

    I was listening to Radio Vatican a while back, and there was a scientist talking about how he was close to find a drug with little side effects that would disrupt the self-replication of cancerous cells. They also explained what it means to be a scientific theory, and the scientific method. Another time it was an astronomer that was telling how he was feeling in awe when he was looking at planets (especially Jupiter and its satellites), and he explained that we should have children be more interested in space and space exploration.
    That was on a radio sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church! And they tell you that people need to be more interested in science!
    It’s is so much the opposite of what we see in the US that I have an hard time understanding that it is the same religion!

    Note: Personally I’m agnostic, and despite the fact that the Vatican is very open on things like science and objective reality, they are still quite closed on “moral” issues. They will never insist that the earth is flat when it is round, or that evolution is wrong, because it’s false and it will be just ridiculous to argue on it; besides, they see science as a promotion of the work of God, not the vilification of it like the fundamentalists try to say. But when it comes on “moral issues”, or on “point of view” issues, they are still way too closed in my honest opinion.

  23. MikeM

    Now, it just seems to me that folks are starting to get together to face up to the President. Finally. At long last. I’m glad to see it.

    We have the reprehensible Deutsch, who lied on his resume, and is now blaming his problems on others.

    We have Michael Brown, giving his testimony today.

    And we have Paul Pillar…

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/02/10/iraq.intelligence/

    The truth is spreading, and I’m glad to see it. Why’d it take so long?

    I know I shouldn’t bring up politics, but it seems to me that you simply cannot help but bring up politics when you talk about this president. I think this is his culture; whacky beliefs in ID, whacky stances on wiretaps, and so on. I get to a point where I think the old joke about “How can you tell when the President is lying? When his lips move”, is literally the truth with this particular president.

    Before anyone wings on me, I want to point out that I wasn’t partucularly proud of the Lewinsky affair, but seriously, does misleading the world about a slam-dunk case for WMDs compare with that? Did an affair lead to 30,000-60,000 dead Iraqis?

    I know I’ve strayed from the topic, but if Deutsch is any indication, Bush is probably lying about the plot to blow up the US Bank Building in LA, too. It all gets to credibility.

    Bush will end up with the place in history he now so richly deserves. Deutsch is just a snowball on the tip of the iceberg.

  24. Leon

    Peptron says:

    The fundamentalists seems to be doing the exact opposite. It’s: BELIEVE or go in hell! If you don’t agree with us you are persecuting us.

    That’s one of the things that insults me the most about their MO. That kind of thing, hurting someone and then blaming THEM when they try to defend themselves.

  25. Leon

    MikeM says:

    The truth is spreading, and I’m glad to see it. Why’d it take so long?

    I sure hope you’re right. It does look people are finally starting to come around. My father (a very astute political observer, that one) predicted back when the war started that people would come around when their kids started coming home in body bags. It’s sad that things work that way, but I guess that’s the way it is.

  26. HawaiiArmenian

    BA, you cannot hold Deutsch, solely 100% to blame on this one. Don’t forget the inept idiot who appointed him in the first place. I’m not a Democract, nor a Republican, I just call dung as I see it. Bush, has brought cronyism to a whole new level never before seen in American Politics. Sure, all Presidents have appointed friends, and associates in important positions within the government. But at least those appointees had some form of qualification, a nugget of education, or experience that allowed them to function above the tide. Bush’s appointees, not just Deutsch alone, have NO qualifications to do anything, much less head any offices. These are IMPEACHABLE offenses (although they pale in comparison to the other offenses, such as lying to start a unilateral War in Iraq, corruption leading to the highest levels of government, etc.).
    I’m glad Deutsch is burning on this one, but you can’t expect success when you’ve only cut off one of Hydra’s heads. Well come 2008, maybe we can all work a little harder to vanquish the anti-science beasts thoroughly.

  27. NelC

    Garibaldi’s Magic Trick:

    Garibaldi, “Magic? You want to see magic? I got a little magic trick for ya. I got a little magic that’ll make you pass through the top of the bar.”
    Bar Patron, “Hey! Let go!”
    Garibaldi, “I’ll need complete silence or I’ll have to ask for another volunteer from the audience. Let’s see, what was that magic word again? Shazam? (whack) No that’s not it. I’ll tell you what, I’ll go home and look at my books, then I’ll come back. If you’re still talking trash about killing marsies, we’ll try it again and again (whack) until we get it right, huh?”

    Yeah, Deutsch needs a little magic in his life….

  28. Roger Tang

    Dr. Hansen not being politically partisan? Color me skeptical.

    After all, he did mention that he would vote for Kerry, prefering to vote for McCain if he only had the choice.

    Duestch deserved to be fired, and I think we are all better off for it.

    I DO respect Dr. Hansen and I do think he has worked hard to keep his science and politics seperate. At some point though, they have crossed. He IS a scientist and puts his facts and evidence out and draws his conclusions from data available to you and me, but he does think that time is running out in order to prevent a world wide disaster of biblical purportions. In the current climate how can he help not being a bit politically partisan?

    Yes, but the point goes back to the evidence and the science. It ALWAYS should go back to the evidence–and how partisan is that? Ignoring the evidence or changing the conclusions (or even its wording) should not be a part of the picture.

    [And note—pointing out worst case scenarios IS a responsible interpretation of the evidence. How can you make any kind of informed judgement without considering all the scenarios, from best case to worst?]

  29. I think it is rather unfortunate that Deutsch resigned, because NASA PAO in particular and NASA HQ in general can now avoid having to deal with this.
    Deutsch needed to be fired, and Griffin needed to do it himself.
    This will also leave a permanent taint on the PAO staff, most of them are pros who know what they are doing, but now every new staff there is going to have to prove themselves to any of the scientists first, both within NASA and the community. For a long time there will be a question whether new PAO staffers are civil servants there to promote science and publicity, or appointee minders there to censor the results.

  30. PK

    The truth is spreading, and I’m glad to see it. Why’d it take so long?

    After 9/11, criticism of Bush was regarded unpatriottic and verging on treason. Then, as the war started and turned messy, discontent grew, but no major network wanted to be the first to turn against Bush. When Katrina happened, there was a justification for going after Bush on the grounds that he messed up the aftermath. And now the political levvies have broken and he’s fair game again.

  31. Leon

    NelC Says:

    Garibaldi’s Magic Trick:

    Garibaldi, “Magic? You want to see magic? I got a little magic trick for ya. I got a little magic that’ll make you pass through the top of the bar.”
    Bar Patron, “Hey! Let go!”
    Garibaldi, “I’ll need complete silence or I’ll have to ask for another volunteer from the audience. Let’s see, what was that magic word again? Shazam? (whack) No that’s not it. I’ll tell you what, I’ll go home and look at my books, then I’ll come back. If you’re still talking trash about killing marsies, we’ll try it again and again (whack) until we get it right, huh?”

    Awesome! I love it! Yeah, I’d forgotten that one.

  32. Leon

    PK says:

    After 9/11, criticism of Bush was regarded unpatriotic and verging on treason.

    The real shame is that we as a people should never fall into the mindset that criticizing our leaders is unpatriotic, for any reason. The toleration of dissent is what makes this a free country in the first place.

  33. Tom Epps

    The important thing to remember is that science, scientific methodology and applications, which are responsible for our being able to have this exchange of ideas and viewpoints, and which daily enrich and extend our lives, has long been a target for those who feel threatened by it. These individuals and groups are dedicated to turning back the clock to a time when merely suggesting that there is anything else behind the grandeur of the Universe but God was grounds for persecution, imprisonment, and even death.

    I won’t insult Religion in general, but will say that individuals within the framework of organized worship and it’s adjuncts have spent decades, and a great deal of money, making war on independent thought and scientific investigation. We, as the practitioners of such thought and investigation, are faced with a choice; accept the oppression of free thought and skeptical analysis in hopes that things will “get better”, or join together to fight the rhetoric, circular reasoning, and name-calling that dominate the agendas of the “faithful” who claim to know THE TRUTH about the Universe, and to have an ‘Inside Line’ on God’s plan.

    We cannot use their methods, for it would only drag our cause down to their level; we can only try to educate the public in order to remove the scales from THEIR eyes, so that they can see that there is no TRUTH, at least as championed by the creationist, the intelligent design-ist, or the new-ager.

    No TRUTH, but Truth; that the Universe in all it’s facets is a quantifiable, knowable system based on properties and laws that are also knowable. That hypothesis and theory, rather than Product, are instead Process, part of the development of understanding. That true analysis requires evidence/data and a framework of logic in which to examine them.

    We need to show the public that science and the scientific method do not and have never claimed to present an infallible picture of the Universe, that the collection and collation of data continuously modify and alter the viewpoint of hypothesis and theory, often obliterating one chain of investigation while strengthening others.

    Public misunderstanding and misconceptions about science and it’s processes can only be battled by educating them about these facets of the ongoing search for knowledge and understanding. We can’t expect a few day’s furor over a PA flack’s ouster (which most of the world will never hear of anyway) to be more than a small bip on the radar.

    Phil, Randi, Richard Dawkins, the late Drs. Sagan and Asimov and many others are leading and have led the fight; we need to follow their examples by standing up in the name of science.

    So get out there and fight!

    Tom Epps

  34. PK

    Leon: absolutely! Democracy requires constant vigilance!

  35. Pat Kelley

    I can’t believe he threw away a chance I’d give a limb for. Imagine- sit still, play editor, make sure the grammar is correct and meaning is clear, study while you are there, and you are well on your way to a career in cutting edge scientific research.

    Extreme narcissism is what I’d peg it as. He had, apparently, no idea how fragile was the branch on which he sat. Waiting four years with good behavior would have made it nice and solid, allowed him to go back for his degree and possibly a graduate degree. It chafes my hide that folks like this get opportunities like these.

    In addition to all of the scandal. Just didn’t want to write another “Me too!” post. :)

  36. jess tauber

    Re Garibaldi’s magic trick- a good whack in the continent via planetary bombardment might do the trick- who needs Washington? Oops- there’s the NSA on my tail again. Gotta run….. Hail, Dorothy!

  37. Troy

    While I’m glad he’s gone, one thing I disagree with is using his age (24) against him. For example Einstein was only 26 during his miracle year when he came up with many of his great papers. It was easy enough to find legit reasons for his ouster even before the resume fiasco.

  38. Dagger

    Leon Says:

    February 10th, 2006 at 12:21 pm
    PK says:

    After 9/11, criticism of Bush was regarded unpatriotic and verging on treason.

    The real shame is that we as a people should never fall into the mindset that criticizing our leaders is unpatriotic, for any reason. The toleration of dissent is what makes this a free country in the first place.

    PK Says:

    February 10th, 2006 at 2:28 pm
    Leon: absolutely! Democracy requires constant vigilance!

    Of the 4 documents created by man that I cherish most, 2 reside within the United States of which I am not a citizen.

    It swells my heart with unimaginable joy to see people finally starting to take to heart the meaning of those documents again.

  39. Dan Gerhards

    Dagger:

    Well said. Not *all* of us here in the US forgot. Some of us have been pleading for this all along.

  40. Michael Hopkins

    Steinn Sigurdsson wrote:

    “I think it is rather unfortunate that Deutsch resigned, because NASA PAO in particular and NASA HQ in general can now avoid having to deal with this.
    Deutsch needed to be fired, and Griffin needed to do it himself.

    No one is ever fired in Washington. They are asked to resign or hinted it would be a good thing to do. That way they can be fired without being fired. Did I mention that black is white and white is black?

  41. brent wiese

    nobody get fired in this administration. they get promoted, or awarded.

    but his quiting seems odd. he talked about ALL that pressure, but it was only one real newspaper and a few weblogs. that was not pressure. so it makes him a real wimp, or something else was going on. think the administration pushed him out as quickly as possible to minimize the fall out? just asking.

  42. P. Edward Murray

    Tom Epps,

    I would say “Some” individuals who happen to be religious have made war on science. For hundreds of years the Jesuit order has taugh science and everything else.

  43. Although I’m not a conventionally religious person myself, I’d have more empathy with these “faith-based” folks if they didn’t lie, cheat, bully, and bluster their way into power. I’ve been exposed to a fair amount of principled faith and the people who experience and practice it, and none of it had anything to do with steamrollering over honest dissent.

    NASA has had its serious problems over the years — and just about all of them have been related to political hacks placing pressure on scientists and engineers to suspend their professional judgment when it was politically expedient. (Recall the presidential pressure to launch Challenger on the day of the State of the Union address in 1986, despite weather conditions that were known to be dangerous!) But NASA used to be a national treasure, and given the scientific talent that has always been present there, it should still be one. I’m glad to see NASA scientists standing up for the integrity of their profession!

    Maybe a 24-year-old political hack really isn’t mature enough to realize when he’s behaving like a jerk, but my sympathy for the guy runs pretty short. If a young American and avowed Christian doesn’t know or care by age 24 that (a.) the U.S. government is forbidden by the Constitution to favor a particular religious belief and (b.) misrepresenting one’s education on one’s resume is dishonest, he has a frass-poor understanding of both his alleged faith and his country’s history.

  44. I think I can explain how Deutsch-bag failed to update his resume. He forget to add “…not!” afer “I graduated from Texas A&M”. It was na hnest mistake.

  45. He sounds like any member of the local “debate club” I’ve ever met, it doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong only winning the discussion counts.

  46. beskeptigal

    Sid wrote: “Phil, I find your black and white ideology (Big-Bang proponents= good guys; creationists = bad guys) a little bit odd considering…”

    It is black and white but not good or bad. It’s science and NOT science. And I think you’ll find Phil is not in the minority with that ‘ideology’ as you call it.

    It isn’t up for discussion. We don’t worship the god of the bang, nor do we hold the bang theory sacred should evidence be discovered supporting a better theory.

    Creation is a story. There are many creation stories. The stories are based on the religious traditions that support each particular story. They are not based on evidence. There is no creation science. There is no creation theory. Those who follow their personal religious beliefs will have to decide for themselves how they want to interpret the scientific evidence in light of those beliefs.

    But those following their personal religious beliefs will never get equal time in scientific circles for their creation stories. Nor will they sneak creation stories in the back door by using scientific labels for the stories. And the believers of stories from religious traditions will not be able to cast doubt in true scientific circles over well established scientific methods such as dating techniques.

    The believers may fool others and may be fooled themselves by their lack of scientific knowledge. They will undoubtedly find the rogue scientist to support their religious stories, but that doesn’t mean the stories will stand up to scientific scrutiny. There are all sorts of rogue scientists out there purporting all sorts of odd interpretations of evidence. They don’t get equal time either, until they present supporting evidence and arguments.

    And when there is new evidence and reasonable supporting arguments for interpretation that do conflict with current interpretations and evidence, it will always find its way into the scientific body of knowledge.

    Courts, politics, majority rule, church leaders, none of those will ever dictate that science must allow equal time for creation stories. They may create barriers such as bans on stem cell research. They may waste the time of scientists defending science in court. They may interfere with children learning science in schools by requiring teachers to read statements or include non-science content in science classes.

    But none of those actions will change scientific inquiry and the body of knowledge gained from that inquiry. Creation stories will never get equal time. Science is about evidence, not about stories.

  47. beskeptigal, Sid didn’t say that; he was quoting someone else. Just for the record. :-)

  48. One fact that should be of interest.

    The big bang is based upon the assumption that the universe is expanding.

    The expansion of the universe is based upon the assumption that the red shift shows that the stars and galaxies are expanding in all directions.

    The red shift assumes that it consists of an “apperent Doppler effect” – but the red shift also includes three components only due to gravity (General Relativity) thus it does not prove expansion or receeding stars.

    One of the gravitational effects on photon wavelength is due to gravitational
    drag on the photons by gas and dust (similar to tidal effects) in the passage through intersteller space.

    Thus there is no proof of the expansion – or the big bang. The other supports for the big bang also fall – but this is a matter for further disclosure.

    Just a contribution to the story of religion and science. With common sense, they can coexist in their own domain.

  49. Your Name's Not Bruce?

    Beskeptigal said, “Those who follow their personal religious beliefs will have to decide for themselves how they want to interpret the scientific evidence in light of those beliefs.” I think “following” is a part of the problem. There is a spectrum of positions within those who call themselves Creationists or who might sympathize with them. I think keeping that in mind can be helpful. Driving our own “wedge” between the extremists and the rest would perhaps reduce the power of the former. People already comfortable science might reconsider their sympathy for extremism if it is exposed for what it is, the defence of a particular and peculiar form of Biblical inerrancy and literalness that is, if I understand correctly, a minority position within Christianity itself.These people will, I believe, be more amenable to actual scientific debate.
    I feel sorry for those people who don’t know any better and trust that IDers and Young Earth creationists are being honest with their presentation of “facts”; presentations which will happily quote sources out of context,or grab onto any “real” science that even remotely supports their view. Even non-Christian mythology is recruited for the fight if it will serve the purpose (tales of dragons from various cultures used to “prove” the co-existance of humans and dinosaurs. Afterwards, though, make no further use of these stories. Unless they mention a Flood.) The extremists’ philosophy seems to be “any weapon will do.” And these are weapons. This isn’t a scientific debate, it’s a barroom brawl. Even if what they claim to want is “fair play”, “equal time”, or “a level playing field”, they don’t. They want the government to step in and fight their battles for them, to give their particular , peculiar religious views a place in the classroom which they have not earned, and give their beliefs the impremateur of SCIENCE. I find it terribly ironic that these religiously conservative supporters of ID/creationism are usually more than likely also proponents of less government, more free enterprise, yet want the assistance of Big Brother for the propagation of their beliefs. If they were to win, their victory would be a hollow one. The “science” they could call on for justification of their faith would be gutted and useless, a pawn to theological conceit. Perhaps if more people decided for themselves how they want to interpret their beliefs in light of scientific evidence instead of the other way around we wouldn’t have this problem.

  50. Blake Stacey

    Dear Advisor 7:

    First of all, are you related to Gary Seven, Anan 7 or Seven of Nine?

    Second, you’re at least five years behind the cosmological times. Scattering, gravitational redshifts and other ways of making “tired light” have been out of style a long time. Astronomers are able indeed of untangling gravitational effects from Hubble-style expansion. I’ve been to some very interesting colloquia on this, hearing details about photons going into galaxy clusters and coming out the other end, possible gravity-wave signatures from quantum strings stretched to intergalactic size, and lots more.

    Knowing only the ionization energy of hydrogen, I can tell you how hot the “Universe soup” was when it first thinned out enough that light could pass through it. Up to a pretty close factor, a quick calculation using the Periodic Table on your high-school chem lab’s wall tells you how hot the Universe was when it became “optically transparent”. Isn’t that cool?

    The Big Bang happened. Deal with it. You should be happy: if the steady-state universe had won out, you wouldn’t have a convenient place to say, “God stepped in then and made it happen.” If science had shown the Universe to be indefinitely old — steady-state — then one would have to consider a Creator who created a Cosmos that already “looked old”. It’s like saying God made Adam already grown-up and with a belly button, and it suffers from the same problem. If you admit that, then you have to admit that God might as well have created the Cosmos yesterday afternoon at teatime. Or this morning, when you woke up. Or five minutes ago.

    Or maybe God hasn’t done anything yet, and you’re living in a retrospective illusion provided by the memories God will implant in you when He creates you, tomorrow.

    Please. You posted your thoughts to a blog. This means you used a computer. This means that your life has been influenced by modern solid-state electronics. Those electronics could never have been made without basic research in quantum mechanics. The same quantum mechanics predicts the signature lines in the hydrogen emission spectrum. We see those lines, massively redshifted, in distant quasars.

    Think about it! The same laws operate in your PC, in a distant quasar and in your head. Isn’t that what you’d expect from an extremely clever Creator who got it all going?

    In ten years, or twenty or fifty, perhaps scientists will push our frontier of knowledge back into the hyper-time before the Big Bang, and show that natural laws were behind that too. Until then, and maybe even after, we’ll face the old puzzler, the one Stephen Hawking phrased, “What is it that breathed fire into the equations and made for them a universe to describe?” I think it was Sheldon Glashow who spoke about “waving a magic wand” and trying to make our equations “fly”. We can’t do that.

    I do not know how many people do this, but one is perfectly free to say “God” is the answer to Hawking’s question. Whether that God is one to whom you can pray, or one Who would even take an interest in Earthly affairs, is something you’ll have to think about.

    This is only my opinion as one human being, as one way the Cosmos uses to know itself. Please, think about the time in which you live, and try not to belittle the Scientific Revolution which keeps you alive.

    Peace.

  51. Kaptain K

    For once, I am glad that I don’t have high speed internet. I didn’t have the time to wait for that drivel to download. :-|

    FWIW -G.W. Bush has stated in public that as far as he is concerned, anybody who does not accept Jesus Christ as his/her personal savior (over 80% of the world’s population) is going to hell.

  52. monolithfoo

    @Blake Stacey,

    Wow, thanks for that post about the ‘tired light’ phalacy. That was really good. Do you have a blog? Almost as good as Phil. ;)

    I was going to post lots of stuff about the blantant bigotry and barely suppressed bitter violence fantasies in many of these posts here… but Blake Stacey’s post has cheered me up to no end. What a wonderfull post. It wasn’t ascerbic and condescending, nor hinting at barely suppresed rage and possible violence (if given half the chance), not filled with stereotyping in order to tear down a straw man. It was cogent and full of depth and convincing and conversational and respectfull.
    (no, I don’t think all the other posts here are bad… )

    There may be hope yet.

    @Roger Tang,

    I think that Dr. Hansen has done quite a bit more then just point out the worst case scenario. Also, his interpretation of the data is just that, it is probably dead on, but never forget that he is making a prediction of the future.

  53. Nigel Depledge

    Michael Hopkins said:
    “… Did I mention that black is white and white is black? ”

    Be extra-careful when using zebra crossings, then!

  54. Nigel Depledge

    Advisor 7, and Blake Stacey:

    First, Advisor 7, a lot of what you dub “assumptions” are measurements or logical inferences from measurements.

    Second, you ignore many other threads of evidence that also point to the big bang model being correct (or, at worst, a close approximation of the truth). If you’re going to criticise BB cosmology, make sure you know a bit more about it before you start. The internet is a wonderful educational tool for those who are prepared to make the effort.

    Blake, there are one or two areas where the big bang model does not quite work as well as we might expect. For instance, inflation was postulated as a way of making the model a better fit to reality, but we still have no idea of what mechanism could have caused the inflation to start and stop. Having said that, my opinion is that the big bang is pretty close to the truth. All in all, there are too many independent lines of evidence supporting it (or that were predicted by it before they were discovered) for any casual argument against it. If there is a better model than the big bang, no one has yet formulated it.

  55. laurence Jewett

    Does anyone really believe that George Deutsch dreamed everything up himself?

    Why is it that NASA Chief Griffin only issued his NASA-wide e-mail regarding the censorship issue AFTER the Times article came out?

    Why did Hansen feel that he had to go to the Times rather than (or perhaps in addition to) NASA chief Griffin in the first place?

    Are we really supposed to believe that Griffin (and other high level managers at NASA) knew NOTHING about what was going on before the Times article?

    Deutsch may be getting what he asked for, but, as Hansen has said, “he is only a bit player”.

    So the question remains, who are the dollar players at NASA?

    My guess is that there are some in NASA who are probably breathing a sigh of relief that ALL the attention is focused on Deutsch.

    This issue cries out for an independent investigation by a group of non-governmental scientists.

    If Griffin will not demand such an investigation, then he is NOT the right person for the job of NASA Chief.

  56. Chris H.

    I just recently got wind of the full extent of this (it is a weekend, I can wander around blogs). I got curious about this story so I did a bit of looking at news.google.com, and I found this interesting quote at the Washington post:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/10/AR2006021001766.html where the young college dropout says… “Anyone perceived to be a Republican, a Bush supporter or a Christian is singled out and labeled a threat to their views. I encourage anyone interested in this story to consider the other side, to consider Dr. Hansen’ s true motivations and to consider the dangerous implications of only hearing out one side of the global warming debate,” Deutsch said.

    … Um, I was not aware that scientific views were only for Democrats and non-Christias.

  57. Will

    “The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than a small one.
    The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if
    they belonged to one category.
    How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.
    I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.”

    Recognize the author? It’s Adolf Hitler. Much of the R’s propaganda efforts are based upon the techniques perfected by the masters of propaganda during the short reign of the Third Reich – whether they’ll acknowledge it directly or not. A look at the past campaigns of Nixon (but decidedly not Eisenhower), Reagan, Bush I, etc., provide a primer on effective use of these basic ideas, though, campaigns in which Carl Rove played a big part. Where it becomes clear, however, is in the last two Bush II campaigns: telling the big lie, smearing the opposition (the Swift Boat attacks) – basically, staying “on point” and not deviating from the message, even should the press identify the error(s) in that message, so that the larger objectives can be met.

    And one of those objectives was to gut the environmental regualtions established during past democratic administrations, especially Clinton’s, in order to free public land for private profits, a plan which has already been partially accomplished without any publicity by presidential signature – reductions in mining safety laws, reduced CAFE standards, watered down clean air regs, drastic changes in the endangered species act, funding cuts in the NFS, the NPS, BLM, etc. Many of these objectives have already been met, because the most effective way to deny that protections are necessary is to deny the science that helped establish the regs in the first place. “There is no global warming. There is no global warming. There is no global warming.” Which is exactly what the current “science vs god” argument does: it makes the science sound less sure, less positive, less AUTHENTIC. NASA is simply one sidebar in the greater campaign, one arena employing one tactic – albeit the highly effective tactic of pitting religion against science.

    The R’s have effectively used their right wing religious support to take the tactic nationwide. The tactic is somewhat of a smokescreen, however, because only those folks whose specific interests become entangled pay attention at any given time. But the Bush administration has most effectively used the tactic by politicizing it and embracing it via the President’s involvement. And it is effective because the “science vs god” tactic can be applied across so many different areas: medical research – stem cell investigations, “right-to-life” vs “right-to-choose” debate, assisted suicide; the sciences (you’ve seen this one finally); schools (Evolutuion’s only a theory); the arts – NEA funding reduced because of grants to artists for “religiously incorrect” work (“Piss Christ, Elephant Dung Madonna,”), PBS hot-seated for being “too liberal” by not offering enough opposing “conservative opinions,” etc., etc. And it should come as no surprise to anyone that appointments to positions of importance, whether an ambassadorship to the UN, the interim administrator of a conquered land, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Administration, or a PR flack to NASA, have nothing to do with skill or preparedness and everything to do with cronyism and being able to stay “on point” – to keep to the message you’ve been sent to disperse.

    So, good for NASA and their astronomer colleagues for locating and excising this little tumor of a potentially greater cancer. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, indeed.

  58. beskeptigal

    The Bad Astronomer Says:”beskeptigal, Sid didn’t say that; he was quoting someone else. Just for the record.”

    After you pointed that out, I had to hunt to find he was quoting Thomas. I was going to say, oops my bad, but in reviewing Sid’s post I have to say, Sid, could you make it more clear when you’re quoting and when you’re posting? Some of us are on line long past when we should have retired to bed. :D

  59. beskeptigal

    Chris H. Noted Deutsch’s comment in the WA Post: (see link above, or link in the BA Blog, 02/12/06) [ “Anyone perceived to be a Republican, a Bush supporter or a Christian is singled out and labeled a threat to their views. I encourage anyone interested in this story to consider the other side, to consider Dr. Hansen’ s true motivations and to consider the dangerous implications of only hearing out one side of the global warming debate,” Deutsch said.]

    Sounds to me like a typical talking points memo.

  60. beskeptigal Said:
    “But those following their personal religious beliefs will never get equal time in scientific circles for their creation stories. Nor will they sneak creation stories in the back door by using scientific labels for the stories”

    They have apparently already succeeded in sneaking creation stories in the back door because the Big-Bang theory IS a essentially a creationist theory by trying to limite the temporal and spatial range of human knowledge (that’s why the Big-Bang theory has, in contrast to the steady state theory, been approved by the pope for instance)
    Maybe George Deutsch was just trying to make a point in this respect.

  61. Nigel Depledge

    Thomas, the key thing about the big bang model is that it was arrived at by comparing it and competing theories with the evidence. Big bang won, because it does a far better job of explaining what we see in the universe today.

    It just, coincidentally, happened to provide a starting point to the universe, that helped many Christians reconcile their faith with what science has been discovering.

    Big-Bang cosmology is not creationist. It is scientific.

  62. beskeptigal

    Not only is Big Bang theory of the Universe’s development not Creationism, it doesn’t fit anything in Genesis except it has a beginning and we don’t have the finer details of that process.

    Anyone who wishes to believe the Bible is a message or instructions or an account of their god can certainly do so. They can stretch any story in the Bible to match anything suggested or concluded by the scientific process. But all the wishful thinking and political maneuvering in the Universe is not going to make the scientific process stretch evidence to fit the Bible.

  63. beskeptigal

    Correction of the above post:

    The BB has a beginning and we don’t have the finer details of that process.

    The pronoun ‘it’ referred to the BB while it followed the noun anything [in Genesis]. My bad.

  64. SUPER M

    the big bang probably hapened becouse of god, you should read angels and demons by dan brown

  65. beskeptigal

    SUPER M Says:”the big bang probably hapened becouse of god, you should read angels and demons by dan brown”.

    I’m reading it and am more than half way through. It’s fiction. It’s a story. Why would you suggest anyone read a fictional story to convince them a god exists?

    I’m not impressed with the book so far. The author didn’t even keep to his first premise that a new kind of matter was produced. As soon as the antimatter became central to the story, the new matter was forgotten. If the antimatter was really new antimatter then there shouldn’t have been any new matter any where near it to react with it.

    Since Zeus doesn’t throw lightning bolts, and Pele isn’t at war with the sea, and coyote didn’t steal fire from heaven, I see no reason to think the Bible isn’t a similar collection of mythical beliefs. And, I’ve read that book to. So that doesn’t leave much left in the way of evidence for god(s).

  66. Your Name's Not Bruce?

    Regarding the origin of the universe (or the origin of species) the Bible is not “evidence” for anything. To imagine that someone making observations, who is unfamiliar with Genesis would come up with a theory that matches the Biblical stories of creation is ludricous.

  67. SUPER M

    “beskeptigal Says: SUPER M Says:”the big bang probably hapened becouse of god, you should read angels and demons by dan brown”.

    I’m reading it and am more than half way through. It’s fiction. It’s a story. Why would you suggest anyone read a fictional story to convince them a god exists?”

    actually if you looked in the front of the book it would tell you that some parts are true like all the books dan brown writes,which includes that there is something missing from the big bang:time zero, thats where god comes in.

  68. SUPER M

    and theres only 1 god and the bibles true

  69. RAD

    Super M: 1 God 1 bible 1000s of religions, must be more to it. The big bang doesn’t rule out God by the way. It works best with the evidence we have.

  70. To say that the Big Bang marks the beginning of the universe in the original sense of universe is unscientific – better to say that it marks the begining of the expansion of the local hubble volume, or something like that.

  71. Irishman

    SUPER M Said:
    >actually if you looked in the front of the book it would tell you that some parts are true like all the books dan brown writes,which includes that there is something missing from the big bang:time zero, thats where god comes in.

    Oh please, that’s like any tv movie “based on a true story” – there’s some tiny nugget of truth in some event that occurred and some of the names, but everything else is fiction. Heck, let’s take a case study, the movie “Black Hawk Down”. This is based upon a real event, where there is tons of documentation of the people who were there, what really happened, who did what, etc. Yet the movie by necessity makes composite characters, generates dialogue that wasn’t recorded and couldn’t be specifically remembered any more than any random conversation anyone has daily. The major facts are correct, but the characters are as much a creation of the actors portraying them as the actual people whom they represent. And that’s something we KNOW is real.

    Dan Brown has taken a few historical facts, much speculation and debate, and a rather different interpretation of some events and generated a fictional story with fictional characters to carry out his plot meant for entertainment. But what parts are real and what are from Dan Brown’s head are not identified – you have to figure that out for yourself.

    As for the existence of a god or gods, the arguments for and against stand indepent and prior to that book, and that book offers nothing new. If you wish to interpret the Big Bang as a sign of God’s handiwork, that’s your perogative, but stating that is a fact is an abuse of the word “fact”.

    And your declaration “theres only 1 god and the bibles true” is pure opinion that has little justification based upon evidence.

    Keith Douglas Said:
    >To say that the Big Bang marks the beginning of the universe in the original sense of universe is unscientific …

    We’re stuck in a perpetual chase for adequate terminology. Used to be that the word “world” was lare enough to encompass “everything that exists”. Then we figured out there was a Solar System. Then we discovered that there was a galaxy – the Milky Way. Then we figured out that some of those fuzzy nebula were other galaxies, all part of some larger entity we termed “universe”. Now we’re figuring out that what we’ve been calling the “universe” to mean “everything that exists” isn’t a complete picture. There could be something beyond/outside it – we don’t really know, and can only speculate. That demands another term, though.

    There is this alternate word for “everything that exists” that is common enough in astronomy circles – Cosmos. We could talk about the Cosmos, and our Universe within it. Or we could polish up some words for our pocket of reality that is our “observable universe”, our “Hubble Volume”, or whatever and try to separate that from the “actual Universe”. But the common use of the term Universe to apply to the zone of being where our laws of nature run consistent and fundamental constants appear constant is equivalent to the Hubble Volume, or whatever words you wish to use. Ergo, the confusion in terminology. Of course, we try to reserve Cosmos to mean everything, and then we’ll find some suggestive reason why what we’ve been referring to as everything is incomplete, and we’ll need a new word. ;-)

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