According to last Saturday’s New York Times (registration required), NASA employees are starting to feel the Intelligent Design heat.
In October, for example, George Deutsch, a presidential appointee in NASA headquarters, told a Web design working for the agency to add the word “theory” after every mention of the Big Bang, according to an e-mail message from Mr. Deutsch that another NASA employee forwarded to The Times. “
Was this due to Deutsch’s extensive and illustrious science background?
The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose resume says he was an intern in the “war room” of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he was also the public-affairs officer who sought more control over Dr. Hansen’s public statements.
In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word “theory” needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.
The Big Bang is “not proven fact; it is opinion,” Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, “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.”
It continued: “This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most.”
The memo also noted that The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual specified the phrasing “Big Bang theory.” Mr. Acosta, Mr. Deutsch’s boss, said in an interview yesterday that for that reason, it should be used in all NASA documents.
The Deutsch memo was provided by an official at NASA headquarters who said he was upset with the effort to justify changes to descriptions of science by referring to politically charged issues like intelligent design. Senior NASA officials did not dispute the message’s authenticity.
My parents are both long-time NASA employees and long-time opponents (or at least skeptics) of the ACLU. The Dover case brought them much closer to understanding the importance of the ACLU’s role in society. Now that they see ‘Intelligent Design’ forced on the scientific community and their workplace, they are much more supportive of my workplace. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they soon become ‘card-carrying members’ of the ACLU.
Lisa in Pittsburgh