|Sweet Hill Observatory
Joined: Dec. 2005
These two posts came across the History of Astronomy discussion group. Thought you'd be interested/outraged as I am.
Sweet Hill Observatory
<<The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose résumé 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.>>
Next...from a VERY WELL respected Harvard Prof Em.:
> My experience is that creationist types like the Big Bang theory,
> because one can easily interpret the moment of the Bang as the moment of Creation.
> Lester Ness
This is exactly what I would have thought, too, but when we were advising on the Cosmic Voyage IMAX film for the National Air and Space Museum, the public affairs person for the theater told us we couldn't use the expression "Big Bang" because it was too sensitive. Several of the panel of advisors nearly exploded at this, so I think the finished film actually used "Big Bang" about three times.