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  Topic: ID and the Big Bang, NASA flunkies weigh in< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Sweet Hill Observatory



Posts: 2
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 05 2006,06:30   

These two posts came across the History of Astronomy discussion group. Thought you'd be interested/outraged as I am.

Peter
Sweet Hill Observatory

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/04/science/04climate.html

Excerpt:

<<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.

       OWEN GINGERICH

  
avocationist



Posts: 173
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 05 2006,06:54   

Is this something new? Since when do religious people object to the BB?

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 05 2006,13:18   

avocationist:

If by "big Bang" you mean nothing more than that the universe as we know it had a beginning, then I doubt you'll find anyone seriously doubting this.

On the other hand, if you mean the scientific theory as supported by the available evidence, including stuff like a 15-billion-year-old universe, inflation during planck time, cosmic background radiation, and cosmological type stuff like that, you find *lots* of religious objection. After all, the Big Bang theory has nothing resembling 7 days of supernatural creation.

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 05 2006,14:43   

Quote (avocationist @ Feb. 05 2006,12:54)
Is this something new? Since when do religious people object to the BB?

Welcome to our planet. We call it "Earth". Will you be staying long?

   
Julie Stahlhut



Posts: 46
Joined: July 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2006,15:24   

Every time I think I've fully accepted the utter nuttiness of the current administration, they take it one step further. These are the people who are claiming they're going to revitalize math and science education as well as the space program.  Apparently it's possible to do these things without supporting any "controversial" academic disciplines like evolutionary biology or astrophysics.

On a personal note:  Are there any countries out there that (a.) have relatively sane leadership and (b.) permit newly retrained scientists to move there even after age 45?  It's a depressing prospect to wait around and hope that our alleged leadership pulls its collective head out of its collective hindgut before we get too old to practice our professions.

Yeeeesshhhhh.

  
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