Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Collected Works of George Deutsch

George Deutsch is a 24-year-old Texas A&M University graduate in journalism (class of 2003) who was appointed by the White House to the press office of NASA headquarters after his stint as an intern working in the "war room" of the Bush 2004 reelection campaign. He has gotten some well-deserved press lately for the fact that, despite having no science background, he apparently has had the authority to tell senior scientists at NASA such as Dr. James Hansen what they can and cannot say to the press.

In October 2005, he told a NASA contractor working on an educational website about Einstein for middle-school students that he must add the word "theory" after every occurrence of the phrase "Big Bang," because 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. [...] 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 educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most." As others have noted, Deutsch not only doesn't understand what the word "theory" means, his knowledge of theology seems pretty weak--the Big Bang is commonly used as an argument for the existence of God (e.g., William Lane Craig's version of the kalam cosmological argument, which has as a premise that the universe has a finite past).

World O'Crap has dug up some of Mr. Deutsch's past work at the Texas A&M Battalion, which includes this comment on the Laci Peterson murder:

Still, the defense's main theory -- that a Satanic cult killed Laci -- is actually quite credible. Several impartial witnesses have reported seeing a van adorned with satanic symbols and a man with "666" tattooed on his arm in front of the Peterson home in late December.

The American public seems to dismiss this theory as ridiculous, but Satanic killings didn't seem so ridiculous in the 1980s, when Richard Ramirez -- The Night Stalker -- made California his personal hunting ground. Ramirez, who sat in court with a pentagram etched in his palm and often said "Hail Satan," adds a very real face to the idea of Satanism. Try convincing the families of his victims that Satanic cults don't exist.

And this one on connections between Iraq and al Qaeda:

The ties between al-Qaida and Iraq are clear. So clear, in fact, that there is so much circumstantial evidence linking Iraq and al-Qaida that it would be hard for an informed person not to at least suspect Saddam's regime of having a hand in the attacks.


Cheney went on to mention evidence of a Czech intelligence report, which has yet to be confirmed or denied, that asserts that Sept. 11 hijacker Muhammad Atta met with senior Iraqi officials in Prague just weeks before the attacks.

And this one on Rumsfeld and torture:
"Unfounded Accusations"

There is simply no proof to support claims that Rumsfeld orchestrated an elaborate plan to interrogate prisoners through torture and humiliation - such an assertion is laughable.


[I]t is absurd to think that the secretary of defense for the strongest nation in the free world would encourage torturous interrogation tactics in a war his nation was winning and at the possible expense of his political career. Even more absurd is that his well-thought and "highly secretive" plan would involve unskilled military reservists being ordered to pose for staged photographs with nude Iraqi prisoners.

NASA should fire this incompetent boob.

UPDATE (7 February 2006): Turns out Deutsch isn't a college graduate--although scheduled to graduate in 2003, he left Texas A&M University in 2003 without a degree.


cowmix said...

This post from Digby:

.. does a great job on explaining why fighting this junk is important.

spyder said...

NASA should fire this incompetent boob.

That's the problem; he is a presidential appointee, and thus works at the "pleasure of the president." NASA can't fire him.

Jim Lippard said...

Ah, of course... and if NASA's head gets out of line with what the president wants, it's he who will get canned, not the incompetent boob. I guess I was assuming more autonomy on the part of agencies (and a stricter separation of political appointees at the top and civil servants below) than I should have, though I did note Deutsch was a presidential appointee...

And I suppose that the AUMF gives the president the right to turn any unelected governmental position into an appointed one at his whim, anyway...

Schtacky said...

Well, it looks like Georgie has resigned. Of note are Michael Griffin's (NASA Administrator) comments:

"The job of the Office of Public Affairs, at every level in NASA, is to convey the work done at NASA to our stakeholders in an intelligible way," Griffin wrote. "It is not the job of public affairs officers to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA's technical staff."

Dave Himself said...

I hope noone minds if I lighten the discussion a bit with a lil cartoon: