Dover Bitch

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Just to be clear about one thing here, George Deutsch, the 24-year-old journalism major who, on behalf of the Bush administration, defined for NASA the parameters regarding its presentation of the Big Bang, may be a bad writer and it may be true that he didn't graduate from college.

But the important part of that paragraph above is this: On behalf of the Bush administration.

This kid may be dumber than a boot full of hammers, but the only reason that would matter is that it highlights the cronyisms and incompetence of the administration. The reason they sent him to NASA, however, is clear. They have a history of interfering with scientific research based strictly on ideology (and occasionally, greed).

We should never forget that the greatest scientific breakthroughs, particularly in cosmology and astronomy, were possible because of the independence of a handful of geniuses, who were fortunate to have benefactors behind them or were otherwise independently wealthy. It is only in the last century that governments have so widely invested in researching purely scientific questions with no seemingly immediate applications in defense or marketable technology.

The threat of ideology interfering with the progress towards the ultimate understanding of our universe is grave. Already, many of the next wave of breakthroughs appear more likely to come from another continent. America should think twice before allowing politicians and preachers to determine the legitimacy of certain scientific observations and programs.

UPDATE: Via Atrios: Deutsch resigned because he lied about having a college degree. Swell, but that won't stop the Bush administration from interfering with science. Only the electorate can do that.

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