A New York Times Editorial has more on the the controversy surrounding the Bush administration’s alleged effort to silence NASA scientist Dr. James E. Hansen after he gave a lecture calling for quick reductions in greenhouse emissions.
Apparently, a twenty-four-year old presidential appointee who also lied about his credentials was the censor. According to the Times…
In this case, the censor was George Deutsch, a functionary in NASA’s public affairs office whose chief credential appears to have been his service with President Bush’s re-election campaign and inaugural committee. On his résumé, Mr. Deutsch claimed a 2003 bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M, but the university, alerted by a blogger, said that was not true. Mr. Deutsch has now resigned.
The shocker was not NASA’s failure to vet Mr. Deutsch’s credentials, but that this young politico with no qualifications was able to impose his ideology on other agency employees. At one point, he told a Web designer to add the word “theory” after every mention of the Big Bang.
As this story breaks, Time Magazine has as their cover story Is America Flunking Science? Certainly, having ideology stifle debate and the free flow ideas isn’t helpful. Time takes the issue head on with the article,The Political Science Test.
Update (2/11/06): There is an interesting follow up article in the Washington Post here.