Sunday, June 30, 2013

#618: George Deutsch

George Carlton Deutsch III was a press officer of the United States space agency NASA, appointed by Dubya after having worked on the 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign. He has gone down in history as the very symbol of wingnut efforts to obstruct and suppress science that does not conform to political ideology, and for cutting support to scientists whose results do not line up with convenient denialist talking points. In short, Deutsch was instrumental in implementing an American version of the celebrated scientific policy of Lysenkoism.

Deutsch gained particular notoriety in late 2005/2006 when he instructed a NASA website designer to add the word “theory” after every occurrence of the phrase “Big Bang”, writing in his memo to the designer that 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.” More here.

It created a bit of a stir, which partially ended in the discovery that Deutsch had lied about having a B.A. degree in journalism on his resume, which forced him to resign. True to his inborn persecution complex Deutsch later claimed that the only reason his appointment was controversial was because he was a Christian, which, while blatantly untrue, landed Deutsch a career as yet another wingnut on wingnut welfare for what he and his co-conspirators deemed to be ideological reasons.

Dr. James E. Hansen, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and several other career NASA scientists and public affairs officials, complained in interviews about “intensifying efforts by political appointees in NASA, including Mr. Deutsch, to control more closely” the content of their public statements, whereas Deutsch claimed – without anything resembling competence on the issue – that Dr. Hansen exaggerated the threat of global warming, and pretty much that NASA’s mission should be to use research to underpin already existing political agendas regardless of whether science or reality, those liberal conspiracies, agreed.

The always perceptive Deutsch had earlier been noticed for claiming that the ties between Al-Qaeda and Iraq were so clear that any informed person should see them.

Diagnosis: As a professionally appointed derp (apparently his job description), Deutsch exhibited spectacular failure to distinguish reality from ideology (i.e. facts from wishful thinking), and a horrifying display of the dangers when such morons achieve positions of power. Don’t for a moment think that Deutsch is an isolated case, however.

1 comment:

  1. A lockstep stooge of George W. Bush it would seem in retrospect!