An editorial in this morning's New York Times, entitled "Censoring Truth," follows up on a couple of issues raised here over the last two weeks. In it, the editors comment on the resignation of George Deutsch. Mr. Deutsch, a NASA public affairs official, tried to "persuade" noted-NASA-physicist James E. Hansen to present what we're now calling in America a more "truthy" explanation of scientific phenomena, like evolution, the Big Bang, or global warming. Mr. Deutsch's resignation on Tuesday seems to be related to heat was taking for having taken untenable positions and for claiming he'd graduated from Texas A&M University when, in fact, he didn't.
What Deutsch was advocating was nothing serious. Just call all currently recognized scientific explanations of the phenomena in question, "theories" so people can "choose for themselves" in the "debate" between these explanations and ones presented by, say, intelligent design advocates or oil company officials. Innocuous enough, right?
Wrong. Here's the proverbial "slippery slope" at its best.
Once we start allowing 24 year-old resumé padders the same scientific credibility as 40-year NASA experts, we're in real trouble. Truthy does not equal facty. The administration needs to keep its religious zeal separate from its desire for scientific advancement.
Science demands intersubjectively demonstrable evidence. Religion rests upon personal experience. Blurring the lines between the two is not only dangerous, but mad.