RE: News clips of interest

From: Tjalle T Vandergraaf <>
Date: Mon Feb 06 2006 - 21:28:38 EST

I counted four news clips (and I'm not "full of new wine")

My comments, for what it's worth:

1. I would not call the "Big Bang" simply an "opinion." It is not a proven
fact, but "it makes scientific sense" and is the best "theory" we currently

2. If the YECs "have won," it's only because they have elevated ID to a
higher level of importance. Political parties offer different solutions to
different problems and the solutions are not always a perfect match with an
individual's view. For example, Party A may be in favour of abortion and
opposed to the death penalty, while Party B may be opposed to abortion and
in favour of the death penalty. If I'm opposed to both, who do I vote for?
The YECs (and other groups) may win if they can tailor the views of a major
party to match theirs in what they see are the most important issues. To
me, there are more important fish to fry.

3. This is a tricky one. Not so much the fact that NASA employees should
"toe the company line," but because, in most cases, the interpretation of
the data may be subjective. If, for example, NASA obtains data that
suggests that the temperature of the Earth is increasing, this dos not mean
that this global warming is caused by SUVs or by Chinese burning lots of
coal. Thus, if I were a NASA employee and my data showed evidence of global
warming, I would have to be careful how I would convey that information and
in what context I would convey it. However, if the NASA boys and girls got
together and said, "there is no doubt that our data shows global warming but
let's keep this hush because otherwise the *** industry is going down the
tubes." I might have to resign so I could speak out or put my trust in
whistleblower legislation.

4. I agree. Church organizations should stick to their calling: to bring
the Good News. I'm not even sure the organized churches should say much on
ethical issues (and here I'm sticking out my neck). Individual evangelical
Christians can form organizations and speak out on their area of expertise,
be it global warming or ethical issues. Some years ago, the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in Canada declared all their church buildings "nuclear free
zones" and I'm sure that nobody understood what it meant.

Chuck Vandergraaf

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Carol or John Burgeson
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 5:21 PM
Subject: News clips of interest

Two news clips of interest:

1. "[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

--George Deutsch, a Bush political appointee in NASA's press office,
instructing a Web designer working for the agency to add the word
"theory" after every mention of the Big Bang (a scientific explanation
for the origins of the universe).

Burgy's comment: At first reading, I don't see why this is a "bad" idea.
Of course, it is religiously motivated. But it is, I think, factual.

Tell me why I'm wrong.

2. Texas Rep. Mark Strama faces three Republican challengers for his
District 50 seat, including Christian conservatives who support teaching
intelligent design.

About a year ago, I said the YECs "had won." Seems to me this is part of
what "winning" means. It is becoming a force in one political party.

Many of you have told me before that I'm wrong. I still hold the claim.

3. Scientists say Bush Administration political appointees are trying to
control the flow of scientific information from NASA, particularly when
that information counters administration policy on issues ranging from
global warming to explanations about the origins of the universe.

Burgy's comment: An organization HAS to be able to control what their
employees say and publish, for outsiders perceive them as "speaking for
the institution." As one who spoke publicly on many occasions for IBM, I
am particularly aware of this kind of thing. I recall once having my
remarks edited in advance to eliminate the word "software," for an IBM
executive was trying to hold back the use of that word. The fact that I
considered what he was attempting to do as pretty much useless did not
result in my using the dreaded "S" word in public. Of course, in private
. . . .

Tell me why I'm wrong. In this case, I may be, for it may be an ethics
4. A United States senator has warned against "far-left"
environmentalists he claimed are trying to dupe the National Association
of Evangelicals into adopting a policy statement on global warming.

Burgy's comment: Seems to me that the NAE has little business adopting
policies that are clearly outside their areas of expertise. I holler at
my PC(USA) headquarters on similar grounds from time to time. Ethical
issues are in a different category, of course. Religious organizations
SHOULD have a voice in them.

Received on Mon Feb 6 21:29:59 2006

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