Re: News clips of interest

From: Randy Isaac <randyisaac@adelphia.net>
Date: Mon Feb 06 2006 - 21:40:45 EST

My comments interspersed:
Randy

----- Original Message -----
From: "Carol or John Burgeson" <burgytwo@juno.com>
To: <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 6:21 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
> creator."
>
> --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.
>

It is factual that the Big Bang is a theory. What is wrong with Deutsch's
action is the intent that adding the word "theory" will diminish its status
wrt validity. That's a continuing misunderstanding of what a theory is, and
plays on the popular misconception that a theory is something which isn't
true. Presumably, the word "opinion" was chosen in a pejorative sense as
well, intending to convey the absence of evidence. The latter is not at all
factual.

> 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.
>

Burgy, we've certainly conceded that "winning" has happened in many locales.
Your use of the term in a broader sense is more difficult to justify (or to
deny!) and it may not really matter. What does seem to be clear and what
does matter, is the rather significant growth of influence of the YEC
community in the last 10 years.

> 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
> issue.
>
Maybe you and I were too conscientious, Burgy. Haven't you noticed how the
stock price has made no progress since you and I left the company??
I think we need to make a clear distinction between corporate employees
speaking on behalf of the company and a government funded agency that is
missioned to publish accurate and objective data on which policy will be
based. Yes, it might be an ethics issue, but not one in which the employees
are required to say only that which is approved by the administration.
Rather, one in which the employees have an ethical obligation to show the
implications of the data, whether or not it meets anyone's pet policies.

> 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.
>

I'm confused. Are you saying there are no ethical issues connected with
policies regarding global warming and therefore religious organizations have
no business commenting? And no biblical perspective on stewardship of our
planet?

>
> Burgy
Received on Mon Feb 6 21:41:21 2006

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Feb 06 2006 - 21:41:22 EST