Not content with attacking evolution, creationists are now turning their attention to astronomy. Bad Astronomy has an excellent write-up, but I’ll paraphrase here.
The New York Times reports that a NASA public affairs official, appointed directly by the Bush administration, wrote the following:
In October, for example, George Deutsch, a presidential appointee in NASA headquarters, told a Web designer working for the agency to add the word “theory” after every mention of the Big Bang, according to an e-mail message from Mr. Deutsch that another NASA employee forwarded to The Times.
In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word “theory” needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.
The Big Bang is “not proven fact; it is opinion,” Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, “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.”
It’s the same old nonsense about the definition of ‘theory’. And this is likely to cause uproar, because this is a religious agenda directly interfering with a scientific body. And, again, the main aim is to alter education.
The Big Bang1 is also most definitely not “opinion”. There’s a very large body of evidence supporting it, and no other reasonable explanation. The only other contender, steady-state theory, has fallen by the wayside because predictions from BBT have been shown to be accurate.2
I suspect that creationists will have more of a struggle attacking astronomy, and that’s why it’s remained unmolested for so long. 1% of the static on an untuned television is directly caused by the afterglow of the Big Bang – the microwave background radiation originally attributed to pigeon droppings. The presence of this radiation was predicted thirty years before its discovery, and it’s the kind of accessible fact that newspapers love to print. Creationists may have a hard time getting around that with ‘god did it’. But then I continually underestimate their skill at manipulating language, so what do I know 🙂