Monday, July 5, 2010

NASA to help Muslims feel good

I've long thought that promoting scientific rationalism is an important way in which the West should be engaging the Islamic world, including through celebration of historic Islamic achievements in science and math. But for the head of NASA to say that his mandate from the president is "perhaps foremost" to "engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution..." is surely the strangest statement from a NASA official I can remember. The fact that the other things Obama apparently tasked Bolden with (reinspiring children and building international relationships) are also ancillary to anything that actually happens in space is a disturbing indicator of what the Obama-era space agency is up to, or not up to.

UPDATE: In Twitter-based discussion, Julian Sanchez contended that the three objectives Bolden stated were new, or additional, priorities for NASA, not that they're the top priorities. Whether or not that's so, it still reflects some muddled thinking on Bolden's part, as two of the objectives surely aren't new. None of the above, however, means I endorse the reactions of the lathered-up simpletons here.

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