UPDATE: And now, Katz has been dropped from the oil spill task force.
Wow. So, remember earlier when I made note of the team of scientists that has been put together to solve Oil Crisis 2010: Panic In The Gulf Of Mexico?
Well, my tidy little hack Hollywood storyline is getting a major rewrite, courtesy of John Aravosis of AmericaBlog. Jonathan Katz, the Washingon University physicist billed in this TPM piece as the "What Am I Doing Here Guy" on the team, is a virulent homophobe and a climate change denialist.
How virulent a homophobe? This virulent:
The religious believer may see the hand of God, but both he and the rationalist must see a fact of Nature. The human body was not designed to share hypodermic needles, it was not designed to be promiscuous, and it was not designed to engage in homosexual acts. Engaging in such behavior is like riding a motorcycle on an icy road without a helmet. It may be possible to get away with it for a while, and a few misguided souls may get a thrill out of doing so, but sooner or later (probably sooner) the consequences will be catastrophic. Lethal diseases spread rapidly among people who do such things.
Unfortunately, the victims are not only those whose reckless behavior brought death on themselves. There are many completely innocent victims, too: hemophiliacs (a substantial fraction died as a result of contaminated clotting factor), recipients of contaminated transfusions, and their spouses and children, for AIDS can be transmitted heterosexually (in America, only infrequently) and congenitally. The icy road was lined with unsuspecting innocents, who never chose to ride a motorcycle. Guilt for their deaths is on the hands of the homosexuals and intravenous drug abusers who poisoned the blood supply. These people died so the sodomites could feel good about themselves.
That's Katz, opining on AIDS, in an article titled "In Defense of Homophobia". As Aravosis points out, he's really not the ideal sort of person to be participating in an administration that's seeking to pass an important climate bill.
AmericaBlog has a "public letter" up, urging President Obama to get rid of Katz with all deliberate haste. It reads, in part:
While we all agree that our country should use all of our best minds to resolve this catastrophe, it is difficult to believe that the Obama administration could not find anyone other than a man who proudly authored an essay titled "In Defense of Homophobia," and who denies the negative impact of climate change. This man is not, as Energy Secretary Chu recently said, one "of our best scientific minds." He is a bigot who should not be elevated by the President of the United States as a representative of the best minds in America.
President Obama would never appoint a "proud racist" or a "proud anti-Semite" to a panel of experts, and showcase him as one of the best minds in our country, and he shouldn't appoint a proud homophobe -- or a global warming denialist -- either.
I think that maybe the Obama administration can find another top-flight physicist to help out.