The Department of Energy has dumped a controversial physicist and self-described "proud homophobe" from the panel of “extraordinarily intelligent” scientists appointed to solve the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Jonathan I. Katz, a physics professor at Washington University in St. Louis, was sacked after his anti-gay writings surfaced over the weekend and became a "distraction."
"According to a Department of Energy spokesperson, Jonathan I. Katz is no longer a member of the scientific team tasked with finding solutions to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The team was put together by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Stephanie Mueller told OutQ News: 'Dr. Chu has spoken with dozens of scientists and engineers as part of his work to help find solutions to stop the oil spill. Some of Professor Katz’s controversial writings have become a distraction from the critical work of addressing the oil spill. Professor Katz will no longer be involved in the Department’s efforts.'"
Katz is the author of several polemical blog posts, such as "In Defense of Homophobia" where he calls himself a "proud homophobe." AMERICABlog noted that one of the "best scientific minds" in the country blamed 'sodomites" for the deaths of "innocent people" who became HIV positive and wrote:
"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."
The anti-gay professor—who also mocks the developmentally disabled—is a climate change denialist and once said "global warming is probably good for humanity." Probably not the best appointment for an Administration that wants to pass a climate change bill. BP is probably sorry to lose this "extraordinarily intelligent" mind, tho.