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Royal Astronomical Society ends blacklisting of James Webb

That’s nice of them: The Royal Astronomical Society in Britain last week announced that it has ended its blacklisting of James Webb, the man who headed NASA during the 1960s space race, by once again permitting writers of science papers for its Monthly Notices journal to use the full name of the James Webb Space Telescope.

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) previously criticized NASA for not immediately addressing concerns that Webb persecuted queer employees; the NASA-led James Webb Space Telescope (JWST or Webb) that launched in December 2021 is named after him. But with new information to hand suggesting Webb played no direct role in these issues, Webb’s name can now reappear in scientific papers, the RAS stated Dec. 22.

“The RAS will now allow authors submitting scientific papers to its journals to use either ‘James Webb Space Telescope’ or the acronym ‘JWST’ to refer to the observatory,” RAS officials wrote. The major journals of the RAS include the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), one of the top astronomical journals worldwide.

The society backed off from its position after NASA published a long detailed report documenting the utter falsehood of the claim. Too bad this so-called science organization didn’t consider the evidence itself before issuing its blacklist order. One would think scientists above all would consider evidence, not undocumented slanders, as essential before condemning a person.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. All editions can also be purchased direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • As the RAS appears to love acronyms, why not just call it the LGBTQ+ Telescope, and be done?

  • pzatchok

    I can not wait for the RAS to find out about the British Empires hand in slavery and violently oppressive colonialism. Let alone its part in anti homosexual activities.

    Oh sorry. I now realize that the USA is the only nation on the planet that will never be forgiven for its past deeds and always blamed for everything that happens in the future,
    Its those dang MAGA drones.

  • Jeff Wright

    Good to see the Brits stiffening.

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “One would think scientists above all would consider evidence, not undocumented slanders, as essential before condemning a person.

    Their off the cuff, slap-happy reaction was indicative of emotion, not reason and research. One has to wonder what other topics that they cover are so sloppily handled.

    Those who were besmirching James Webb count upon people to react emotionally rather than check the facts, and the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) fell for it. We could expect the emotional left to react emotionally, but now that everyone reacts emotionally we can see why the dark ages are coming (or are here). It is why we get all this blacklisting and why U.C. Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement, has shadow-banned all conservative speeches and virtually all conservative thought. So much for free speech; they don’t even support freedom of thought.

    This is also happening at the RAS. Just the fact that they ban all reference to someone just because he has a different thought, creed, or hypothesis sets them back a century and a half to the time when they wanted to reject Darwin’s hypotheses. How can we advance science if differences of thought or opinion are rejected, banned, or shunned?

    I wonder what future “Royal Societies” will do to those whom they discover had smoked cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, bringing death to millions through secondhand smoke. I shudder to think of the amount of science that will have to be denied when that discovery happens.

    At Christmas, some in my family were mocking Elon Musk for his support of free speech, although I think they have been played for fools on that and many other topics — succumbing to quick emotion rather than reasoned thought — but it now seems that the RAS is easily played, too.

    And we thought those guys were smart.

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