David Coppedge Trial: Discoveroids Sense Defeat

Bear with us, as we attempt to read the entrails to determine what’s anticipated by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

It’s premature to reach any conclusions — the trial is still in its second day — but the two latest Discoveroid posts seem to be rather defensive in tone. The first is What David Coppedge Has Already Accomplished by Going to Trial, Even Before Opening Statements, by David Klinghoffer. That’s a very strange title, because if Coppedge goes to court and doesn’t win, then he hasn’t accomplished anything. That’s why it seems as if, even at this early date, the Discoveroids are already trying to spin this misadventure so that it somehow won’t look like a total defeat. Klinghoffer says, with bold font added by us:

The real question at this point is why NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab doesn’t just do what it takes to settle this case. What are they going to do, bring up witnesses to say that in the 14 years he worked there he somehow rubbed a few people the wrong way, out of 5,000 employees? Join the club. Especially at such a large federally funded quasi-academic organization, over so many years, who is not going to do that? Such places are not famous for their pleasant atmosphere.

No, David. The real question isn’t why JPL won’t settle. Rather, it’s why, after 14 years of working at JPL, Coppedge isn’t going to produce a single witness who worked with him and who will defend him. Think about it. We’ve reviewed all the pleadings in this case, and we’ve seen the witness lists. There’s no one at JPL who will testify in Coppedge’s favor. One more excerpt:

It’s a real David versus Goliath thing. JPL’s lawyers (three of them against Coppedge’s one) may have the polish and smooth talk and the government money but it sure seems like they don’t have much of an actual case.

Yeah, well, David and Goliath is a lovely tale, but no one would have ever heard of David if he hadn’t slain Goliath. So it’s a bit early to start crowing about what Coppedge has already accomplished. From our point of view, all he’s done so far is to lose his job; and he’s apparently made no friends at JPL all the while he’s been there. Quite an accomplishment.

The next Discoveroid post is David Coppedge and Attorney Take His Case to the Court of Public Opinion. The entire thing is about the interview of both Coppedge and his lawyer on Fox and Friends that we mentioned earlier. You can watch it here. This is what the Discoveroids say about that bright shining moment:

David Coppedge’s case goes to court this week: the court of public opinion. Today Coppedge and his attorney William Becker were on Fox News. The appearance was short but informative, allowing David to succinctly state his side of the case. He did very well.

That’s nice. The interview was a friendly, non-adversarial situation and the Discoveroids say that Coppedge “did very well.” But that doesn’t matter, does it? What tipped us off that the Discoveroids are anticipating a big loss is that they’re already referring to “the court of public opinion.” That’s what losers do, when they don’t win in the courtroom. And the Discoveroids already have that possibility on their minds.

We could be wrong, of course, but it looks to us as if the boys in Seattle are already bracing for defeat. They should be used to that by now.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “David Coppedge Trial: Discoveroids Sense Defeat

  1. Such places are not famous for their pleasant atmosphere.

    I doubt that. If this were the case, there ought to be 14 years worth of friends-of-David ex-JPL employees lined up to extract their revenge for all those unhappy years.

  2. Awww, poor old Coppedge only has one lawyer and he isn’t even paying for that shill. Too bad the Disco Tute is so short of lawyers they couldn’t put a few more ambulance chasers on the job. What about our favorite Attack Gerbil, Luskin? He either passed the California Bar or passed through a bar in California, I can’t remember which. How come the Gerb isn’t mixing it up with the JPL hired guns?

    Kofferklinger may have a point. JPL must not have a case which explains why they are going to court rather than settling. Because JPL want’s to lose and prove that “intelligent design” creationism is science! And then Kofferklinger wrote a best selling book about the trial and became a zillionaire. Then he woke up.

  3. SC said:

    Klinghoffer days

    Did you mean “Klinghoffer says”?

  4. “Did you mean “Klinghoffer says”?”

    Naw — Klinghoffer Days — it’s an annual celebration held in Seattle. Very limited in scope, however; last year, only fifteen people attended, and five of them were paid to do so.

  5. RSG>”Naw — Klinghoffer Days — it’s an annual celebration …”

    Doc, Gary, and RSG are obviously conspiring to give me a Diet Coke nasal lavage. Too late guys, I finished it a while ago!

    Steven Novella has a post up – Nothing new here, but a nice deconstruction of Coppedge:

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/jpls-firing-of-coppege/

  6. TA said:

    Doc, Gary, and RSG are obviously conspiring to give me a Diet Coke nasal lavage.

    Consider it revenge for all the times you’ve caused me to have to clean Mt Dew off of my keyboard and/or monitor. It’s a dish beverage best served cold.

  7. I’m seeing a more more in the way of balanced stories starting to appear. Not great articles, but not pure DI propaganda either. From Sci-Tech-Today.com:

    Its [JPL] latest mission is defending itself in a workplace lawsuit filed by a former computer specialist who claims he was demoted — and then let go — for promoting his views on intelligent design, the belief that a higher power must have had a hand in creation because life is too complex to have developed through evolution alone.

    My emphasis.

    A higher power? OK … I confess … I too believe in exponents.

  8. Gary asks: Did you mean “Klinghoffer says”?

    Yup. All fixed. What would I do without you?

  9. SC said:

    What would I do without you?

    Attend a pathetic, annual “celebration” somewhere in the vicinity of Seattle, attended by all of 15 people (some of whom actually want to be there). At least, that’s what RSG says. Ask him. He probably has a t-shirt he’d be willing to sell give you.

  10. TA said:

    OK … I confess … I too believe in exponents.

    Again, nice try. But, again, I’ll tell you that I ensure that, as soon as I see your avatar, I have absolutely nothing with which I might spew, snort, or “lavage my nose”.
    The keyboard and monitor remain clean.

  11. …after 14 years of working at JPL, Coppedge isn’t going to produce a single witness who worked with him and who will defend him.

    Uh-oh. I assume Coppedge presents his case first. I also assume he will testify and undergo cross. So what else does he have? A dog and pony show using ID DVDs? I’m sure the judge will be impressed.

  12. Jack, there are documents that are allegedly damaging to JPL’s defense. I suspect that Becker will attempt to have Coppedge corroborate the nastiest possible interpretation of those documents.

  13. Rubble said:

    there are documents that are allegedly damaging to JPL’s defense.

    Since this is a civil trial, does JPL have discovery rights for whatever “damaging” evidence Coppedge claims to have?

  14. Jack, there are documents that are allegedly damaging to JPL’s defense.

    If they truly are damaging JPL is foolish not to settle out of court. But, yes, I assume he’ll present some related JPL documents and provide his own spin.

    I also assume JPL could trot out a parade of coworkers, supervisors, and managers who would testify Coppedge was an annoying twerp who pestered them while they were trying to do their job. That is, if the trial even gets that far. The judge could toss it after Coppedge presents his case. Or JPL may see no need to do that.

  15. Yes, Jack. Several of these are referenced near of the end of this document. Mind you, I don’t buy Becker’s spin.

  16. I suspect that JPL’s counsel will move for dismissal, immediately after Coppedge’s testimony. Whether the judge will grant it is another question.

  17. Ha, the Disco Tute is getting a lot of press coverage! Google News cites about 300 sources and ALL of them when describing “intelligent design” creationism say it’s the belief that the universe/life/muppets was/were designed by a god/gods/agents/designers/designing women. The poor, pitiful DI doesn’t have enough stooges to correct all the misinformation, oh, wait, my bad, it’s not misinformation.

    Furthermore, a substantial number of articles appear in Faith and Belief sections of the news sites.

    Well played, Westie, “intelligent design” creationism has been cemented in many, many, many minds now as a religious belief. Couldn’t have done more to sink ID myself.

  18. Curmudgeon: “That’s a very strange title, because if Coppedge goes to court and doesn’t win, then he hasn’t accomplished anything.”

    Sure he has. It’s called “publicity,” and even the negative variety is good for snake oil peddlers. Particularly if they play the martyr and most people don’t have the time or interest in listening past the sound bites. Many people, including many who have no problem with evolution will say: “I don’t know, maybe he was treated unfairly.”

  19. @Doc Bill and everyone else.

    I may complain that the public has only the fuzziest idea of what evolution, creationism and ID are all about, but I think that most people are quite convinced that ID/creationism are religious ideas. For the life of me I can’t see why we keep reminding them of that, and sometimes even acting surprised ourselves. That is old news, and needs to be put to rest.

    If anything, the “big secret” that we need to let the public in on, is the steady retreat of anti-evolution activists from “what happened when” details of their own mutually contradictory “theories.” When people see it as a “religious idea” the typical reaction is “what the harm, let them believe.” But when they see it as a scam, perpetrated by strategists who at best are steadily losing confidence in their own “theories,” they tend not to be so sympathetic.

  20. Frank, I think there’s a bigger “secret” in this context. Evolutionary theory drives a great deal of successful scientific research, while the various forms of Creationism scientifically languish. The Creationist activists rarely acknowledge this fact; rather, they encourage the implication of the exact opposite.,

  21. @Frank J: Would Talk.Origins happen to have a list of these mutually contradictory ideas? Yes, I know that’s pretty much everything they do, but it might be useful to have a list of theories that Creationist themselves cannot defend.
    Maybe what I’m really looking for is a history of Creationist claims they would rather not be reminded of:

    In 19** Creationist *** made the silly claim of ****, can you defend that?

    with appropriate wildcards inserted.

    But then, I don’t really need to look any further than the latest Creationist headline, because they do this every d*mn day. OK, maybe this is a bad idea on my part. I’m tempted to delete it (but I didn’t).

  22. @Tomato Addict

    “Mutually contradictory” comes from Ken Miller (in “Finding Darwin’s God) and is one of those phrases that should precede “creationism” at every opportunity. Mark Isaak has articles on both the many “kinds” of creationism, and answers to the claims that come from peddlers of all “kinds.” IDers know better that to make the young earth and some of the more explicit “independent origins” claims, but unlike YECs and OECs, they refuse to criticize any other form of evolution-denial.

    We don’t need to look any further, of course, but the public, including most who accept evolution (or what they think is evolution) would be surprised to learn of the massive confusion and cover-up among the peddlers of anti-evolution pseudoscience.

  23. @rubble

    That’s true, but unfortunately the people we most need to reach (~1/2 of the public that is neither hopelessly in denial of evolution nor fully aware of anti-evolution antics) don’t often appreciate how scientific explanations need to be productive (not to mention independently verifiable), and how “creationists” don’t just fail at science, but actively avoid it, and concentrate on peddling propaganda that exploit public misconceptions of science, including pretending that scientists “conspire” to “expel” them.

  24. Frank, that’s precisely my point: good scientific theories are productive, and the public needs to know that. They don’t necessarily have to know the nitty-gritty details, but they need to know that real science produces real results, and evolutionary theory is right in there.