Update: David Coppedge vs. JPL (20 Apr 2010)

OUR last update on this creationist litigation was yesterday: David Coppedge vs. JPL (19 Apr 2010). This is about a suit by a creationist, David Coppedge, who claims he was wrongfully demoted by his employer because he was promoting Intelligent Design on the job. He works for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), He also maintains a creationist website: Creation-Evolution Headlines.

Since the Coppedge suit was filed, the public relations campaign being waged by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) has had a very small effect. We described that campaign here: The Coppedge Case: A Study in Tactics and Strategy.

This is a big case for the Discoveroids. They’re trying to establish some new kind constitutional right — an employee’s “freedom to promote creationism” in the workplace. One of their top legal talents, Discoveroid Casey Luskin, is advising the lawyer for Coppedge. JPL must be terrified.

After the public relations press releases were distributed, the Associated Press news service gave the case a tiny write-up: JPL worker sues over intelligent design demotion.

The Discoveroids were so excited that they posted about it at their blog: Mainstream Media Now Picking up on Intelligent Design Discrimination Lawsuit Against NASA’s JPL, saying:

Last week we reported on a discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of JPL employee David Coppedge. Over the weekend the San Gabriel Valley Tribune ran a lengthy story reporting on the suit.

We wrote about the San Gabriel Valley Tribune article in our 19 Apr 2010 update. That paper is located where JPL is headquartered, and it didn’t seem related to the Discoveroid public relations effort. After gloating about that story (which wasn’t particularly favorable to the creationist) the Discoveroid article ends by saying: “The AP report is short, but this is just the beginning.”

Just the beginning? Why should this story generate any serious press coverage? It’s just an employee who was demoted — not even fired — for creationist proselytizing on the job. This is hardly a tale to capture the popular imagination.

Well, maybe the Discoveroids are gathering momentum. Since then the AP story got picked up and was published in the Houston Chronicle with an AP byline. Same title, same text: JPL worker sues over intelligent design demotion And some other papers have published the Discoveroid press release as if it were news. It’s lazy journalism, but it fills the pages.

Anyway, the Discoveroids are so enthused about their brilliant new litigation strategy that they’ve set up a page devoted to it: Background on David Coppedge and the Lawsuit Against NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. You can follow one of their links to see a copy of the complaint Coppedge filed. We haven’t seen the Discoveroids so worked up about anything since Ben Stein’s “Expelled” hit the silver screen.

Well, why shouldn’t they be enthused? If they can’t sneak their version of creationism into public school science classes, maybe they can establish a “right” for creationists to harangue their co-workers on the job. Won’t that be fun?

If they succeed, it would be yet another reason for American employers to move their operations overseas.

[New update: See Update: David Coppedge vs. JPL (21 Apr 2010).]

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Update: David Coppedge vs. JPL (20 Apr 2010)

  1. The Desperate Institute seems to be throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks: religious discrimination, free speech violation, academic freedom and, my personal favorite, Viewpoint Discrimination!

    Academic freedom? Seriously, DI? You’re telling me that a technician who works as a system administrator has “academic freedom?” Do explain!

    I’ll bet a triceratops saddle autographed by Ken Ham this never makes it to court.

  2. Doc Bill says:

    I’ll bet a triceratops saddle autographed by Ken Ham this never makes it to court.

    Well, the suit’s been filed, so it’s in court. But it may not go all the way to trial. Lots of procedural hurdles along the way. Oh, I’ll pass on the saddle. I’m allergic to triceratops.

  3. I’m guessing he’s related to the late James F. Coppedge, creationist pastor who argued that evolution was statistically impossible – he did have a son named David.

  4. James F says:

    I’m guessing he’s related to the late James F. Coppedge, creationist pastor …

    A distinguished lineage.

  5. Discoveroid Casey Luskin, is advising the lawyer for Coppedge.

    Did Mr Luskin ever win a trial?

  6. “I Ain’t No Kin To No Tape Monkey”

  7. Dear Papa, I started listening to the Medved interview but, had to stop after about 1 minute when he called Coppedge a “respected scientist”. It was bad enough that his intro was all about some sort of religious right to free speech in the workplace. Maybe I’m not being fair but, I don’t need to listen to another biased version of the case.