OUR last update on this creationist litigation was yesterday. Here’s some background, but if you’ve been following the news you can skip these three indented paragraphs:
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 (ID) on the job. He works for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), He also maintains a creationist website: Creation-Evolution Headlines.
This is a big case for the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a 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.
To promote the issue, the Discoveroids are waging a public relations campaign which we described here: The Coppedge Case: A Study in Tactics and Strategy. They’ve set up a page devoted to this case: Background on David Coppedge and the Lawsuit Against NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
We’ve been expecting things to quiet down for a while, but we keep noticing interesting developments. Today we see that this is one of those rare occasions when hard-core, young-earth creationists are joining hands in a common cause with the Discoveroids — who like to pretend that they’re not creationists. The alliance of Discoveroids with admittedly flaming creationists is a development worth mentioning.
The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom, has this new article at their website: NASA Lab Violates Free Speech Rights of Acts & Facts Author. We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold added by us.
First, ICR describes intelligent design as something different from ICR’s preferred, scripture-based version of full-blown creationism:
Unlike creation science, ID does not acknowledge a particular Designer, but rather holds that scientific observations show clear evidence of design, not random natural processes.
Yes, while that old-time creationism is openly religious, ID is the Discoveroids’ “Don’t ask, don’t tell” version of creationism. They think if they disguise it as science, they’re going to fool the entire federal judiciary and bypass the First Amendment, so they can force religion into public school science classes. Guess what? It’s not working. Anyway, let’s read on:
Anti-ID proponents often liken intelligent design to religion, though they fail to do the same for Darwinian evolution, and [in the Dover case] it was ruled that teaching intelligent design in public science classrooms violated the Establishment Clause.
Opponents of ID fail to liken evolution to religion? Outrageous! So that’s how evolution gets taught as science. It’s so unfair! Anyway, after that brilliant introduction, ICR gets to the matter at hand:
David F. Coppedge, a contributing writer to ICR’s monthly Acts & Facts magazine, came under fire in 2009 when he loaned DVDs that support intelligent design to interested co-workers at NASA’s Jet Propulsions Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.
Right. Besides running his own creationist website, Coppedge is a contributor to ICR. As we’ve said before, he’s a hard-core creationist. We continue:
Coppedge filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court on April 14, 2010, against JPL and Caltech. According to the allegations in the 27-page complaint, Coppedge is suing five defendants for a combination of remedies, including compensatory and punitive damages, attorney’s fees, declaratory relief, job position reinstatement, and an injunction to restrain the defendants from future harassment or interference with Coppedge’s rights of free speech and religious liberty.
He is represented by William J. Becker, Jr., of The Becker Law Firm in Los Angeles.
Ah yes, Becker. If you haven’t seen it before, check out this listing of his firm. From the description of his practice, it appears to us that he’s mostly a personal injury and workers’ comp lawyer. That’s the man who, together with Casey Luskin, is going to bring JPL to its knees. Here’s more:
“This isn’t like Dover, where the argument is children are impressionable,” said Becker. “These are adults that can make up their own mind, which is why we have free speech to begin with.” Intelligent design, Becker said, has been so demonized and victimized that a response was needed. “This is a very serious effort to bring fairness to the public forum so that intelligent design can have an audience,” he said.
Has Becker read the Dover case? If so, does he understand it? Does he really think it hinged on the fact that children are impressionable? It must be, because it’s apparently on that point he’ll argue that — regardless of his employer’s wishes — Coppedge can promote creationism to his adult co-workers.
One last excerpt:
Becker said that what happened to Mr. Coppedge violates freedom of speech in order to protect “holy Darwinism” by bringing religion into the argument. “The First Amendment still protects speech,” he said. “Even, and especially, unpopular speech.”
Free speech? We don’t yet know the facts of this case, but hypothetically, does an individual have the right to ignore company policy and harass his co-workers with religious material?
Anyway, it appears to us that Becker is the right attorney for this case. And we’re delighted that the Discoveroids have come out of the closet to defend the alleged rights of an undisguised creationist like Coppedge. We look forward to considerable amusement as events unfold.
[Next update: See Klinghoffer: Coppedge News Blackout Conspiracy!]
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