OUR last update was here: David Coppedge vs. JPL (21 Apr 2010). Regular readers can skip the background material in 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.
The Discoveroid publicity blitz is apparently a big disappointment to the creationist puppet masters in Seattle. Now the Discoveroid blog has an article complaining about the fact that no one seems to care about David Coppedge. The article is by David Klinghoffer. Who’s he? Most of you know, so you can skip this indented paragraph:
David Klinghoffer, is a “Senior Fellow” (i.e., full-blown creationist) among the Discoveroids. He has written a series of essays attempting to link Charles Darwin to: Hitler, and communism, and Stalin, and the Columbine shootings, and Charles Manson, and Holocaust Museum shooter, James von Brunn, and the Ft. Hood Massacre, and Mao Tse-tung, and Dr. Josef Mengele, Angel of Death and “Devotee of Darwin”, and most recently Darwin at the Mountains of Madness: Evolution & the Occult.
Okay, that’s enough background. Here are a few excerpts from Klinghoffer’s Discoveroid post, Why David Coppedge’s Story Isn’t Being Told, with bold font added by us:
[H]uman beings are incorrigible storytellers, and information that doesn’t fit our story tends to get ignored. This may explain why news venues have so far mostly declined to report on what happened to David Coppedge.
He is a top-level computer specialist on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Cassini mission to Saturn whose supervisors demoted and humiliated him for raising scientific issues about intelligent design. Last week he sued in the Superior Court of the State of California, complaining of religious discrimination, harassment, and wrongful demotion. Sounds like a news story, doesn’t it?
Yeah, it’s a news story, but it’s of interest only to those who follow the peculiar activities of the Discoveroids. That’s exactly how we’ve treated it. Let’s read on:
Intelligent design isn’t religion, but Coppedge’s supervisor, Gregory Chin, harangued him for “pushing religion” after Coppedge merely offered apparently interested colleagues DVDs of two documentaries on ID, Privileged Planet and Unlocking the Mystery of Life. Coppedge had every reason to think the films related to his work at JPL. Part of Caltech and operated under a contract with NASA, JPL has a longstanding program called Origins that seeks information on the origin of life on earth and hypothetically on other planets.
Let’s not waste time with Klinghoffer’s claim that ID isn’t religion. Experts for ID testified about that in the Kitzmiller case in Dover, Pennsylvania, and they weren’t terribly persuasive.
More interesting is Klinghoffer’s suggestion that Coppedge thought that JPL’s origins research was somehow part of his job. We’ve been told by someone who used to work at JPL that Coppedge was the guy who changed the computer tapes. We don’t know that, of course, but we haven’t heard that he was employed as a scientist whose job was researching planetary origins. These details will come out in the litigation, unless the case is dismissed along the way.
Let’s continue with Klinghoffer’s whine about the lack of publicity:
Anyway, here we have government and government-contracted agencies, NASA and JPL, denying constitutional rights to a citizen, punishing and humiliating him for exercising his right to free speech.
JPL isn’t the government. We didn’t find it listed as a California corporation, but we assume it’s incorporated somewhere. If it’s federally chartered, like the Boy Scouts or a bank, that doesn’t make it a government agency. Whatever it is — even if it’s an unincorporated part of Caltech or NASA — it’s not the government, and therefore we’re pretty sure it’s not restricted by the First Amendment, which says “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” The feds can’t censor a newspaper, but your employer can decide what you’re allowed to say and do on the job. Here’s more:
Yet the story as of yet has merited no significant attention from any prominent local or national news source. Why not? Well, obviously because this isn’t a story that fits the larger narrative as favored in prestige circles like those of the media. In that favored narrative, it’s always Darwinists, never Darwin doubters, who fall afoul of censors, persecuted by powerful forces in academia arrayed against orthodox evolutionary theory. Yeah, you know those powerful forces. They’re over there, in a shoebox under the bed.
Amazing, isn’t it? Besides harboring fantasies about their magic Designer who does what natural selection is otherwise capable of doing, there’s also a magic “media narrative” that’s “arrayed against orthodox evolutionary theory.” Actually, there is a magical narrative out there, but it’s quite the opposite of Klinghoffer’s fantasy. It’s the creationist narrative of martyrdom. You can find it in Ben Stein’s “Expelled.”
Klinghoffer than weaves all of creationism’s woes into some kind of sob story about a Darwinist conspiracy, and he ends his rant like this:
I’m not saying anyone was being dishonest, not in any of these instances. The stories we tell ourselves, if they’re false, actually deafen us. A deaf person can’t be blamed for not hearing. Most Darwinists couldn’t hear the truth if it was blown like a whistle right their face.
Really, that’s how the article ends. Upon mulling it over, we see some good coming from this Coppedge case. So far, at least, it’s driving the creationists over the edge. Stay tuned to this blog; we suspect the amusement has only begun.
[Next update: See David Coppedge vs. JPL (25 Apr 2010).]
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