Update: David Coppedge vs. JPL (28 Apr 2010)

OUR last update was David Coppedge vs. JPL (25 Apr 2010). Nothing of substance has happened since then; but the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) continue to desperately flog the subject at their blog.

The most recent Discoveroid blog article is Correcting Myths About Coppedge’s Intelligent Design Discrimination Lawsuit. It says, with bold font added by us:

There’s a lot of speculation flying around about David Coppedge’s lawsuit against Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) alleging wrongful demotion, harassment, and religious discrimination. While more information will undoubtedly come out as the case progresses, here are a few facts that refute some of the false claims being stated:

Oh goodie — we’re going to get some facts. Let’s read on:

(1) Based upon the allegations of the complaint, there’s no evidence that Mr. Coppedge was on a campaign to distribute intelligent design DVDs to everyone at JPL. …


(2) Likewise, there’s no evidence that the punishment against Coppedge had anything to do with his job performance, technical competence or honesty, which was always rated high …


(3) No one told Coppedge to stop discussing ID or giving out these DVDs until March, 2009. And when he was told to stop, he stopped.

What the Discoveroid blogger calls “facts” are what the rest of the world calls “allegations.” They are based only on the complaint filed by Coppedge. We have yet to hear from JPL, and we have yet to see any testimony or other evidence presented in court. In other words, no facts have been established yet.

After presenting us with those “facts,” the Discoveroid blog article ends like this:

Despite all of these facts in Mr. Coppedge’s favor, he still got demoted for handing out DVDs supporting intelligent design.

Well, we always appreciate hearing the creationists’ view of reality, but we prefer to wait for the facts to be reliably established.

Before that magnificent article, the Discoveroids posted this: The ACLU Has a History of Advocating Disparate Treatment for Intelligent Design. It’s by Casey Luskin, part of the Coppedge legal team, so you know it’s fair, unbiased, and well-reasoned. Casey says, in one monster paragraph:

In my prior post, I critiqued ACLU-affiliated law professor Gary Williams for claiming that David Coppedge’s case “probably won’t have a shot in court.” If Coppedge has no case, then Mr. Williams must be saying that an employee discussing a matter relevant to the workplace and that is not prohibited by any employer policy — in a non-disruptive fashion—can be targeted when other employees expressing different views about the same topic are not penalized. But this is exactly what happened at JPL, a taxpayer funded entity: JPL has no policy against talking about intelligent design (ID), and permits employees to express viewpoints that are hostile towards ID, but when an employee expresses pro-ID speech, he’s suddenly harassed, investigated, demoted, and told to stop “pushing his religion.” But then again, I wouldn’t put it past an attorney affiliated with the ACLU to advocate for disparate and discriminatory treatment of the pro-ID viewpoint.

Whoa! There’s a lot to deal with in there. Ignoring Casey’s assumption that all of the Coppedge allegations are true, let’s first deal with the claim that Coppedge was discussing “a matter relevant to the workplace.” Consider a restaurant as an analogy. Good food is relevant to their business. But the men’s room attendant is not employed to work in the food department, and he’s not supposed to critique the chef’s work. Similarly, Coppedge works in the computer maintenance section (or something like that). The origin of the universe isn’t his job, and his creationism DVDs aren’t wanted by those who do work on origins questions. Why doesn’t Casey understand this?

As for JPL tolerating anti-ID viewpoints, so what? They probably tolerate anti flat-earth viewpoints too; and they’d swiftly demote a flat-earther. Yes, that’s “discriminatory treatment” of flat-earth “theory,” but so what? Some ideas have no scientific value, and JPL has decided that creationism is worthless to them. Put some ice on it, Discoveroids.

Casey’s rant ends like this:

Professor Williams may hope that “a case like his probably won’t have a shot in court” but it seems that Coppedge has uncovered gross hypocrisy and inconsistency at JPL. If there isn’t a legal remedy to prevent this kind of unfairness and hypocrisy, what hope do ID proponents have against those (like many ACLU types) whose true goal appears to be to suppress and censor pro-ID views, using whatever judicial vehicle they find convenient, whatever the cost?

Yes, it’s a cruel world for flat-earthers. For creationists too. They have no hope. That’s how it is, Casey.

Before that one the Discoveroids had posted yet another article sympathetic to Coppedge, but we won’t bother with it. At this stage of the case we don’t know anything except what has been alleged by Coppedge and his team. The facts will emerge, in due course. We must be patient.

Next Update: See David Coppedge vs. JPL (02 May 2010).

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

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4 responses to “Update: David Coppedge vs. JPL (28 Apr 2010)

  1. Since we’re starving for any information on this case, here’s a stale crumb …

    CalTech’s legal staff page

    Now THAT post of a link is desperate!

  2. rubble says: “Now THAT post of a link is desperate!”

    We’ll have plenty to post about when JPL gets its lawyers involved. I doubt that they’ll use Caltech’s in-house people. They probably work on routine personnel and contracting issues. In all likelihood, this case will be given to outside counsel. When the papers start flying, we’ll have something to work with. For the moment, Discoveroid blog articles are thin gruel indeed.

  3. The Curmudgeon notes

    Discoveroid blog articles are thin gruel indeed.

    In fact, they are “gruel and unusual punishment.”

  4. retiredsciguy

    “In fact, they are “gruel and unusual punishment.””

    So is that pun, megalonyx.