David Coppedge vs. JPL (02 May 2010)

Our last update was here: David Coppedge vs. JPL (28 Apr 2010). For those who aren’t up-to-date, the next three indented paragraphs are for background, which most of you can skip:

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 — that’s William J. Becker, Jr., who seems to be mostly a personal injury and workers’ comp lawyer.

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.

There’s still no real news yet, but we know how you crave information. We have also observed how the Discoveroids have been touting the fact that Coppedge works for JPL, and they’ve been crowing about the work JPL does, especially the Cassini mission to Saturn. Their tactic is to cloak Coppedge — a creationist computer technician — with the aura of cutting-edge science.

Therefore, your Curmudgeon has been searching the website of Jet Propulsion Laboratory for information about the work of David Coppedge.

What did we find? The only mention of Coppedge’s work at the JPL website is in a 33-page pdf file from July of 2004. It’s titled: Discovering Saturn, The Real “Lord of the Rings.” It appears to be material prepared to explain the Cassini mission to students. Coppedge is mentioned on page 6, in a section that says this:

Singing Activity: Just for fun, the Cassini Virtual Singers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory get together occasionally and perform songs they have developed. The singers are scientists, engineers, and others who support the mission. They have a repertoire of about 50 songs, based on familiar melodies but with lyrics about the Cassini mission.

Here is a song from the Cassini Virtual Singers: “The Moon Song” — sung to “Gary, Indiana” Wordsmithed by Trina Ray; musical arrangement by David Coppedge

Yes, dear reader, Coppedge provided the musical arrangement. We don’t have an audio file to which you can listen, but here are the words of “The Moon Song,” sung by JPL’s Cassini Virtual Singers:

Mimas [MY-muss], and Enceladus [n-SELL-uh-duss]
Atlas, and Prometheus [pro-MEE-thee-us]
Oh-please… let us sing ’em once again

Mimas, and Enceladus
Atlas, and Prometheus
Telesto [tell-ESS-toe], Titan, Tethys [TEE-thiss], Rhea [REE-uh] and Pan

If you’d like to have a logical explanation
for the repetition of this lunar system
we can say without a moment of hesitation
We’ll sing ‘em again, just in case you missed-’EM

Janus [JAY-nus] and Iapetus [eye-AP-eh-tuss].
oh my Epimetheus [epp-ee-MEE-thee-us].
Helene [heh-LEEN], Dione [dy-OH-nee], Pandora, Phoebe [FEE-bee] and Pan

Janus and Iapetus
don’t forget Hyperion [hy-PEER-ee-on]
and leaving out Calypso [ka-LIP-so] is a sin

If you’d like to have a logical explanation
For the naming of the moons of Saturn’s system
We can say without a moment of hesitation
Old mythology… is what we see

(remember the melody changes here!!)

But Mimas and Enceladus.
Atlas and Prometheus.
Janus and Iapetus
oh my Epimetheus
We’ll see ’em all, if we can.

That’s it — the entire mention of Coppedge’s contribution to the work at JPL. What an outrage that such a fine man should be demoted merely for hawking his creationism DVDs on the job!

Next Update: See Discovery Institute: Crazed over Coppedge.

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

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19 responses to “David Coppedge vs. JPL (02 May 2010)

  1. Gabriel Hanna

    I’m sure he’s a fine computer technician and that nobody changes tapes better.

    I’d never knock a man for that. If he emptied the trash cans at JPL I’d not think less of him, if he did good work.

    And if he were right about the science, it wouldn’t matter what his job is.

    It’s that he’s wrong about the science, and pretending to be something he isn’t so he can mislead others.

  2. Gabriel Hanna says:

    It’s that he’s wrong about the science, and pretending to be something he isn’t so he can mislead others.

    I’m not sure he’s doing that. From what I see, he’s just a computer tech who runs around promoting creationism. Not a bad guy, but some of his co-workers probably find him annoying at times. His Discoveroid handlers are certainly blowing this thing way out of proportion, and Coppedge is going along with it, but I sense that he’s just a pawn.

  3. I sense that he’s just a pawn.

    Yes, he is, and so sad. But, that’s what you get for throwing your hand in with the DI.

    On the one hand, so sad.

    On the other hand, so what.

  4. It’s got a nice tune and a beat you can dance to. I’ll give it an 85!

  5. SY, you’d give it an 85? Why I’d not even give it a 42.

  6. Here is an interview with the ADF on the Michael Medved Show about David Coppedge:

  7. Thanks for the link, Papa Giorgio.

  8. Gabriel Hanna. I wanted to respond to you as you make a mistake that in conversation over the years I have noticed many make. So know I am not “calling you out” or “picking” on you specifically. However, you serve as almost a utilitarian whipping boy, or girl as it be.

    There are two sciences, so-to-speak. Origin science, or historical science – which includes our origins and many fields of sciences combined to weave a story. And there is working science, or hard science. Science that is repeatable, observable, and quantifiable, like – the atomic weight of something, the chemical make-up of another thing, etc.

    I know Coppedge on an acquaintance level, and I know he understands the difference between the two and keeps the one (origin science) separate from the other (his laboratory or computer sciences).

    I will give an example from my own life that should be easy to grasp. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It took about a year-and-a-half with two MRIs and three spinal taps. My diagnosis was finally settled to be MS. According to your logic, this is unscientific, because, the inventor of the MRI machine is a young earth creationist. However, it should be very noticeable that Dr. Damadian can have a view of the earth being 6,000 years old but yet still practice science.

    Similarly, Benjamin S. Carson, M.D., who is one of the leading children doctors in the world — the movie “Gifted Hands” is his story — practices true medicine while believing the earth to be young. The NASA scientist that is most credited for getting us to the moon (Wernher von Braun) likewise believed in what we are talking about here.

    So it seems to me that not just you, but many others here and elsewhere, do not distinguish between subject and object very well. I have an answer as to why I think this is… [read here “scientism”]… and it really isn’t my answer, it is an evolutionists answer — actually two of them:

    “…the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories; because we have a priori commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door” (Dr. Richard Lewontin, geneticist and past professor of biology at Harvard University)

    and; “Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic” (Kansan State University immunologist, Scott Todd, correspondence to Nature, 410 [6752], 30 September, 1999).

    These quotes show a metaphysical under-girding, scientism, that won’t even allow a person to discuss their beliefs with others. This can be seen in a different arena where this dogma is used to veraciously attack other sincere well-meaning scientists who use “working science.” That is the realm of anthropogenic global warming. If you do not tow the dogmatic line, you are ostracized. This demonizing is analogous.

    Much Thought,

    PapaG

  9. Papa Giorgio says:

    There are two sciences, so-to-speak. Origin science, or historical science – which includes our origins and many fields of sciences combined to weave a story. And there is working science, or hard science. Science that is repeatable, observable …

    We know. We also know what creationists don’t know — the historical sciences are entirely scientific. For a good example, see: The Lessons of Tiktaalik. See also Creationism and Science.

  10. I find it amusing that Papa seems to think that because some “scientists” have odd beliefs that it somehow legitimizes those beliefs.

    As a personal quibble, one doesn’t “tow the dogmatic line”, one toes it.

  11. RogerE, I never said such a thing?

  12. I have to respectively disagree with you Curmudgeon. Both the creationist and neo-Darwinian view are metaphysical positions. Both are religious.

  13. Disagree all you like, Papa Giorgio, but please don’t attempt to promote that position here. We know better, and — frankly — this isn’t the forum for that sort of thing. Please read the links I gave you in my last response.

    One more thing: please don’t puff up your comments with unnecessary leading and trailing lines. It takes up space and serves no useful purpose.

  14. I post this way everywhere I post. It allows me to quickly find my last post, which is serving a purpose. You were quick to say it was useless? Much like evolutionists did with Junk DNA (stiffing research in this area and postponing battling diseases); much like tonsils and other “vestigial” organs which were said to be useless and were pulled en mass, not knowing what they did and waving this wand and stiffing research and shortening the lives of many. If the supposition was “a priori” believed that these organs served a designed purpose… science would be truly battling serious diseases sooner. Like the “pseudo” pseudogene reversal has much promise to do.

  15. Goodbye, Papa Giorgio.

  16. Papa, “I post this way everywhere I post. It allows me to quickly find my last post, which is serving a purpose.”

    Huh? Try bookmarking the page, works just as well and is less annoying to others. SC isn’t here to make your life convenient.

    As for the rest of your “arguments”, they are like coming in at the middle of a movie you were late for and insisting that they start the movie over at the beginning.

    And, yes, you did say such a thing, just not as explicitly as I stated it.

  17. He’s gone, RogerE. I was too polite for too long. It seems I never learn.

  18. If the supposition was “a priori” believed that these organs served a designed purpose… science would be truly battling serious diseases sooner.

    I was about to say…why have I looked at HIV and tuberculosis as bad things, when they serve a designed purpose!

    If it can’t be tested, if there’s no mechanism amenable to the scientific method…it’s not science. The ID crowd will never admit it, and their fans don’t get it.

  19. SC, “He’s gone, RogerE…”

    It never hurts to be polite. Who knows, one of these days someone like Papa might come along with an original idea that we haven’t already discussed and dismissed here.