Discovery Institute: Crazed over Coppedge

OUR last update was here: David Coppedge vs. JPL (02 May 2010). The following three indented paragraphs are background material, 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.

News of this case continues to be elusive. The Discoveroids are so desperate to keep this thing alive they’re commenting on the coverage by other blogs.

David Klinghoffer is a Discoveroid “Senior Fellow” (i.e., full-blown creationist) who has already written two articles to promote this case. See Coppedge News Blackout Conspiracy! and also David Coppedge and Young Klinghoffer. Now he’s at it again.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest post, deliciously titled At BioLogos, a Disregard for Truth. The bold font was added by us:

When it comes to factual matters, we’ve come to expect a certain pious slovenliness from the folks at the BioLogos Foundation.

[ ** Sound of irony meters shattering all over the blogosphere ** ] We could devote the remainder of this post to commenting on the Discoveroids’ title and their opening line, but that’s really too easy.

See About The BioLogos Foundation for a hint as to why Discoveroids don’t like them. Not only are they theistic evolutionists — an affront to the Discoveroids who pretend that evolution is the same thing as atheism — but they’ve got a grant from the Templeton Foundation, which has always spurned the Discoveroids.

If you’re wondering what Discoveroids think of BioLogos, it might help to imagine what the Joker thinks of Batman. Let’s continue:

BioLogos now slurs David Coppedge of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory based on an article from a really sterling peer-reviewed journal, the Huffington Post.

Klinghoffer refers to this article at BioLogos: Conflict in the Workplace, which is quite brief, but it dares to rely on this article at the Huffington Post: Evolution, Creationism, and the Workplace. Klinghoffer then says:

Whoever wrote the unsigned “news” item for BioLogos cites as his lone source the piece by Steven Newton, of the Darwinist lobby group National Center for Science Education.

It’s not BioLogos alone that troubles the Discoveroids; what really gets to them here is the Huffington Post article, which is written by Steven Newton, Programs and Policy Director for the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). The NCSE is undoubtedly the premier organization in the country opposing the efforts of the Discoveroids. They played a key role in the Discoveroids’ Waterloo — the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. It’s fair to say that after Charles Darwin, the NCSE is the Discoveroids’ main adversary.

Let’s see what else Klinghoffer says:

[T]he very same Steven Newton article invokes Darwinist martyr Christina Comer, erstwhile state science curriculum director for the Texas Education Agency. According to the NCSE’s preferred narrative, she was forced out of her job merely for forwarding an email about a planned speech by Professor Barbara Forrest in which Forrest was expected to bash Darwin-doubters. Newton laments that in Texas, “the director of science must ‘remain neutral’ on the subject of evolution.” BioLogos dutifully parrots the NCSE’s interpretation, at least here getting the standard Darwinist version right without further embroidering.

Your Curmudgeon made the same point while discussing Comer’s appeal. See Christina Comer Appeal: Oral Argument Today. Newton’s article wasn’t the first to mention Comer in this context, but neither was ours. Comparing the Comer and Coppedge cases is really an obvious thing to do — and the comparison doesn’t work very well for Coppedge.

We continue with Klinghoffer’s Discoveroid article. He takes a swipe at Comer, and then says:

The justice of Comer’s complaint has already been decided, in the negative.

Actually, Comer never got a trial. Her complaint was dismissed; that’s why she’s appealing. Here’s how Klinghoffer’s article ends:

Coppedge’s has yet to be decided. It’s a shame that our friends at BioLogos don’t have the sense to suspend judgment till the facts are in, and factually reported. Contributing misinformation of their own isn’t just a shame — it is positively shameful.

Yes, contributing misinformation is indeed shameful. But we wouldn’t expect the Discoveroids to grasp the irony in Klinghoffer’s reproach.

Before we end, we must add one more point that may have the Discoveroids all riled up. If you read Newton’s article carefully, you’ll notice something that we didn’t spot at first — not until we noticed that our humble blog was getting a lot of traffic from the Huffington Post. That’s when saw it — Newton’s article has a link to one of our Coppedge articles — this one.

So now, dear reader, we can fully appreciate the outrage in Seattle. Their latest pet project, the David Coppedge case, is being compared to the Comer case. That’s like comparing a stubbed toe to the loss of a limb. Also, their Coppedge crusade is scorned by BioLogos; and BioLogos relies on — gasp! — NCSE.

Surely, that’s enough to send the Discoveroids fleeing to the fainting couch. But then — adding to their multiple woes — they realize that NCSE’s author has linked to an article in the Curmudgeon’s blog. O the horror!

Next update: See David Coppedge vs. JPL: Strange Silence.

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

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18 responses to “Discovery Institute: Crazed over Coppedge

  1. waldteufel

    Does anyone know what planet Klinghoffer lives on? It can’t be this one.

  2. The D.I. is frantically trying to hang on to relevance as it quickly slips through their slimy fingers. They have become so irrelevant that T.O, P.T., and even P.Z. have more or less forgotten them.

    If it wasn’t for S.C. artfully, and I must say, tactfully (with at least as much tact as they deserve), using them for their comedic value, they would all turn back into pumpkins.

    When they do, it will be time to carve the pumpkins.

  3. Tundra Boy says:

    The D.I. is frantically trying to hang on to relevance as it quickly slips through their slimy fingers.

    Oh yes, they’re finished. I assume some of them know it, but as long as their funding sources don’t abandon them, they’ll probably stay with the program. It’s not as if they have a load of other job opportunities available — not with being a Discoveroid on their resumes. As long as they provide amusement, as does ICR and AIG, I’ll continue to write about them.

  4. b_sharp: “They have become so irrelevant that T.O, P.T., and even P.Z. have more or less forgotten them.”

    You can blame me in part for keeping them “alive” on TO and PT, where there also seems to be more emphasis on the YEC activists lately. But that’s only because I think that nothing shows the utter bankruptcy of creationism better – without the technical refutations that most people can’t or won’t follow – than simply showing how the various positions and strategies contradict each other, and how proponents of most strategies are increasingly covering up the fatal flaws and contradictions.

  5. Stubbed toes vs. lost limbs, indeed! That’s the perfect analogy to compare Coppedge’s feelings of “humiliation” with Comer’s loss of a paycheck. (And isn’t humiliation a daily occurrence for many workers? Hasn’t Coppedge ever worked retail?)

  6. The DI’s recent focus on the blogosphere fits in with the “expelled” theme. The DI alleges that ID advocates are treated unfairly. Their posts and press releases on the Coppedge lawsuit reinforce that allegation, without addressing the real issue: the lack of serious scientific research conducted within the ID framework of ideas.

    If the DI’s Center for Science and Culture is really finished, and if some of them know it, then I say that it’s time to go for the jugular. Let’s attack their funding, by submitting an independant to the DI board of directors, to show how their bang for the buck is more like whimper at the cost of their riches.

    Think about it. We can print out free access papers directly supporting the evolutionary scientific paradigm, say from 2000 to 2009. We get thousands of pages, pounds of paper. We write up an executive summary of that research: number of studies per year, and so forth. We get lists of grants obtained over the past decade. We compare the evolutionary bang for the buck with the ID whimper for the riches. We can even point out that many expressly religious organizations are providing quality medical care and other means of general welfare. Then we ship this mass of paper to the DI BoD, and ask them: what are you guys getting for your money, compared to THIS?

    Let’s cut off the ID proponents’ funding, by showing their benefactors that they’re just throwing away their money.

  7. I love that someone at the DI is complaining about a source not being peer-reviewed. Doesn’t that mean it’s not controlled by the Global Darwinist Conspiracy™?

  8. retiredsciguy

    Rubble says, “Let’s cut off the ID proponents’ funding, by showing their benefactors that they’re just throwing away their money.”

    Not a bad idea, if they really cared about it. I suspect the main intent of the Discoveroids is to get their brand of textbooks into the public schools, thus vastly expanding their market from the trickle now being sold to home-schoolers and certain so-called “Christian” schools.

    Of course, in order to do this, they first have to establish Intelligent Design as a bona fide scientific alternative to evolution through natural selection, and not just a variant of religious creationism.

    Since they are primarily interested in making a buck rather than furthering our understanding of the nature of reality, they aren’t very concerned with the truthfulness of their writings and pronouncements. They are hucksters, pure and simple. Their motivation seems to be mostly monetary. They want to sell more books.

  9. Gabriel Hanna

    SC reads Klinghoffer so I don’t have to, and for that I am profoundly grateful.

  10. Gabriel Hanna says: “SC reads Klinghoffer …”

    I wonder if anyone else does.

  11. Gabriel Hanna

    He’s got a cheering section. From time to time one or another Discoveroid will pop by.

  12. Gabriel Hanna

    Their motivation seems to be mostly monetary. They want to sell more books.

    William Dembksi said as much. You have to pay to publish in journals. Books pay you.

    I’ve just gotten kind of blase about submitting things to journals where you often wait two years to get things into print. And I find I can actually get the turnaround faster by writing a book and getting the ideas expressed there. My books sell well. I get a royalty. And the material gets read more.

    “Two years” my ass. My experience is more like two months.

  13. I agree with retiredsciguy. To a person, the President, VP, Board of Directors, Senior Fellows, and Adjunct Fellows are not scientists (I believe the only one with any sort of scientific training is Stephen Meyer). Those who have any understanding of the “controversy” certainly only care about funding the PR campaign and don’t expect any actual science to come out of it.

  14. The Discovery Institute is a propaganda organization. It has nothing to do with science and everything to do with “overturning” science, whatever that means.

    Follow their trail: Kansas Kreationist Kourt and School board mess – failed.

    Anti-science radio spots and website during Kansas school board election (to elect more creationists) – failed.

    North Carolina textbook sticker mess – failed.

    Prompted Dover to teach “intelligent design” and provided “expert” witnesses at Kitzmiller – Major Fail. Still moaning about the decision four years later!

    Provided wording and supported “academic freedom” bills in various states – failed, failed, failed and failed. (except for Louisiana which is already 49th in science education.)

    Supported Gonzalez tenure fight – failed.

    Supported “Expelled” – worst “documentary” in history – failed.

    Picked Ben “Darwinism doesn’t explain gravity” Stein as spokesperson – laughably embarrassing fail.

    Where’s the propaganda and the politics? Everywhere. Where’s the science? Nowhere. Where’s the ID research? None.

    The DI doesn’t care about science. If they did they could educate themselves in an hour on Wikipedia. However, rather than do that, they’ll spend an hour writing a press release about the latest persecution of a creationist. Go figger.

  15. retiredsciguy

    Good write, Doc Bill.

  16. A bit late to comment, but I only just read this delicious post. The Discoveroids are still providing much amusement as they frantically push the Coppedge story – yet nobody else cares. Funny that.

    Stephen Meyer’s working science background was as an oil company geophysicist, and his PhD was in something like history or philosophy of science, not real science.

    To me, his geophysics background says a lot about his present “thinking”. At the time he worked in industry (pre-mid 80s oil price crash), most geophysicists were “wiggle-watchers”, busy detecting patterns in the erratic lines on seismic sections. Some would see oil well prospects which were geologically impossible – and sold them to management with a lot of fancy computer numbers as backup.

    For this arrogant subset of geophysicists, it was all about manipulating data with computers to enhance the patterns that only they saw, and the actual science was unimportant. Strangely enough, the dry holes that resulted from their perceived patterns didn’t seem to matter, and management continued to treat them like oracles.

    See any pattern here?

  17. The Curmudgeon wrote

    [BioLogos] got a grant from the Templeton Foundation, which has always spurned the Discoveroids.

    It’s worse than that. Templeton funded some conference on ID some years ago, and then asked for proposals for actual, you know research from the IDiots, and got none. Story here.

  18. RBH says: “It’s worse than that.”

    Thanks for the Wikipedia link, Richard. On occasion, I used to link to the Templeton website where their anti-ID position was posted, but it’s not there any more. Until something like it returns, I’ll rely on Wikipedia’s excerpts, which is the way I recall the original.