David Coppedge vs. JPL (10 Jun 2010)

OUR last post on this topic was David Coppedge vs. JPL (08 Jun 2010). That’s where background information is available. There isn’t any genuine news about the litigation, and there won’t be until the defendants enter the case and we learn things from their point of view.

Until then, it’s still interesting to report on the activities of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). When the Coppedge case was first filed, we wrote about the Discoveroids’ rather primitive and far too obvious public relations campaign to promote their new hero’s case. See: The Coppedge Case: A Study in Tactics and Strategy.

Now they appear to have shifted tactics slightly. Instead of bluntly sending out press releases, they’re being a bit more subtle by relying on a network of religious organizations for publicity. For example, the same news item (about Coppedge’s amended complaint) is appearing at the websites of the Christian Post, and CitizenLink (part of Focus on the Family), and LifeSiteNews (a pro-life, family values site), and the American Family News Network (“a Christian news service … that exists to present the day’s stories from a biblical perspective”).

We can see this at the Discoveroid blog, which has a new article by Casey Luskin: National Legal Organization Backs Coppedge Lawsuit Over Jet Propulsion Lab Discrimination Against Intelligent Design.

There’s not much to Casey’s post. It basically copies the article to which we linked a couple of days ago, here, when the case suddenly showed signs of life. It’s the same “news” that appears at the religion-oriented sites to which we linked above. But observe how excited Casey is that “a national legal organization” (the Alliance Defense Fund) is promoting the case. What does that mean, really?

We know nothing about the Alliance Defense Fund except that they appear to be one of many groups of lawyers with a specialized interest. Their What is ADF? page tells us that:

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

They also say that they are “a legal alliance founded in 1993 by more than 30 prominent Christian leaders.” Okay, fine. That’s the group that is championing the Coppedge cause. But despite Casey’s enthusiasm, it’s not as if the case were being trumpeted by the American Bar Association or something.

There are loads of specialized legal groups. For example: The National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Bar Association, and the Muslim Bar Association of New York, and the loosely organized Guantanamo Bay attorneys. In other words, for every imaginable cause there’s probably a “national group” of lawyers who can be of some kind of assistance. We haven’t searched, but there’s probably a legal group that protects the interests of UFO abductees.

Therefore, unlike Casey and the Discoveroids, your Curmudgeon isn’t impressed that Coppedge has attracted the attention of “a national legal organization” and you shouldn’t be either.

We’re still waiting to hear from the defense lawyers in this case. Until then, don’t get beguiled by those who tell you the “facts” of the case by merely reciting what’s alleged in Coppedge’s complaint. That’s one side — the creationist side. The rest will be known in due course.

Next update: See David Coppedge vs. JPL (18 Jun 2010).

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

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2 responses to “David Coppedge vs. JPL (10 Jun 2010)

  1. JPL has a good ethics web site, with their manual and a search capability online. Like most government organizations, and government contractors, they do not allow employees to use their resources (including facilities) to promote personal political or religious views. The guy was warned, and did it anyway. Ultimately, he lost his team lead position – and probably did not suffer in a reduction in pay.

    The ethics and legal staff at JPL know what they’re doing. I know one of the ethics advisors well, as a previous colleague, and am certain JPL has a solid case. The discovery institute may be laying a little lower because they are “discovering” more about the case…

    I wonder how long an employee at the d.i. would last if they started reading “The God Delusion” at their desk, and started bringing in materials to hand out to their coworkers on the weaknesses of ID?

  2. One oddity of this lawsuit is that (i) JPL continues to refuse to comment as they have “not yet received the lawsuit” (as of 8 June) & (ii) no defence counsel (JPL or other) is listed on the court’s online case summary.

    Has anybody actually formally notified JPL of this lawsuit as yet? Or is this another piece of creationist ‘street theatre’?