We finally have some news to report about this case, and it comes from the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
Casey Luskin — our favorite creationist and seemingly the only non-fellow among the Discoveroids — has just posted NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab Fires Cassini Mission Senior Computer Admin Who Filed Discrimination Lawsuit. But first, here’s some background information. Most of you can skip next few indented paragraphs:
This is 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 (or did until recently) 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 initially waged 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, which is here, but which seems to have languished for months.
The official information source for the Coppedge case requires payment of a small fee to the court clerks here: Superior Court of California, Los Angeles. At the box for “Case Number” you need to enter BC435600. Some minimal information is available for free — the names of the parties and their lawyers, a list of what documents have been filed, what proceedings have been held, and what future hearings have been scheduled.
The case is scheduled for trial starting on 15 June 2011, and news has been scarce for months. The Discoveroids’ last post about Coppedge was in June of 2010. But now their silence has ended. Casey says, with bold font added by us:
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) just dumped a lot of fuel on the fire of David Coppedge’s discrimination lawsuit by firing him on Monday.
That’s news! Let’s read on:
This could potentially expose JPL to a claim of wrongful termination and increase the merits of Coppedge’s claim that JPL retaliated against him. According to Coppedge’s attorney William Becker, JPL claims the firing resulted from downsizing in the face of budget issues, but Coppedge is the most senior member of the team that oversees the computers on NASA and JPL’s Cassini Mission to Saturn. Coppedge doesn’t seem at all like the first person who would normally be forced to leave in such a situation, but. Obviously, JPL has other considerations.
Casey has his opinion, but reality may be different. We doubt that Casey knows why JPL decided to part company with Coppedge, but it’ll all come out in the trial. The rest of Casey’s post is just a rehash of material that the Discoveroids have said earlier: Coppedge was a great man, he “occasionally had friendly discussions about ID with fellow employees,” JPL was intolerant, etc. For example, Casey says:
Coppedge was then demoted and threatened with losing his job if he persisted in purportedly “unwelcome” and “disruptive” discussions of ID. Part of JPL’s “Origins Program’s” mission is purportedly to study questions like “How did we get here?” One would think that a little friendly conversation about intelligent design in the workplace would therefore be tolerated. Sadly, the gag order applied to no other JPL employees, and in fact JPL has openly tolerated anti-ID speech from its other employees. David Coppedge was singled out and prevented from speaking in favor of ID.
What intolerance! Creationism was banned but other ideas weren’t. How could JPL be so blind?
If you want the full Discoveroid treatment, click over to Casey’s post and read it all. But the only news is that Coppedge is gone. The remarkable thing, in our humble opinion, is that JPL kept the guy around as long as they did. Anyway, the trial is still scheduled, so we’ll have more to say about this case as it develops. Stay tuned.
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