Last Comment from a Banned Coppedge Defender

Yesterday we banned a commenter (“KJAR”) who had been defending David Coppedge, the creationist computer technician recently let go by Jet Propulsion Laboratory in what they said was a downsizing. KJAR’s comments were to this post: Klinghoffer Unleashed to Defend David Coppedge.

His first comment was:

Not one of you has explained exactly what Coppedge did to deserve to be fired from a federal job in the U.S of A. This is not China. God forbid if he were to mention that he was gay or something. I would think that freedom thinkers such as yourself would believe in freedom of speech. Your mockery adds up to one thing: BIGOTRY!

We immediately knew all we needed to know about KJAR, but as we sometimes do (often to our regret), we let let his comment stand. A few of you responded to him, and that must have encouraged him to post a very long comment about how we “shouldn’t feel threatened by contrary views” and how we ought to react when “scientific data is used to question neo-Darwinism.” At that point we banned him and said:

Okay, that’s enough. Goodbye, KJAR.

As often happens after a ban, he tried to comment again — but it was caught in the spam-filter. We’ve always ignored such post-banning comments in the past, but because it’s the weekend and news is scarce, and because this comment is so typical of its type, we decided to break precedent and post it. It’s a good example of what we don’t allow at this blog, so this will give you a hint of what you’ve been missing because of our benevolent oversight. Here it is, rescued from the spam-filter, KJAR’s final comment (presumably to me) in defense of David Coppedge:

Typical response from someone who’s insecure in his/her viewpoint. I’m not a scientist, but science is fascinating to me. I listen to the debates and all the ego, name-calling, foul language from both sides. There’s no respect!

Are you saying that people in a free society should’t be able to have a civilized discussion that express differing views on any subject (or is it just science)? It’s part of being free thinkers, unlike those under a Hitler-like dictatorship. People have differing views on countless subjects and aren’t afraid to talk about them with friends, co-workers, etc.

So there you are, dear reader. We’re insecure in our viewpoint — typical of those who resort to name calling and foul language. We show no respect. This place is a Hitler-like dictatorship.

And as it was with our banned visitor, so it must have been with David Coppedge. No respect! No freedom! Bigotry! Insecurity! Hitler!

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29 responses to “Last Comment from a Banned Coppedge Defender

  1. Well, that explains the click of jack boots whenever I select the link to the “Sensuous Curmudgeon” ….


  2. You know, I don’t understand (well, I do, but it’s annoying). You ban someone and it’s insecurity, hitler like devotion to religion or whatever.

    However, if I try to post at UD or Evolution News, it’s moderated and insta-banned. The kicker is, that’s all to facilitate discussion without interference (presumably things like facts and logic).

    If you’re little friend would like to comment in an unmoderated forum, then he’s welcome at After the Bar Closes at I think the policy is 1000 useless posts before banning is considered… of course, make threats or other really inappropriate things and it’s bye-bye.

    Anyway, I guess this clown doesn’t realize that SC actually owns this place and just like if he owned a house or a club, he could legally exclude anyone he wanted, for just about any reason he wanted. Oh well, I guess when the theocracy hits, the first thing to be implemented will be open communication for everyone and everything right? LOL

  3. Great, kjar managed to work in a Hitler reference. Why is it always Hitler? Why not Caesar or the Pope? I’m sure the Pope would be fascinated, all ears, to hear kjar’s opinion on transmutation.

    “Not a scientist” is typical of the kjar’s who flock to science sites to spar with actual scientists. News flash, kjar, my facts trump your opinion and my knowledge trumps your ignorance.

    As for being “fascinated with science,” alas, that is a Big Lie. The kjar’s of the world aren’t fascinated with science, they’re fascinated with science fiction. They live for yeti, alien abductions, bat boy, homeopathy, miracles, creationism, astrology, ESP, dowsing, ghosts and the list goes on and on. Set them down with a copy of the superbly illustrated Vertebrate Paleontology (Valentine) and they’ll nod off in seconds. Can’t stand real science, actually.

    How about let’s read an article in Science on “Glucose and Weight Control in Mice?” No dice mice? Actual science too boring for you, kjar?

    You know what I’m afraid of, kjar, I’m afraid of being bored to death by an undereducated ignoramus like you. If you were droll, amusing and funny it would be different, but you’re not. Like Diogenes I seek a funny creationist. Haven’t found one yet.

    And in other news, why did the chicken cross the road?
    To get away from Kirk Cameron!

  4. OgreMkV says:

    You ban someone and it’s insecurity, hitler like devotion to religion or whatever.

    It’s much simpler than any of that. I just don’t want to talk to those people. We already know what they have to say — lord knows we deal with their material here every day. It’s not as if their ideas get no exposure here. But actually having them around to tell me how bigoted I am — no thanks.

  5. I didn’t read the two trolls’ fact-free speculations on how it “must have been” with Coppedge, just an innocent creationist hounded by the evil monsters of JPL. But I did notice that they didn’t actually deal with the fact that, according to reports, action was taken only after receiving complaints from his co-workers over his proselytizing. Ipso facto, we have reason to suppose that Coppedge wasn’t just being a chum, then viciously attacked by atheist, Darwinists, or other Xian-hating species.

    None of us has the bare facts, of course. However, the claims of harrassment by Coppedge of his fellow-workers are serious, and ought to be dealt with appropriately. That Coppedge didn’t realize that he was being obnoxious wouldn’t surprise me at all, given the level of ignorance endemic to creationism. Which wouldn’t change the fact that he reportedly was causing the work environment to deteriorate.

    Do the creationists have evidence that complaints about Coppedge’s alleged proselytizing were not received, or that they occurred but were, oddly enough, motivated by atheism and/or Darwinism, rather than the usual desire of people not to have religious propaganda thrust upon them? If so, I’d like to see it, and if genuine, would be inclined to consider Coppedge a victim.

    If not, well, I would hope that I would not be subject to unwanted religious propaganda in the workplace, just as I suspect that Coppedge’s colleagues would desire.

  6. I just don’t want to talk to those people.

    At first I wasn’t so sure that I liked your policies of banhammering these unimaginative parrots. I still don’t know that “I like it,” as such, but I think I fully understand what it’s about.

    The vast majority of pro-science forums do not ban creationists, or do so only after huge numbers of bad-faith, falsely accusing posts, well after it’s clear that they have no interest in an honest discussion of the issues. So it’s not like with creationism/ID, where relatively open forums are exceptional (and ultimately abandoned by nearly all creationists, who can’t bear the rules and evidence of science), there’s Talkorigins, Pharyngula, Panda’s Thumb, AtBC, etc.

    And here it just seems nice to discuss these issues without trollish repetitive accusations and PRATTs from people who have never once honestly considered evolution as a possible explanation for life. I neither praise nor condemn the policy, then, just note that it’s kind of a relief not to bother with idiotic and unsupported creationist nonsense, which is never new and never more than rank prejudice.

    If all pro-science forums were like this, there’d be a problem. As it is, what’s wrong with this as a blog niche?

  7. SC, this is your place and you are free to handle whatever, however you want. That’s a good thing. I won’t complain.

  8. Glen Davidson says:

    At first I wasn’t so sure that I liked your policies of banhammering these unimaginative parrots. I still don’t know that “I like it,” as such, but I think I fully understand what it’s about.

    I’ve had considerable experience with creationists before starting this blog. I know their arguments, I know their character. I know what they’re all about. I won’t have them here. Period. Yes, y’all miss out on all the wild and woolly screaming matches, but there’s plenty of that available elsewhere.

  9. I probably egged KJAR on a bit with my lengthy (and equally boring) post trying to recap the case in simple language. I try to resist, honestly…

    It would have been much easier to summarize the case in a soundbite: It’s the behavior, stupid!

  10. Actually, you can apply some “intelligent design” to the Coppedge case and make some inferences without having much data at all! Hopefully data will pour in from the field later by hard-working scientists to confirm our hypothesis.

    I’ll use my experience working for a Forbes 50 Large Corporation as a basis for my hypothesis.

    JPL is a big organization, a NASA contractor. It’s got HR professionals, trained supervisors and lots of rules. Klinghoffer wrote this of Coppedge:

    His supervisor severely chastised him for this, humiliated and demoted him.

    I submit that a supervisor actually has limited authority and most certainly does not have the authority to demote an employee.

    That takes cooperation with HR and following all those rules. The rules are in place to protect employees from just this sort of thing: chastising and humiliating and demoting.

    Furthermore, in my experience, it takes an extraordinary situation for a supervisor to bring in HR. A supervisor who runs to HR for every little thing won’t be a supervisor for long because he, obviously, can’t supervise!

    We do know from the papers filed in the suit that procedures were followed and Coppedge was reassigned in April, 2009, all done through HR. A full year later he filed suit. (Opinion: that’s a long time to stew about something!)

    Persecution? No. Typical big corporation HR policies and typical supervision. Harassment? No. HR dealt with Coppedge once. Coppedge’s own filed papers do not report any continued harassment or abuse, much less, persecution.

    Finally, the layoff. There several ways to leave a Big Corporation. You can get fired whereupon you lose your benefits and are ineligible for severance pay or accrued vacation pay, or company matching funds if you were in a savings plan. You get fired for breaking a big rule like fighting or coming to work drunk or not coming to work at all.

    You can quit voluntarily. Sometimes you can negotiate a severance package, but usually you simply walk away because you’ve found a new job and you new masters are willing to compensate you. You generally don’t get severance pay nor extended benefits.

    You can get laid off. Bad luck, you’re picked for whatever reason to be terminated, including volunteering to be terminated. It’s a long process to select who’s going to be laid off involving HR, many groups and supervisors and countless meetings. It’s not a whim. Very often there is a “package” associated with a layoff including severance pay, compensation for accrued vacation time, extended medical benefits and job relocation services. However, to receive the “package” you usually have to sign papers specifying that you can’t be rehired by the company within a period of time, and you cannot hold the company liable for your termination, that is, you can’t file a wrongful termination suit. If you don’t sign the papers, you don’t get the package and you get terminated anyway.

    Finally, you can elect to retire which gives you severance pay, vacation pay, extended benefits and so forth, plus access to any savings plan, matching plan or stock options you had with the company.

    I think that Coppedge got laid off and there was a package and he signed the papers and I would think his current suit is now moot and he has no basis for further legal action. If he didn’t sign the papers and intends a wrongful termination suit then he risks losing everything as “being mean to me” is not a valid basis for wrongful termination. Furthermore, I think the DI shot their wad with their “call NASA” campaign and the news about Coppedge is now over and they know it.

    Disclaimer: boring as it may be, I didn’t base my analysis on conspiracy theories, delusions or persecution complexes; just observation and experience.

  11. Benjamin Franklin

    Would anyone here like a copy of the DVD “The Privileged Planet?

    It makes a wonderful sun-catcher.

  12. Doc: You’re exactly right, but I have one quibble. The agreement one signs upon a lay-off generally applies to the lay-off, and not other unrelated prior legal actions. If Coppedge signed an agreement in order to collect a better lay-off package, he could still pursue his original action but wouldn’t be able to add the lay-off to the case.

    Just reading through the JPL policies; they are very consistent in prohibiting use of JPL resources (computers, facilities, etc.) for promotion of religious and social issues. JPL was probably a little more lenient with him initially than they had to be.

  13. Ed: Yes, you’re right. By “moot” I meant “what’s the point?” His original complaint asked for his status back, to be compensated (although it was never clear if he lost grade and/or compensation) and freedom to bug people at JPL until the heat death of the Universe, and so on.

    If he signed a layoff package then he’s left with very little remedy in his suit. Perhaps some compensation. His old “job” is gone. So, what’s the point?

    I’m puzzled by his original lawsuit. Coppedge strikes me as an eccentric YEC who mostly keeps to himself. He’s a bit musical, works with kids, gives community lectures on science of all things, and showed pride at being part of the Cassini team; he just doesn’t strike me as the militant type. Sure, he runs a wacky creationist website, but he’s more of a poo-flinger than anything else. I still think the DI is behind this and that Coppedge is a pawn in one of their pitiful useless political games. Maybe the DI offered to pay for his legal fees and if he got fired they would bring him on as a Fellow.

  14. On trolls: I saw my first one in person just a few hours ago.

    Barbara Forrest spoke at the Triangle Freethought Society in Raleigh NC. She spoke on what’s happening with the wedge since Dover and focused on challenges and changes to legislature.

    The second person to get a queston in (I was first) started by reading the definition of science and asking if Barbara agreed with it. We were all willing to let him go on with this, not knowing what he was after. Getting an affirmative from Barbara he went on to ask/comment that as the definition said, science deals with nature, not the supernatural, what can science even say about creationism? Barbara had a really good answer about how we have no cognitive way to connect/evaluate with the supernatural making such irrelevant to science.

    Anyway, long story shorter, when the guy kept trying to talk and a few people started responding to him (he practically asked why we need to keep the supernatural out of classrooms) many people loudly said, “Because it’s not science”, someone else said to others engaging him (and taking up Barbara’s very short time), “Don’t feed the trolls”.

    All the while Barbara’s last slide was still up. The slide was one of a certain blogger’s post. A certain blogger who doesn’t tolerate such behaviour on his blog. Barbara spoke very highly of this blogger and had actually put up several screen shots of his blog. We couldn’t ban that troll, but it’s so nice that you can, SC.

    (although sometimes it is fun to feed the trolls…)

  15. Darn, messed up the link again. It’s supposed to say “The slide was one of a certain blogger’s post” with post the title of the link. What am I doing wrong and will you please fix it?

    cower, cower–I do hope the joke wasn’t lost.
    Thanks, SC

  16. Why is it that people who haven’t put in the years of hard work obtaining the actual degrees and working in actual labs think that their ill-informed ignorance about science is equal to those of us who have done the work???

    Aggravating. Arrogant. Absolutely a ban-ible offense.

  17. Lynn Wilhelm says: “I do hope the joke wasn’t lost.”

    I got it.

  18. Thanks.
    Barbara was impressed with your wit, your writing and your timely posts.

  19. Lynn Wilhelm says: “Barbara was impressed with your wit …”

    The real way to a man’s heart is to laugh at his jokes.

  20. retiredsciguy

    SC writes, “Yes, y’all miss out on all the wild and woolly screaming matches…”

    I don’t miss ’em one bit. I don’t have time for that $h1t, having to read through a bunch of inane comments in order to find the intelligent, well-written posts that keep me coming to your website. Thanks, Curmy. You have attracted an outstanding community of regulars with your policy, not to mention your fine writing.

  21. I’m only glad I’m not the one to make the decisions.

    off topic – I’m reading an excellent book “The Age of Wonder”, by Richard Holmes. Highly recommended, if you like books about the history of science and the development of scientific thought.

    Anyone else have a current recommendation for a good read? (if it’s ok with SC to veer off topic a bit)

  22. Ed (and apology to CR for adding to the off-topic item): A new book by Stanley Rice, “Life of Earth: Portrait of a Beautiful, Middle-aged, Stressed out World,” Prometheus Press , is a good read. Designed primarily for a general audience, anyone will find this very informative. Rice is also author of other books, including “Encyclopedia of Evolution.” I must confess that I read the manuscript for the publisher and wrote a jacket cover blurb praising the work, but I have no economic return involved!

  23. Ed says:

    Anyone else have a current recommendation for a good read? (if it’s ok with SC to veer off topic a bit)

    Sounds a lot better than the original topic. Go for it.

  24. Gabriel Hanna

    @Ed: Anyone else have a current recommendation for a good read?

    Anathem by Neal Stephenson, philosophy of science is integral to the plot.

  25. Oh! Book recommendations! ::::searching for pen and paper::::
    Thanks! I’ll be checking back all day. I’m pretty much housebound these days (arthritis and snow) and am always looking for something that will be interesting and educational because I can always make it to the library one way or the other. I hold the hope that one is really never too old to learn. 🙂

  26. “The Planets” by Dava Sobel who also wrote “Longitude” and “Galileo’s Daughter” both of which I would recommend also.

  27. Also look out for collections of Issac Asimov essays on science.

  28. retiredsciguy

    Here’s a second for Doc Bill’s nomination of Dava Sobel’s work.

  29. Brian Fagan comes to mind. He’s a professor of archaeology who has written a number of books, several on the topic of the effects of climate change on ancient cultures. (Or not so ancient — his THE LITTLE ICE AGE was about the overall cooling trend that began about 1300 and lasted for hundreds of years.) Fagan’s writing is very accessible for the lay reader and the science seems sane and sober. On my shelf and waiting to be read I have another of his books, CRO-MAGNON, about the emergence of Us from the Ice Age and what happened to the Neanderthals (though the research in that area is coming so thick and fast that it may be already be a little out of date).