This is the strangest of all the blog articles posted in support of David Coppedge by 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).
As you know, David Coppedge is a creationist who claims he was wrongfully demoted (and later fired) by his employer because he was promoting Intelligent Design (ID) on the job. He used to work (until he was let go in a downsizing back in January) as a computer technician for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He also maintains a creationist website: Creation-Evolution Headlines [which was recently moved here].
Today at the Discoveroids’ blog they’ve posted this gem: Please, NASA, No More Galileos! We think you’ll agree that invoking Galileo’s name in this context is absolutely stunning. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
In 1610, Galileo peered through his telescope and saw Saturn more clearly than any other human being before him, thus making Galileo the first to use a device to examine the ringed gas giant. For his inventive efforts to get a closer look at the heavenly body, and to thereby better understand man’s place in the cosmos, Galileo came under the critical eye of the Roman Inquisition who ultimately placed him under house arrest until his death.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! According to the Discoveroids, Galileo got into trouble for his observations of Saturn. That alone is enough to make their post a winner, but there’s more:
Four hundred years later, man is still using inventive devices to study Saturn, and has even closed the 1.2 billion kilometer gap by way of Cassini-Huygens, an unmanned planetary orbiter operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL).
Right. And Coppedge performed a support function for that project. He was a computer technician, a position sometimes referred to as a “tape monkey.” Let’s read on:
In an ironic twist of fate, these modern students of Saturn — the men and women at JPL — launched a Human Resources investigation (the modern equivalent of the Roman Inquisition) into whether one of their own expressed a dissenting scientific view, in favor of Intelligent Design (ID), and whether his dissent could be labeled and punished as “harassment” and the “pushing [of] religion.” So they found, and so they did.
That’s not at all how we understand it. As we reported here, David Coppedge v. JPL & Caltech (18 Feb ’11), discussing a pro-Coppedge article that got its information from Coppedge and his lawyers:
[L]et us be magnanimous and assume that Coppedge’s creationist outreach activity on the job occurred only twice a month for a decade. That’s probably 240 instances of what we assume was creationist proselytizing. But let’s not get carried away. We’ll be conservative and say it’s only 200 separate incidents. Only 200! Think about it.
We can imagine the reaction of the JPL science staff (the mildest of which may have been: “Get lost, you creep!“), so our guess is that Coppedge wouldn’t have done this to the same person more than once. Therefore, being fair about the numbers, we assume that there were 200 separate people who were affected by Coppedge’s behavior. This estimate comes from what he himself or his lawyers admitted to World magazine.
Do you see any Galileo-like behavior there, or do you see a ten-year-long history of unwanted and unrelenting creationist evangelizing? Considering what we’ve read of his behavior, it’s amazing that JPL tolerated Coppedge as long as they did. We continue with today’s Discoveroid article:
[S]uffice it to say that the Coppedge case stands as an egregious instance of intolerance toward scientific dissent, so much so that it merits your attention and action, for Caltech runs JPL under contract with NASA, a government agency, and is thus indirectly accountable to the electorate, by which I mean you, dear reader.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Science wasn’t Coppedge’s job, and no one wanted or needed or cared about his opinions — dissenting or otherwise. He was supposed to make sure the computer tapes were properly loaded and ready. Here’s more:
You could, if so inclined, contact the respective heads of JPL and Cal Tech to tell each of them about your dissatisfaction with their taxpayer-funded handling of the Coppedge matter, and further request that they make right by settling on fair terms with Coppedge.
Observe, dear reader, how the Discoveroids are already setting things up so that if the case is settled before trial, as it probably will be, they can claim that it’s a victory for Coppedge and his brave, Galileo-like “scientific” dissent. But why are they even thinking of settling? If their case is as strong as they claim, then let them prove it by going to trial and winning. Then they’ll have the legal landmark they crave. Settling is for wimps who file nuisance cases; there’s no substitute for victory.
Here’s the end of the Discoveroid article:
True, no one listed above was subjected to trial in the Star Chamber [huh?], placed under house arrest or forced to recant, but careers have been ruined by the modern practitioners of medieval justice, those Darwinists in high places. No one who has mouths to feed wants to make the news this way, and we at Discovery Institute don’t want any more Galileos to defend or lament. In this mixed season of protest and Thanksgiving, it’s time that the Darwin-doubting community came together in support of Coppedge to gently remind the Inquisitors who it is that butters their bread.
If Coppedge is a modern Galileo, then … ah, we can’t think of a suitably bizarre analogy. Perhaps you can.
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