WorldNetDaily on the Coppedge Trial

Buffoon Award

We were jolted to wakefulness by the blaring sirens and flashing lights of our Retard-o-tron™. The blinking letters on the wall said WorldNetDaily. As you know, WorldNetDaily (WND) is the flamingly creationist, absolutely execrable, moronic, and incurably crazed journalistic organ that believes in and enthusiastically promotes every conspiracy theory that ever existed. WND was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus that jolly logo displayed above this post.

So we visited the WND website and were directed to an article titled Demoted for views, NASA specialist going to court. Wow — a WND article about David Coppedge — the 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 as a computer technician for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is part of Caltech. He also maintains a creationist website: Creation-Evolution Headlines — which was recently moved here.

WND had once before written about Coppedge. That was NASA lab accused of crackdown on intelligent design, written shortly after the lawsuit was filed. It was essentially a rehash of what the Discoveroids were saying. The author of that piece was Bob Unruh — the same as today. With the trial due to start this Wednesday, we know you’re anxious to learn what WND has to say about it, so here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A trial is starting in just days on a claim by a space scientist that he was demoted for expressing —

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry, dear reader, but we had to interrupt Unruh’s lead sentence. Describing Coppedge as a “space scientist” is about as far from reality as even WND has ever strayed. Ah well, let’s continue with Unruh’s sentence:

— for expressing his views on intelligent design, the theory that the universe and life are too complex to have randomly erupted from a puddle of sludge on some prehistoric landscape.

Great description of the alternative to intelligent design! It’s equal to the description of Coppedge as a space scientist. Let’s go on with this fantastic journalistic product:

The case is a response to a punishment handed down to David Coppedge, a worker at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, which sent the unmanned spacecraft Galileo to Jupiter and dispatched a ship named Dawn to orbit asteroids Vesta and Ceres.

Wow — after sending spacecraft to Jupiter and the asteroids, look what JPL did to Coppedge! Let’s read on:

“For the offense of offering videos [on intelligent design] to colleagues, Coppedge faced harassment, an investigation cloaked in secrecy and a virtual gag order on his discussion of intelligent design,” said attorney Casey Luskin of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in describing the conflict.

Luskin serves as a consultant to the Coppedge lawsuit, which is being handled by Los Angeles First Amendment attorney William J. Becker Jr. of the Becker Law Firm and includes allegations of free-speech violations and wrongful demotion.

With Casey as a consultant, Coppedge is in the best possible hands. We continue:

“Employees shouldn’t be threatened with termination and punished for sharing their opinion with willing co-workers just because the view being shared doesn’t fit the prevailing view in the workplace,” said Becker.

“Mr. Coppedge has always maintained that intelligent design is a scientific theory, but JPL has illegally discriminated against him on the basis of what they deem is ‘religion,’” Becker said.

By golly, if Coppedge says it’s science, then it’s science! How dare those JPL guys fire such a great man because they think it’s religion? Here’s more:

“Intelligent design is not religion, and nothing in the DVDs that Coppedge shared deals with religion,” said Luskin. “Even so, it’s unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on what they deem is religion.”

That’s the tricky position Coppedge is taking: (a) My version of creationism isn’t religion; and (b) JPL unlawfully discriminated against me because they mistakenly think it is religion, and religious discrimination is illegal.

JPL’s pleadings and exhibits provide a totally different account of what Coppedge did and why he was disciplined, but WND prefers not to know about that. Moving along with the WND story:

The controversy reached a boiling point in 2009 when a supervisor angrily harassed Coppedge, claiming “intelligent design is religion” and that Coppedge was “pushing religion.” Coppedge’s complaint about that harassment resulted in a retaliatory investigation and “severe limitations” on Coppedge’s free-speech rights, the case explains.

Are you curious about those “severe limitations”? They’re described in a copy of the written warning Coppedge received. It’s exhibit number 1 attached to this pleading (a pdf file), which shows up around page 7. Okay, here’s another excerpt from the WND story:

The complaint said, “Intelligent design offers scientific evidence that life’s development is best explained as reflecting the design of an intelligent cause, citing mainstream research in biology, cosmology and paleontology.”

Good reporting, Unruh! That’s really important information!

The article ends with a quote from another Discoveroid:

“Anyone who thinks that today’s culture of science allows an open discussion of evolution is sorely mistaken,” said John G. West, associate director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. “When it comes to intelligent design, private and government-run agencies are suppressing free speech.”

So there you are. As you can see, WND is right on top of things, with a keen comprehension of the issues and a superb skill at expressing them clearly to their perceptive readers. The Retard-o-tron™ strikes again!

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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44 responses to “WorldNetDaily on the Coppedge Trial

  1. “Willingly” Keep saying the Defenders Of Coppedge

    I reply “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  2. I wonder who really wrote the article. It looks like Becker, Casey, and someone from the ADF put together an info sheet or something similar which they circulated, and which Unruh quoted from. He then supplemented the material by inserting random unrelated facts about JPL, probably from their website.

    Some of the language in Unreh’s story is exactly the same as in the Catholic News Agency story covered here recently. There is clearly some common ancestry.

  3. There’s a real news story about the trial here: Former JPL worker claims discrimination over creationism belief. The reporter’s info didn’t come from the Discoveroids because he mentions Coppedge’s discussions of Proposition 8 and his insistence that JPL’s annual office “holiday party” should be renamed the Christmas Party. He also says that when Coppedge was let go, JPL also laid off around 200 workers for budgetary reasons.

  4. Oh, hey! Check this out:

    http://blog.speakupmovement.org/university/freedom-of-speech/when-scientists-are-censors/

    … where the ADF admits that ID is a “Christian belief about human origins.”

  5. johnpieret says:

    the ADF admits that ID is a “Christian belief about human origins.”

    Those creation scientists don’t have any discipline at all. Someone is always spilling the beans.

  6. This is rich!

    “Employees shouldn’t be threatened with termination and punished for sharing their opinion with willing co-workers just because the view being shared doesn’t fit the prevailing view in the workplace,” said Becker.

    I wonder if Becker will encourage and defend Dembski to file a public humiliation and wrongful termination suit against Southwest Theological.

    Here’s the humiliation:

    After a negative review of the book appeared in the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, Southwestern President Paige Patterson met with Dembski to clarify statements in the book including that while presented as a global event, Noah’s Flood in Genesis is probably best understood as a local deluge limited to the Middle East.

    Patterson told the Florida Baptist Witness in October that he disagrees with Dembski about the age of the Earth but that the professor is within bounds of the seminary’s governing document, the Baptist Faith and Message.

    “Had I had any inkling that Dr. Dembski was actually denying the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible, then that would have, of course, ended his relationship with the school,” Patterson said.

    Dembski later recanted his statement about the universality of the Genesis Flood, saying it was made “without adequate study or reflection on my part.”

    “Before I write on this topic again, I have much exegetical, historical and theological work to do,” Dembski wrote.

    Dembski affirmed “the full verbal inspiration of the Bible” and belief that Adam and Eve were real people “specially created by God, and thus that they were not the result of an evolutionary process from primate or hominid ancestors.”

    Now, go back and read that first quote again. All Dr. Dr. did was share his opinion, one, admittedly, not held by his employer. However, he was threatened with termination and forced to recant his position publicly. I suspect his announcement of a separation from Southwest this fall is fallout from this and other positions and associations Dembski has, i.e. with Marks et al.

    I don’t have any sympathy for Dembski’s predicament, although it’s ironic that he got in trouble in academia for being a religious jerk, and he got in trouble at his Bible college for being a religious jerk. Hopefully, there’s a lesson learned for him in all that. For all Dembski’s personal faults, I think he’s a smart guy and a dedicated family man and I do have compassion for him in those regards. He’s at a fork in the road. He can either plot a course that will be honest and lead to success, or he can join the DI. We’ll see.

    Same with Coppedge. He could have used JPL’s layoff package to find a job, possibly a better job, and get on with his life or he could become a professional contrarian and join the DI. I think we know how this story ends.

  7. johnpieret: “… where the ADF admits that ID is a ‘Christian belief about human origins’.”

    Ironically, just an inch to the right of your quote I see the name “Klinghoffer.” For the benefit of those who don’t know what I mean, Klinghoffer, like Michael Medved, is a Jewish Discoveroid. And Ben Stein is a Jewish close associate of the DI. But I doubt that they’ll lose any sleep if the majority who buy their snake oil insist that it’s Christian. Though John West might throw a tantrum.

    Also, it’s interesting that ADF would infer that it’s about human origins, when most of its arguments are about bacterial flagella, malaria parasites and “information.” Then again, those prone to buying snake oil will hear and read what they want regardless of is said or written.

  8. aturingtest

    Frank J said: “…those prone to buying snake oil will hear and read what they want regardless of is said or written.”
    In line with that is this sentence from the article: “…David Coppedge, a worker at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, which sent the unmanned spacecraft Galileo to Jupiter and dispatched a ship named Dawn to orbit asteroids Vesta and Ceres.”
    That’s artfully contrived. I wonder how many of the mouth-breathers who read WND as gospel will come away from that with the impression that Coppedge himself sent those spacecraft out?

  9. Doc Bill, I hope Demski reads your very well-written post. It is indeed rich!

  10. Off-topic, but worth it.

    @Gary: Put your Mt. Dew down before clicking that link – we can’t have you choking accidentally.

  11. Does anyone know how the recent “motion in limine” requests were decided by the judge?

    Also, SC has been unusually quiet…

  12. @Rubble – what I find most interesting about that post is the DI had to pay them for it, looks like they finding it harder for a normal news source to take interest in them

  13. Flakey, it’s even harder for the DI to get the mainstream media to give the desired DI spin to the story.

  14. @TA: (calmly puts down Mt Dew… clicks on link…)

    BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I don’t care who you are, THAT is funny!

    P.S. Thanks for the warning!

  15. Ugh. We have a new motion in limine from the defendant. This one appears to request excluding “testimony, evidence, argument, and comment regarding the contents of NASA’s guidelines on religious exercise.”

  16. Ed said:

    Also, SC has been unusually quiet…

    OK Curmie some of us are noticing you haven’t posted since the third.
    Are you all right? Just let us know, if you don’t mind.

  17. longshadow

    OK Curmie some of us are noticing you haven’t posted since the third.
    Are you all right? Just let us know, if you don’t mind.

    It is widely rumored that the Sensuous Curmudgeon was summoned to an emergency conclave of the International Evolutionary Conspiracy at its secret headquarters, “Finchhaven,” in the Galapagos Islands.

    I am in contact with intermediaries who are in contact with SC, and he is expect to resume posting from his control room soon, presumably after receiving updated orders from the leadership of the Conspiracy.

    In the meanwhile, we should carry on as usual.

    That is all…..

  18. Thanks, longie. I was just about to e-mail him myself to conduct a health & welfare check. You beat me to it.

  19. Oh this is just TOO easy …

    Klinghoffer writes: “The reason that courts and testimony are important is that they add tangible evidence of a phenomenon that otherwise tries to keep a relatively low profile. The Darwin Guild doesn’t advertise its inquisitorial services, …”

    NOBODY expects the Darwin Guild!!! Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the scientific method, and nice pocket protectors – Oh damn!

  20. @TA: No worries. As soon as I see your gravatar, I put down the Dew. Mess averted!

  21. Cue Munchkins:

    We represent the Darwinist Guild
    The Darwinist Guild
    The Darwinist Guild
    And in the name of the Darwinist Guild
    We wish to welcome you to Reality.

  22. Tomato Addict

    @Gary: Good! We can’t have you continuing this nasal caffeine habit. Then again, it is safer than tomatoes.

    @Doc Bill: Wonderful! Now all we need is a house we can drop on Klinghoffer. Maybe Pat Robertson can pray one up for us?

  23. I see nothing new on the Coppedge trial, but maybe it’s a little early yet. I did find half a dozen blog posts or press releases all starting with the same text:

    David Coppedge claims he was unfairly demoted and terminated from Jet Propulsion Laboratory after he promoted intelligent design to his co-workers, whom, …”

    Someone has certainly been busy at the propaganda mill.

  24. I do have experience with jury selection in two trials, one domestic violence and the other aggravated assault and in both cases the jury was selected in a matter of a couple of hours, with the trial starting right away.

    So, I would expect that they’ve had a day and a half. I’d say 4 days to get this resolved which would take it to mid next week.
    Chance of reporters covering this: zero.

    Who knows, though, maybe the Attack Gerbil is there writing with his eraser tip.

  25. Hey SC, we’re high and dry here!! We need more Buffoonery, more Discoveroids!!

    Hope everything is ok with you…

  26. David Coppedge’s civil trial is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Read “Slaughter of the Dissidents” by Dr. Jerry Bergman

    http://www.amazon.com/Slaughter-Dissidents-Jerry-Bergman/dp/0981873405

  27. Just to establish once and for all what WND is, here’s a beyond the pale cartoon from them on the Fluke row;
    http://www.wnd.com/2012/03/tax-funded-sex-its-a-simple-request/

  28. Hey SC
    You’ve been mentioned by PZ
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/

  29. David, I read Bergman’s distortions. It was completely one-sided, to put it most kindly.

  30. Tomato Addict

    >”David Coppedge’s civil trial is just the tip of the iceberg.”

    On behalf of our Curmudgeonly host and regular readership, allow me to be the first to say BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Cathy’s full link, since PZ posts a lot:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/03/the_discovery_institute_is_win.php

  31. aturingtest

    ChrisB: yep, that pretty much nails WND as exactly what they are. I wonder what they would have done if Obama wasn’t black? The thing is, this sort of thing is aimed specifically at an audience that already agrees 100% with that point of view, and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. From the outside, it’s easy to see the ugliness. From the inside, it’s part of the beauty to reinforce the ugly by surrounding yourself with more of it, and excluding anything that might suggest, by any context, that ugly is as ugly does.

  32. Radioastronomer

    Just talked to SC on the phone 5 mins ago. His internet is giving him fits at the moment but he should be back online in all his glory by tomorrow.

    RA

  33. Thanks RA. I know I feel better.

  34. Thanks to RA for providing a much needed “Curmy is OK” message.

    There are additional documents available at the NCSE archive, including JPL’s trial brief and the new JPL motion in limine that I mentioned on March 6.

  35. Patch.com provides additional details.

    The trial remains in continuation. Among the issues are trial by jury versus bench trial, and at least some of the various motions in limine. It looks like the judge has his hands full.

  36. From the JPL trial brief, it starts:

    This case is about an employee who had no self-awareness.

    Then it gets interesting!

  37. @Doc – thanks for the update. The trial brief is excellent reading. I didn’t think Coppedge had a case before; now I know he doesn’t.

    This is a case that the DI should quietly walk away from.

  38. Our friend the execrable Klingondropper wrote:

    Coppedge, a computer specialist, (formerly) the most senior on JPL’s Cassini Mission to Saturn, is neither a scientist nor a scholar per se. For that reason, he is precisely the kind of person most likely to get caught talking about ID and to pay the price for it. He offered to lend a DVD to a colleague and the next day found himself getting screamed at by a supervisor, then quickly demoted and, after he protested, fired.

    None of this is true. Not a single sentence. But I can feel Klinger’s projected pain as he was fired from a simple assistant resident hall advisor job after writing a racist article in his college newspaper. Hey, Klinker, you’re free to write whatever you want, but there are consequences to your actions as old Coppedge is about to find out. Of course, Klings, you write from the comfort of your little house, in front of the fire, dog at your feet while stooge Coppedge is out of a job, begging bowl in hand, dumpster diving.

    Ironic that the social parasites at the DI are able to eek out a living off of their own kind. Cluster parasiting?