Two Discoveroid Posts on Coppedge

Most of you have seen these already, but they appeared during your Curmudgeon’s recent galactic adventure, so we’re catching up. Both of these appear at 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).

These were posted when the Coppedge trial was expected to begin on 07 March. As far as we can tell, there is no new date set for the trial, so they’re not as timely as they might have been. We’ll give you some some excerpts from each article, with bold font added by us and their links omitted:

The first is Why the Coppedge Trial Matters. It’s by David Klinghoffer, whose creationist oeuvre we last described here, and upon whom the Discoveroids have bestowed the exalted title of “senior fellow” — i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist. According to Klinghoffer:

David Coppedge’s case against his former employer, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, goes to trial in Los Angeles on Wednesday. This will open yet another window on the culture of free-speech suppression that exists across academic and para-academic institutions.

Ah yes, the “culture of free-speech suppression.” A terrible thing indeed. That’s what keeps flat-earthers from teaching school kids to do “critical thinking” about the shape of the earth, and it keeps moon-landing deniers from teaching astronomy classes. By the way, David, it isn’t “NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.” JPL is part of Caltech. Anyway, Klinghoffer continues:

David Coppedge, it sure looks like, was denied his free expression rights when he accidentally stepped on a land mine: Darwinian evolution. We’ve documented a variety of other instances where variants of this general scenario have played out: [litany of other creationist martyrs who can be found telling their tales of woe in cult classic films like Expelled.]

Observe, dear reader, Klinghoffer’s view that the terrible fate which befell Coppedge was all about evolution. There’s no hint that he may have harassed his co-workers on several occasions over several different matters. Let’s read on:

In each instance [of Klinghoffer’s list of martyrs], a loosely organized Darwinian Guild sought to intimidate internal critics and doubters and chill their freedom to write and speak openly. Then courts and lawyers got involved. Emails were disclosed. The facts came out, all properly documented and vetted. Sometimes, significant sums of money were dislodged from Darwinian coffers. Now it’s set to happen again, with NASA, JPL and CalTech in the hot seat.

The “Darwinian Guild.” That has a nice ring to it. We need something to counter-balance it. How about “creationist coterie”? We could probably do better, but let’s not get distracted. Klinghoffer continues:

Most folks in scientific fields, faced with the fear that Darwinists seek to instill, keep quiet about their Darwin doubts. They know where the land mines are buried and so successfully avoid them by staying silent.

Oh, how true! We all live in constant fear. Here’s more:

Then you get a fellow like Coppedge who, for whatever reason, never got the memo and didn’t realize the danger in merely sharing a few pro-ID DVDs till he already fell under the threatening shadow of a Human Resources investigation. Before he knew it, he was out of a job.

Poor Coppedge! One day he offers a creationist DVD, and before you know it — Ka-BOOM! He’s out on the street. One more excerpt:

Someday, enough tiles [individual martyr cases] will have accumulated that any fair-minded person will see the image, without ambiguity. For the Darwin Guild, which needs the public to think that scientists are actually free to reach any conclusion on evolution, that will be an unmitigated disaster.

Okay, the next Discoveroid post is An Alcatraz of the Mind: What the Coppedge Trial Will Show. This one is also by Klinghoffer. He starts out quoting something by PZ Myers — who says “Coppedge is a nobody.” PZ is never subtle in such matters. Then Klinghoffer says:

As the Coppedge trial proceeds, this idea that Coppedge is a “nobody,” a “mere computer technician,” will be heard often from Darwin enforcers as they explain why NASA’s JPL “reasonably” punished Coppedge for his pro-intelligent design interests.

Punished for his interests? How contorted can a worldview be? Well, Klinghoffer hasn’t yet achieved Time Cube level, but he seems to be on the way. Moving along:

But the picture of Coppedge as a “nobody,” a person of no consequence and therefore offering no reason to protest his mistreatment, needs to be addressed. It’s exactly the fact that Coppedge isn’t a professor or academic himself that reveals the extent to which professional scholars are denied the freedom to reach any conclusion on the scientific questions raised by intelligent design.

Huh? What’s he saying? The Coppedge case reveals the tyranny against professional scholars? No doubt that’s how his trial team would like to argue the case, but his former employer has other reasons for his discipline and subsequent layoff. Another excerpt:

Let’s take a moment to recall the realities of the world of science. If you are outside that world, it’s hard to understand the prison-like conditions that pertain inside.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Hey, isn’t Klinghoffer outside that world? How would he know about such conditions? Probably he’s attuned to the wailing of the condemned. On with the article:

It’s a strange kind of prison, though. There is no commandant, no professional correctional officers who guard the prisoners by day and go home at night to a wife and children. The internees guard themselves, supervised by kapo-like figures, specially suited to the role by their own meanly brutish nature.

Perhaps we were wrong. Klinghoffer seems to have achieved Time Cube status. Indeed, he may have surpassed it! This is getting tedious, so we’ll confine ourselves to a few more excerpts:

In such an Alcatraz of the mind, what sort of person do you think is most likely to fall into the most serious difficulty — running heedlessly into the fence and getting electrocuted, torn up by the prison dogs, not merely intimidated by the kapos but beaten and humiliated by them? Is it the trustee, the “good” scientist and longtime resident who absorbed the rules of the place long ago, for whom those rules have been second nature from undergraduate and grad-school days on, who hardly thinks of himself as being imprisoned but, quite the contrary, enjoys the perks while staying so safely clear of the perimeter that he never even sees it?

Of course not. In all likelihood, the guy who gets fried by the fence is someone who is an innocent, an unwary soul without the instinct for self-protection and, probably, without the long training in academia that many other internees have had. He is in the science world but not entirely of it. Such a person is David Coppedge. I have not met or talked with him myself but those who have spent time with him tell me that an “innocent” is exactly what he is.

Yes, we all love the smell of napalm and fried innocents in the morning. Okay, here’s the last of it:

[Coppedge] 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. … As the Coppedge trial gets off the ground, he’ll have an opportunity to tell his story. It will be, or should be, an embarrassment to the kapos.

So that’s the view from Seattle. The JPL-Caltech position seems to be that Coppedge was a troublesome employee in many ways, and they finally let him go in a downsizing. But to the Discoveroids, the Coppedge case reveals that Big Science is an Alcatraz of the mind. Can one courtroom contain both of these mutually contradictory universes? We doubt it, but we’ll soon find out.

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

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30 responses to “Two Discoveroid Posts on Coppedge

  1. Charley Horse

    Reading this…http://ncse.com/webfm_send/1746…which is JPL’s Trial
    Brief, I’m convinced that Coppedge will self destruct on the witness stand. If the trial is ever held.

    The JPL defense appears to me to be airtight. But then, I thought the
    same about the OJ prosecutor’s case. If no jury was involved, it would
    be a slam dunk for JPL.

  2. This might be a semantic argument, but the JPL is a part of NASA. It’s under CalTech management, however.
    Frankly, Klinghoffer and crew do not want it to be a part of NASA. The rules for govvie employees (and I are one) are for more strict on religion in the workplace. You can pray personally all you want. But prosleytizing and trying to “save” your co-workers is strictly verboten.

  3. Radioastronomer

    Welcom back Curmy!!!!

    I used to work at JPL. Indeed JPL is a part of NASA but you are actually a Caltech employee thus you can attend Caltech classes. I spent many an hour at Caltech. 🙂

    (Fortunately I never ran into Coppedge)

  4. Radioastronomer says: “I used to work at JPL. Indeed JPL is a part of NASA but you are actually a Caltech employee”

    Ambiguous, isn’t it? I can understand that people at JPL feel they’re part of NASA. They work on NASA projects and their funding comes from NASA. But in the Coppedge case, the defense makes it pretty clear. In this answer they filed, they say:

    California Institute of Technology, which includes its division, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and which erroneously has been sued as a separate entity …

  5. Regarding the trial, opening arguments are set for tomorrow, with Coppedge to appear on the stand on Tuesday.

  6. “An Alcatraz of the Mind” has to be Klinghoffer’s strangest piece ever. It is truly a masterpiece of delusional thinking. He has created an alternative reality, where scientists are unaware that they are in an intellectual prison, managed by “kapos”, until one non-intellectual innocent trips the wire and all is revealed, ala “The Matrix”. It’s especially amazing since none of the players involved had anything to due with the study or teaching of evolution or even biology – they were involved in a planetary science mission – yet in Klinghoffer’s world they were in fact secret Darwin Guild kapos just waiting for someone to innocently step out of line and mention “ID”.

    It’s like an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” It needs to be read aloud in a Rod Serling voice.

  7. @Rubble: Will there be a jury?

  8. Ed, there will be no jury, according to William Becker as reported by The Patch.

    The Patch has been very good over the past few days, reporting the news in reasonably timely fashion. That may be our go-to source for news on this matter.

  9. Rubble says: “there will be no jury, according to William Becker”

    I’ve seen that, but it’s not at the courthouse site, and there is nothing I’d regard as reliable where that information can be found. I can’t imagine that Coppedge would voluntarily give up a jury trial, and there’s no hint of any court order to that effect.

  10. Klinghoffer is a paid shill. He’ll say, invent and play pretend anything to keep his pockets jangling. The true believers will suck it all up, suspending any rational thinking they may be capable of, the rational will reject it for the fairy tale it is and the inbetweeners will get sick of Klinghoffer’s cacophony and move on to watching American Idol.

  11. I think it’s cute the way Klinkerklanker manages to talk about Nazis in everything he writes. I was thinking, though, (always a bad sign) that Zombie Nazis from Alcatraz would make a great name for a Seattle grunge band. Much better than Westie and the Attack Gerbils.

    And so poor old nobody Coppedge whom Klingerklanger could have likened to Josef K. had he been more literate, Klunkerklopper, not Josef K, a fictional character, merely happened to by accident not really thinking mistakenly brought a knife to school, er, a DVD to work and got ridiculed, screamed at, humiliated, demoted, refused service at the cafeteria (oh, wait a sec, that was Dembski), locked out of his office (oh, wait a minute, that was Sternberg), failed to bring in grant money and didn’t publish anything in five years and didn’t get tenure (oops, that’s Gonzalez), had his teaching contract NOT RENEWED (oh, wait a mo, that was Crocker), received tenure and a full-time job (oh, wait, my bad, that was Behe), and fired for cause (shucks, that was Freshwater), OK, got caught in a 40% planned budget reduction layoff nearly two years later. Expelled, I say, expelled!

    What I fail to comprehend through all of this is that, according to Klapperflapper, old Coppers escaped from Alcatraz! Now that he is free of the Kapos and no longer has to eat Alpo with Kayro, why, oh, why does he want his old job restored unless, yes, just unless (!) he’s forming a new band, Bungee Back to Alcatraz! Now if only they can work in zombie Nazis they can make it work …

  12. aturingtest

    That whole second article is a good example of what can happen when you take an analogy waaaay beyond the point it’s meant to illuminate. It’s like- well, never mind. Time Cube territory for sure.
    By the way, SC, let me be the first to say: loved the “napalm and fried innocents in the morning” line!

  13. I like the alliteration of “Creationist Kook Coterie.”

  14. “Coppedge is a nobody”?

    Would a “nobody” work as a “team lead” on the Cassini mission exploring Saturn and its many moons?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/nasas-jpl-computer-specialist-alleges-discrimination-over-his-belief-in-intelligent-design/2012/03/11/gIQAr6gg5R_print.html

  15. I am another Ed, so I changed my handle to Ed2

  16. How about “Creationists’ Coven”?

  17. Creationist Cluster.

  18. David, that “team lead” was for a team of computer system analysts. It wasn’t like Coppedge was providing any, you know, actual rocket science or actual research science to the project.

  19. Excuse me, “computer system administrators.”

  20. Tomato Addict

    “Would a “nobody” work as a “team lead” on the Cassini mission exploring Saturn and its many moons?”

    Coppedge was not leading the Cassini mission or exploring Saturn’s exploring moons, he was a lead computer technician. That’s an important job too, but it’s a support position. It has little to do with leadership, and doesn’t make him a scientist. Perhaps PZ Myers is a bit harsh in calling him a nobody (hey, somebody must love him), but then PZ Myers is harsh on a lot of people. Most of them deserve it.

  21. From the AP story: “His main duties at JPL were to maintain computer networks and troubleshoot technical problems for the mission. In 2000, he was named “team lead,” serving as a liaison between technicians and managers for nearly a decade before being demoted in 2009.”

    Which reminds me…. Computer programmers utilize complex codes to create software. The genetic code, which is more sophisticated, controls the physical processes of life and is accompanied by elaborate transmission and duplication systems.

    How does evolution, using natural processes and chance, solve the problem of complex information sequencing without intelligence?

  22. If you aren’t impressed with Coppedge’s credentials, what about special design engineers such as the late Jules H. Poirier?

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/1997/11/05/creationist-scientist

    and

    Click to access tjv13n1_butterflies.pdf

    Can engineers design an optical lens and navigation electrical system that can do everything the monarch butterfly’s system can do, and design it to: weigh less than 0.5 grams, be smaller than a pea, and build it in 8 days by one person in total darkness???

    Several years ago Poirier challenged an audience of mostly engineers: “Do you know the name of a designer who can create such an optical electrical navigation system?”

    Poirier had no takers.

  23. Sorry, David. This blog isn’t for people who rely on creation science articles at AIG. This place isn’t for you.

  24. Tomato Addict

    “…and build it in 8 days by one person in total darkness???”

    I’m pretty sure there was light by that point, David. You might want to check your sources.

  25. Okay, I cannot let this one stand. David said:

    His main duties at JPL were to maintain computer networks and troubleshoot technical problems for the mission.

    and

    Which reminds me…. Computer programmers utilize complex codes to create software.

    You’re doing one of two things here. You’re either trying to say that he was a computer programmer, when in fact he was a network administrator. That is not a computer programmer. Not even close. The only similarity is the fact that both use computers. How do I know this? I’ve done network administration. But I cannot program, truly program, to save my life.
    Ooooooor… you’re simply using that line about the “network administrator” as an awkward lead-in to your “Hey, look what I cut-&-pasted from some creationist website?”
    And as for the “team lead” bit, I’ve been one of those, too. And guess what? I’m a nobody. Just like Coppedge. Stop making him out to be more than he is, which is nothing more than a bully. And that’s even less than nothing.

  26. aturingtest

    David says: “Computer programmers utilize complex codes to create software. The genetic code, which is more sophisticated, controls the physical processes of life and is accompanied by elaborate transmission and duplication systems. How does evolution, using natural processes and chance, solve the problem of complex information sequencing without intelligence?”
    “Complex,” “sophisticated,” “elaborate.” David, do you not see a problem here in using qualitative descriptions for quantitative entities? Where do you draw the lines that make these distinctions? Hint- the word “information” itself describes a perception.

  27. Curmudgeon: “This place isn’t for you.”

    But Talk.origins is. And we have lots of questions for you there.

  28. In the spirit of real equal time, I must get on the case of my fellow “Darwinists.” Whenever someone uses Discoveroid arguments-from-incredulity, then cites a YEC source, the first response ought to be to ask whether they agree with Michael Behe on the ~4 billion years of common descent, and if not whether they challenged him directly. That works even better than banning them.

  29. Frank J says: “In the spirit of real equal time …”

    I don’t have time for equal time.

  30. @Frank J: Perhaps not equal time, but most of us might benefit from an occasional review at Talk Origins. I will make the effort.