No, our title doesn’t mean this post is an April Fool’s joke. But it’s a delightful coincidence that today is the first time in more than a week that we’ve found a news article about the suit filed by 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. As you recall, 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.
Our last post on this subject was David Coppedge Trial: 23 Mar ’12. That was at the end of the trial’s second week, and we announced that because of the absence of news coverage we were abandoning our efforts to post daily about what we had thought would be an interesting courtroom contest. Since then there hasn’t been a thing in the news — literally nothing. Until today.
In the Whittier Daily News of Whittier, California we read JPL, former employee fight over religion in science. Alas, that paper is owned by Media News Group, and their owners like to sue bloggers who excerpt their content without permission, using an outfit called Righthaven LLC. They’ve run into problems with their litigation lately, but we still avoid newspapers we know are associated with them. Therefore, all we can do is give you the general idea of their story, and we can also repeat a few of their direct quotes from others. To learn more you’ll have to click over there to read the story for yourself.
The newspaper quotes a couple of people from the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), who say the intelligent things we’d expect of a pro-science organization, and then they quote John West (whom we affectionately call “Westie”). He’s one 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).
Westie is not only a Discoveroid “senior fellow,” he’s also Associate Director of the Discoveroids’ creationist “think tank,” which consumes almost half of the Discovery Institute’s’ $4 million budget (see Their 2007 Tax Return). That makes him one of the chief Keepers of their wedge strategy.
The newspaper quotes two sentences spoken by Westie, and we think it’s safe to copy those:
“What happened to David Coppedge, that’s not a free society.”
And he also said this:
“Science is supposed to be open to discussion.”
Apparently responding to that, the newspaper quotes NCSE’s Robert Luhn as saying:
“We are not teaching alchemy side-by-side with chemistry.”
Then the newspaper quotes Westie again:
“The fact that the other side won’t engage in debate and will engage in ad hominem shows you that how weak the other side’s argument must be.”
That’s amusing stuff, and it’s especially appropriate for today, but upon reflection we realize that the article is utterly void of news about what’s been happening in the courtroom. We don’t know a thing about the third week’s activities — it’s as if that week never happened.
So there you are. Now you’re as up-to-date as we can make you. And please, dear reader, we have a request. In your comments, don’t copy anything from that newspaper.
Addendum: We found an actual news article! In the La Cañada Valley Sun we read Fired JPL worker’s skills questioned. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
A Jet Propulsion Laboratory manager offered testimony this week that appeared to undermine the claim of former JPL worker David Coppedge that Coppedge was let go from the rocket science lab because of his belief in the intelligent design of the universe.
On Thursday, JPL manager Greg Chin laid out the specific complaints that he addressed with Coppedge prior to Coppedge’s dismissal in 2011.
Aha! So that’s why the Discoveroids have been so quiet lately. Here’s more:
Chin said Nick Patel, who replaced Coppedge as the informal “team lead” for the information systems support office on NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn, had reported, “There were several sloppy mistakes other [administrators] had to fix.”
Chin also said a client complained that Coppedge failed to keep accurate records of off-site backup data, which could have caused a delay in retrieving information and did require extra cleanup work.
Hmmmm. Somehow, we don’t think this is helpful to Coppedge’s case. Let’s go on:
William Becker, the attorney representing Coppedge, began his cross-examination of Chin by asserting that the March 2009 meeting had as much to do with beliefs about the origins of the universe as it did with work-related tasks.
“You two had a disagreement as to what was a personal belief and what was a scientific fact,” Becker said. “And you didn’t want to hear his views about [intelligent design] in that meeting.” Chin said that was true, but the meeting was about workplace conduct.
One last excerpt:
Chin is scheduled to take the stand again Monday.
There’s more in the article, so click over there to read it all.
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.