David Coppedge Trial: Week Six Begins

The fifth trial week came and went rather uneventfully in 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.

The activity log maintained by the court clerk’s office shows that last week there were partial trial days on Monday and Tuesday, a full day of trial on Wednesday, and then another partial day on Thursday. No activity is shown for Friday. Today, as week six begins, we were somewhat surprised to see an actual news story awaiting us.

You can read it in the Washington Post here: Trial winds down for NASA specialist who claims firing over intelligent design beliefs, and the same story is starting to show up in other papers. Unfortunately it’s an Associated Press story, and they don’t permit any copying. We’ll have to summarize the news in our own words.

First, you will note from the headline that AP hasn’t yet been able to get the basic facts right — they still think Coppedge worked for NASA. It hasn’t dawned on them that NASA isn’t a party to the litigation at all. They also mention that Coppedge “worked on NASA’s Cassini mission exploring Saturn and its many moons.” AP doesn’t understand that Coppedge wasn’t exploring anything; he was a computer technician who could have been working for chain of shoe stores.

AP also reports that Coppedge was one of “two Cassini technicians” who were among the 246 employees JPL let go. They botched that too. Our understanding is that all the 246 layoffs were Cassini people, because that project was being downsized. But AP somehow got the number “two” right — Coppedge was one of two computer technicians that were let go from the Cassini project.

Anyway, the big news — the only news, really — is that closing arguments are supposed to begin today. Maybe AP got that right.

But let’s not judge too harshly. Considering what a disappointment the trial has been after the build-up it received from Coppedge’s supporters, we think AP assigned an appropriately-talented reporter to the case.

If any other news appears, we’ll let you know; but this wretched story from Associated Press may be all that we get today.

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

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15 responses to “David Coppedge Trial: Week Six Begins

  1. docbill1351

    The same article is in the HuffPo, too.

    One comment. (Not mine, ha!) Negative.

  2. the idea that life is too complex to have evolved through evolution alone.

    Huh? It evolved but it could not have evolved?

    Add another to the list of confusing, misleading, and erroneous statements in this report.

  3. Ooops… AP article. You may want to remove my quote from the article, SC. Sorry about that.

  4. docbill1351

    Klapperflapper reports over at the Evil Empire that Coppers was surrounded by people who “don’t understand ID.”

    Holy Shamoly, Klinkerklunker, you morons have been flapping your gums about how misunderstood ID is for TWENTY YEARS!! I thought it was Attack Gerbil’s Jay-Oh-Bee to correct such misrepresentations. What has the little boy been doing all this time? Obviously, not much.

    It seems the only person on the planet who figured out ID was Judge Jones and that didn’t work out too well, either.

    Poor ID! Nobody can explain it and nobody can understand it. Whaaaaa, whaaaaaa!

  5. @docbill1351

    …people who “don’t understand ID.”

    I’ve seen that new slogan and war cry used elsewhere to dismiss ID critics. People just don’t understand ID. Apparently one has to be a biochemist or microbiologist to understand it, or something.

    However, a YEC like Coppedge has no problem understanding ID. Because ID is compatible with YEC, or something.

  6. Gabriel Hanna

    See, this is why I get all my news from crazy people on the Internet.

    It’s not just THIS article that is full of inaccurate, misleading, or false information. The same is true of many articles which I have knowledge of my own I can use to evaluate it.

    The Internet makes it possible to double-check. I have a hard time believing that this sort of thing wasn’t always going on.

  7. Gabriel Hanna says: “See, this is why I get all my news from crazy people on the Internet.”

    We are pleased to be of service.

  8. Pete Moulton

    AP hasn’t been a responsible news outlet for years, so it comes as no surprise that they screwed this story up too. OTOH, I understand your grasping at such a frail reed as AP and sympathize, Curmy. When the only alternative is ENV, you don’t have many options.

  9. The 200+ layoffs were from across the lab, not just Cassini. Just for the record.

  10. Graybeard says: “The 200+ layoffs were from across the lab, not just Cassini. Just for the record.”

    I’m reading JPL’s trial brief. At around page 21 (as displayed by my browser), JPL says that the Cassini project had a 40% to 50% funding reduction, and approximately one out of three employees working on Cassini were laid off, including Coppedge and one other SA.

  11. I assume the start of final arguments indicates the court declined the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial.

  12. Yes, Cassini had a 40-50% reduction and that reduction was added to the overall JPL budget hits which totalled 200+ layoffs across the lab.

  13. I was a little surprised to see an AP story, whether good or bad. The trial is not really national “news”. It’s a wrongful termination case, probably one among hundreds around the country. Not very interesting to most people, despite the DI’s propaganda efforts.

  14. docbill1351

    Interesting that the WashPo article has 2 comments and the HuffPo article has 122 and counting.

    However, almost all against Coppedge, like 120 to 4. If commenters are representative of “peers” old Coppers would have faced an unsympathetic jury. Just the notion of handing out DVD’s put a lot of people off.

    Also, it appears that the commenters totally GET “intelligent design” creationism and call it just that.

    I guess that means that Luskin an Co. have actually been doing a good job of explaining what ID is since almost everybody realizes it’s creationism. Nice job Disco Tute! Keep up the good work!

  15. Dave de Vries

    Here’s the link to another story, by Brian Charles http://www.dailybulletin.com/ci_20408333/coppedge-v-jpl-inches-toward-close