Coppedge Trial & Klinghoffer’s Alternate Reality

Life has its little surprises. When we wrote David Coppedge Trial: An Accurate News Story a couple of days ago, we predicted:

The Discoveroids won’t like it. In fact, they’ll probably post a bitter blog article about it. That’s okay, we understand. There’s a worldview war going on.

We’re speaking, of course, about the trial which recently ended 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.

After the Times article, things didn’t work out quite the way we predicted they would. The Discoveroids did post about it, of course. The job was assigned to 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.

Klinghoffer is a genuine curiosity. Neither a lawyer nor a fallen scientist, he plays the role of house mystic — a convenient guise for a retained essayist whose principal job is to enthusiastically function as an unrestrained journalistic slasher whenever his creationist masters assign him to the task. His talent is very useful to 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).

For some reason, we’re reminded of what Colonel Klebb said on SPECTRE Island after reviewing the file on “Nash,” James Bond’s opponent in From Russia With Love:

… convicted murderer. Escaped Dartmoor Prison …. Recruited in Tangier … Homicidal paranoiac … Superb material!

Well, Klinghoffer is certainly no Nash, but he’s just the right instrument for the Discoveroids. How did he deal with Ashley Powers’ story in the Los Angeles Times? He very much surprised us by appearing to be moderate in tone. Apparently he was instructed something like this:

Don’t lash out, David. We’d prefer not to antagonize the Times. Give your post a complementary title, see if you can find something to quote with approval, and then ignore everything else. Just sling the usual spin on the case and no one will notice how much we hated the Times article. Our readers may even think you’re describing what was in it.

That’s very cunning. Despite what was undoubtedly the Discoveroids’ initial reaction, they don’t want to alienate the Times, as every now and then they manage to slip some of their propaganda into that organ. Let’s take a look at Klinghoffer’s handiwork, which is ironically titled The Los Angeles Times Grasps the Heart of the David Coppedge Case.

Clever title, isn’t it? Klinghoffer even mentions, with favor, something we didn’t bother with in our own post — Ashley quoted something he had written. Klinghoffer repeats it and praises himself. Then he ignores the thrust of Ashley’s article and writes about the trial from the Discoveroids’ uniquely bizarre perspective. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Even if the verdict doesn’t go his [Coppedge’s] way, the story is now so thoroughly documented — in pre-trial depositions and trial testimony — that nobody can credibly deny it reveals a culture of bias and ignorance directed at intelligent design. As at JPL so too at countless other institutions.

A culture of bias and ignorance. Right! Except the Times article wasn’t sympathetic to that interpretation. All Ashley did was quote Coppedge’s lawyer who said: “There is a worldview war in this country.” Let’s read on:

If Coppedge loses, Darwin advocates will say it disproves everything we’ve written about the case. They will say it demonstrates that the “consensus” against ID in academia really does reflect a careful, unbiased consideration of the scientific evidence and not, as we’ve said, the blind, institutionalized ignorance of Big Science that infects much of academia. But if it comes to that, Darwin defenders will be wrong.

Ah yes. Regardless of the trial’s outcome, the Discoveroids can’t be wrong. Klinghoffer continues:

JPL’s skilled legal defense team has cast the story behind the case in strictly personal terms. In their presentation, Coppedge alienated colleagues with his personality, totally independent of his views on intelligent design. As the LA Times puts it: [quote from the Times article].

Cleverly done! Klinghoffer quotes the Times, but he doesn’t say they’re wrong. He blames it on the JPL defense team. It’s good for us to remember that on occasion, the Discoveroids can be very subtle. Here’s more:

The article refers several different ways to Coppedge’s supposedly problematic “demeanor.” He received a written warning for “unwelcome and unprofessional” conduct. In the trial, he was portrayed as “judgmental,” “harassing,” lacking “interpersonal skills.” Actually, none of these terms quite fits the portrait of Coppedge that JPL has tried to paint.

Again, David is careful to criticize the JPL defense, not the Times. Moving along:

In the week I spent at the trial, observing and interacting with David Coppedge, I saw nothing to suggest that he’s a person deficient in this way. He seemed mild and unobtrusive, a sweet man, not at all the type to give offense.

David thinks Coppedge is “a sweet man.” Isn’t that just precious? We won’t bother with any more of David’s article, except to give you his final paragraph — the climax, so to speak:

[Coppedge’s supervisor] Greg Chin’s calling intelligent design Coppedge’s “religion” is itself a key piece of evidence that JPL management, far from having considered the scientific question, reject and despise ID without even knowing what it means.

Well done, Klinghoffer! But as we’ve remarked before about ID: What is there to know?

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

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6 responses to “Coppedge Trial & Klinghoffer’s Alternate Reality

  1. If Coppedge loses, Darwin advocates will say it disproves everything we’ve written about the case.

    That’s true – rational observers will say that the trial wasn’t about the pseudoscientific religious belief of Intelligent Design at all, contrary to the propaganda written by the DI.

    Interesting that Klinghoffer is already lowering expectations. They clearly sense defeat.

  2. Ed says:

    rational observers will say that the trial wasn’t about the pseudoscientific religious belief of Intelligent Design at all, contrary to the propaganda written by the DI.

    But Coppedge’s case is documented! As Klinghoffer says, it’s “thoroughly documented — in pre-trial depositions and trial testimony.” And he’s right! It’s in Coppedge’s pleadings, Coppedge’s depositions, and in Coppedge’s trial testimony. It’s documented!

  3. If it’s written, it must be true! After all, would Coppedge lie?

  4. Spector567

    ” Greg Chin’s calling intelligent design Coppedge’s “religion” is itself a key piece of evidence that JPL management, far from having considered the scientific question, reject and despise ID without even knowing what it means.”

    I love this line. It exposes so much Hypocracy. They are sueing based on religous freedoms yet it’s wrong for JPL to lable ID as religion.

    I was also shocked to see that Kling actually linked the LA times article. Most of the time in creatinist that I’ve seen the leave out the actually article.

  5. I like how he starts his article with his own quote that was used in the Times article, and tries to makes it seem like he’s quoting Ashley. And then pats himself on the back with “Hey, well said!”. That is awesome. I’m going to try that at work.

  6. There’s a new legal document for the case over the NCSE archive. It’s Coppedge’s post-trial brief, asserting that he’s entitled to relief of course.