The Coppedge Case — An Alternate History

Four years ago we wrote numerous posts about the David Coppedge case. He’s the creationist who claims he was wrongfully demoted and later fired by his employer because he was promoting Intelligent Design (ID) on the job. Coppedge used to work as a computer technician for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is part of Caltech. If you want to re-live the whole mess, our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) maintain an archive of pleadings in the case: NCSE’s Coppedge archive.

Our recollection at this point is dim, but as we remember it, Coppedge was often thrusting his DVDs onto unwilling colleagues who never watched them, but who complained about Coppedge’s behavior. Coppedge claimed was just trying to be helpful to JPL by offering his creationist material, and his being an advocate of creationism or intelligent design was work-related. Caltech said that was nonsense because none of that was Coppedge’s job — he was a computer technician. He was vigorously supported by the Discovery Institute. The crushing defeat of his suit against his employer was discussed here: David Coppedge Trial: Final Order Issued, and he didn’t appeal.

Now the Discoveroids have decided to re-write history. Klinghoffer just posted this at their creationist blog: NASA on Trial: David Coppedge Fell Victim to Anti-ID Zeal at America’s Space Agency.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The fun begins with Klinghoffer’s title. NASA wasn’t involved in the case. Coppedge sued Caltech, where he had been working. Okay, here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

For sharing thoughts on intelligent design in a scientific or academic setting, you don’t need a PhD after your name to fall victim to persecutory zeal.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Persecutory zeal! Let’s read on:

Coppedge worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab as a Team Leader computer administrator on the Cassini mission to Saturn. He had taken a shine to Illustra Media’s series of documentaries laying out the evidence for ID in biology and cosmology. Mr. Coppedge would loan these out to interested coworkers … . The themes of these videos tied in with areas of research interest at NASA. What could possibly go wrong?

Poor ol’ Coppedge. He was just trying to help NASA get to Saturn. Klinghoffer then says:

In a series of audio presentations, “NASA on Trial: The Persecution of David Coppedge,” Coppedge tells his own story for the first time.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] How exciting — you can hear the great visionary in his own words! The first thrilling episode is available at Klinghoffer’s post. After that he gives us the Discoveroid version of the trial:

Coppedge made the mistake of misjudging one coworker’s attitude. Soon she was complaining about him to their supervisor, and before you knew it, the HR department was conducting a full-scale witch-hunt. A mild-mannered individual for whom advancing NASA’s mission was a long-held dream come to true, David Coppedge was the witch.

The alternate history lesson continues:

In his chilling account, a simple unfriendly attitude to design evidence shades over into workplace hysteria, false accusations of “harassment,” and a bullying drive not merely to silence but to punish and finally banish a heretic. It’s an object lesson in why ID sympathizers, whether scientists or laymen, prudently keep their heads down and their views to themselves. Thus the scientific “consensus” against ID is maintained.

And now we come to the end:

Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture has observed scenarios like this play time out many times. It’s one of our own missions to advocate for freedom of expression for people like David Coppedge.

A noble mission, nobly expressed. All we can say is BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “The Coppedge Case — An Alternate History

  1. Coppedge tells his own story for the first time.

    Whose story was he telling during the trial, and depositions, and blog posts, etc. etc. etc. ?

    It’s hard to imagine anything new that he can add. I suspect he was put up to this by the DI, who care nothing about him but need a good persecution story they can spin.

  2. Maybe with the election of fact/evidence deficit of Donald Trump, they’re going to try now to bring their martyr case/s back to the foreground as Trumpets all deny science and would fit in well with the DI/ID crowd. Speaking of witch hunts, recently the Trump team tasked the EPA to divulge names, dates, conferences, associates, etc., anyone who worked on climate change for the Obama administration, presumably not to give them raises or pats on the back or any funding for current or future like projects. The Trumpets are also expected to purge data bases and web sites of any data related to such studies ala “1984,” or was it the Stalin purges. The posts at HuffingtonPost cover the story well.

    I thought this was humorous, yet perhaps there’s some reality to it, given republican idiocy these days. Likewise it may fit in with the DI’s thinking, and Coppedge might latch on to it and defend it:
    Republicans Anxious To Repeal and Replace Law of Gravity
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marty-rudoy/republicans-anxious-to-re_b_13560536.html

  3. Sorry, forgot. The EPA dissed the request.

  4. Kling writes: “It’s an object lesson in why ID sympathizers, whether scientists or laymen, prudently keep their heads down and their views to themselves.”

    “ID sympathizers”? Coppedge is a flaming young-earther. I’d rank him him just north of Ham but only south of Andy Schlafly as bat-feces insane on the creationism scale. On his blog he decries dark matter and energy because it explains such things as galaxy formation instead of allowing the Jesus-finger to move stars. It’s only slightly less insane than Schlafly’s denial of Einstein’s relativity because it is semantically related to moral relativity–which is unChristian.

    Oh but ID is scientific and not creationism. *Eye roll*

  5. Ed – “Whose story was he telling during the trial, and depositions, and blog posts, etc. etc. etc. ?”

    That was the “under oath with someone around to ask hard questions and possible consequences for lying” version. Not to be confused with the “spiritual truth” of the ID narrative.

  6. The actual Coppedge story is lazy computer technician failed to keep up with changes to computer technology, resulting in contract not being renewed as he doesn’t know how to run the up-to-date equipment.

    Too bad so sad! NEXT!!!!

  7. Something you’re not going to hear from Coppedge is that there were four positions and two were being cut. Is he saying that being annoying and getting into people’s faces about his nonsensical DVDs should insulate him from competing for the two open spaces?
    And SC, it wasn’t a mistake to say NASA rather than Cal Tech. Working for NASA is synonymous with being smart. It is a subtle way to impress the rubes.

  8. Re Trump: Actually, as far as I’m aware, the Orange One has taken no position on evolution, apparently hoping thereby to hold onto both the fundamentalist wackjobs who are too large a percentage of the GOP these days and rational conservatives, quite a high-wire act.