The Coppedge Case — Alternate History, Part 2

A few days ago we wrote The Coppedge Case — An Alternate History, in which we discussed an attempt by the Discovery Institute to rewrite history. As you know, David Coppedge is the creationist who claimed 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.

Notwithstanding the evidence at the trial and the clear and rational decision of the court, the Discoveroids claim that their man had done no wrong, his employer was evil, and the witnesses against him wildly exaggerated everything. It’s the same revisionist attempt they’ve tried with the Kitzmiller case — they were right,and everyone else was either wrong or evil. Nevertheless, their courtroom record of losses is unbroken.

Not content with just one post to rehabilitate Coppedge, it seems that there’s going to be a series of them. The latest at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog is NASA on Trial: Persecution of David Coppedge Was a Preview of Creeping Totalitarianism, written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Whether the context is media or academia, a creeping totalitarianism is hard to miss in our public life. Its signature move is to suppress controversial or disfavored views with appeals to what sound like reasonable legal or journalistic standards.

Totalitarianism. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Then he says:

The story of David Coppedge and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a case in point. It was back in 2009 that the mild-mannered team lead computer administrator on the Cassini Mission to Saturn was demoted, shamed, and later fired.

Just a sweet, wonderful guy, a prime mover in NASA’s Cassini Mission to Saturn, and look what they did to him. How cruel! After that he tells us:

His workplace offense? Lending out documentaries on DVD favorable to intelligent design.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The evidence at trial revealed a bit more than that. Klinghoffer links to the second podcast from Coppedge, in which the creationist martyr tells his version of the controversy. Then Klinghoffer says:

Phony allegations of “harassment” and of pushing his “religion” were lodged against him. But as we documented at the time [in the Discoveroids’ blog, not the courtroom], the sole problem with Coppedge and his behavior was that he was innocent enough to think he could share relevant science on intelligent design with co-workers without getting punished for it.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Creationist DVDs were “relevant science.” Klinghoffer continues:

This guileless individual sought to defend himself before his supervisors, but was met at every step by wily administrative subterfuge.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And now we come to the end:

After seeking legal help, he finally did get his day in court. That will be the subject of an upcoming podcast.

[*Groan*] Hey, Klinghoffer — Coppedge had his day in court. The case is over.

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

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13 responses to “The Coppedge Case — Alternate History, Part 2

  1. Klinghoffer is right about something:
    Whether the context is media or academia, a creeping totalitarianism is hard to miss in our public life.
    Comrade Trump’s empire is taking shape. Scientists at the EPA have already been targeted, and more will likely happen as the Trumpets purge the data as well as the people and the where-with-all to collect the data. A dark cloud is descending on America and the Discoveroids want a front row seat at Comrade Trump’s table where I’m sure their ID chatter will receive a friendly ear.

  2. michaelfugate

    Klinghoffer as usual in post-truth mode.

  3. Coppedge was not demoted. This is a blatant lie the Tooters have been trumpeting for years. Coppedge attended staff meetings as the “tech rep,” and at some point they rotated the “tech rep” to another person. Coppedge’s grade and pay were unaffected. If anything he had less admin work to do being off rotation.

    Second, he didn’t get in trouble with HR for foisting his DVD’s, he got in trouble by haranguing an admin about California’s “same sex marriage” proposition and changing the name of the annual party from “Christmas” to “Holiday.”

    Third, Coppedge was told the network system he administered was being phased out but refused to take training on the new platform. A colleague of Coppedge did take the training and was kept during the reduction in force, which I think was 45% as Cassini operations wound down.

    Finally, the Tooters tried to fly this turkey as “religious discrimination.” What, you say? But ID is not religious (wink wink) how could they do that? Well, on planet Wingnuttia if you think something is religious, even if it’s not (wink wink) then fire someone on the basis of your faulty thinking, you are still guilty, Guilty I say!, of religious discrimination.

    Spoiler alert for Part 3 – The Judge Strikes Back: turkey shot down. Ruled in favor of JPL on all counts. Slapped Coppers with $50,000 in court costs which JPL eventually waived.

  4. You don’t understand, docbill1351. It can never be wrong to offer instructions in creationism — because it’s The Truth™.

  5. But if Evolutionism is a religion, then firing someone for not believing in that religion is religious discrimination.

  6. Docbill, great synopsis. I was under the impression the annual Christmas party had always been called “Holiday party”, and Coppedge tried to change it. (Obviously Saturnalia party would have been the obvious choice!)

  7. The case was a total failure. Coppedge lost money. He gave $50,000 out of his retirement to Becker, his lawyer, who apparently got nothing else. Coppedge got some “grants” from the ADF, so the ADF lost money. JPL was out money because they nullified the $50k that Coppedge owed them. Coppedge got nothing. Everybody lost.

    Except the Tooters.

    The Tooters didn’t cough a farthing. Nope not a plug nickel or a red dime. Nothing. Nada. Just like at Dover, the Tooters instigated the entire thing, then backed off, provided no support, no money, no nothing but just watched it unfold. Lest anybody be uncertain, the denizens of the Discovery Institute are horrible, horrible, selfish people. They used poor old Coppedge, then threw him away. Really quite awful behaviour, but what we’ve come to expect from the Tooters.

  8. Casey Luskin likely rejected the case because it would have ended up pro bono.

  9. Casey Luskin likely rejected the case because it would have ended up pro bono.

    Or, more likely, Sonny Bono.

  10. docbill this is so true. If Coppedge got sound legal advice he likely would have been discouraged from pursuing the case. As you point out the Discovery Institute wins no matter what. If Coppedge wins or loses they get fodder for their case either as oppressed victim or vindicated victor.

    I’m not sure what the clincher was for the judge. For me when Coppedge acknowledged that he didn’t get the skills requested by his employer along with acknowledging the fact that his employer would likely pay for classes pretty much sinks his case.

    I guess the question is why didn’t those selfless saintly law firms that generously paid for Ken Ham to sue Kentucky so the Ark Encounter could suck from the government teat give financial and logistical support to Coppedge?

  11. Or it could be the judge was not too impressed by the brief submitted by Coppedge’s lawyer, William Becker, a screen play complete with stage directions. Here’s a snippet and, believe me, it’s even worse:

    Weisenfelder carried a grudge ever since Coppedge had the temerity to ask on the eve of the election about her position on Proposition 8. She wore that grudge on her back for three months, when on February 28, 2009, Coppedge loaned her a copy of the intelligent design documentary “Unlocking the Mystery of Life.” Here is how the screenplay of this suspense thriller with all of its harrowing action would read:1

    INT. WORK AREA – LATE AFTERNOON

    COPPEDGE quietly approaches WEISENFELDER.

    COPPEDGE
    Hi, Margaret. Tomorrow’s the election and I was wondering if you have decided on Propostion 8 yet. I will be voting for it.

    WEISENFELDER
    (annoyed)
    I disagree with your position on it and don’t care to discuss it.

    COPPEDGE
    Is there anything I can say to change your mind?

    WEISENFELDER
    No.

    Read more at the Panda’s Thumb

  12. The Discoveroids have characterized Coppedge as “mild mannered”. If he’s getting under people’s skin like this I wonder how “mild mannered” he can be?

  13. If he’s getting under people’s skin like this I wonder how “mild mannered” he can be?

    Think “Klinkleklankle.”

    How long do you think you could be around him before you were ready to knock him into next week?