Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A fired Christian Conservative.........what do you think?

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A computer specialist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is going to court over allegations that he was wrongfully terminated because of his belief in intelligent design.
Opening statements in the lawsuit by David Coppedge were expected to start Tuesday morning in Los Angeles Superior Court after lawyers spent Monday arguing several pretrial motions.
Coppedge, who worked as a team lead on the Cassini mission exploring Saturn and its many moons, claims he was discriminated against because he engaged his co-workers in conversations about intelligent design and handed out DVDs on the idea while at work.
Intelligent design is the belief that a higher power must have had a hand in creation because life is too complex to have developed through evolution alone.
Coppedge lost his team lead title in 2009 and was let go last year after 15 years on the mission.
In an emailed statement, JPL dismissed Coppedge's claims. In court papers, lawyers for the California Institute of Technology, which manages JPL for NASA, said Coppedge received a written warning because his co-workers complained of harassment.
They also said Coppedge lost his team lead status because of ongoing conflicts with others.
Caltech lawyers contend Coppedge was one of two Cassini technicians and among 246 JPL employees let go last year due to planned budget cuts.
The case has generated interest among supporters of intelligent design. The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian civil rights group, and the Discovery Institute, a proponent of intelligent design, are both supporting Coppedge's case.
The National Center for Science Education, which rejects intelligent design as thinly veiled creationism, is also watching the case and has posted all the legal filings on its website.
Coppedge's attorney, William Becker, contends his client was singled out by his bosses because they perceived his belief in intelligent design to be religious. Coppedge had a reputation around JPL as an evangelical Christian, and interactions with co-workers led some to label him as a Christian conservative, Becker said.
In the lawsuit, Coppedge says he believes other things also led to his demotion, including his support for a state ballot measure that sought to define marriage as limited to heterosexual couples and his request to rename the annual holiday party a Christmas party.
Coppedge is seeking attorney's fees and costs, damages for wrongful termination and a statement from the judge that his rights were violated, said Becker."  (end of article)

We'll probably never hear the end of this lawsuit and I suppose this man's staff can say all they want against him.  Gee, fancy wanting a holiday party at Christmas time to be called a Christmas Party.  My Jewish friends loved the Christmas Party and find it hilarious that the name's changed...yours, too, I'll bet.

I suppose a DVD on Intelligent Design could be a threat to secularists.......I'd have hoped they'd just trash it if they didn't want to watch it, and even watch it to see what's up.    If he hammered them, he should be gone, but do you think he did?  He'd been there 15 years!  Today, it seems it's poison to admit you're:

A. Christian
B. Open Minded
C. Conservative
D. Believe in open discussion

Think he'll win?



sue hanes said...

Z - I suppose he could - ultimatel y - win - the Lawsuit.

I Really see Much Ado About Nothing - here.

Certainly even a Scientist can see that things have become too complex for Evolution to have brought us where we are today.

and anyway - I don't see Evolution stepping up to get us out of this Mess - of our own Making.

Right Wing Theocrat said...

If he was harassing people, then yes he doesn't have much of a case.

But like you, i suspect that may not be the case, from past experience with hostility to Christians, it's not out of the ordinary for Christians to be pushed or targeted.

Silverfiddle said...

Militatn, angry atheists are the intolerant ones, not Christians

Pris said...

What he's experiencing is bigotry. It seems that's ok these days, just the same as other forms of bigotry were acceptable in the past.

You'd think that scientists would be interested in all forms of theory. It's all a learning process, but they as anyone else, can be close-minded. They establish a consensus and don't like their "boat rocked".

FairWitness said...

Good morning Z, no I don't think he has a prayer of winning in California courts. This case will be appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court before justice is done.

Why is it considered "harassment" to advocate for one's views and beliefs, especially given he had analyzed scientific data and concluded that evolution couldn't account for life's complexities? I thought science and scientists were constantly pushing the boundaries and researching, uncovering the truth. Isn't that what science is supposed to be?

I suspect this man had compelling evidence and arguments that challenged the prevailing views of secularism. He is being unfairly discriminated against and should ultimately prevail, but it's going to be a long haul.

Ducky's here said...

The possibility that he was harassing is very real.

You push intelligent design at the local Republican Party headquarters not Jet Propulsion Lab.

Bunkerville said...

Looks like in Great Britain one will soon no longer be able to wear a cross. But the Muslom dress? Fine and dandy. Coming soon, you betchs

Anonymous said...

It's tough working at the university if you're not "one of them" towing the liberal line.

You'd have to read the university's bylaws to know who might have violated what.

Lisa said...

I agree with FW about California courts.
I guess the fact that he works with a bunch of scientists doesn't help his cause and yes I do believe work is not the place for spreading your beliefs around.....but I don't see that being a good reason for firing someone unless and I agree with RWT that he was harassing people,although there are procedures where you should first get a warning. I bet though he would be accommodated if he were a Muslim with a requirement of a separate prayer room and an arrow pointing to Mecca. See if Obama can take 3 sides to every issue so can I.
Now this is more of a legitimate case for liberals

Z said...

Bunkerville...I'll be gone most of today; did you post on GB not allowing CROSSES? I haven't heard about that...I'd like to know.

I think this has nothing to do with California, folks. Think of TX wanting to ban "GOD" in military cemeteries and TN wanting GOD off the courthouse front... I think this, sadly, goes way beyond what you all think of California.

I believe that this is probably a little of both sides...for a guy to work their FIFTEEN YEARS and suddenly get hit with this is odd. If he was a normal Christian discussing his feelings with a pal over coffee breaks, giving someone a DVD on something that felt important to him, etc., for all those years, why fire him now?
Something's up.

Silverfiddle's right...militant secularists are the intolerant ones.

Pris, I'd have thought so, too. There are so many articles written by scientists today who say they hit a wall and then think "There had to be something else behind this...cuz there's nowhere more for me to go"

Shouldn't scare people...I think that's what it does. And they write it off as being overly religious. I guess that's a safer opinion but it's a really silly one. Sad. Poor God.

Ducky's here said...

Why is it that fundamentalists are quick to denounce all climate science when it states an opposition opinion calling it "false science".

Yet when the creation science and young earth "scientists" are debunked it's discrimination.

Attempts to "prove" Genesis as literally true simply marginalize whatever you have of value.

cube said...

I don't understand why some people are so weirded out by someone else's belief in God. Live and let live, people.

Ticker said...

If he was doing this during lunch or break time then he may have a case. If he was doing this during work time and was warned and continued to pass out his material then he is lost before he starts.
Creating a discussion with another employee is not wrong. If the employee asks you to cease and you continue then it can be considered harassment and he has no case.

There is a fine line in what one can do and can't do on a work site. Companies have rules and regulations and if you receive your pay check from them then you must abide by those rules or find another place to work.

Ticker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elmers Brother said...

Anyone ever get fired for proselytizing climate change duhkkky? Damn you're stupid.

Sam Huntington said...

If the effect of this person wanting to “discuss” intelligent design was that his co-workers were made to feel uncomfortable, and if there was a policy against doing such things, and if the individual was counseled to stop this particular behavior and failed to comply, then under those circumstances, he should have been fired.

On the other hand, if this person had demanded a foot wash facility, a prayer rug storage locker, demanded the covering of all female employees, and/or the mutilation of their genitalia, or if this person had frequent sex with a 9-year old child, then under those circumstances society should permit him to construct a mosque in ducky’s back yard.

Elmers Brother said...

They've fired teachers over this issue.

Elmers Brother said...


Elmers Brother said...


Elmers Brother said...

BTW duhkkky you put unquestioning faith in science but I'm curious...were you there to conduct the experiments yourself? What empirical data have you collected yourself?

What is science's batting average? How efficient is it? Why do so many scientists themselves have issues with the system...like peer review etc?

The problem is neither evolution nor creation science answers all the questions for e.g. evolution can't tell you which came first the chicken or the egg...(it doesn't try) nor can it tell you what to do with your life or what is beautiful. Objective truth means nothing unless you subjectively will it so and placing a higher value on so called objective truth by definition no longer makes it objective.

Ducky's here said...

That's true Elmo. Science hasn't all the answers (although a lot of that changes when the find the Higgs).

Here's the scoop, though. Genesis answers none. In fact the exodus from Egypt has no evidence in the historical record.

I don't put all my faith in science. Mysticism is important and I value Renaissance art (or what you call idolatry).

Young earthers and the intelligent design supporters do remind me of Randoids whining that quantum mechanics are a plot to overthrow Aristotle.

But I'm Catholic and the Church is friendly to reason and science by and large.

Lisa said...

Sam I couldn't stop laughing after your comment.

Lisa said...

the exodus from Egypt has no evidence in the historical record.

figures Ducky would use that as an example.
And there is no evidence that Palestinians ever lived in Israel either.

Elmers Brother said...

Here's the scoop, though. Genesis answers none. In fact the exodus from Egypt has no evidence in the historical record.

Check again duhkkky.

I'll mention here just one piece of archeological evidence, the Ipuwer papyrus. Found in the early 19th Century in Egypt, this document describes events which parallel remarkably events described in the Book of Exodus: Violent upheavals in Egypt, starvation, drought, escape of slaves with the wealth of the Egyptians, and death throughout the land. See it on Ohr Somayach's website at: http://www.ohr.edu/special/pesach/ipuwer.htm

I've read too that the Egyptians were known for historical revisionism.

I don't put all my faith in science. Mysticism is important and I value Renaissance art (or what you call idolatry).

Don't project such a stupid statement to try and marginalize me. In 30+ years of being a Christian I have never heard someone who values art described as an idolater. In my church we have started a small group around people who love and are interested in art.

Young earthers and the intelligent design supporters do remind me of Randoids whining that quantum mechanics are a plot to overthrow Aristotle.

I'm neither a recent creationist nor an Ayn Rand fan and to what young earthers opposed to quantum mechanics are you refferring?

But I'm Catholic and the Church is friendly to reason and science by and large.

Someone should tell that to Galileo. BTW Christians don't reject science. In reference to what book of the Bible do you refer? It wasn't even the argument in the first place.

The critics of Copernicus et. al were not concerned about dethroning the Catholic Church or theology but the elevation of man. Pride was the sentiment not humility. Humanism seeks to elevate man as the final authority and I believe THIS IS THE ISSUE..

As for Galileo, Pope Leo X favored for a time Galieo's heliocentric theory.

There were scientists who opposed Galileo too. Brahe the great astronomer argued that Copernicism was wrong...so why was it unreasonable for the Vatican to have doubts?

The more literal translations of the Bible didn't come until the Protestant Reformation. This I think would be the biggest argument that fundamentalists were not responsible for what happened to Galileo. There hasn't been a war between science and fundamentalist religion.

With very few exceptions not one educated person of the Western Civilization from the 3rd century BC onward believed that the earth was flat.

The claim that medieval scientists and theologians believed the earth was flat was concocted in the nineteenth century by John William Draper in History of the Conflict between Religion and Science pulbished in 1874. Draper used his flat earth theory to illustrate his thesis that the Catholic Church was antagonistic to learning.

"Traditions and policy forbade the papal government to admit any other than the flat figure of the earth, as revealed in the Scriptures"

The problem is books like Drapers' is that it's all a myth. He then goes on to say that this idea that the earth was flat caused terror among the sailors and was one of the great obstacles in the great voyage of Columbus.

or that Columbus overcame irrational clergy, superstitious sailors and ignorant churchmen,

It is said that Columbus before making his voyage had to face bigoted clerics who warned that his boat would fall off the earth....

Objections were raised but none on the grounds that the earth was flat, but more that he had underestimated the amount of provisions needed for such a long voyage.

But if you are the intellectual superior that you claim to be you would know all of this and I therefore would assume your use of the term was simply meant as an insult.

Elmers Brother said...

Check it.

The secularists need us duhkkky. Without it they'd be destroyed by the likes of Mao and Lenin.

sue hanes said...

EB - Didja know that Columbus
was a mean person?

Elmers Brother said...

Never met him.

Z said...

Elbro, GREAT responses to Ducky....perfect. THey've even found chariot wheels in the Red Sea...tons of ancient chariot wheels. Lots of that doesn't make the media for long. I don't think the media likes it.


I'm starting to think I have THE funniest, cleverest commenters anyway! Thanks so much.

Ticker, yes, you describe the possibilities well. I still stand on the side of "how really offensive could he have been if they let him stay FIFTEEN YEARS?"!!?

Lisa...great comment.

Ducky, you say "Why is it that fundamentalists are quick to denounce all climate science when it states an opposition opinion calling it "false science"."

That's simply not true, of course..Intel Design people are open to all ideas. And, of course, it's not just fundamentalist Christians who denounce any of these sciences.

Higgs is no big deal, fascinating, but no big change; we'll find out the same old thing: VERY old..but how'd it get here? GOD? It's like some unthinking people think the BIG BANG THEORY negates creationism...really? Who made the BIG BANG? Prove He didn't...I'll wait.

Plus, most don't denounce "all climate change" as you said, and you know it, but it's easier for you to make a bigger target for yourself to hit; please read this slowly so it sinks in: Conservatives ARE environmentalists, Conservatives DO care deeply about the planet, and Conservatives believe we need to stay on the side of HUMAN BEINGS PROSPERING and stop exaggerating what's causing changes in the climate to our detriment; even paying attention to TRENDS and SOLAR INFORMATION, etc.

How many times have we heard "It hasn't been THIS cold since 1897"....well, if it was this cold then, it kinda blows the "GLOBAL FREEZING" jerks out of the water, wouldn't you think? It's nothing new.

We want real science, and we want healing the earth to go alongside prosperity and freedom on earth. Not much to ask.

Elmers Brother said...

Dawkins thinks aliens planted life here duhkkky. For some reason he can't see the irony of his statement, but I did read recently that he has become an agnostic...he's not 100% sure there is no God anymore....he's like more than 98% but hey...it's a start

So, which institution is the greatest enemy of human liberty? It's not religion. There can be only one answer: the state in general, and, in particular, the totalitarian version thereof.

Elmers Brother said...

Faith isn't always rational, I agree. Kierkegaard's leap of faith required a teleological suspension of the ethical (see Abraham and Isaac). I don't have all the answers, but I know the Creator of all ethics and the One who truly loves my soul, warts and all. I simply try to remain humble yet skeptical.

Elmers Brother said...

It is important to note that Kierkegaard does not condone performing immoral actions and claiming they were in the name of God. He argues that a person must first recognize, understand, and embrace social norms and normal ethical dictates in order to reach a moral level where they are able to follow a higher power in the form of God. Being able to engage in a teleological suspension of the ethical is the highest level of moral development for Kierkegaard and therefore Abraham is an admirable character, even though what he did with Isaac may seem troubling at first glance.

Z said...

ELBRO! you've got a WART? YOU DO NOT! :-) Not figuratively, anyway !! HA!!

Elmers Brother said...

Well...my Princess knows

Kid said...

I wonder when someone will get fired for talking about the religion of sadism?

Right Truth said...

I had not heard about this. Will be interesting to see how it ends.

As to scientists in general, there are many who believe that there is no contradiction between the Bible and evolution, which today is described as intelligent design I suppose.

Some argue about the age of the earth, but if you go back to the original language in Genesis, it reads that the "earth became void and without form", which indicates there was something here before creation as we know it came to be.

Right Truth

Elmers Brother said...

God could have creates in fiats.

Ticker said...

In Genesis the city of UR is said to be the birth place of Abraham. Some said it didn't exist but indeed it did and does. Ruins have been found that show it to be a very large city with very modern conveniences such as a sewer system, running water in houses and houses that were very large villa style homes.

Also the flood is mentioned in the day of Noah. Science first said it was not possible but huge springs have been found on the floor of the ocean which are said to contain more water than the ocean and it was indeed possible for the waters to "spring forth from the earth"

No argument about the earth being flat or round, Early man thought it may have been flat since they could not see the curvature. In Isaiah it says " It is He that sittith upon the circle of the earth." So those who use various verses speaking of the four corners, the pillars etc have misinterpreted how these were used in the original language. There is much more where science and the scripture line up.

As to literal 7 24 hour days, I don't know but I'll ask Him one day until then I tend to look at the verse where it speaks of a day being as a thousand years and a thousand years. I leave the quibbling over time to others since it matter little in the scheme of things. In the end the only thing that will matter is where you stand with Jesus Christ.

Rita said...

Z said, "Conservatives ARE environmentalists, Conservatives DO care deeply about the planet, and Conservatives believe we need to stay on the side of HUMAN BEINGS PROSPERING and stop exaggerating what's causing changes in the climate to our detriment; even paying attention to TRENDS and SOLAR INFORMATION, etc."

DANG. This is one smart lady.

Rita said...

As to the post.

Sorry guys, but I call BS on this man.

Yeah, I get irked on the PC bull that has taken over our Christmas holiday, but I have also witnessed extremely intolerant Christians that make me wince because they insist on continuing to shove down their beliefs on people they work with.

I have been much more impressed by my atheist friends, by my Hindu friends, by my Jain "family" that embraced the words of Christmas and celebrate the season. I've seen them bow their heads when the boss says a prayer to Jesus. I've had a Hindu friend offer money to a lady for an attorney when the lady's daughter was in trouble in school for using Christian words that were forbidden in her "Holiday" essay in grade school.

My husband was "won over" by a young man he worked with for years. Never did this gentleman shove his religion down others throats. He simply made it clear he was a Christian, he never judged those who seemed to have no belief.

This NASA guy doesn't sound too far from the idiots at Westboro to me.

Several years ago we took a class at our church and were surprised that we had two scientists in our midst.

They both said that they loved their jobs because the more they discovered, the more it was apparent that we are not here from some random unexplainable act.

I find it seriously hard to believe that most of NASA's scientists are not believers of some type of intelligent design.

Anonymous said...


I asked my wife of 42 years if she'd mind it if I decided to become a Bigamist!! ( Or a proper Mormon??? )

I said I'd want to marry Lisa, Rita, Prisc and Ms. Z.

It makes me so happy to see women like you..( plural ) when dispshits like "Big Sis and Hillary Clinton" seem to be running the show.

The conservative women of this country are truly....our salvation.

Z....I know you hate SP....but....I'd have her over ( and MB ) the existing dipsticks who are ruining...yes RUINING...our reputation and policies.

Rita said...

Gee Imp, I think you might have to fight over me with Net (from a few months back).

My husband would definitely agree with you on SP.

There are very few politicians he will actually stop and listen to, but SP is no idiot. When she was added to the McCain ticket, he loved her style, until the political machine handled her to the point she couldn't express one idea that wasn't approved before hand.

After that, she became stiff and unnatural.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want her as President, but she is damned smart about inciting the base. That is her strong suit.

I know Z isn't a fan of Gingrich either, but after something I had on the dvr stopped this evening, Gingrich was speaking after tonight's primary.

I judge the non-political junky vote by my husband's reactions. He was listening to every word Gingrich was saying.

Newt may or may not be the best choice for President, but I guarantee you, his experience and ability to express himself to the average voter may leave him as the only Republican candidate that could beat Obama.

Anonymous said...


"Newt may or may not be the best choice for President, but I guarantee you, his experience and ability to express himself to the average voter may leave him as the only Republican candidate that could beat Obama."

Rita...that's exactly what we want. No more mealy mouth frauds that can't relate to our troubles...our concerns. Certainly to me...a guy who's worth what...$300 million....knows what it's like for us to pay $100 for a fill up? Or $6 for gallon of milk?

There is ...I pray for..a growing dislike...disenchantment...for the ruling class.

Anonymous said...

Gee Imp, I think you might have to fight over me with Net (from a few months back)...."

No shit.....Net? LOL.

Elmers Brother said...

Imp..but then we'd have to stop all those Ivy league idiots from running. I'm of the mind that our supposedly elite schools like Harvard, Yale and oh...Brown, have really let the taxpayer down. Their only contribution being fodder for the Oligarchy.

Rita said...

At this point, I would vote for a Democrat IF I actually found someone that would just tell it like it is.

That's why I love Chris Christie. And Mitch Daniels. Neither of these guys will give you a speech that does nothing more than blow smoke up your ass. Christie has a much more confrontational style, which I personally find appealing because he says what I want to say to people like the idiotic teacher he schooled.

I've always liked Daniels, but the first three years as governor, he had a tough row to hoe here in Indiana. The liberals didn't like he leased out the tow roads to foreign companies, they didn't like going back to DST (not crazy about that one either, but I understood the business impact), didn't like that he took away a lot of public union bargaining rights.

By his second term, the state's budget was one of the best in the nation. Much to everyone's surprise, leasing the tow roads did not result in China taking over the state of Indiana and thankfully he was elected for a second term.

Next in line is Mike Pence. Let me put it this way. Pence is "the whole package" as they say.

Z said...

SO SO many good comments here!
Thanks very, very much.

Wouldn't you all LOVE to be in my living room talking about this stuff? HOLY SMOKE! Great fun!

Rita, thanks for the compliment, I don't come close to being as smart as most of you commenters!

I think Gingrich is REALLY smart but I worry about his ego and that he apparently doesn't know how to work well with people...they say nobody's come forth and supported him from his days as speaker.. I guess Fred Thompson is one of them, but anybody else? And they say it's because he's not a guy you want to support once you know him.

He's not going anywhere, anyway, but it IS interesting to hear you say your non political husband's attention was riveted. Gingrich DOES make some very good comments, no doubt about it.

A Dem would have to 'tell it like it is' and not be a socialist for me to consider voting for him, right? :-)

I like Pence, too..is he still popular in your state?

Rita said...

There really won't be much of a face for Governor here next November. Pence is the only Republican on the primary and no one has heard of the Democratic candidate.