Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

So what will you do when your turn comes?


Nathan Black reports for Christian Post “Intelligent Design Proponent Fired from NASA Lab” (Jan. 26 2011).

David Coppedge is an information technology specialist and system administrator on JPL’s international Cassini mission to Saturn, the most ambitious interplanetary exploration ever launched. A division of California Institute of Technology, JPL operates under a contract with the federal space agency. Coppedge held the title of “Team Lead” System Administrator on the mission until his supervisors demoted and humiliated him for advancing ideas that superiors labeled “unwelcome” and “disruptive.”

He favoured intelligent design and talked about it, and one superior didn’t like that.

There was no workplace policy that forbid discussing private opinions at work, and claims that Coppedge harassed fellow employees proved unsubstantiated.

Here’s columnist David Klinghoffer on the case:

What did Coppedge do to get himself in trouble? He occasionally chatted with interested colleagues about the scientific case for intelligent design, he passed around a couple of pro-ID DVDs, which made good sense since JPL’s officially defined mission includes the exploration of questions relating to the origin and development of life on earth and elsewhere. His supervisor severely chastised him for this, humiliated and demoted him.

Now he’s been fired. JPL claims it was a cost-cutting measure. … The truth will emerge when Coppedge’s lawsuit comes to trial, but the appearance here certainly suggests a final strike at Mr. Coppedge for his offense of introducing fresh ideas to co-workers.

In the light of this case and the recent, similar Martin Gaskell case, one hardly knows what to make of doubt that Ben Stein was right. There is an Expelled factor. Today, you can doubt anything except Darwin, and you must contrive not to know about or speak of the growing mass of evidence that contradicts the stuff government forces students to learn in tax-funded schools.

But there is no freedom for adults either, it turns out. Darwinism today has nothing to do with the science and everything to do with protecting the cultural status of an icon that has given government everything from compulsory sterilization to scientific racism to … the right of tax-funded institutions like JPL to run inquisitions powered by devotion to that icon.

Sadly, Klinghoffer writes,

It’s bad enough when private universities clamp down on the free exchange of ideas. But public institutions have often seemed to be the worst offenders of all in this respect, and that is something taxpayers have every right to protest.

Klinghoffer suggests that Americans phone: 202-358-1010 or e-mail Charles Bolden, charles.bolden@nasa.gov Yet will they?

I’ve covered ID stories for about a decade now, and on the way, I learned something interesting: What is keeping Darwinism alive right now is not evidence; the evidence is leaning sharply against Darwin’s “information for free” mechanism.

What keeps Darwinism alive is the awful passivity of the taxpayers who doubt it, yet continue to fund its long, persecutory march through the institutions.

Christians are the worst, incidentally.

They see naked Darwinism in all its hideous glory, watch fellow Christians harassed and fired (often by people who make no pretense to be anything other than anti-Christian, using “science” as a vehicle).

And then? They turn on the Glory Hallelujah! Show, featuring “our spirit-breathed hostess Fluffelle”? Or at best they go to a big meeting with Harry Hi-Power about it and thus dissipate any useful energy they could have otherwise exercised.

It’s escapism. True motivation comes from within! Every citizen who is aware and cares already has the power to change things, without listening to a single burble from Fluffelle or Harry Hi-Power. Harassing Darwin doubters at work should cost bureaucrats their jobs and lawmakers their seats because it offends basic principles of justice.

Spend no money. Just read responsible sources on a case like this and then pick up the phone. If you are an American, I think it is already your right, at least so far.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

On the other hand, the people who wrote those lines did not think that “our brain are shaped for evolutionary fitness, not for truth.” Make no mistake; as Darwin’s boys win by default, it becomes a different world.

Note: Forty-five years ago when I was young, Christians really did organize to fight segregation. And it was a highly effective, law-abiding movement – as long as traditional Christians were the bulk of the activist leaders. I should know because I was a local organizer at a high school in Toronto (a multicultural city even then) where institutional racism was as popular as a crushed glass Sundae. But later, Christians retreated to various entertainments, worried that some people would say bad things about them if they exercised their rights as good citizens, and society took some very different turns all round. This is one.

If you are even reading this, you like to think for yourself. Either speak up now or don’t expect any help when your turn comes.

"It has simply not yet dawned on people that science can be corrupt and oppressive. And if/when it does dawn, they will be very sadly disillusioned." Good point. I think some people are aware of the fraud and corruption that occur in science, but this is generally excused because it's not as bad as, say, the Inquisition or the Crusades. Barb
Avo: You have hit a key nail on the head:
It has simply not yet dawned on people that science can be corrupt and oppressive . . .
With the track record of what Churchill called "dark science" over the past century or so, the question comes to mind, why is it that when "religion" and "fundamentalism" are raised, there is a huge fear and resentment factor, but when "science" is raised "[i]t has simply not yet dawned on people that science can be corrupt and oppressive"? After all, the Judaeo-Christian worldview and people morivated by specifically biblical teaching, had a lot to do with a great many things that proved great blessings to the civilisation: hospitals, universities, education, the struggle against tyranny that led to the rise of modern liberty and democracy, providing a moral-ethical backbone to our culture, promoting freedom of expression and conscience, supporting -- yes, supporting -- the RISE of science, exposing and breaking slavery, and much more. There is a reason why a fair and balanced view on strengths, weaknesses, track record, contributions,and great wrongs in the name of, is too often conspicuously missing in action. "Religion"" -- observe just how broad-brush that term is [a warning in itself] -- is being scapegoated by people, agendas and institutions for something that is a HUMAN dilemma: we are finite, fallible, morally fallen, and at our best struggle to rise above ill-will. Consequently, the record of history is by and large, riddled with the record of wrongs done in the name of the very best ideas and institutions, which ever so often need to be reformed as a result. And, where we face such a continual struggle to do the right, those who adhere to a worldview that -- ever since Plato, 2,300 years ago -- has been known for its amorality (having in it no IS that can ground OUGHT) have a vested interest in distracting attention from the facts that (i) evolutionary materialism has usurped control of and/or has undue and largely unchecked influence over science and other power centres, and (ii) its premises are such that it tends to undermine moral consensus and values. (If you doubt, just cf the parallel thread on the results of Dr Torley's attempted survey of leading atheists on the moral worth of newborn babies.) All of this brings to mind not only the Parable of the shadow-shows cave, but Aristotle's ever so telling remarks on pathos, ethos and logos as he began his main discussion in The Rhetoric:
Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker [ethos]; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind [pathos]; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself [logos]. Persuasion is achieved by the speaker's personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible . . . Secondly, persuasion may come through the hearers, when the speech stirs their emotions. Our judgements when we are pleased and friendly are not the same as when we are pained and hostile . . . Thirdly, persuasion is effected through the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question . . . .
Methinks the C19 on rationalist campaign of atmosphere-poisoning against "religion" has been ever so successful that it seriously distorts our ability to see the truth. For a tiny but telling instance [cf Fig. G.3(a) here], in the Middle Ages [including in the Spanish Court that Columbus sought support for his voyages] the educated not only believed that the world was round but had a fairly reasonable estimate for its size. Similarly, the debates and clashes Galileo faced -- including the sad result [it is not wise to insult princes, even when they are popes and former supporters] -- are far, far more complex than the strawman caricature on scientific reason vs religious dogmatism that are usually promoted in schools and to the general public. The late C19 exchanges over evolution were again quite complex, as can be seen from the fact that in the end, the co-founder of evolutionary theory, Wallace, became a champion of Intelligent Evolution. And, the view of the 1925 Scopes trial in Dayton Tenn that is promoted by Inherit the Wind etc, is a gross and even slanderously propagandistic caricature. It is time to set some records straight, and it is time to clear the atmosphere of poisonous, polarising and confusing, even deceptive, caricatures of people, issues, ideas, history and institutions. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Zephyr, Although, unlike many here, I do worry about the rise of fundamentalist religion in American politics, the scientific materialists certainly hold down several very big forts, and I am glad to see you including medicine for that is a huge issue, and doctors who try to treat alternatively or outside a very prescribed box are hounded like criminals and have all their records confiscated at gunpoint, their success notwithstanding. Which I think all goes to prove the point of Gil in the 3rd post, that money is the true religion here. The reason scientism is keeping its true colors hidden so well is that first, religion really does have some things to apologize for and people rightly fear it, and second, science indeed did (and does) bring us up to a whole new level of existence with its bona fide discoveries. It has simply not yet dawned on people that science can be corrupt and oppressive. And if/when it does dawn, they will be very sadly disillusioned. avocationist
Mrs O'Leary: I hear your point. I could point to the Plato's Cave allegory and the fact that this is one bit of classical wisdom that we are not generally taught in schools, especially the side where the shadow-shows confused for reality are just that: set-up shows that those who set up and operate know or should know, are deceitful and exploitative. But, then, in pop culture, we have all heard of a modern version, The Matrix. (I once had a student who did a very interesting phil paper on this one.) Coming back roundabout: somehow, the connexion to what may be going on around us and in our living rooms and class rooms or seminar rooms, is not usually made. Nor, are we generally taught enough of first principles of right reason and basic epistemology so that we will not be easily taken in. Indeed, last I looked, those who wanted to teach students on the strengths and limitations of scientific reasoning and knowledge were slandered, hounded and pounded. Which -- through the occult magic of the trifecta tactic -- tends to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the issues. So, maybe a lot of people don't know who to look to for help, and are genuinely lost, sheep without shepherds, and who can't tell a shepherd from a wolf in shepherd's garb. Nor are they equipped to tell sense from manipulation. I think that at some point, we have to slowly build up from pioneers to early adopters, to a growing critical mass, then eventually the tide will change. It's called "mainstreaming." But, we have to take up the education and corrective challenges, step by step for that to begin to happen. It's fun to chat back and forth on the latest ID news, views and issues, but if we do not consolidate foundations, structure education courses at diverse levels, and find ways to begin to break the monopoly of the manipulators, we will have but little impact. Along that road to impact, a key point will be when the manipulative power brokers find themselves unable to spin cases where they can blame the victim for their persecutions and expulsions. When this trick is increasingly spotted for rubbing salt mercilessly into open wounds, then we will be getting somewhere. Meanwhile, we have a challenge to deal with a very poisonous, polarised atmosphere. "When duty calls for danger, be never wanting there . . . " My take on the challenge. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Zephyr, it sounds as though you have a great book idea, on Soviet science. It's unfortunate that the term "Soviet science" conjures up "quackspeak" because, as you say, many people had fruitful ideas that could only be pursued in the shadows. The only thing I would take issue with is terms like "duped" when referring to the middle classes parked in front of the TV. They aren't duped. They listen by choice to people who despise them, and are terrified of having some fatuous TV hairpiece with mouth attachment say something nasty about people like them. If that's all it takes to frighten them from liberty, they are hardly worth the trouble of freeing. But they could always prove me wrong by shunning materialist pop media, their sponsors, and advertisers, getting correct information (there are lots of sources today), and acting on it. (Don't wait for me, I'm busy up north.) Just think, some people had to fight wars for what many could have for the price of turning off the boob tube and looking around them. O'Leary
Yes depressing and let us face it unsurprising news. Frankly the elites in North American science emulate the ecclesiastical courts that gave us the Inquisition. This time around atheistic ecclesiastical courts, that is not as contradictory as it sounds, merely ironic. I have hinted at it before, but the bloated corrupt medical authorities in the US are guilty of same, in fact they are even worse. Their squashing of scientific dissent from even the most prestigious scientists is even more ruthless and brutal, and not unrelated to an adherence to scientific reductionism and materialism (and commercial interests). Thing is middle-class taxpayers alreadly overburdened are being duped into funding atheistic philosophy and scientific materialism masquerading as science - and that is galling to say the least. It's ironic that America is considered a religious Christian country when its scientific elites and the know-nothing yes-sir-no-sir pliant media ruthlessly propagate the impoverished philosophy of scientific materialism as science education. They could certainly teach the old Soviet commissars a thing or two. In fact it is little-known but worth remarking on, that even during the cold war, at least post-Stalin (the disaster of Lysenkoism aside), many of the Soviet Union's leading scientific figures held distinctly anti-materialist notions and even did scientific research to these ends (albeit it was hardly acknowledged officially by the Soviet academy, was very much 'underground' and cleverly these scientists used all sorts of convoluted scientific terminology to disguise the religious implications of their work in the same way that American scientists today bamboozle the public with jargon heavy terminology disguising the atheistic implications of their notions of nature's dynamics!). In fact the US academy is certainly imitating Lysenko in its bullying and ruthlessness in its service to false science, in this case the house of cards that is scientific materialism - it goes with the territory. No nobody is being sent to a gulag or put in front of a firing squad, in the West the scientific inquisition is far more sophisticated and subtle, it usually has been. Hence the public are generally and blissfully unaware of it, it is all beneath the radar. Economic and financial pressures are simply made to apply and people learn by harsh examples (like Coppedge) that if you want to pay the mortgage and put your kids through college and not be cast into the wilderness for heresy, well tow the line and shut your mouth if you know what's good for you. It is scientific McCarthyism plain and simple, ironically being pushed by the self-same elites who decry the tactics and shameful history of the real Senator Joe McCarthy. How far is the US scientific academy willing to go in their purges? Where will it end? Like Denyse, I think it can only get worse and it will. Scientists who work in govt beauracracies and institutes and most of the universities (public and private) will learn to shut up if they don't want to be cast into the scientific wilderness. zephyr
Mrs O'Leary: Pardon some lyrics: ____________________ Bob Marley Redemption Songs Lyrics Old pirates, yes, they rob I; Sold I to the merchant ships, Minutes after they took I From the bottomless pit. But my hand was made strong By the 'and of the Almighty. We forward in this generation Triumphantly. Won't you help to sing This songs of freedom 'Cause all I ever have: Redemption songs; Redemption songs. Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds. [a cite from Marcus Garvey] Have no fear for atomic energy, 'Cause none of them can stop the time. How long shall they kill our prophets, While we stand aside and look? Ooh! Some say it's just a part of it: We've got to fullfil the book. Won't you help to sing This songs of freedom- 'Cause all I ever have: Redemption songs; Redemption songs; Redemption songs. --- /Guitar break/ --- Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our mind. Wo! Have no fear for atomic energy, 'Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time. How long shall they kill our prophets, While we stand aside and look? Yes, some say it's just a part of it: We've got to fullfil the book. Won't you have to sing This songs of freedom? - 'Cause all I ever had: Redemption songs - All I ever had: Redemption songs: These songs of freedom, Songs of freedom. _____________________ A live, informal performance (probably at his home on Hope Road, Kgn 6 Jamaica, now a museum). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci7r_ayacVc&feature=related GEM of TKI PS: I of course do not endorse all that Mr Marley stood for or did. This from Amos, is even more cutting across 2,800 years of the cry of the prophets:
AMOS 3:7 Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. AM 3:8 The lion has roared-- who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken-- who can but prophesy? . . . . AM 5:10 you hate the one who reproves in court and despise him who tells the truth. AM 5:11 You trample on the poor and force him to give you grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine. AM 5:12 For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts. AM 5:13 Therefore the prudent man keeps quiet in such times, for the times are evil. AM 5:14 Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. AM 5:15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph . . . . AM 5:18 Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. AM 5:19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him . . .
Kutless- Shut Me Out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_2TE7dldGs bornagain77
Agreed, Denyse. This is another one of those things that should unite various Christians in condemnation to it - yet somehow it just slides on by. nullasalus
There is no separation of church and state in the U.S. -- we have an official (although unspoken), government-sponsored religion: materialism. Heresy is not permitted, but when it occurs it is punished mercilessly, with the acquiescence of our judicial system, which is totally corrupt concerning this issue. A rebellion against this injustice is in order. GilDodgen
Hi, focus, thanks for all you do, and pardon my impatience. But after 40 years, one really does get sick of hearing the serfs celebrate their serfdom. If Coppedge doesn't get justice AND all is peace and quiet in Congressmen's offices, well, in the infamous phrase, the prosecution rests. = Pay, pray, and obey, you twits. In my own country, the burning issue has been government-sponsored efforts to control new media's ability to report on the inroads of Islamic fascism. You see, here, the stinking fish the government protects is not Darwinism but legacy media. Same principle as state-protected Darwinism, however: The right to vend crap to the public, make them pay, and sneer at them. In Canada, a joint (un)organized task force has slowly been beating the fascists and their allies back. But it's an ongoing struggle in which markedly little help has come from the "Christian" culture. The key players have been individual devout Christians, Jews, and Muslims, and good-citizen secularists working together - most often at loggerheads with their own communities who just can't bow low enough to whatever nonsense vendor has got the mike. Look, ID isn't Christianity, but the Coppedge case seems clearly to be predicated at least in part on the fact that Coppedge is an identified Christian as well as an ID sympathizer. I'll be happy to say I'm wrong if American Christians prove me wrong. But really it's up to them to choose to be second class citizens in their own society - or not. O'Leary
Mrs O'Leary: The expelled factor is real, i.e. viewpoint discriminatory and intimidatory censorship. For this one, Wiki's intro-summary cannot be beat:
Censorship is suppression of speech or other communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body . . .
On the other hand, I suspect many people are silent because they feel intimidated by the verbal violence of many Darwinist advocates, and they feel that they are not up to snuff on technically sophisticated issues such as are involved with ID. So, they -- for good reason -- fear being rhetorically mousetrapped if they open their mouths. The fact that a maximum-intensity distorting and polarising, poisonous fog has been spread across the land by the Darwinist advocates -- just look at the ongoing thread that reveals that though irreducible complexity was adequately defined as of 1996, people have been systematically misled sand confused -- is also a problem. At one level, there is an education issue that has to be taken up [such as the ongoing foundations series of posts is trying, such as the UD Weak Argument Correctives is doing, and such as the IOSE draft course is about]. But at another level, there need to be some high profile cases where the censors get their fingers burned smartly, and pay a personal price for their oppressive behaviour. The blame the victim tactics will then be exposed as rubbing salt into open wounds. So far, I know of just one case like that where the censors paid a price, Gaskell. And that went down over the past several weeks -- and it is not exactly CNN or Fox headline news. However, once we see a few cases like this, they are essentially un-answerable and plain. GEM of TKI kairosfocus

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