Culture Darwinism News

Coppedge case: Why is there a taboo against discussing design in nature at Jet Propulsion Laboratories?

Spread the love
Evolution News and Views

In “The Los Angeles Times Grasps the Heart of the David Coppedge Case” ( Evolution News & Views, May 1, 2012), David Klinghoffer comments,

The Los Angeles Times published a pretty fair summary of the David Coppedge v. Jet Propulsion Lab case that we have covered here in recent weeks. Reporter Ashley Powers did some research by reading our work at ENV

… ??? … shocka!! She actually read something from outside the bubble zone?*

Even if the verdict doesn’t go his 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.

The so-called consensus against ID at places like JPL — and the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Kentucky, Iowa State University, and elsewhere that we’ve seen discrimination cases play out and be entered into public evidence through the legal system — is maintained by the force of a taboo, rather reflecting a fair toting up of evidence on both sides.

With any workplace taboo, the question is why it exists. Usually it is to maintain morale in an organization or protect a defect.

Whether the taboo is right or wrong varies with the circumstance: An executive will not long occupy the corner office at Ford if he allows everyone to know that he prefers Toyota … But by the same token, a provider of low quality, government-funded services to low income recipients will not long tolerate an employee who is blowing the whistle and calling for change.

Which makes the Coppedge case puzzling. It certainly doesn’t sound very convincing that he was harassing people. Had he really been doing that, the whole thing would surely have been handled differently.

Does JPL have some interest in promoting the idea that the universe is meaningless and lacks design? Or in ruling all such discussion off limits for employees (unless they are fronting that view)?

Has anyone who does front that view ever been thought to be pushing it?


* Girl should be careful. She could end up working for an indie somewhere for mere peanuts and self-respect.

3 Replies to “Coppedge case: Why is there a taboo against discussing design in nature at Jet Propulsion Laboratories?

  1. 1
    Joe says:

    Apparently, at the JPL, it was only OK to bash ID and push a liberal agenda.

  2. 2
    Bruce David says:

    The actual controversy in this controversy is and has always been about a clash of worldviews and never really about the science. And people often defend their worldviews tenaciously and ruthlessly. I have some ideas about the psychology behind this phenomenon—I believe, for instance that one’s very sense of personal identity is frequently tied up with their worldview, but I think that this is an area that would reward additional psychological research.

    So in my view, what happened has nothing to do with JPL as an organization and everything to do with the passion that the issue evoked in the people who were parties to the incidents in question.

    Before I get jumped on for this comment, let me state that I am in no way implying that the scientific evidence isn’t there. It is, and it very strongly supports the conclusions of ID. However, the heat and fire in the arguments and actions the opposing sides is, IMHO, because of the consequences for their worldviews of the ultimate outcome.

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    Seems a spot-on appraisal to me. When protecting the basic assumptions underlying their world-view, they can get quite hysterical. What a sovereign irony that they pride themselves on their ‘superior’ aptitude for dispassionate reason.

Leave a Reply