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Darwinists at NASA getting Sued, What You Can Do

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NASA was once a bastion of religious toleration. They sent 2 creationists to the moon (Reverend Jim Irwin and General Charles Duke). They let Buzz Aldrin quietly celebrate communion on the Moon, Sunday, July 20, 1969. On NASA’s official website is the record of this Christmas greeting of 1968: www.NASA.gov. Here is a video of that 1968 event: Apollo 8 Christmas Greeting from Genesis 1. And we have: Buzz Aldrin Sharing Psalm 8 in Flight.

Sad to see that this same organization is now suspected of harboring Darwinists who would vent their prejudices against one of UD’s very own contributors, David Coppedge, for much lesser actions (loaning a DVD to an interested coworker). Isn’t a little toleration in order?

In contrast, this could also be seen to be proselytizing a particular religious view:

“A NASA workshop defined ‘life’ to mean a self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution,”

To paraphrase Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along?”

From Discrimination Lawsuit Filed

Supervisors at NASA’s prestigious Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) illegally harassed and demoted a high-level computer system administrator for expressing support of intelligent design to co-workers, according to a discrimination lawsuit filed in California Superior Court.

The lawsuit was filed by attorneys on behalf of David Coppedge, an information technology specialist and system administrator on JPL’s Cassini mission to Saturn, the most ambitious interplanetary exploration ever launched. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a NASA laboratory managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) where robotic planetary spacecraft, such as the Mars Rovers, are built and operated. Coppedge was a “Team Lead” Systems Administrator on the Cassini mission until JPL demoted him for allegedly “pushing religion” by loaning interested co-workers DVDs supportive of intelligent design.

“For the offense of offering videos to colleagues, Coppedge faced harassment, an investigation cloaked in secrecy, and a virtual gag order on his discussion of intelligent design,” said attorney Casey Luskin of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Luskin serves as a consultant to the Coppedge lawsuit. “Coppedge was punished even though supervisors admitted never receiving a single complaint regarding his conversations about intelligent design prior to their investigation, and even though other employees were allowed to express diverse ideological opinions, including attacking intelligent design.”

Coppedge is suing JPL and Caltech for religious discrimination, harassment and retaliation; violation of his free speech rights; and wrongful demotion. Coppedge is represented by Los Angeles First Amendment attorney William J. Becker, Jr., of The Becker Law Firm.

“Intelligent design is not religion, and nothing in the DVDs that Coppedge shared deals with religion,” noted Luskin. “Even so, it’s unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on what they deem is religion.”

The case is the latest in a string of free-speech controversies surrounding allegations of public and private institutions punishing scientists and other experts for holding controversial views on evolution.

The California Science Center is currently facing two lawsuits similarly alleging attempts to squelch free-speech rights by a group that contracted to screen a film on intelligent design for the public at the Los Angeles facility.

“Anyone who thinks that today’s culture of science allows an open discussion of evolution is sorely mistaken,” said Dr. John G. West, associate director of the Center for Science and Culture. “When it comes to intelligent design, private and government-run agencies are suppressing free speech.”

and from What You Can Do to Help David

It’s an outrage that JPL employee David Coppedge was harassed and discriminated against for his pro-intelligent design views, but you can help him. If you want to stand up for academic freedom, there are three people who need to hear from you:

First, call 818 354-4321 and ask for Director of JPL Dr. Charles Elachi, respectfully letting him know that your tax dollars should never be used to fund discrimination against a government employee.

Second, you can call and email President of Caltech Jean-Lou A. Chameau (626-395-6301, chameau@caltech.edu) and politely tell him that you support David Coppedge. Caltech oversees the JPL and has some jurisdiction.

Third, the JPL is NASA’s laboratory. Call them at 202 358-0001 and email public-inquiries@hq.nasa.gov.

HT: Anika Smith

Seversky, Separation of the church and state is taken from a Jefferson letter: ,"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state" http://www.usconstitution.net/jeffwall.html The clear intent of the establishment clause was to protect the Church of Christ from the government, not the government from the Church of Christ. Let's see the establishment clause of the constitution: 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. Let's see Seversky, JPL (The Government in this case) clearly prohibited the free exercise thereof, and would also be seen to be abridging of his freedom of speech. But you know what is ironic Seversky, atheism is now declared a religion in a U.S. court of appeals: William Provine Lays Out The True Implications Of Evolution http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4109249 Thus since Darwinian evolution is the "greatest engine for atheism" according to Provine, is not the government now in fact in violation of the establishment clause by its own measures? bornagain77
In the broadest sense we all discriminate all the time. It is one of the ways we make sense of the world. We discriminate between the food or music or clothes we like and those we don't like. We discriminate between people we like and those we do not. We discriminate between the political parties we support and those we do not and we discriminate between the religion that we choose to follow and all those we do not. Where society limits our power of discrimination is where it is considered to be inappropriate and harmful to the rights of those discriminated against. Thus, an employer may discriminate between candidates for a job on the grounds of experience and qualifications but not on the grounds of race or religion. In the case of David Coppedge, if he was disciplined by his managers simply because they objected to his belief in Intelligent Design then he may have a case. On the other hand, if they believed that his promotion of ID amongst his co-workers during office hours risked them running afoul of the separation of church and state, then they could have been justified. At the moment, we do not have the full story, so we cannot say. Seversky
Is the Reformed Theological Seminary funded by tax money taken by coercion from people like me? In a state-funded institution, religious or anti-religious indoctrination should not be tolerated. Freedom of thought and expression should be encouraged. The exact opposite is the case in our publicly-funded universities and other institutions, which are bastions of intellectual and religious intolerance, not to mention secular-leftist group-think, all in the name of tolerance and diversity. GilDodgen
You have to admit there is a certain irony in a proponent of Intelligent Design, a movement which has spent much time and effort presenting itself as scientific, filing a suit complaining of religious discrimination. This sounds to me like having your cake and eating it.
That's not quite correct. If someone discriminated against me because he thought I was Vietnamese even though I'm not, that discrimination is still against the law. So independent of whether ID is religious or not, if the discrimination originated by the perpetrator because they despise the Christian viewpoint or thesitic ideas, they would be guilty, even if the viewpoint in question is not based on religious ideas. What is apparent is the level of reprimand is disproportionate to the actions involved. Say I ask my co-worker, "hey James, going away with kids for Spring Break?" And James replies, "no, I'm in charge of the church musical...." After some more conversation, I say, "That's great....I'd like to see the DVD of your musical...." If James brings it by, is that grounds for him being demoted? Sheesh! It really smells like someone had it in for David C, they just wanted to inflict harm. This wasn't about separation of church ands state. Reminds me of Sam Harris and Jerry Coyne calling for Francis Collins ouster. It wreaked of prejudice.... scordova
GilDodgen @ 12
Just imagine if the reverse were to occur: A JPL employee expresses doubts about traditional religious belief and is summarily punished.
You mean a bit like Bruce Waltke and the Reformed Theological Seminary?
The Coppedge-persecution phenomenon is actually quite easy to understand.
Rather like the persecution of Richard Sternberg? Seversky
You have to admit there is a certain irony in a proponent of Intelligent Design, a movement which has spent much time and effort presenting itself as scientific, filing a suit complaining of religious discrimination. This sounds to me like having your cake and eating it. Seversky
Just imagine if the reverse were to occur: A JPL employee expresses doubts about traditional religious belief and is summarily punished. The Darwinian mechanism of random errors filtered by natural selection as an explanation for all of life makes astrology look like hard science, and anyone with a basic education in mathematics should be able to figure this out, given a simple understanding of the difference between chemical reactions and information processing, on which life is essentially based. This logic should be trivially obvious to anyone who is not still living in the information-theoretic stone age of 19th-century mechanistic "science." The Coppedge-persecution phenomenon is actually quite easy to understand. Secular materialism and its hideously destructive and equally science-free creation myth have become a state-supported and state-funded religion, with which they want to indoctrinate our children. Frankly, I'm pissed, and make no apologies for what I consider to be righteous indignation. GilDodgen
It seems to me that the Darwinists are getting very sensitive -- they are feeling very threatened by questions now being asked of their theory -- and with good reason. Darwin's is a theory of selective filtration (filtered accidents) masquerading as a theory of origins. William Brookfield
lars, Here is a little more background on the circumstances: How NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Punished David Coppedge for His Views on Intelligent Design http://www.evolutionnews.org/2010/04/how_nasas_jet_propulsion_labor.html bornagain77
Why are Darweeners such inane drones? My theory is that they have not evolved sufficiently above the neck. I have an alternative theory that says they are all commonly descended from the Worrell family and are still under the Trantor curse. Borne
I love the word squelch. It sounds like you are squeezing a snail in your fist. By the way, I would love to hear the most sophisticated argument for astrology. Why would I punish someone for it? When it comes to ideas, the cream of the crop will rise to the top, but only if not squelched like a snail in a sock. Collin
"The secularists have not wrecked divine things; but the secularists have wrecked secular things." G.K. Chesterton HouseStreetRoom
Yet another example of tolerance and diversity by secular academic types, which they love to preach. GilDodgen
Sal, thanks for letting us know. I will make an effort to contact those with email addresses, at least. It will be helpful to know more specifics of the case, as they come out. For example, details about the circumstances under which Coppedge lent DVDs to colleagues, showing that they were indeed interested. Further information about the "virtual gag order" imposed on him. lars
I can see how JPL and NASA could have fierce ulterior motives within its ranks for squelching dissent from Darwinism, for there is a fairly huge payoff for them in sending missions to other planets, particularly Mars, if the belief that life is an accident, that it can "just happen" anywhere, is the status quo. To bad for these government employees that would like to silence any criticism to the life is just a accident theory, There just so happens to be a thing called the constitution that prevents such persecution. of related note: The Eerie Silence Excerpt: Paul Davies takes a fresh look at this question in his engaging and thoughtful new book, The Eerie Silence. Davies asks us to step back from the popular view that life must be common in the universe. Instead, he says we should consider the possibility that life on Earth is a fluke, a completely improbable event – a winning ticket in a lottery with a trillion-trillion-to-one odds: To a physicist like me, life looks to be a little short of magic: all those dumb molecules conspiring to achieve such clever things! How do they do it? There is no orchestrator, no choreographer directing the performance, no esprit de corps, no collective will, no life force – just mindless atoms pushing and pulling on each other, kicked about by random thermal fluctuations. Yet the end product is an exquisite and highly distinctive form of order. Even chemists, who are familiar with the amazing transformative powers of molecules, find it breathtaking. George Whitesides, Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, writes, “How remarkable is life? The answer is: very. Those of us who deal in networks of chemical reactions know of nothing like it.” Davies says there is nothing in the laws of chemistry or physics to indicate life is inevitable, or even a cosmic imperative. He notes there is no mathematical regularity to life, revealing some underlying basic law of nature. Instead, “the chemical sequences seem totally haphazard.” And yet, life has its own sense of order, since re-arranging those chemical sequences can upend the whole system. “So the arrangement is at once both random and highly specific – a peculiar, indeed unique, combination of qualities hard to explain by deterministic physical forces,” he writes. http://www.astrobio.net/index.php?option=com_retrospection&task=detail&id=3461 bornagain77
Sal, I hope those who work at NASA don't send Christmas cards or the 'authoritarian personality' may invest in ensuring such outrages are effectively dealt with! I'm sure that your NFL is almost a religioun (if not already!) but imagine if some player in a top club happened to give to fellow players a video of soccer, or of rugby league, or of union, or of Aussie Rules, or of Gaelic football ... Would that player be demoted to the bench becuase his belief that such games are riveting and may have real insights? Could his passion for alternative contact sports cause such things as harrassment (apart from a good dose of collegial ribbing!)? Would a suppression order be enforced by the club that he would no longer be allowed to talk about other contact sports? Could you imagine that? Different sports complememt each other. Our national cricket team has benefitted greatly from baseball coaches teaching throwing skills for example. What a shame those at NASA who brought about such charges don't watch/play a bit more sport. I think they have their collective noses in the air instead of looking to the ground (in this case!) AussieID
One other thing, and this is my opinion, not necessarily UD's. There are some religious viewpoints I find at variance to my own views, for example re-incarnation and astrology. (Apologies to UD readers who hold such viewpoints, I'm just using this as an example). Now if I were someone's boss at JPL and I discovered an exchange of DVD's about astrology or re-ioncarnation between two coworkers, would that upset me so much that I would bring them through an inquisition like David Coppedge was brought through? Would I find this such a egregious violation of church and state that I'd have to invoke such hostile reprimands when perhaps a small verbal admonition would be more approriate? I agree that religious expression in the workplace is a sensitive issue, but I hardly think it justifies putting someone through a tribunal and demoting them for simply exchanging DVD's. To go after stuff like this is a waste of resources and generates a lot of ill will in an organization. What this tells me is some Darwinists (I'm presuming they are Darwinists) are awfully insecure. I may find astrology and re-incarnation at variance to my views, and I think religious expression at work should be limited, but a co-worker loaning DVD's would hardly set me off so badly that I'd ruin someones career over it the first chance I got. Those Darwinists that were involved in lynching David have some thin skins. It looks like this could also be an abuse of power, imho. scordova
Labeling ID as "religious" is a two-edged sword. If ID is a "religious" idea, how appropriate would it be to denigrate it in a government institution? If ID is not a "religious" idea, then why can't it be discussed in passing in the work place? In either case, it seems David C. was being disproportionately reprimanded given NASA's historical toleration of certain views. scordova

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