Thursday, April 15, 2010

JPL Employee Alleges Demotion Because of Support for Intelligent Design

A NASA employee that works at the Jet Propulsion lab in Houston has filed suit, alleging that he was demoted because of his support for Intelligent Design. The PR Newswire, working off of a story from the Discovery Institute, has this to say:
The lawsuit (court number #BC435600) was filed by David Coppedge, an information technology specialist and system administrator on JPL's Cassini mission to Saturn, the most ambitious interplanetary exploration ever launched. A division of the California Institute of Technology, JPL operates under a contract with NASA. 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."
Obviously, if this is true, there is no excuse for it. As long as he is performing his scientific tasks to the best of his abilities, what he thinks of ID should be irrelevant. We will have to see how this plays out. It would be nice to have a source other than the Discovery Institute, but at this point, all of the newswires are picking up their story. I think we will have to wait for more elsewhere.

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1 comment:

  1. Frank4:12 AM

    The problem as I see it is that just about everything that comes from the Discovery Institute on science and Intelligent Design is bogus. DVDs such as Darwin's Dilemma, Unlocking the Mystery of Life, or The Case for a Creator all contain numerous factual inaccuracies and outright misinformation, mostly long debunked creationist canards.

    Anybody pushing these resources is promoting a whole load of bogus science from an organisation with a poor track record in this area, and the person in question should have no excuse for not being aware of the places that have pointed out the manifold mistakes in these presentations (NCSE, NAS etc). This, in my opinion, calls into question their scientific credibility in the same way it would if they were handing out material on voodoo miracle cures, anti-vaccination, or AIDs denialism.