Monday, December 26, 2016

David Coppedge, Redux

David Klinghoffer has a post for "Evolution, News and Views" in which he defends David Coppedge, the erstwhile NASA technician who claimed he was fired from his job at JPL because of his intelligent design support. Coppedge has a fifteen-minute video in which he recounts the affair.   In typical hystrionic fashion, Klinghoffer writes:
Of all the cases we've covered here where scientists and others have been persecuted for sharing ideas favorable to intelligent design, what happened to David Coppedge is arguably the most reprehensible. That's partly because Coppedge, working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab as a team lead on the Cassini Mission to Saturn, wasn't a PhD scientist with the space agency. He was a computer administrator, albeit a senior one, and therefore by definition a less powerful, more vulnerable player in the science world.
Klinghoffer either has not read the trial transcripts or chooses not to remember them. Coppedge sued NASA and it came out during the trial that he was a difficult employee who was hard to get along with.  My original post on this trial, and Klinghoffer's reaction to it, is here.  Newsvine wrote, at the time (link no longer works):
At trial, JPL attorney Cameron Fox contended Coppedge was a stubborn and disconnected employee who decided not to heed warnings to get additional training, even when it became clear the Cassini mission would be downsized and computer specialist positions eliminated.

Coppedge often was confrontational and insensitive to customers and colleagues, who had complained about his behavior and his advocacy of intelligent design, Fox said.
I remarked, then, that Klinghoffer was focusing on the wrong aspects of the trial, a situation in which the Cassini project was being downsized and Coppedge was well aware of this at the time.

As in the case of Richard Sternberg, the details are what matter.

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