Discovery Institute’s Long List of Persecuted Creationists

The Discovery Institute has blowing a lot of smoke lately about the case of David Coppedge who is an information technology specialist who works on the Cassini Space Probe program at the Jet Proplulsion Laboratory.  Mr. Coppedge is alleging that the JPL fired him because he advocates intelligent design.  Apparently his troubles began when he distributed two videos, Unlocking the Mystery of Life, and The Privileged Planet, both advocating intelligent design.  Mr. Coppedge also runs the website Creation-Evolution Headlines

Let’s consider a few things about this case.  First, let’s assume that ID is science, just for the sake of argument.  If it is a bona fide field of science, which I don’t think it is, then his superiors have the right to evaluate him based on his scientific work.  Thousands of scientists do research in bona fide scientific fields but come out with such crazy ideas that they do irreparable harm to their careers.  This kind of thing isn’t confined to ID.  ID is considered junk science by the mainstream scientific community so I believe his superiors would be within their rights to dismiss him just as they would be within their rights to dismiss someone who believed the earth was still flat with the sun revolving around it.  If ID is religion, which I believe it is, then wouldn’t he be protected under the free excercise clause?  Maybe.  I’m not a legal scholar so I don’t know the extent companies can create policies to prohibit proselytizing on the job.  Perhaps he ran afoul of policies such as those.  Who knows.  Maybe the JPL is in the wrong on this.  But what I do know is the Discovery Institute has a way of blowing these cases out of proportion.  Here are few others they mention in their list of persecuted scientists:

Guillermo Gonzalez

Both the Discovery Institute and Ben Stein’s documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, claim that Gonzalez was denied tenure at Iowa State University because of his views on ID.  However, when examining Gonzalez’s record it becomes apparent that after he arrived at Iowa State his publication record dropped off dramatically as can be seen here.

Richard Sternberg

Sternberg worked at the Smithsonian Institution and claims he was fired for allowing a pro ID journal article to be published in the journal  Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.  However, according to Expelled Exposed, the paper Sternberg published had originally been rejected for publication by the review committee but he went ahead and published it anyway.  There are other claims Sternberg makes which Expelled Exposed addresses point by point that I would highly recommend you read. 

The point of all this is that the discovery Institute is very selective about the facts it chooses to present in its articles.  They have a history of distorting the truth and until I see more facts about the Coppedge, I would suggest that we all take what they say with a large grain of salt.


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