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Terminated employee claims bias against intelligent design
NASA's Cassini space probe snapped this photo of jets spewing from Saturn's moons.
March 13th, 2012
10:08 PM ET

Terminated employee claims bias against intelligent design

By Stan Wilson, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - A former veteran systems administrator for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory claimed during opening arguments in a civil lawsuit Tuesday that he was wrongfully terminated for expressing his views on intelligent design.

David Coppedge, who spent 15 years on the Cassini Mission, one of NASA and JPL's most ambitious planetary space explorations, asserts that he was unlawfully fired under his employer's anti-harassment and ethics policies. JPL contends Coppedge created a hostile workplace while expressing his religious views with co-workers.

His suit also claims that supervisors wrongly admonished him for distributing DVD documentary films titled "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" and "The Privileged Planet," which present biological and cosmological explanations for intelligent design, according to the complaint.

Coppedge claims he never forcibly compelled colleagues to accept his idea of intelligent design in the workplace. Intelligent design is a conviction that life is too complex to have developed solely through evolution and that the universe was designed by an intelligent entity.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

JPL, based in Pasadena, California, is one of the world's most prestigious institutions for scientific research and development institutions. In Coppedge's civil lawsuit, he describes JPL's space missions as designed, in part, to explore the origin of the universe, uncover whether life exists elsewhere in the universe - or is improbably confined to earth - and whether conditions necessary for life to exist reside elsewhere in the universe.

Launched in October 1997, the Cassini mission to Saturn included a sophisticated robotic spacecraft that orbited the ringed planet and provided streams of data about its rings, magnetosphere, moon Titan and icy satellites. Cassini was the largest interplanetary mission ever launched, with the largest technical staff and participation of 18 countries.

In his role, Coppedge was responsible for making technical and scientific recommendations to management and developing presentations about various technical capabilities of new systems and upgrades, his attorney William Becker Jr. said during opening arguments. During his tenure, Coppedge developed a "sincere interest in the scientific evidence behind life's origin," which led to his conviction about "intelligent design."

Coppedge shared the view that life and the existence of the universe derived not from "undirected material processes," but from "intelligent cause," said attorney Becker.

In March 2009, Coppedge claims that his supervisor advised him that co-workers had complained that he was harassing them over debates about his religious views and coercing them in the workplace into watching DVD programs about intelligent design. During his opening statements Tuesday, attorney Becker Jr. told a judge hearing the case that Coppedge's supervisor threatened him with termination if he "pushed his religion" and ordered Coppedge to refrain from discussing politics or religion with anyone in the office.

During that 2009 meeting, Coppedge alleges, his supervisor became angry and belligerent asserting that "intelligent design is religion" and ordered him to stop. "The tone of the meeting and conduct were abusive and constituted harassment," his attorney said in court.

JPL spokeswoman Veronica McGregor said the lawsuit "is completely without merit, and we intend to vigorously fight the allegations raised by Mr. Coppedge."

In their response to the civil suit, attorneys for JPL stated in court documents that one of Coppedge's co-workers complained to his supervisor that Coppedge made her feel so uncomfortable in discussing "non work related topics" that it bordered on harassment. The supervisor encouraged Coppedge to limit his discussions about topics like religion and politics to periods like lunch breaks, according to the response.

The documents state that other co-workers complained they also felt harassed when Coppedge expressed views in favor of California Proposition 8, the ballot initiative in 2010 that defined marriage between and man and woman.

"David Coppedge alienated his co-workers by the way he acted with them, and blamed anyone who complained about those interactions," according to JPL in their response. "He accuses his former project supervisor and line manager of making discriminatory and retaliatory employment decision, when they had in fact protected him for years."

JPL alleged that Coppedge "was seen as stubborn, unwilling to listen and always having to do things his way, which frustrated project members and resulted in errors."

Coppedge was demoted after eight years as lead systems administrator and terminated last year. He cited those actions as a factor in basis for his suit claiming religious discrimination, retaliation, harassment and wrongful demotion.

JPL has denied Coppedge's termination complaint, contending he was among 246 employees laid off as part of a downsizing plan that affected 300 staffers.

"JPL complies with all applicable state and federal employment laws including laws governing freedom of expression," said JPL spokeswoman McGregor.

California Institute of Technology operates JPL, which is federally funded under a contract with NASA. Scientists are employed by the Caltech.

The case has generated interest among advocates of intelligent design. The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian civil rights group, and the Discovery Institute, a proponent of intelligent design, are supporting Coppedge's lawsuit. The National Center for Science Education, which supports the teaching of evolution in public education, is closely monitoring the case.

Coppedge is seeking damages for wrongful termination, including attorney fees. The nonjury trial is expected to last four weeks.

*An earlier headline for this article identified David Coppedge as a scientist. His attorney later said that despite his technical work with computers, he is not a scientist.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Culture & Science • Science

soundoff (2,244 Responses)
  1. Watch Ben Stein's Expelled !

    Free on youtube. Outstanding expose that shows the blatant discrimination against both journalists and scientists who believe in Intelligent Design. You don't have to believe in intelligent design to see how there is harassment and discrimination against people for their beliefs.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • YeahOk

      "there is harassment and discrimination against people for their beliefs"

      Isn't that what David Coppedge was doing to his co-workers?

      March 14, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Less Bias

      I have, as have many scientists – but I bet you've never watched "Religiolous"...
      Anyway, "Expelled" ignores the merits of Intelligent Design, as there are simply none. There is not one scientific (testable) theory presented by ID, because it's not science at all, it's a religion. The only way one could "prove" ID to be true is if it is presumed to be the default, and all other theories are disproven. This is contrary to science. There is no "default", and every theory requires proof. Please cite even one experiment in which someone has positively demonstrated ID.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  2. BoldGeorge

    Mr. Coppedge never had a chance. In this world where it preaches tolerance for all except for when it comes to true Christian beliefs, a belief that goes against the system will never be given the time of day, even if said belief is the TRUTH.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • ron

      you need to prove your theory, not blame everyone else for not believing it before hand.

      everything is a theory, including god.....and honestly, there is not much science done to disprove or prove god's existence......."science" that has been done is heavily weighted with predisposition.

      religious and scientific efforts should go forward without trying to mix the two

      March 14, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • YeahOk

      Poor Christians. They are the only people in the entire world that get discriminated against.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • IsaacNewton

      Do all Christians believe in Intelligent Design ? I don't think so.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      yeah christians are soooo hard done by, i wonder one day if we will ever see a christian try to run for president and be brave enough to openly declare their faith in order to try to get support from other underground christian organizations that dare not show their face.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Crownnoble

      @Ron, Science cannot prove or disprove God's existance....

      March 14, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  3. doc doc

    I reckon if there is an intelligent designer out there, there is at least one of his/her creations which somehow slipped thru the quality control processes....the other possibility is that the evolutionary advancements of this hoser was not appropriatelly screen upon hiring, and that the proces of survival of the fitest found this out, and culled him from the herd?

    March 14, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Steve Mac

      When I heard your comment I thought my what intolerance we have here. I am not sure what go this guy the pink slip but he may have pushed his opinions too far. After all if you go against the grain of a company's culture too much this could happen or at least the managaement could talke to you.
      Yet your use of evolutiopnaly processes to cull someone from the herd sounded dangerous almost like the NAZI party did in the 1930's . A cold chill down my back. I can actually see myself at least talking too this fellow about his evangelical fervour in the workplace.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "Yet your use of evolutiopnaly processes to cull someone from the herd sounded dangerous almost like the NAZI party did in the 1930's"

      The nazis got their ideas about using eugenics from their use in the US in the early 1900s. Scary huh?

      March 14, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  4. tox

    How many people at Nasa believe that if you left all of the parts: metal, plastic, computer chips, etc...in a room for billions of years, that chance would bring together a shuttle or space telescope? Zero. That's why they hire so many intelligent designers. So how does an infinitely more complex human being just come together by chance over billions of years? We all know deep down intelligent design is needed. Some embrace it. Some suppress it. It's that simple.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • zip

      What's simple is the fact that you are an idiot

      March 14, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Aezel

      You are painfully uneducated. You don't even have the slightest clue as to how abiogenesis works or what the mechanics are for evolution. You're like a kindergartener trying to hang out with college kids.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • doc doc

      lets go with that; now you have to admit that your intelligent designer, is more complex than us, thus he/she needs a designer, and so forth ad infinitum........ Really? You can't fathom a DNA or RNA spontaneously forming, and then ove billions of years becoming more complex? Sorry for you dude.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • What Now

      I think evolution is the term. We evolved and we continue to evolve.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      You do not have a clear understanding of science or evolution, you are just spouting things to make yourself feel better.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      you want to compare chunks of processed metal to a living organism as an example of evolution?

      okaaaay

      March 14, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  5. 1ofTheFallen

    The belief in the Big Dirt Ball in the Sky (Big Bang sounds cooler but same meaning) is better than believing in the Man in the Sky. Many of the theories which were taught as scientific fact have been proved wrong. The primordial ooze is the worst and scientist gave up on it decades ago. Now scientist say life must have come from outer space. That way they don't have to prove how life got started and then got into outer space. Very convenient.

    Just like how the Big Dirt Ball in the Sky got there to begin with? Where did all the dirt come from (Some giant Dust Pan)? If the Universe is still excelerating in it's expansion which it shouldn't be based on Big Dirt Ball theory then we know that even science's most basic assumptions are in question.

    The DNA programming required to create life capable of replicating in even the most simple single celled organism is far far more complex than anything mankind has ever built. Given this it is not to far of a stretch to see why people look for intelligence. Plus the Man in the Sky tells people to treat each other with respect. The Dirt Ball in the Sky just gets you dirty. Neither has been proven fact but one has been proven wrong.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Kyle

      You had me until "one has been proven wrong". Well, multiple spiritual religions have been proven wrong throughout time.
      I think you're just about as bad as everyone else, trying to rationalize your own beliefs. They're your beliefs; they aren't suppose to be fact. So quit trying to act like they are. Believe in what you want, and quit qualifying your own beliefs based on how many other people believe the same thing. It's not important.

      Science isn't about belief or convenience. It's about using quantifiable data to draw a conclusion. These results are usually at odds with beliefs, and they may not necessarily be accurate. But your projection of religious taboo on science is absurd. No scientist comes to a conclusion because it's "convenient". Well, maybe they do, but it certainly doesn't hold up to peer review.

      And science, much like business, isn't a big conspiracy. It's just people doing things.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • brs

      wow you have no idea what you're talking about...everything you said is wrong in this statement...i am now dumber for having read it

      March 14, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • 1ofTheFallen

      Kyle – My point is that neither science (Big Bang, Evolution) or God and religion is a proven fact. So why does anyone have to be stupid for their beliefs? They do not it's only because people are not open minded but are to rigid to see another point of view.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      where are you getting this idea of 'big dirt ball in the sky' from?

      March 14, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  6. The Jackdaw

    A real scientist does not walk around NASA spouting his personal views like this. If he were a true scientist, he would search for evidence and base hypotheses on this evidence, instead of drawing a conclusion and hammering evidence to fit his views. This guy may be smart and have a scientific degree, but he is doing a disservice to his field of science.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • 1ofTheFallen

      It's amazing how many of these so called intelligent evolutionist are afraid to have a open minded intelligent discussion about the issue. When hard questions are asked with no good answers they respond with A) It just is B) Quit harassing me.

      The simple answer is these so called scientist do not know the answer but refuse to discuss any flaws in their ideas. So therefore your stupid for asking hard questions and not accepting their belief.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      I am an "evolutionist" who is willing to have these discussions. I fine religion fascinating and beautiful, but I beleive it is a creation of mankind and nothing more, but because of that we should cherish it. However, when it comes to the real world, I require evidence and logic. I cannot simply say that because I do not fully understand something, God must have done it. That is a short and easy answer that requires no thought and it is not good enough.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      When hard questions are asked with no good answers they respond with A) god did it B) enjoy your eternity in hell.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • mike

      Actually he is a real scientist and real scientists make mistakes. His only mistake is not clarifying that his views are theoretical. (To me it is common sense)There is nothing wrong with theory as long as it is presented as theory and not fact. Even coming from a scientist. Most people understand that you need evidence in order to claim something to be fact and that a theory is just that, a theory!

      March 14, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  7. U are A TOOL if u think BELIEVING in science makes you smarter than beliving in GOD

    How is that an oxymoron, exactly?

    You DO realize that your brand of evolutionary science is FUNDAMENTALLY based on THEORY, as is the VAST MAJORITY of SCIENCE? AND THAT THEORY, BY DEFINITION, HAS NOT BEEN ACTUALLY PROVEN.

    NOT very long ago, scientist were CERTAIN that larmarkian evolution was the "truth"

    or that Eistein's theory of relativity was "bullet proof genius"

    NOW....not so much.

    GET A CLUE: your "knowledge" is based on faith and the limits of human reason! Have you EVER seen an atom? NO. But you believe it to be there because OTHER PEOPLE'S THEORIES & limited human reasoning skills have lead to a consensus.

    The THEORY of evolution has NEVER BEEN PROVEN, dummies!

    The theory of evolution, which may very well be AND IS FALSE, is JUST THAT- A THEORY!

    March 14, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Errogant2

      I think that you need to go find out what the word theory means as it applies to scientific investigation. You might also want to lay off of the caffeine.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      Creationists argue that evolution is "only a theory and cannot be proven."

      As used in science, a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena.

      Any scientific theory must be based on a careful and rational examination of the facts. A clear distinction needs to be made between facts (things which can be observed and/or measured) and theories (explanations which correlate and interpret the facts.

      A fact is something that is supported by unmistakeable evidence. For example, the Grand Canyon cuts through layers of different kinds of rock, such as the Coconino sandstone, Hermit shale, and Redwall limestone. These rock layers often contain fossils that are found only in certain layers. Those are the facts.

      It is a fact is that fossil skulls have been found that are intermediate in appearance between humans and modern apes. It is a fact that fossils have been found that are clearly intermediate in appearance between dinosaurs and birds.

      Facts may be interpreted in different ways by different individuals, but that doesn't change the facts themselves.

      Theories may be good, bad, or indifferent. They may be well established by the factual evidence, or they may lack credibility. Before a theory is given any credence in the scientific community, it must be subjected to "peer review." This means that the proposed theory must be published in a legitimate scientific journal in order to provide the opportunity for other scientists to evaluate the relevant factual information and publish their conclusions.

      Creationists refuse to subject their "theories" to peer reviews, because they know they don't fit the facts. The creationist mindset is distorted by the concept of "good science" (creationism) vs. "bad science" (anything not in agreement with creationism). Creation "scientists" are biblical fundamentalists who can not accept anything contrary to their sectarian religioius beliefs.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • justme

      and how about that great piltdown man find? oh yeah that was a proven scam like all these boys living off the gov't grants.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • U are A TOOL if u think BELIEVING in science makes you smarter than believing in GOD

      errogant2- what an APPROPRIATE name!

      Theory in science is just that, you stupid uneducated ape! I guess it's lost on you that scientists are precise with their words!

      Theory of evolution has NEVER been proven. It's not a law, like the laws of thermodynamics. What a simpleton!

      March 14, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Kyle

      "Theory of evolution has NEVER been proven. It's not a law, like the laws of thermodynamics. What a simpleton!"

      Yes, because ad hominem attacks and persistent use of the caps-lock button are not signs of simplistic thinking. I wish you could see me rolling my eyes at you.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "Theory of evolution has NEVER been proven. It's not a law, like the laws of thermodynamics. What a simpleton!"

      scientific theory and laws deal with two different areas. Laws describe observed phenomenon, theories are a scientific explanation of the observed phenomenon.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  8. ziegfeldf

    Anyone who believes in "intelligent design" couldn't possibly be a good scientist...which is perfectly acceptable ground for termination.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • doc doc

      Excellent point, I applaud you!

      March 14, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • ziegfeldf

      Thanks. The truth, most likely, is that he was fired more for being unbelievably annoying than for the particular content of his opinions.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  9. Truefax

    Wonder what would happen if a Muslim or Hindu scientist came to work and started prosroselytizing... hmm?

    Suka deserved to be fired.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  10. hippypoet

    this is an easy thing to figure out folks... why all the convo?

    if you seek the beginning of the universe and believe in god then you are going to look for certain things that prove your stance on the subject. A true scientist allows for any and all possibilities. The answer is always unknown until it is known! Inshort you will twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts!

    March 14, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • doc doc

      there is this little point involving Occam's Razor which prohibits really wigged out theories, when simplier explanations exist

      March 14, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • dudeuloose

      Exactly!! So why not leave the idea of creation open? It is just as valid as evolution! You accept only your view and theory but when someone with a different view comes along then all of a sudden you are not as accepting! Hypocrite.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Kyle

      dudeuloose: intelligent design is on the table. But "what else could it possibly be?" isn't proof of it. If scientists come to the conclusion of intelligent design, you think they're going to sweep it under the rug? Right now all observable evidence points to evolution, and not intelligent design. If you want that to change, then go dig up quantifiable evidence. But don't change what science is because it's more convenient for you.

      Once again, intelligent design is still a valid option, however there simply hasn't been any observable evidence to elude that it's actually true. In science, you start from the bottom and work your way up. You don't assume what the answer is and work towards it. I feel like some people just lack a fundamental understanding of the scientific process.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "Exactly!! So why not leave the idea of creation open? It is just as valid as evolution!"

      How is 'it was magic' as valid as scientific observation?

      March 14, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  11. Oh Well

    Pure irony...how evolution eradicates bigots like this one. Soon he will vanish in some dark corner, or perhaps he will go to work for Santorum.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Lying for Science is still lying

      Please do not misuse the term evolution this way. Evolution has nothing to do with a dude losing his job. The term is misunderstood as is without your misuse of it.

      March 15, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  12. MyTake

    Thank Zeus for this guys termination. He suit will go nowhere even if his god work overtime ... 😉 There is no room in the workplace for this garbage.
    The same thing would happen at my work.
    People like this that would bring a suit in order to bring attention to themselves are nothing more than zealot d-bags

    March 14, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  13. What Now

    Actually, I doubt he was fired over his views. However, when you try to shove your views down everyones throat, well that may be the problem. Scientists are actually very tolerant of differing views, that is how we learn. Yet, forcing ones unsubstantiated views on others is unprofessional and annoying.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • DemFL

      Yup, that's what you get when you FORCE your views on those not wanting to hear them. At work you keep your mouth shut, period. I do find a conflict between Intelligent Design and Science, you can't have both in the lab as you are looking for facts and not myths. I fire you too.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • PatriotVet76

      Good synopsis!

      He was his own worst enemy. He was warned, many times, prior to termination. He chose to ignore the warnings.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • What Now

      DEMFL...actually, I don't believe in creationism. I only believe in facts with repeatable studies. Nothing belongs in a lab except reality. When I say differing views, I mean peer review...not devine intervention.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  14. Tim

    The theory of Intelligent Design is the science without a brain

    March 14, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      Catchy but meaningless.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • jimtanker

      The theory of Intelligent Design is neither a theory or intelligent.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  15. Nicholas Robinson

    Intelligent design is the condom that should have been used to prevent that guy from being born.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  16. m derosa

    I'm amazed at the hatred coming from atheists on this comment board. I don't hate you because you don't believe in a Creator. Why do you hate those that do?

    March 14, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      There is no hate. We just want the the slowest members of the class to catch up with the rest of us.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • MyTake

      No hate. Just annoyance. We don't need these kind of headlines just at a time when the American education system needs more people to pursue the field of science.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • What Now

      I don't think it's hate. I think is frustration. Frustration with the intolerance of some ultra religous people who ignore science and factual information. It's fear that our country will fall further behind in our world standing because of ignorance.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • vbscript2

      "Frustration with the intolerance of some ultra religous people who ignore science and factual information."

      Your post didn't come across as particularly tolerant, either.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Erik

      Oh the rife hatred "acknowledgement of facts" is so deplorable.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • ron

      hi derosa,

      there are people on both sides who "hate", and they are usually the loudest proponents of their view.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • eric

      I think that the problem that they have is that you can not prove a negative such as the non existence of God to do so would require a person to have direct access to all locations in the universe at one instant in time. As a result of the above problem the only way that they feel that they can try to silence the opposition is to belittle and attack their character. Their anger may come from the fact that they do not like the idea that they might have to be accountable to a higher authority (God) when they die and our witnessing to them reminds them of this event that they have to look forward to unless they repent and accept Jesus as their Savior before they die.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  17. felix_in_Mass

    Co-workers had complained that he was harassing them over debates about his [BLANK} and coercing them in the workplace into watching DVD programs about {BLANK}. You can fill in those blanks with whatever you want (intelligent design or something else). Either way, I see proper reason for termination.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • DaveinSC

      Absolutely. When it gets to the point of co-workers complaining, it's obvious his approaches went beyond a casual discussion.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • vbscript2

      How do you "coerce" someone to watch a DVD? It seems likely that the complaints were unmerited, though there's not enough information in the article to show one way or the other. Hopefully the trial will sort out the truth. Instructing someone not to talk to their co-workers about religion and/or politics is likely illegal, though. If that happened, his suit has merit.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  18. Adam

    Believe what you want to believe. But when you start shoving your beliefs down other people's throats...then we have problems. If a lot of coworkers were complaining about his workplace behavior...I'd say the the firing was justifiable.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  19. Typinator

    If the description of this guy's behavior in the workplace is correct then it's familiar. The person I'm thinking of didn't have an open mind, they wouldn't listen, and they seemed obsessed with trying to convince everyone else of their position in a non-work related political subject. It was a relief when they moved on.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  20. Thinquer

    This isn't about disobeying his supervisors and creating an uncomfortable and unproductive work environment. This is an highly intelligent scientist daring to not overlook the all the possibilities that are evident based on observable facts. This is about real science and unrestricted freedom of thought, daring to think higher than the droned group-think model. David Coppedge is daring to say, the Emperor (NASA) has no clothes! And the emperor in this case says, "off with his head". REMEMBER GALILEO! Remember Galileo...

    March 14, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • SpacePhD

      He's NOT a scientist. And to say he is insults scientist everywhere, especially the religious ones. I have many scientist friends (some work on Cassini) that are devout Christians and would never think to do anything like this in the work place.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • bud in NC

      How do you know? Where you there?

      March 14, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Ed

      "based on observable facts" – ID cannot be proved.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Kreslev

      It has nothing to do with his actual religion. Work is not the place to try to evangelize especially if people feel they are being harassed. I work with people of many different faiths and beliefs. Just because I don't agree with them on certain points doesn't mean I should bring DVDs or berate them about my opinion. Live and let live. I believe faith is shown by love and example not harassment. I am always open to calm, open discussion as long as it is done with respect to both sides.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • IsaacNewton

      How old is the universe, or polyverse? God created the world in 7 days, but, how long did it take Him to create the Universe? There are a million questions, maybe a few thousand really, about the creation of life and the universe. Who is to know ? I can say for certainty that is was longer than 6,000 years ago as some would assert. One of the worst things you can do at work is talk about your personal views and try to push them on anybody else. That seems to be his problem.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "REMEMBER GALILEO! Remember Galileo..."

      The irony being that he was threatened by the church for going against the whole 'god did it' argument, which is what this guy was trying to claim, and has nothing to do with 'real science'

      March 14, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Less Bias

      Sad, but true. We once again have religious folks out there that suggest their deeply held spiritual beliefs should silence science. Any legitimate scientist knows that ID is not a scientific theory since supernatural beings, by definition, are not part of the natural world which science describes. Science (by hypothesis, testing, theory, and experimentation) describes the natural processes of the universe. Religion describes the supernatural world. Historically speaking, every time the two have intersected, Science has come out as the winner (chariots pulling the sun across the sky, the Earth being flat, the Sun revolving around the Earth, etc.) To any of you who believe ID should be given equal time, please present even one single experiment that has *positively* indicated it. Note that by "positively", I mean an experiment that has demonstrated some component of ID. Citing some experiment that supposedly disproves some perceived competing theory doesn't cut it. See "false dilemma".

      March 14, 2012 at 11:58 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.