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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. ScienceSoma

    The problem with ID is that it is not scientific at its core. Science starts with observations and evidence and draws a conclusion based on that data set. ID starts with the conclusion and tries to find evidence and observations to fit it, a sort of reverse engineered hypothesis. Michael Behe tried to encapsulate it scientifically with his irreducible complexity idea, and it was a great example of how science works. Behe presented the evidence for his hypothesis, Ken Miller proved how each piece of evidence he put forward was false, and the theory of evolution once again proved to be the top candidate to explain the phenomena of biological changes over time. ID has never brought forth one substantial claim to support itself. If ever someone does bring forth such evidence, they will be heralded and awarded with a Nobel Prize for shattering one of the most well supported theories in science and we will all benefit for having advanced our understanding of our world. Since that day is unlikely, we stick with evolution as it has done the exact same with the theories that came before it and is still king of the mountain.

    March 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Lion

      Ok well, lets think about this for a moment... The observation: I exsist, as well as you, and everything else. The evidence: Me, you and everything else. The conclusion: We are here, and everything else. The next step is to figure out why... so, method 1: gravity+energy(in a state where matter is 0, yet mass is infinite[speculative])=our source and the source of everything. method 2: god+(gravity+energy[in a state where matter is 0, yet mass is infinite[speculative]]=our source and the source of everything. Now, lets dig deeper... you say "well who created god?"... I say "well how did the gravity get there?"

      As far as it is understood (for me that is), god is responsible for the exsistance of everything observable. As far as you understand, nothing is responsible, it just happened to be that way.

      So, isnt both of our views the same darn thing on that part?

      No, im not trying to mix god and science. What I am saying is, stop dogging someone for believing in something, when you too are believing in something not so diffrent.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Lion

      Please don't misunderstand what I say. Believe me, I am not your average christian and i was only trying to simplify the matter. I know there are alot of so called christians out there that do things that would be considered disgusting to the christ (based on my belief). And thats simply because the book they live by, they have never read even a whole page on. You can tell as by how ignorant they sound.

      All that I am saying is, you cant see air, air is not observable. Yet you know its there because of the effect that it has on you... you can breathe. God is there (as i understand) though you cannot see him, and he isnt obervable, yet you are here. Take god out, and now you have a million + 1 possible other reasons for us to be here. The question is, what makes sense at that point. Not to be the easy way out. But it is plausible for me to tell you that gravity doesnt exsist because we cant see it, and we cant smell it, taste it, think it, make it or anything. But its there.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • ScienceSoma

      Your point speaks to the limitation of human knowledge. I think every generation of humans tends to think they have all the answers in some respect, but the truth is – we don't know. We can speculate, but we do not know. What you have provided is called the God of the Gaps argument. Where I say we do not know what came before the big bang, you say god. Where there was not an explanation for disease, the sun or for seasons, there was a god until those things were explained. So, you are using the same mechanism that humans long before us have used – we fill our knowledge voids with a god. You are right, it is the same thing – neither one of us know the answer, but instead of stopping and giving up and saying "its god", science's job is to keep asking until it finds an answer. If you assert a god here, you must provide some evidence as to why it fits and is the best possible answer given the evidence. The fact that we do not know does not mean we have no hypotheses – possible explanations – but none of them are conclusive enough to be established. Throw the god assertion in the mix and it is one more explanation that needs evidence. I am consistent in that I will accept the explanation that has evidence. Where cosmogony is concerned – until some evidence is presented to make a god the top candidate, I maintain the default position of not knowing.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Scientist

      Lion– It comes back to the question asked. "Why we are here" is not a scientific question and presupposes purpose (leave that to philosophers and religion). The scientific question would be "How we got here".

      March 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • ScienceSoma

      Lion – we should define our terms. I think you are using observation to mean human senses and I use observation to mean any of our five senses or measuring tools created as an extension of those senses. Air and gravity are both observable to the point that we have been able to define predictable models to describe how they function. Your argument for god is a non sequitur and an argument known as argumentum ad ignorantiam – argument from ignorance. This does not mean you are ignorant, it means your argument has built in exclusion of other explanations. You say it is not observable, yet you know it exists because humans exist. You do not cross the logical bridge necessary to get to god from human existence. In a string where A leads to B leads to C, etc., you have stated that A leads to Z with no explanation in between. You assert that proof for a god's existence is the same as proof that I have a great great great great grandmother. If a god is required just as a natural source of origin, what is required for the god's origin? And that god's origin, and that god's origin ad nauseum. Why does that god have no god?

      March 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Lion

      @ScienceSoma; @Scientist

      This was part of my point. Now I am keeping it very simplistic as to not go too in to details so that most others are able to follow. By the way, I have to pause here to thank you both for your very respectable replys. I appreciate that you have put thought in your replies. Now, I can dig deeper and deeper using god, in some sort of fashion, or even in a very minimalistic manner, meaning, god only intervened by causing the big bang, the rest, we have figured out. Now we can all say, that perhaps its possible, but we dont have evidence that this is how it happened. Because that is true. We dont. And I accept this truth, not just with my heart, but with my knowledge that I have taken in over the years of not just bible prophesy, but bible facts.

      The truth is, christianity (in the true form) does not involve magic, or miracles, until the point where Jesus was involved. Everything else is either symbolic, or factual. It is up to the reader to interpret as they wish from there.

      Back to the ID/Evo/BB...

      It is impossible for any of us, as individuals, or all of us combined to prove God, on the terms that most understand, and in terms of what is humanly possible. Not throwing religion in the mix, but the bible itself explains that God is not a tangible being, and his being, exsists outside of all of our universal laws. Its not exactly in plain english, but it is explained to that extent. Additionally, the Genesis account in the bible is written in a symbolic manner, and only explains that God made it happen, with order, and made something out of nothing. It doesnt explain his origins, substance, or much more, other than his character, motive and goal, asside from moral laws, codes of conduct, right from wrong, and how to manage life, all while believing in him. That is the essential basis for believing in him. There is obviously more to it of course, but this is just the tip.

      On the origin of species, space, time, matter, mass, gravity, as with what we see, or can measure, we try to explain our own cause of exsistance, or for some, that "how".

      This is why I side with the scientists, as religion doesnt explain how. It only explains why, depending on what you believe. As for the how, we dont have to care about it, but we do, hence we created science to figure it all out. And for those reasons, this is why science cannot prove god, as god doesnt exsist in a measurable state, and is outside of our universal laws. Religion will not explain how, because it is trying to teach us how to be.

      I am only trying to get the two sides to stop fighting over something that is moot. Water will never mix with oil. They are both for diffrent purposes, and belong withing their own purpose only.

      God bless you all.

      March 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Lion

      Sorry, I noticed a typo...
      I said that I side with scientists earlier, but I was referring to HOW we got here. God doesnt explain that in the bible. The bibles purpose is WHY.

      Thats all.

      March 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  2. JT

    Perhaps this guy was actually a plant to see if anyone on the JPL staff would come out as also a believer in majic and talking snakes. Therefore, JPL would know that a mission was in danger kind of like the nut who destroyed the mission in the movie "Contact".

    March 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  3. BL

    Look closely at Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, Mississippi and Alabama. Now tell me there's anything intelligent about this design. However, I am willing to concede that Callista's Gingrich's hair may be the product of a higher power.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  4. hector

    anybody who believes that we came from monkey, needs to have his brain check. I never believe in new world order conspiracy, but lately I think the probably right (conspiracy theorist) the new word order is real.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Vance

      Relax, have a banana. And don't worry about the lump in the middle, it's just an miniature microphone and tracking device.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • asdf

      I just don't even understand why people find it so hard to believe we evolved from primates. They look exactly like us. They are the smartest non-human animals. They act like us. Some even have societies where they trade services and food. Their DNA is like 99% the same as ours. What is it that's SO unbelievable?

      March 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • coyote

      Evolution does not say that we evolved "from" monkeys. Evolution is a record of common ancestry. Meaning that modern primates all have a common ancestor, not that all humans were once monkeys. People who argue against evolution rarely understand exactly what it is. Especially those who argue that evolution is "just a theory".

      March 14, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Commenter

      hector,

      Humans did not "come from" monkeys - we share the same extinct ancestor.

      Squirrels and mice have the same extinct ancestor. I hope that you wouldn't say that mice "come from" squirrels.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  5. ScienceSoma

    With the caveat that my opinion is based only on what is provided in this article, it seems the man's belief in ID is irrelevant. If you create an atmosphere in which coworkers constantly complain about you and you make it difficult to accomplish the task at hand, that is grounds for termination. It does not matter if you want to debate ID, prop 8, or whether viruses are a life form. There is polite discourse and agitated forced debates. If he continuously engages in the latter, he cannot be a valuable contributor to a group effort. It is only newsworthy because of the faux ID vs. evolution, "teach the controversy" debate that the ID groups are latching onto as some sort of glaring injustice. It is similar to the cherry picked details of the scientists' stories in Stein's "Expelled".

    March 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • coyote

      Very much agreed!

      March 14, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  6. Nii

    Jake a little bit of CSI will show u interpretation as part of de Scientific Method. We gather evidence but we do have to interprete which is a subjective affair. ID will not put an end to scientific research. It has been de dominant origin theory for ages. It fell out of favour but its being revive

    March 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • asdf

      Its only being revived by laymen, not scientists. Also, we thought the Earth was the center of the universe for a long time too. ID is not science because it has no evidence to support it. The only "evidence" that ID proponents claim is silly thought experiments like the watch on the beach thing or other factual misrepresentations that have been completely debunked.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Joe T.

      The earth being flat and everything else revolving around it were dominant theories for a long time too.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Jake

      You've got it backwards. Scientific research will put an end to ID (except for the inevitable few who will cling to their beliefs in the face of any and all evidence). This is why religious groups fight science.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Ed

      ID was never dominant, has been thoroughly debunked, and was ruled not science by a federal court in Kitzmiller v. Dover PA School Board. Keep up.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Scientist

      Jake– ID never had a start for science to put an end to.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Primewonk

      1st – Please post the scientific theory of ID.

      2nd – Post the citations to the peer-reviewed scientific journals where this theory was published, preferably Science, Nature, or Cell.

      3rd – Please list the (accredited) Universities that are doing research in ID

      4th – Please list the "things" that the ldiots claim are irreducibly complex, that have turned out to actually be irreducibly complex.

      We'll get to the stuff ones after you answer these.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  7. JoeProv

    When I am at work I am a captive audience to all the nut bags around the office – if one of them creates an atmosphere of hostility then they need to be fired – it doesn’t matter if its religion, sports or even vegetarian vs. meat eater – you cannot harass your coworkers. Sounds like this guy was a super nut bag even handing out DVD’s and other propaganda. Religion and politics and work don’t mix and everyone knows it. Besides why make products that are safe if your convinced that the victims are going to a better place or getting their due punishment. Sounds like he is not turning his cheek.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  8. Vance

    As an Atheist I think intelligent design could very well be "possible". Humans are flawed, as are many biological creatures. It could very well be a possibility that what we know was created by some sort of "cosmic" scientist. Not unlike the simulations we create in computers. After all life when broken down is nothing but a series of chemical reactions and mathematical equations.

    With all the imperfections in the world intelligent design may make "perfect sense". Our scientist are not perfect. So why would our "cosmic designers" be perfect? What does not make sense is a perfect all knowing God. I was raised a Christian. As I grew I realized that Christianity was not the only religion on Earth. So, who is right? Who is wrong? I have a feeling the truth is something greater than any of us have ever imagined. Sans any Dogma.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Lion

      I dont agree with you entirely, but i agree with your presentation. I have to give you all the respect possible. Thank you for being a mature person. And, no I am not being sarcastic. I mean that. A lot of "us" here can bennefit from this example.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  9. will fraser

    Intelligent design is not science. Period.
    End of story. The vatican says its not even religion.(or science)
    BWAH HA HAHAHAH
    If you are a flaming creationist, get help.
    No "Magic" in scinece
    ID proponernts Behe and Dembski have been thoroughly
    disenfranchised by the science community because their work is philosophical religious garbage designed only for the gullible and unreasoned. Those with actual expertise in their fields say they're a joke.
    If you seriously think they are onto something. Congratualtions, you're a Discoveroid Bible beater making an ass out of yourself in front of the entire world. Oooooooooogggitty boooogity..
    You are dismissed.
    🙂

    March 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • TBM

      Many of those who disenfranchised those scientists are believers of a different philosophy, hence their Ph.D. I'm not saying that any side is right or wrong. I'm just saying that if some scientists believe in one pholosophy, and disagree with others who believe in a different philosophy doesn't mean anything other than a difference in beliefs.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  10. paganguy

    "Intelligent Design" pushers are the most annoying people in the world. I've had the bad luck of coming across a few of them. If there was an intelligent design, these demagogs must be the production rejects. I don't understand why are they participating in this crusade? Is it money, personal satisfaction or just to annoy people?

    March 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Commenter

      They are scared and greedy creatures, who are not satisfied with one life-time, and must cling onto the idea of MORE to come. They are addicted to the emotional high and euphoria that their delusions bring them.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  11. dave

    To follow the intelligent design logic, that of 'it is so complex that there must have been a designer', to be consistent, they must also conclude by default that math is designed by intelligent design. Math is so complex that the code of life – DNA – can be put in mathematical terms on a DVD. Math is infinitely complex, and most would agree 'math' exists outside of our existence. So if math is complex, it must have been designed, therefore someone must have made some choices in the design of math. If you are not making choices, you are not designing.

    'But a choice is not a choice unless you could have choosen differently. God could have arranged matters so that two plus two makes five..... If arithmetic couldn't have been different, it can't have been designed. If arithmetic wasn't designed, then at least one irreducibly complex structure (take out the '3' and it falls apart) exists without a designer. If an irreducibly complex structure can exist without a designer, then the Intelligent Design arguement is wrong." – Steven Landsburg

    March 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  12. Joel

    Christianity . . . only an idiot believes in a 2,000 year old Bronza Age fable. Jesus, people (no pun intended), come into the 21st century. Do you understand how many religions lie on the trash heap of civilization? Christianity is just another dogma and will one day be just another ignorant, abandoned belief system. It will be looked on by future generations as we now look on the ancient Greeks and Romans who believed in their pantheon of gods, or the Druids, Aztecs or Maya. Virgin birth? Resurrection? A 6,000 year old planet? What morons. It is stunning that, after 6 centuries of scientific advancement, so many simpletons still exist.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Commentator21

      Perhaps before you dismiss those who believe in the Bible as simpletons you might try to do some research in Bible prophecy and the nation of Israel and how it is virtually impossible for these people to have survived over thousands of years and now even their nation is a miracle. Look how everything is lining up for all the prophecies in the Bible to be fulfilled (aside from the hundreds that already have). Or perhaps you can pause for a moment and think about all the paranormal activity that goes on from UFO's to ghosts and spirits and you will realize that science does not have all the answers and there is little more to life than what society will have you believe. Your views are respected but a little respect for other people's views would make you seem less ignorant.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Joel

      Wow, "Commentator21", thanks for proving my point so effectively.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Commenter

      Commentator21,

      Your wide-eyed wonder at fulfilled "prophecy" is lamentable.

      See here, if you have an honest bone in your body:

      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/proph/long.html

      March 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  13. Jake

    This case is about one thing and one thing only: Religious money attacking a scientific organization that actively uncovers information that makes religion less and less relevant. Religious organizations are trying to claim a legal right to force scientific organizations to employ people who actively don't believe in science.

    It is completely crazy to think an elite scientific organization should have to employ someone who doesn't believe in science...the even scarier part is I wouldn't be very surprised if the religious side wins this case.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • JoeProv

      Perfectly said.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Scientist

      There is no such thing as belief in science in this context. Science is not a religion; either you accept science or you don't.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  14. Reality

    What we do know: (from the fields of astrophysics, nuclear physics, geology and the history of religion)

    1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

    2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

    3. One wayward rock and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

    4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

    5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

    6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

    7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode catalytically at any time ending life on Earth.

    Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 trillion years?

    No mention of a creator in this scenario

    Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • paganguy

      All religions are based on man's fear of death. The preachers know it; they promise you eternal life for money. They know you will not be able to get a refund.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • WASP

      @paganguy: lmfao, thanks for the laugh i needed that.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  15. Deathstalker

    I don't think anyone cares too much really.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  16. Kishore

    Multiple universes and multiple dimensions are OK. Intelligent design is not. LMAO!

    March 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Mike

      intelligent design = fairy tale

      March 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Kishore

      evolution = lie

      March 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Rick

      Evolution = An elaborate theory that attempts to provide evidence to the mans existence without any proof thereof. In one word = LIE

      March 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Jake

      How is evolution elaborate? And how can a theory "try" to do anything? Evolution is simply the observed changes in species over time as they adapt and improve to survive. It's not complicated.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Kishore

      Even if the so called observed changes have gaps each the size of Grand Canyon?

      March 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Rick

      Oberved?!?! What did ya observer about complex cell structures/systems evolving?

      March 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Rick

      Oberved?!?! What did ya observe about complex cell structures/systems evolving?

      March 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Jake

      Those "gaps" continue to get filled in constantly. The fact that we don't know everything is not an argument to ignore what we DO know.

      I just don't get why anyone would deny evolution. It's so simple and obvious. Beings who get lucky and have attributes that help them survive tend to survive and pass those attributes on to their offspring. Hence, evolution. There are literally millions of observable examples. Trying to deny this undermines anything else you could say.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Kishore

      Micro evolution, Yes. Macro evolution, No.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Mike

      Multiple universes is an idea proposed by physicists and cosmologists based on the verifiable evidence to this point. It certainly is not proven and may never be proven by hard evidence. Nobody's saying multiple universes are "okay" and intelligent design is "not okay". You're free to use the intelligent design idea as your personal explanation of how the world came to be. It's just that there's no verifiable evidence for it. Since there is no evidence for it (saying "just look around you at the world's complexity!" is not the same as verifiable evidence), intelligence design doesn't hold any water as a scientific explanation of the world's origin, you see? Problem is, faith-based people who want to cling to this god idea don't understand science. If they did understand it, they would acknowledge that intelligent design is just a nice idea that confirms their religion-based beliefs about God and the universe.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Rick

      Those duplicate posts above were for Jake.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Kishore

      Mike, who said anything about God?! Damn it! Saying that there is evidence of intelligence behind the universe is NOT the same as sayign that there is a God behind the universe. One simple evidence is the human DNA. It has so much code even the most advanced super computers can't store that much data nor decode the embedded code.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Multiple dimensions – solid math in theoretical physics explaining every experimental data that has ever been gathered in relation to physics
      Evolution – theory based off data collected over hundreds of years and observations that add credence to the theory
      ID – ignoring data that has been collected over the past few hundred years and jumping to a conclusion based off a book that has been proven false many times before (no global flood etc etc.). Which sounds like the better theory to you?

      March 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Kishore

      Math = on paper.
      Evolution = gaps
      ID = a valid premise based on evidence that random processes cannot assemble complex life by themselves.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Jake

      I responded Rick. I'm not sure what you're looking for – we have fossils showing how species have changed over time (which is called evolution). If you're asking whether I have seen evolution take place with my eyes, no. I haven't seen South America either, I've seen enough evidence to know it exists.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Jake

      Kishore, how can you say that Intelligent Design and god aren't one in the same? Intelligent DESIGN requires a designer. Isn't that what most people call god? Indeed, that is precisely the reason that religious groups promote the debunked concept of Intelligent Design, because if true, it would mean there is or was a god who designed / created us.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      The random process of a child being born with a birth defect shows that your premise is flawed. Random processes can and do lead to more complication. And claiming that micro evolution is true but then that macro isn't is crazy. What happends when lots of little micro evolutionary changes add up? answer: macro evolution. The whole theory of ID starts with a flawed idea that there is something bigger than us that can design us. Since there is zero proof of this and evolution does not contain this idea, then evolution is the better, and more logical theory.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Kishore

      It looks designed (based on patterns everywhere in the universe, including at the micro level) It looks controlled (governed by strict physical laws). Hence it is not random. that's all I can say. Should there be a designer? I don't know.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Rick

      Jake-You have fossil evidence to prove macro evolution? Really? where have ya been hiding the evidence all these years? Here is your chance go ahead and prove it!

      March 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Kishore

      @ "I am the best" –

      random = chaos. Order is the opposite of chaos. The universe is orderly. Hence it is not random.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Jake

      Rick, I've been hiding it in a google search for "evolution evidence". I probably should have thought of a better hiding spot. Shoot, I think I accidentally hid it in books at thousands of libraries as well.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ Kishore
      And physical laws keep the universe orderly. Physics explains physical laws and the math of theoretical physics explains physics itself. That doesn't change the fact that an animal born with an abnormality which makes it more complex but also better suited to survive would live to pass on that gene to it's children and slowly to the entire species. With this happening over billions of years it can easily lead to very complex life. Evolution is the best theory for this instead of everything just appearing the way it is.

      @ Rick
      Look up transitional fossils. The evidence for macro evolution has been around for quite some time.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Jake

      Rick, we have fossils from different human species over the periods of millions of years and they gradually become more and more like what we're like today. Given that, how could you possibly claim we didn't evolve over time? I just can't even imagine what you're claim is.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  17. Nii

    ID is an extrapolated theory like Evolution is. Both are valid theories because they use the same evidence though interpreted differently. They are not laws.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Jake

      No, intelligent design is not a valid theory. Factual evidence makes it obvious that we were not "designed", but evolved.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Scientist

      ID is not a theory, it is not even an observation. A scientific theory must stand on its own, which ID cannot do.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Ed

      false – ID started, unscientifically, with the conclusion of 'God created everything' and then sought out evidence to support it such as 'irreducible complexity'. ID ignores the mountain of evidence that does not support ID and its a priori conclusion. All of the evidence must be considered when deriving a conclusion, not just suppositions that fit your world-view.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  18. sgm

    Some one o this board suggested he should have been offed psychological help. psychological help? He has his beliefs, not some disease. (I totally disagree with his beliefs, btw) but the workplace is not the appropriate place for these kinds of discussions and he's lucky his butt wasn't discharged long ago. what ever your beliefs, there should be no discussion at work. work is for work. period. and no person should feel trapped in their workplace , trying to do their job,but having to listen to someone else going on about their beliefs. I don't care if you are an atheist, or dedicated to god, whether you are pro democrat or pro republican or libertarian. pro gun control or a member of the NRA. he was cautioned, and the management has a responsibility to those employs feeling harassed. work is work. leave these discussions (and associated posters, literature, DVDs) at home. Unless he's in an occupation where discussions of those beliefs are part of the job tasks (such as some professor of theology), he needed to go. so when layoffs came, it makes sense that the employee who is generating a hostile atmosphere should be on the list. a long day at work is hard enough without your coworker prattling on and on.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Nii

      I did but what I said was that if they felt he cudn't be reasoned with then he must have been unstable but if he cud have been then they have no reason to sack him.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  19. Kishore

    So what caused the big bang again?! ROFL!

    March 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Rick

      You didn't know that? Apparently things can form by itself all of a sudden out of nowhere with no cause defying the laws of cause and effect.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Mike

      Easy. The big bang was a random scientific event.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Kishore

      I see. So randomly, starting from nothing, my bank balance can "inflate" to near infinity tomorrow?

      March 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Nii

      please the Big Bang is a theory. Event is an observed phenomena at a definite time. Theres nothing like English in Science only scientific terminology.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Adam C

      Anything sounds insane when you end it with a ROFL!. Watch:

      A man got two of every species of creature of the entire planet, fit them onto a boat, and then survived a world-wide flood? ROFL!

      Actually, even without the ROFL! that one is pretty insane...

      March 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Kishore

      Nii, I am not disputing the bing bang. I am questioning what caused it as in what could be the first cause? What's behind singularity?

      March 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  20. NJD

    I'm sure the management at JPL wasn't born yesterday and had some pretext for laying this guy off other than an argument over ID...

    March 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
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About this blog

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.