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.

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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. PrimeNumber

    Atheists establish criteria by which they accept or reject the existence of God. The idea of god does not meet their criteria, so they disbelieve in god. I would like to know this: how does the atheist know if his criteria is adequate or relevant. He only assumes so, it seems.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Every atheist will come to the disbelief in a "god" differently. There is no set "steps" to becoming an atheist. Your question would be a very subjective one that would have many different answers.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • DrewNYC

      Facts seem pretty relevant to me. It's not that we are "establishing criteria," we are simply examining facts of life, and all of the facts point to an absence in an intelligent designer. Zero facts support the idea of a God. If there ever are facts that support an ID, then yes, we'll examine it and consider it.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Jake

      It's called the null hypothesis. Atheism is the starting point. There has been no evidence suggesting we should move from that starting point.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • rosethornne

      I figured it out when I was about eight and the things adults were saying in sunday school made absolutely no sense.

      By the way, my family is religious and there was never any discussion about does god exist.

      It was just that the very idea offended something fundamentally essential to my thought processes. I kept my mouth shut and kept going to church for a few years, but it all made less and less sense to the point I couldn't stand it any more.

      I have studied many religions and history of theology and philosophy, and my conclusion is the same today, forty years later:

      There is no magical sky fairy. The universe is huge and we are tiny. Accept it and find beauty in the complexity of reality.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      My (and your) criteria is simply reality. There is no evidence in reality for the existence of a God(s).

      Do you PrimeNumber believe in all of the other Gods of civilizations past and present? Why not? History and all other religions accept them to be false .. future history will show current religions to be the same.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Prime sez:
      "Atheists establish criteria by which they accept or reject the existence of God. The idea of god does not meet their criteria, so they disbelieve in god. I would like to know this: how does the atheist know if his criteria is adequate or relevant. He only assumes so, it seems."

      Prime is partially correct in his statement. I would change it a bit by saying that I not an Atheist that has an esablished criteria ... I became an atheist because my establisehd criteria was not met. That being said my criteria for acceptance of the existance of god is evidence that is:
      Because these criteria have not been met ... I am an atheist.
      How do I know if my criteria is adequate or relevant? Honestly... because I said so, I can establish any criteria I want. The onus is upon you for proof.

      March 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • ScienceSoma

      PrimeNumber – assuming you are a theist, what criteria do you use to reject other gods of other religions as false? What criteria do they use to reject yours? You are an atheist to all gods except the one you choose, so why is that god valid over the others? Atheism is a default position that requires evidence before it begins to believe, it is not asserting a positive claim. So, in order to debate the validity of the particular set of characteristics you assign to a god concept, an atheist would have to know what those are before he/she could consider your evidence for why it is true. There are many god concepts, yet none of them show objective empirical evidence for their existence based on their claims. Your god claims may be provable once we know what those claims are and what evidence you have to support them.

      March 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • TR6

      “how does the atheist know if his criteria is adequate or relevant. He only assumes so, it seems.”

      Oh no, the criteria I use to reject the existence of god I have used very successfully against any number of nonexistent things like vampires, unicorns, big foot and UFOs. They all been disqualified as nonexistent, and a very large number of people agree with my conclusion. The criteria have also proven themselves by accepting a number of unlikely creatures that actually happen to exist, like snakes that can glide like flying squirrels and toads that thrive in the middle of a desert. Perhaps most important to this topic is that Christians would almost unanimously agree that my criteria are extremely accurate when I apply them to any religion other than Christianity

      March 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  2. rosethornne

    Well DUH a so-called scientist who doesn't believe in science should be fired!

    Why was that a topic of discussion?

    ..... And by the way, for the intelligent design crowd, how, exactly, do you DARE to disbelieve tbe evidence that was 'obviously' 'crafted' with such care to make the universe look like it's 13 billion years old? Shouldn't you just shut up and sit in the corner like goooooood little children? No asking questions! No pudding for you!

    March 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  3. bob jones

    Can a scientist be fired for believing in ID which has been so clearly rebutted and debunked as a "Theory" of any kind? I would say yes since it reflects on his poor decision making, scientific judgement and absolute asinine disregard for basic scientific method. However it's more likely that he was let go as matter of regular layouts and he has a persecution complex where none exists like so many other believers.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  4. Gumby

    Intelligent Design is simply thinly-disguised creationist hoodoo. It is not a theory, it is not science. ID is a sham.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Gods spoke to men in a time when men were much more ignorant. Seems as man became smarter...the gods and great miracles happened less and less...in fact gods become more obscure as mankind becomes less ignorant. Total ignorance of reality = Faithful follower.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Jake

      Your "name" and your post seem to be conflicting positions. Religious mental abuse is not healthy for children. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in god and says nothing about how we raise our children (other than implying that we don't brain-wash them with religious indoctrination).

      March 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      or .. there simply are no Gods and as we become more aware of our reality our imaginations no longer fill in the blanks with anthropomorphised beings and the miricles they perform for our amazement.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      It seems that God is part of reality that has not entered your experience.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      PrimeNumber .. you base that on what?
      I suggest my imagination has not required me to create a "God(s)" experience.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  6. manyote

    This person should move to Texas and seek employment with Goobernor Death, the anti-science/anti-evolution nut they have down there.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  7. Informed

    Intelligent Design was debunked as pseudo-science long ago, and most credible scientists have moved on to more pressing issues and topics. This guy wasn't even a research scientist or physicist, so why his opinion would count as anything other than the misinformed blathering of a scientist wannabe is beyond any of us. He was terminated because his services were no longer required. That decision was perhaps the ONLY thing that was done intelligently AND by design.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • gatordile

      If Intelligent Design was debunked as pseudo-science long ago then surely we know exactly how the universe came into being. Otherwise if we don't understand how the universe works then how can we exclude Intelligent Design? It doesn't seem like logical sound science to exclude something without proof of why it should be excluded. Even something like evolution and the idea that we were created by aliens both deal with the material universe. Even if we were created by aliens it still doesn't explain the existence of the universe. And if aliens created the universe then we still have Intelligent Design as the reason for our existence.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Scientist

      Gatordile– Wait, ID has nothing to do with the beginning of the universe. ID says that an intelligent being threw complex parts into the mix in order to enable more complex life....

      March 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Aside from Intelligent Design, do scientists have any idea how intelligence came into nature at all? How did crude matter produce the brain which can analyze observations, have a thought, then turn on itself and ask "why did i think that?'

      March 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Scientist

      PN– ID can't explain how your definition of how intelligence came into nature.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      Umm...science has put forth something that accounts for varying intelligences in different species.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    If she gets put to death then I guess her god was busy at a casino answering a prayer. She had better get more prayer warriors. She will end up dying for a delusion.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • granny 13 wears a nappy on her head and rambles on
      March 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  9. formerco-worker

    I worked with him when he was a contractor. JPL never should have hired him after the experiences when he was a contractor; he also wasn't up to par in job skills - but at the time, sysadmins reported to non-technical people, so they likely weren't aware of his skills nor his antics. In the early days, he would only dive into his doctrine (attempts to shock you into his belief system) off-lab when we'd go out to lunch as a group. After two lunches off-lab where he pontificated about his views on abortion and 'creation', I was done with lunch out as a team. Unfortunately, there was no way to report his 'behavior' as he worked for Contractor X, others worked for Contractor Y, and JPL had no mechanism to report it to them.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Nonimus

      No way to check your claim of being a co-worker, but your work and contractor experiences ring true.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  10. enkephalin07

    Too many scientists and lay people are unnecessarily hostile to discussing intelligent design. Too many advocates of intelligent design zealously single-minded. But the situation here will probably turn out to be as boring as it is simple.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  11. kso

    look up stromatolites on wikipedia and the rest of the internet. 3.4 billion years old. and they're not even the first sign of life in the archaen family. .
    then go look up the murcheson meteorite. it sits in the chicago field museum, i've seen it myself. it is the meteorite in which we confirmed the organic building blocks that led to life are common across the universe and specifically didn't originate singularly on this planet. 1960's era stuff. cerealzly.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  12. ScienceSoma

    I have seen the evolution vs. creationism debate take place in these forums for years, and though it always seems to become regrettably and unnecessarily angry, I have begun to think our culture does not support civilized discourse and thrives upon style over substance in debates. Not everyone behaves this way, of course, but those that do not are surely shouted down by those that do. I think my question to those of you who couple evil atheism with evolution, the big bang, and climate change is: how can we as scientists even start trying to inform you about the details of what you are arguing against if you automatically presume everything we say is a blasphemous lie?

    March 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Heroicslug

      I respect intelligent discourse, and have many friends/acquaintances who are of a religious persuasion.

      What I don't respect, when push comes to shove, is the amazing capacity for denial I see.

      The typical creationist seems to live in a world of selective sights and sounds, in my experience. Despite transitional fossils and mountains of evidence, some two thirds of Americans believe in the "6 days, 6,000 years" nonsense.

      Coupling this persistent self-delusion with the repeated attempts to convince everyone they see that evolution is somehow on shaky grounds, and the repeated attempts to find/replace "god" with "intelligent agent" and thereby turn creationism into the "scientifically valid" fabrication of Intelligent design...

      Well it's hard not to hold a low opinion of such willful self-deception.

      My children will have to go to school with these people's children one day.

      I don't relish the prospect.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      We can't have a substantive debate if one side has no substance. In this case IT has no substance in reality .. this is not an attack, it is simply true. There is nothing to connect this reality to a deity except our desire to have one.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • ScienceSoma

      Heroic, Horse – I agree with both of you. I hope that everyone examines their beliefs critically and draw conclusions accordingly, whether they are similar to my own or not. I asked the question to understand how (and if) it is possible to separate science from atheism in the minds of believers so we can truly discuss the concepts based on their evidentiary merits, not necessarily their philosophical implications if indeed there are any to be had.

      March 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  13. JohnQuest

    It seems to me that the ID proponents are missing or ignoring a few things: first, if everything that exists Needs a Creator, God exists, God Needs a Creator. By their own logic God either Needs a Creator or God does not exist. Second, to say that something can Exist without a Creator invalidates their first argument that Everything that exist need a Creator.

    Or I'm I missing something from their argument

    March 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • kso


      March 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • gatordile

      Good idea but you made a slight error here. Theists say that 1) everything that began to exist has a creator. 2) The universe began to exist. This seems like a scientifically plausible and accurate idea about the universe when we think about things like red shift. 3) Therefore the universe has a creator. This is the logic behind this theory.

      You ask about God's creation. If God had a creator then God wouldn't truly be God and God's creator would then be God. You can't go an eternity back with Gods creating Gods. There has to be a starting point where something or someone has eternally existed or nothing could ever exist. It makes more sense for someone to exist because how could something without a mind create? And if a thing (machine perhaps) did create us then who created that machine? This eternally existent being that created us is God.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  14. aj

    Science deals with facts. There is no fact in faith. That said, the guy was probably wearing Christianity as a badge and offending people instead of just doing his job quietly.

    I've been fired from machine shops because I would not pray before work.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer never works.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  15. ScienceSoma

    I also want to point out because it is often overlooked – evolution is not coupled with the origin of life. So, when we begin to discuss the origin of life, evolution has no part in that. Evolution is a model that describes how life changed over time after life began. It is not intended to offer insights into abiogenesis or the origin of life. That is a common misconception. That misconception is why people often pair atheism and evolution, but the two are not dependent upon one another.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  16. Commentator21

    So, let's say we left a hard drive, motherboard, ram chips and all the necessary cables and put all that in a room and left it there for 5 billion years, the computer would still be in pieces because there wasn't AN INTELLIGENT being putting it together. Now, lets say that the computer was put together by an extremely intelligent human (or humans) which gave it the capability to adapt, selft-update, etc. and the computer as time goes by gets better, faster and smarter.

    MICRO evolution is a FACT that does not contradict ID.
    MACRO evolution is a theory.

    This is where a lot of people miss the point in these arguments.

    In the words of Albert Einstein: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

    March 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      So your entire basis of why macroevolution cannot be valid is to compare it to an inatimate object being able to put itself together? Not a very good analogy.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Heroicslug

      I can see where you're coming from on the computer analogy, but here's the flaw:

      There are no evolutionary penalties or incentives for computers to adapt to their surroundings. A computer is indifferent to it's current state of assembly. A computer with all it's parts doesn't reproduce any better than a barebones system.

      You're essentially saying evolution can move a species by an inch, but not by a mile. But you're wrong. It can.

      Once you concede that evolution can change a species a tiny bit, you concede that it can turn a species inside out, upside down, and blue. It only takes a little environmental stimulus and a lot of time.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Bizarre


      Write an assessment/description of that computer on Day #1, and then again on Day #5,000,000,000... I'm pretty sure that you would have a quite different machine then - you might even call it something else.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • jimtanker

      The whole concept of micro/macro evolution was created by the ID people. There is no such thing. There is only evolution.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  17. Heroicslug

    He's a scientist, working at NASA.

    He can believe whatever nonsense suits him, but he cannot actively reject science in favor of creationism if he hopes to hold down a job in the scientific sector.

    I don't like commercials, hence I won't pursue a career in advertising.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Jake

      Incredibly, there are people who don't realize that science and religion are two conflicting concepts.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  18. RCB

    Atheists seem to think, if thinking they do, intelligence sprang from some space rock or a bog of mud. If they only could adequately account for the origins of intelligence/consciousness outside a Prime Creator then they'd have a credible argument against theism. Evolution does not solve the problem of consciousness. But theism does.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      And God came from....

      March 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • jimtanker

      And your evidence for ANY of this is?

      We have a great understanding of where consciousness and intelligence comes from. Your assertions are completely unfounded.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Less Bias

      So you would rather science ignore the preponderance of evidence in support of evolution, just because you don't like it? If the scientific community really worked that way, you wouldn't have an internet to voice your opinion on in the first place. Science isn't looking to devalue your religion. It makes absolutely no statement on whether your god exists, or it's motivations. Instead, science is simply describing the natural processes by which our world is shaped. People can and should look to religion to answer all of the "why" questions they have. Science is just here to answer "how".

      March 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • RCB

      I don't cast pearls before swine.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Heroicslug

      Intelligence evolved slowly and to various degrees of success over an extremely extended period of time.

      Random mutation made something just a little bit smarter than it's peers, and that organism was able to reproduce more because of that change.

      Extending this process, we eventually had an entire species that was fairly smart, and continued to improve through natural selection.

      When a person plays with dynamite or refuses a blood transfusion on religious grounds, this process continues even today.

      There you are. The rise of intelligence has been explained to you.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Timmu

      As I am sure many have already pointed out "Intelligent Design" is anything but "intelligent" and has nothing to do with science. If the guy is going to accept a job as a SCIENTIST he must understand and use science not mythology, not spiritual hookum, not flying spaghetti-monster silliness. If he can't do his job, he should expect to be fired. This is an only in America lawsuit and further evidence that soon the movie "Idiocracy" will come to fruition.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • jimtanker

      I wouldnt cast pearls before swine either. Just makes sense. Pearls are expensive and pigs will eat just about anything. I like the comic strip too.

      Your idiotic bible reference means nothing to your case.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • momoya

      "We don't know yet" is a valid answer when you don't have evidence to support any particular answer and therefore, don't know yet.. Just because you don't know doesn't mean that an answer without evidence must be the correct answer.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Bizarre

      RCB: "I don't cast pearls before swine."

      Oh, there are some gullible sheep grazing around here who will perhaps give you a "BAAAmen".

      Interesting that you judge your thoughts and words to be "pearls", however?!

      March 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      You have no concept of the foundations of evolution or its process. "God did it" is not a very credible explanation of intelligence and consciousness.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • RCB

      How did consciousness arise?

      March 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • ScienceSoma

      Evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life. It only explains biological change over time. You are talking about abiogenesis, which is not contained in the theory of evolution. Most of the contentiousness in this debate is largely born of no education or miseducation as to what the various scientific positions are. Sometimes it is like being an auto mechanic having someone try to convince you their standard gasoline engine only runs on orange juice and will not accept any other answer. I think my question to those of you who couple atheism with evolution and climate change is: how can we as scientists even start trying to inform you about the details of what you are arguing against if you automatically presume everything we say is a blasphemous lie?

      March 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Heroicslug

      RCB: are you asking me? I can certainly tell you but you'd probably do better to read up on the subject yourself.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      That would all depend on what you mean by it. Define what you mean by consciousness

      March 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Im waiting RCB. Here's a definition in case you need it.

      1 a: the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself
      b: the state or fact of being conscious of an external object, state, or fact
      c: awareness; especially: concern for some social or political cause
      2: the state of being characterized by sensation, emotion, volition, and thought : mind
      3: the totality of conscious states of an individual
      4: the normal state of conscious life
      5: the upper level of mental life of which the person is aware as contrasted with unconscious processes

      March 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "Evolution does not solve the problem of consciousness. But theism does."
      I think evolution does solve this problem since intelligence, I think, is an emergent property of neuro-chemical interactions, but that is speculation on my part.

      I'm curious, though, how exactly theism solves this problem?

      March 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • RBSG

      2 words: Quantum Physics.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Jake

      RCB – First, you're being intentionally combative. Atheists on average are more intelligent than non-atheists, so suggesting that more intelligent people don't think is a ridiculous starting point.

      Second, even if your views "solved the problem of consciousness", being able to think of something that could be a satisfactory explanation doesn't in any way mean that is the correct explanation. In addition, a god does not in any way "solve the problem of consciousness". If a god exists, we still have no idea where he came from. If god exists, it actually raises more questions than it answers (where did he come from, why does he cause such pain and suffering, why did he create us, etc).

      March 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  19. momoya

    So what, exactly, are the testing methods and hypotheses used to determine "intelligent design?". I thought intelligent design was just a summary statement of belief, not a valid testable science..

    March 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • sam

      They hang around beaches, picking up rocks and shells, looking for maker's marks. After drinking too much Maker's Mark.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • jimtanker

      There are no testing methods for ID. It is untestable and unfalsafiable, therefore unsceientific.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  20. clearfog

    Anyone here want to fly in an Intelligently Designed space craft?

    March 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
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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.