home
RSS
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. Wayne

    The main problem i see with intelligent design is that It's an unfalsifiable hypothesis. What would prove it wrong? Who is the designer? Who designed it or them? The answer to the questions are God and God always existed just because we said so. Intelligent design is meant to put an end to asking questions, the exact opposite of science.

    "Try this experiment if you ever find yourself talking to a proponent of ID. Say, "OK, for the sake of argument let's say evolution is wrong and let's forget about it. Now tell me how intelligent design works." Having tried this a few times myself, I am confident that you will be met with nothing but an awkward silence. ”
    —Amanda Gefter

    March 19, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Bobby

      Good post, but of course you realize that any ID advocate would stop reading it at "unfalsifiable" and be certain that you said that ID was undeniable, and therefore true. Sad, but that's they way they think.

      March 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  2. RillyKewl

    No. The last sentence defines the problem. Coppedge is definitely, definitely NOT a scientist. Clearly not by a long stretch.

    Everybody whose ever held a job knows, there's always somebody who is so annoyingly frustrating that you just want to avoid them. Its like they're there just to ruin your day. We've all known them. They're the worst.

    This guy was obviously, ceaselessly pushing his agenda down everybody else's throat.
    They couldn't avoid him enough to not complain. Who needs to be made uncomfortable like that? At work, no less!

    Then he's crying because he was let go along with 300 other people in a mass layoff situation. Tough.
    You're lucky you lasted as long as you did, you Schmuck.
    You were downsized. Join the club.

    March 18, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  3. Muneef

    We have certainly created man in the best of stature; (95:4)

    March 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Muneef

      When the sky breaks apart 82:1

      And when the stars fall, scattering, 82:2

      And when the seas are erupted 82:3

      And when the [contents of] graves are scattered, 82:4

      A soul will [then] know what it has put forth and kept back. 82:5

      O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Generous, 82:6
      Who created you, proportioned you, and balanced you? 82:7

      In whatever form He willed has He assembled you. 82:8

      No! But you deny the Recompense. 82:9

      And indeed, [appointed] over you are keepers, 82:10

      Noble and recording; 82:11

      They know whatever you do. 82:12

      Indeed, the righteous will be in pleasure, 82:13

      And indeed, the wicked will be in Hellfire. 82:14

      They will [enter to] burn therein on the Day of Recompense, 82:15

      And never therefrom will they be absent. 82:16

      And what can make you know what is the Day of Recompense? 82:17

      Then, what can make you know what is the Day of Recompense? 82:18

      It is the Day when a soul will not possess for another soul [power to do] a thing; and the command, that Day, is [entirely] with Allah . 82:19

      March 16, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  4. PumpNDump

    Religion, "god" and "jesus" are all myths. I'm glad he was fired. He's a wingnut who acted in appropriately in the workplace. Religious nutjobs are useless.

    March 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  5. Doc Vestibule

    @Jem4016
    The 2nd law of thermodynamic applies only to closed systems.
    Life is not a closed system.
    Order from disorder is common. Snowflakes, sand dunes, tornadoes, stalacti.tes, graded river beds, and lightning are just a few examples of order coming from disorder in nature. In any nontrivial system with lots of energy flowing through it, you are almost certain to find order arising somewhere in the system. If order from disorder is supposed to violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics, why is it ubiquitous in nature?
    You misunderstand the concepts of both evolution and entropy.

    Professor Behe's ideas of "irreducible complexity" have been debunked as pseudo-science by many many people.
    Behe provided only a handful of examples of ID, each of which has been explained as beign REDUCIBLY complex.
    Behe defined ID as ". . . a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning."
    The most important point here is that removal of parts does not render the biological machine inoperative – it simply performs a different – and often less complex – function.
    Gradualism, or alterations to biology via numerous successive, slight modifications, is one of teh 5 laws in the Theory of Evolution.
    In the case of teh bacterial flagellum, removal of some of the "well matched parts" turns it into a type III secretory system which allows gram negative bacteria to translocate proteins directly into the cytoplasm of a host cell. The proteins of the TTSS are directly ho.mologous to the proteins in the basal portion of the bacterial flagellum – making it a fully useful and functional pre-cursor to the flagellum, though performing a different function.

    Behe (the author of Darwin's Black Box) once said also that the human immune system is irreducibly complex.
    He was presented with fiftyeight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not "good enough".

    I've a sneaky suspi.cion that your response to my post will be something similar.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Jem4016

      I am sorry but it is you who is mistaken.
      The snowflake example is an example of a process which is spontaneous at low temperatures but not at high temperatures.
      In order for any process to occur the overall change in Gibb's Free energy must be negative. So for the snowflake the gibb's is negative at low T but positive at high T

      Life intakes energy and there is an increase in order, creating a positive Gibb's for life itself, making life an non-spontaneous process. The only way for a non-spontaneous process to occur is for it to be coupled by a spontaneous process with a greater -Gibb's than the non-spontaneous process with the +Gibb's.

      To say a scientific law applies to only certain situations, is problematic since it can then be shown that it is untrue in this or that situation thereby nullifying the law.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      When a change is irreversible in the thermodynamics sense it means only that the change will not spontaneously reverse itself without some change in the surrounding conditions.
      It is important to remember that a change that has a high degree of probability under one set of circu.mstances may have a very low degree of probability under a different set of circu.mstances.
      If the temperature drops below freezing, the probability of water becoming ice is very high. The change from water to ice is thermodynamically irreversible. If the surrounding temperature should happen to rise above the freezing point, the probability of water becoming ice, or remaining as ice, is zero. Under these conditions the reverse change of ice to liquid water is also thermodynamically irreversible.
      Failure to understand that in thermodynamics probabilities are not fixed ent.ities has led to a misinterpretation that is responsible for the wide- spread and totally false belief that the second law of thermodynamics does not permit order to spontaneously arise from disorder.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Jem4016

      There are only two ways for the order of a system to increase. (entropy to decrease)
      1. A process which is becoming more ordered is exothermic and it occurs at a sufficiently low enough temperature., as in the case of a snowflake. This is not a violation of the second law because the entropy of the universe increases over all.
      2. The other way is when a non-spontaneous system, one which is both endothermic and increases in order, to be coupled with a system which produces a greater negative Gibb's free energy change than the positive Gibb's free energy change of the non-spontaneous system. Once again this is not a violation of the second law because by combining the two systems the overall entropy of the universe increases.
      Life is one such system of coupling. Cell function coupled with cellular respiration.

      A car doesn't work with out fuel in the tank. You run out of gas and the car stops. Same with cells. If the process of extraction of energy, for example, from the oxidation of sugar. The cell dies.

      This is why evolution must be more closely examined. Life function isn't possible with out the coupling of it to the spontaneous system. The coupling doesn't serve a purpose unless there is a life function, therefore both the life function and the coupling system would both have to evolve simultaneously.

      Now if you want to talk probability, that situation is highly unlikely.

      Evolutionary theory is great at explaining how an system can change but can't explain how the system comes about. This is because of its failure to be able to get by irreducible complexity. This is why evolution is still a theory.

      There must be open and frank discussion in the science community in order to answer this question. As long as some evolutionary scientists continue to protect their turf by attacking those with different views man will never find the answer.

      This is not the only prof that has been attacked in this way. A number of years ago another prof at Iowa State was singled out and his peers and got him fired because he wanted an open discussion about evolutionary theory.

      Obviously, I can't speak to the work conditions created by the prof mentioned in this article, but I do know that there are too many evolutionary scientist who defend evolutionary theory like a religious zealot defends their faith.

      March 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Jem4016
      But are the questions being asked actually constructive towards helping find the answers? Not at all, right? They are aimed at trying to cast doubt on science with lay people, many of whom sit on boards which allot funding into this research. So, how is it benefitting man's search for answers by poisoning the source of funds that fuel that search?

      No, the actual intent must be to get scientists to abandon their search for answers in this field, thus leaving people to claim that the ancient myths are actually the answer unchallenged. ID is about stopping science and the search for truth, and nothing more.

      March 19, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  6. BoldGeorge

    "The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing – is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice." – – Richard Dawkins

    And above person is an evolutionist. "While atheist Richard Dawkins is arguably the modern poster boy for Charles Darwin, both men have something radical that keeps them separate. Darwin believed in the existence of God. In 'The Origin of Species' he refers to nature as the “works of God,” and calls God the “Creator” an amazing seven times. Richard Dawkins believes Darwin was a genius, yet claims, “The more you understand the "significance" of evolution, the more you are pushed away from the agnostic position and towards atheism.” It seems Professor Dawkins thinks Charles Darwin didn't understand the significance of his own theory. Perhaps the inkling Darwin had in the back of his mind (some of us call it the conscience) was that this creation is the work of the Almighty God.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Jon

      @BoldGeorge

      That is a logical statement to make that even Darwin didn’t know the significance of his own theory. Remember, he lived in a time when there was no evidence for DNA or germ theory. There was a lot that Darwin didn’t know and who knows how DNA evidence would have affected his theory. It is one thing to accept Evolution, with its overwhelming evidence, as proof of God’s work. Perhaps God used evolution as his method of creation. But it’s an entirely different thing if you completely ignore the Science and place you faith in a 2,000 year old book and you believe that book has more science in it than a modern science book. Now THAT takes faith.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Primewonk

      There a couple problems with your post. First, what you have done is called quote mining – taking a quote, or a partial quote and posting it out of context so that it seems the author said or means something they did not say or mean.

      The second problem is that your post is plagiarized from the fundamentalist ldiot banana-boy Ray Comfort. You passed his intellectual *gag* property off as your own. You stole his work. I thought baby Jesus said theft was bad?

      March 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      @ Jon

      Yes, absolutely right. You finally got it! To believe in God, His word and Jesus Christ's life, death and resurrection for your sake...takes FAITH. And that is what God requires you to enter into His kingdom. A little faith can jump start it. – Matthew 17:20 "...if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

      @ Primewonk

      First, you are also absolutely right. "taking a quote, or a partial quote and posting it out of context so that it seems the author said or means something they did not say or mean." OOPS, I just quoted part of your comment. Nonetheless, you are correct. And that is what most people have done with the bible. Their misinterpretation stems from not fully reading the Scriptures and not delving into the meaning and context of why God is saying what He is saying.

      And another yes to your second point...I quoted Ray Comfort. That is why I started his quote with "quotations marks". There is nothing wrong with quoting if like you say, it's done without misquoting and/or quoting out of context.

      March 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      And yes, I support Ray Comfort & Kirk Cameron's ministry. They are right on! They do not misquote or mis-contextualize the bible. What they are basically doing is relay the bible, God's word the way it was and is suppose to be relayed. The bible and its message is not that difficult to grasp, but it becomes difficult for people when they approach it with a proud heart and nonspiritual.

      1 Corinthians 2:14
      But the natural man (worldly man) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

      March 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Primewonk

      "And yes, I support Ray Comfort & Kirk Cameron's ministry"

      Considering Ray and Kirk are ldiots, it doesn't surprise me that you support them.

      How is that banana anology working for them now?

      March 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Heh

      I have seen both Comfort and Cameron wear cotton/polyester blends, going completely against the LORD'S wishes in Leviticus - SINNAHS and BSers!!

      March 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      And here we go...mockings, jokes, insults, put downs, etc. The bible's professed it all. And yet no one wants to believe it.

      Jude 1:18-19
      18 ... “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.

      March 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Get Real

      BoldGeorge – "Jude 1:18-19 18 ... “In the last time there will be mockers..."

      There have been "mockers" since day 1 of this religion. This is pure and simple CYA from that writer.

      March 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • jimtanker

      What sound does a hairlipped chicken make?

      mock, mock, mock.

      March 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Professor Marvel

      BG, "there will be mockers..."

      "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. The greatest Oz has spoken!"

      March 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Primewonk

      BoldGeoge – people like Ray, Kirk, and yourself deserve to be mocked. These cretins were so stupid they thought a modern banana proves evolution is a lie.

      March 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      A modern banana, an ant, a bumble bee, a monkey (the ones you think we came from), and the human brain (among a million other things created) disprove the theory of evolution in just one sentence worth of their description.

      March 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's hard to imagine how an idiot like you manages to figure out how to tie his own shoes, Bold George.

      March 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Jon

      @Bold George

      "A modern banana, an ant, a bumble bee, a monkey (the ones you think we came from), and the human brain (among a million other things created) disprove the theory of evolution in just one sentence worth of their description."

      Sorry, I had to quote you. I was not aware that you were a follower of the "Way of the Master" ministry and would love to hear their explaination of the origins of these things and how they disprove Evolution. Notice I didn't say "Scientific" here. I am very aware of Cameron and Comfort's arguments against Evolution and they never seem to use Science in their explaination.

      The reason why I mentioned faith in my eariler comment was that faith is simply belief in the absense of evidence. It does not take faith to believe in Evolution, there is indeed evidence. It's the same with gravity, you don't have faith in gravity do you? We know it's real. The same goes with Evolution. However, it takes faith to believe that humans were created fully formed and seperate from all life. It takes faith to believe (as I stated before) that a 2,000 year old book has more correct Science in it than modern Science textbooks.

      March 17, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • christina knight

      As a former Christian myself I know that you mean well, so I will be gentle. Have you actually ever read a text on evolutionary theory? The truth is very few ID proponents have. The evidence for evolution comes from multiple scientific disciplines and is overwhelming. The fact of the matter is that every system you can conceive of evolves-evolution is a universal principle. The universe evolves, galaxies evolve, organisms evolve, societies evolve, cultures evolve, technology evolves, languages evolve, and so on and so forth. Oh and religions (which are natural phenomena subject to scientific examination) evolve as well.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  7. Jem4016

    To the many people who stand confidently on the THEORY of evolution, answer these questions.
    How does evolution get around irreducible complexity? Read "Darwin's Black Box" for more detail
    How does evolution get around the second LAW of thermodynamics? Pick up any freshman college chemistry text or physical chemistry text for more detail on the 2nd law.
    These are big hurdles for evolution to overcome, yet you expound evolution in a dogmatic fashion. Enter into the discussion on evolution with a mind of inquiry not with a closed mind thinking man has all the answers.
    “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”
    ― Charles Darwin
    This quote also pertains to the evolutionist who think they know much but in fact know little.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Primewonk

      "How does evolution get around irreducible complexity? Read "Darwin's Black Box" for more detail"

      So far, everything the IDiots have claimed is irreducibly complex turns out to not be irreducibly complex. Behe's book is not a science book. There was no peer-review. In Dover v. Kitzmiller it was shown that Behe's claims in his book had actually been refuted long before it ever hit the market. Additionally, Behe had to admit, in court, under oath, that ID was not science. He advocated actually changing the definition of science so that ID would then become science. Of course, Behe then again, in court, under oath, had to admit that this would also make things like astrology and numerology science.

      You also wrote, "How does evolution get around the second LAW of thermodynamics? Pick up any freshman college chemistry text or physical chemistry text for more detail on the 2nd law."

      The 2LoT deals only with closed systems. Is the earth a closed system? Seriously, even ignorant fundy sites like AIG tell their minions not to use the the 2LoT argument.

      Your post is an excellent example of what happens when you choose to get your "sciency" sounding information from folks like "Pastor Dave" instead of real science sources. The problem is that "Pastor Dave" is just as ignorant about science as his minions.

      Seriously – do any of you fundiot nutters ever crack open a science journal?

      March 16, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Jon

      @Jem4016

      , I wanted to try and answer your questions. First, you seem to not understand what a “theory” is (since you BOLD theory) A theory in Science is a set of principles that fit the facts that we know of. Based on the DNA evidence and the fossil record, all life evolved and shares a common ancestor. The theory of Evolution is more of a fact but since there is still some that we don’t know, it is still a theory but the most supported theory (that and the theory of relativity)

      The “irreducible complexity” or if one part of the organism is removed, then it would not work properly, like an eye or a wing. We have seen that this is not true, many people have cataract surgery and can’t see clear images without glasses but can still see clear enough not to run into things. Half a wing is better than no wing and even with just enough of a wing, a creature can survive to a lower branch. When someone refers to irreducible complexity, they just haven’t looked carefully enough at the details. There was a lot that Darwin didn’t know and if there is some sort of irreducible complexity, it could wreck Darwin’s theory but it would also wreck Intelligent Design. The reason is that wouldn’t God be a very, very complex and presumably irreducibly.

      Darwin also said that…“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.”

      As for the Second Law of Thermodynamics, this has nothing to do with biological evolution. Many creationists try to use this physics property in biology. That a system always loses and never gains information but again, this doesn’t at all apply to Biological Evolution. Read up on Thermodynamics a bit more and you will see what I am talking about.

      The bottom line is that Evolution is true even if you don’t believe it is!

      March 16, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Scientist

      jem– as for the laws of thermodynamics, their application as support for ID has been well refuted above. As for irreducible complexity, give me one example (any example) and I will gladly show evidence that it is not irreducibly complex.

      March 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • greg

      “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" I totally agree. I remember a certain former president, George W. Bush, to whom your quote applies marvelously well. He is a born again Christian, let me remind you. I read most posts up there and wonder how is all this related to God. How do we go from ID to the God in the Holy Books. Whether "Order" and "Disorder" are separate or complementary has absolutely nothing to do with "Faith". Faith is Innate to humans and I challenge you to find it among other species. Whether there is a single or multiple causes to our existance will be debated for centuries to come. If we were to accept Religious theories, on the other hand, there would be no debate at all. I think the most imprtant thing is the process not the end result. The fact that we accept critical thinking and free debate is the only truth worth fighting for. Religion as a dogma is fundementally oppsoed to that concept.

      March 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Bobby

      Jem4016
      Irreducible complexity? The second LAW of thermodynamics? Why didn't you ask why the world looks flat, or why the sun looks like it's the one traveling around the world, and not the other way around? Honestly, get an education, a 21st century education!

      March 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Jem4016
      You doubtlessly will be surprised, but Darwin was actually referring to his critics, those who refused to accept the truth of his findings, with that quote. Ironically, your ignorance of this fact actually proved the wisdom of his words.

      March 16, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Jem4016

      One example of irreducibly complex, the the transition of waste out of a cell. The moment the cell wall is created there also has to be a way of transporting higher concentrations of waste out of the cell. There is no point in creating this process unless there is a cell wall. Conversion of light to a nerve impulse is another example.

      Evolutionary theory is like a physicist being able to explain the motion of a ball rolling down a hill but being unable to explain why it rolls down the hill.Yes, the physicist may be able to create a theory to fit the facts of the motion but it means nothing until the physicists understands that it is the changing of the potential energy into kinetic energy that gives rise to motion and in the end it is this changing which contributes to disorder in the universe.

      Second Law can not simply be dismissed. See my posting to Doc to see why it cannot.

      To Oh yeah, I do understand that Darwin was answering his critics that was why I included the entire quote instead of truncating it to the first part. What is missed by you is the irony of it. This process has come full circle. It is some evolutionist is defiantly resist discussion by using emotionally laced words like ignorance, stupid, uneducated,,,instead of entering into a discussion which for no other reason allows them to review a theory.

      A theory undergoes constant review until it is proven fact. At one point Gravitational theory was bedrock, then low and behold after enough review and a more complete understanding of the universe, it is now theorized that what we see as gravity is simply the interaction of mass, space and time.

      March 18, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • AGuest9

      Man does not yet have all the answers. That is the purpose of scientific inquiry and research. It is completely outside the realm of science to claim supernatural phenomena as an input to ANY scientific process. THAT is the problem with "ID".

      March 18, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Jem4016
      Perhaps you only think that the process has come full circle? The difference between the two positions is that evolution has always had the evidence to support it. That justifies the confidence that it's supporters have afforded it. ID, or creationism, was always only a story, a creation myth. It is still you, my friend, who appear to be ignorant of the irony of your citing this quote, and now you reference the use of "emotionally laced words"! Now my irony meter is reading off the scale.

      March 19, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Jem4016
      "Second Law can not simply be dismissed. See my posting to Doc to see why it cannot."
      And, as Doc said, we are not in a closed system. We get a constant feed of energy from the sun, so the second law does not apply.

      March 19, 2012 at 1:23 am |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    March 16, 2012 at 6:52 am |
    • fimeilleur

      Can you provide any proof for your two claims?

      March 16, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • WASP

      @prayer isn't healthy for living creatures. you're a troll begone.

      March 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  9. jim atmadison

    There are ID froot loops, and then there are belligerent ID froot loops.

    He should have known better than to badger a bunch of scientists with his nonsense.

    March 16, 2012 at 6:29 am |
  10. Navin Johnson

    A scientific theory is not just a theory. Please educate yourself before you make remarks. ID says that things are too perfect and too complex not to designed by something. God? yet God should then be at least equally or even more sophisticated than we are. Yet, you all maintain nothing deigned him. Your argument fails on so many levels. Intelligent Design in an opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. Opinions are not scientific theories.

    March 16, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • I'm picking out a Thermos for you

      Well Navin, Christians are people who just cammot find their special purpose.

      March 16, 2012 at 4:21 am |
    • AGuest9

      Yes, because wisdom teeth, tonsils, the appendix and coccyx are "perfect", and that's just in one species. Must be a pretty lousy "Designer".

      March 18, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  11. md2205

    To Oh Yeah:
    Let me ask you a question. Evolution says life forms developed from previous ones more simple than they, going back all the way...to what? What was the first life form? What was it made of? Where did it come from? Was it a bacteria, an amoeba, a virus? How did it get into existence? It developed from a molecule? What did the molecule develop from? An atom? What did the atom develop from? Electrons, protons, quarks? How did the first quark get into existence? From energy? How did energy get into existence? It created itself? What is the real chance of that? I know some people like to say that there are questions that have no answers. Those who say that are doing what they accuse people who believe in G-d of doing. They are saying 'that's the way it is'.

    March 16, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • tallulah13

      Here is a link to a rudimentary explanation one theory of how life began on earth:

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/do53am.html

      Also: Your ignorance doesn't indicate the presence of a god. You have stopped searching for answers because you found one that made you happy. Don't worry. There are intellectually curious people out there even now searching for answers to all your questions. A lot of answers have already been found. Give it enough time, and most, if not all those questions will be answered.

      Keep in mind that science was handcuffed by religion and politics for thousands of years. Give it a few more hundred years, just to be fair.

      March 16, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • Leah Reis

      Amono acids with the help ofvth SUN is the creator of life.

      March 16, 2012 at 5:03 am |
    • AGuest9

      Didn't you go to high school? I'm tired of having to explain this to the No Child Left Behinders. If you didn't learn basic science in school, I feel badly for you.

      March 16, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      md2205
      The basics of evolutionary biology are easy to find, as these others have indicated, but you really do have to get educated by actual scientists, it seems. There's a lot of gross misinformation, and outright propaganda put out there by creationists aimed at just reassuring the opponents, who they count on to take what they say on face value. The last thing they want is for people to actually check into what they are preaching.

      Have you ever considered why your line of questioning never goes on to ask where God came from? "Creation science", if such a thing really existed, would be working on that problem one might think, but we both know why it doesn't. No satisfying answer can be made. That doesn't seem to bother most believers, and it wouldn't bother me if the answer to what caused life to form, or the Big Bang to occur. Not that I've given up on that possibility. An answer could come any time now, and it is a very young field, so patience is well justified. It's been thousands of years and the "Where did God come from" question still really goes unanswered, and most believers have given up on ever getting an answer, it seems, and who could blame them? So, isn't it rather unfair to demand answers to questions that may never be answered from others while not demanding it of yourself?

      March 16, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  12. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    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.

    "Infinity-

    n., pl., -ties.

    1. The quality or condition of being infinite.

    2. Unbounded space, time, or quant-ity.

    3. An indefinitely large number or amount.

    4.Mathematics. The limit that a function ƒ is said to approach at x = a when ƒ(x) is larger than any preassigned number for all x sufficiently near a.

    5. a. A range in relation to an optical system, such as a camera lens, representing distances great enough that light rays reflected from objects within the range may be regarded as parallel.

    b. A distance setting, as on a camera, beyond which the entire field is in focus."

    March 16, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    It's incredible that there really are people who own computers but are so stupid they honestly don't believe that evolution is occurring, has occurred, and continues to occur.

    Amazing.

    No wonder our schools are failing. We're attempting to educate the spawn of idiots.

    March 15, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Truly sad and ironic.

      March 16, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Lil

      I thought it was economic.

      March 16, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  14. Space Monkey

    I've just discovered that music, like evolution, is just a theory. Now I realize that Music might not even exist because Wikipedia has an article on "Music Theory". Also, we shouldn't worry about Iran getting nukes because modern atomic theory is "just a theory". And we shouldn't waste money putting up sneeze guards at the salad bar because Germ Theory of Disease is also just a theory.

    March 15, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • lordshipmayhem

      Gravity is just a theory, too, but I notice the creationists don't just float away. Maybe it's Intelligent Falling?

      March 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Har. Yeah, 6-4 chords aren't real; they're just theoretical.

      March 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  15. The Change

    This scientist has a right to his own opinion. If someone was interested in his opinions then, he should have not been fired for giving them more information.

    His right to Freedom of Religion has been revoked and NASA must pay!

    March 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • chubby rain

      It sounds like no one was interested in his opinions. You don't accuse someone of harassment if you want to hear what he says. Freedom from religion is just as important as freedom of religion.

      March 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Harassment at work negates your freedom of speech.

      March 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • gerry

      Save, he was a computer system administrator, and apparently not a trained scientist. I'll offer that he may have a degree in computer science, but the differences are manifold. He was espousing his beliefs, not recognized theories, in a manner that upset the workplace. And he couldn't cope with being told to stop. Repeatedly.

      March 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      When a person's behavior negatively effects a work environment, an employer is well within their rights to terminate that person. You are paid to do a job, not to express your personal opinion.

      He wasn't terminated for his beliefs. He was terminated because of his actions. There is a difference.

      March 16, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  16. The Change

    The Chaos and Creation which brings forth the planets, stars, galaxies and solar systems is the ultimate power.Just as it brought forth the Earth and just as we are indigenous to the Earth. We are apart of this Chaos and Creation. It has no conscience. Free will gave us a conscience is actually a hindrance as we are unable to see eternity while in the flesh.

    March 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • tallulah13

      In other words, you like to as.sign mystical properties to natural phenomena. That is certainly your option. Me, I think that the reality of nature is amazing just as it is. It doesn't need to be BeDazzled with pretend stuff by people like you.

      March 16, 2012 at 1:56 am |
  17. The Change

    If a planet is made up of many different compounds and elements it can conceivably spawn life which can be sustained by its environment!

    How could we exist if this is false?

    March 15, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Fanatastic Mr. Fox

      if life could spawn from these elements, why haven't they already? I agree with this guys nobile intentions of sharing his beliefs on inteligent life. without people like him voicing oppinions, the intelegent life enthusiests would have no voice.

      March 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Did you intentionally spell "intelligent" wrong? I appreciate the irony...

      March 15, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  18. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • WASP

      lol love it, but dude change it up a little, add in some new stuff. how about prayer makes your dog want to h.ump your leg.....something funny.

      March 16, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Lil

      HEY! If you can't say anything nice… don't bother!!!

      March 16, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Bobby

      Lil
      As if praying for God to spare such "sinners" as atheists, gays, and believers in evolution wasn't insulting in it's own way. People who do that are basically calling those they pray for evil. Is that being "nice"?

      March 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer never works

      Proven

      March 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Jesus

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!! .....

      March 15, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven
      Powerful

      March 16, 2012 at 6:52 am |
    • WASP

      @prayer changes nothing: if prayer works then you should be able to pray everyone to stop telling you praying doesn't work......if not your a troll

      March 16, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things
      Proven
      Powerful"

      You've been proven a LIAR over and over again on this blog.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  20. Cardinal Fang

    So this guy's supervisor told him that "intelligent design is religion" and was ergo abusive. Guess he should be suing the US Government next because a federal judge has also ruled that ID is not science, it has a purely religious agenda and it has no secular purpose (look up Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District).

    And considering NASA is shedding loads of jobs at the moment, what really are the odds that a guy with multiple complaints against him from other coworkers might be amongst those given the heave-ho?

    March 15, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Advertisement
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.