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Correcting Myths About Coppedge’s Intelligent Design Discrimination Lawsuit

Robert L. Crowther, II

There’s a lot of speculation flying around about David Coppedge’s lawsuit against Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) alleging wrongful demotion, harassment, and religious discrimination. While more information will undoubtedly come out as the case progresses, here are a few facts that refute some of the false claims being stated:

(1) Based upon the allegations of the complaint, there’s no evidence that Mr. Coppedge was on a campaign to distribute intelligent design DVDs to everyone at JPL. His contacts were reasonable and infrequent, intentionally low-key, one-on-one, not disruptive of work, and only about once a month on average. It was far less than the amount of airtime JPL gives for its views endorsing a purely naturalistic origin of life. His sharing was only among coworkers he knows and has worked with for years (not strangers), and none of whom he had any reason to believe would have a hostile reaction.
(2) Likewise, there’s no evidence that the punishment against Coppedge had anything to do with his job performance, technical competence or honesty, which was always rated high. One has to be trustworthy in his position because system admins have the root access to all the computers, which is like having the skeleton keys to everything.
(3) No one told Coppedge to stop discussing ID or giving out these DVDs until March, 2009. And when he was told to stop, he stopped.

Despite all of these facts in Mr. Coppedge’s favor, he still got demoted for handing out DVDs supporting intelligent design.

Robert Crowther

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.

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