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.