Free Speech Icon Free Speech
Intelligent Design Icon Intelligent Design
Physics, Earth & Space Icon Physics, Earth & Space

NASA on Trial: David Coppedge Fell Victim to Anti-ID Zeal at America’s Space Agency


For sharing thoughts on intelligent design in a scientific or academic setting, you don’t need a PhD after your name to fall victim to persecutory zeal. David Coppedge worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab as a Team Leader computer administrator on the Cassini mission to Saturn. He had taken a shine to Illustra Media‘s series of documentaries laying out the evidence for ID in biology and cosmology.

Mr. Coppedge would loan these out to interested coworkers, including The Privileged Planet, which actually included four JPL scientists among its interview subjects. The themes of these videos tied in with areas of research interest at NASA. What could possibly go wrong?

In a series of audio presentations, “NASA on Trial: The Persecution of David Coppedge,” Coppedge tells his own story for the first time. Part 1, a new episode of ID the Future, is up now.

Download the episode by clicking here:


Coppedge made the mistake of misjudging one coworker’s attitude. Soon she was complaining about him to their supervisor, and before you knew it, the HR department was conducting a full-scale witch-hunt. A mild-mannered individual for whom advancing NASA’s mission was a long-held dream come to true, David Coppedge was the witch.

In his chilling account, a simple unfriendly attitude to design evidence shades over into workplace hysteria, false accusations of “harassment,” and a bullying drive not merely to silence but to punish and finally banish a heretic. It’s an object lesson in why ID sympathizers, whether scientists or laymen, prudently keep their heads down and their views to themselves. Thus the scientific “consensus” against ID is maintained.

Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture has observed scenarios like this play out many times. It’s one of our own missions to advocate for freedom of expression for people like David Coppedge.

Image: Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, by NASA/JPL via Wikipedia.

I’m on Twitter. Follow me @d_klinghoffer.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.



Films and VideoPrivileged Planetscience