David Coppedge, Intelligent Design, and Persecution

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

The termination of Dr. David Coppedge from Jet Propulsion Laboratory resulted in a high-profile court case where the ruling went against him. He was a team lead at JPL for the Cassini mission until his demotion and subsequent dismissal. The unexplained court decision coupled with the skulduggery and double standards of managers at JPL make the outcome very baffling indeed. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that the entire situation was based on people being threatened by Coppedge's worldview, and that the firing was retaliatory.

Persecution of those who reject evolution is extreme in the secular science establishments. Dr. David Coppedge has a story to tell.
Artist's conception of Cassini and Saturn, NASA/JPL (useage does not imply endorsement of site contents)
The crime of Dr. Coppedge was "religious": he dared to offer, one-on-one, DVDs about Intelligent Design. The ID movement is definitely not biblical creationist, their adherents have diverse views. Basically, ID people want to provide scientific evidence that unguided evolution is impossible. I reckon what you do with that information is up to you. Biblical creationists use intelligent design arguments, but let people clearly know that the intelligence doing the designing is God the Creator as revealed in the Bible.

David received a complaint for "pushing religion" by offering the ID DVDs. (My first thought is, "Which religion? Christians, Jews, Mohammedans, Deists, and others believe in a creator of some sort or another".) He had been doing this for quite a spell, but it only takes one owlhoot to get her knickers in a twist and make problems for everyone — and destroy a career (I am very careful about even offering a business card for The Question Evolution Project at the workplace because of things like this). Coppedge offered ID materials, not biblical creation science, even though he's a creationist. Perhaps he thought that would be less threatening, and could be a stepping stone to presenting creation science and the gospel, I don't know. Many of his posts and articles from Creation-Evolution Headlines are featured on this site. 

Let's step back a mite. When the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed discussed how scientists who disbelieve in evolution are repressed, evolutionists circled the wagons and opened fire. Darwinistas propagated false information as well as dismissing it instead of dealing with the content (it's what atheists and village evolutionists do). The National Center for Evolution Indoctrination — I mean, Science Education — made a hit piece about it called "Expelled Exposed". (Not surprising for a sidewinder organization that registered the domain of creationism.com and had it redirect to NCSE!) Here's a response to "Expelled Exposed".

Another high-profile case is the wrongful termination of Mark Armitage. His crime? Being a creationist and publishing findings about soft dinosaur tissue in a peer-reviewed journal, but not discussing young Earth implications or Darwinism. You can read about Armitage in this article, which includes several links for more information.

Also worth considering is Dr. Jerry Bergman's Slaughter of the Dissidents which addresses the intolerance from evolutionists toward those who reject evolution. It is expanding into a three-volume set. You can see the 2012 video here, and read a review of the first book at this link.

Dr. David Coppedge's experience parallels those of many others. I have seen posts and articles doing the usual hand-waving and assumptions that he deserved what happened to him. (That's something common from atheists and evolutionists, they assume the worst about evolution deniers, and play fast 'n' loose with the facts.) The Discovery Institute (an ID organization) has a 3-part podcast of Coppedge's account in "NASA on Trial: The Persecution of David Coppedge". Click for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. You can read his story on his site, here. Also, here is an interview with David at Creation Ministries International.

There is abundant evidence about the persecution of biblical creationists and Intelligent Design proponents by the secular science establishments. Unfortunately, this will continue. But it is not unexpected (Matt. 5:11-12, 1 Cor. 15:9, Gal. 1:23-24, 2 Tim. 3:12-13), especially because creation is at the root of all major Christian doctrines. Evolutionism isn't about science, it's about controlling your beliefs. When the "wrong" information is not controlled, people learn the facts and begin to think for themselves and see that evolutionism is intellectually, morally, spiritually bereft. Despite harassment, libel, misrepresentation, and outright persecution, we continue to proclaim the truth for the glory of God. I hope that Dr. Coppedge's faith and perseverance, as well as the faith and perseverance of others mentioned above, will be an inspiration to all of us.