Did this somehow affect his work performance? CBC News:
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has landed robotic explorers on the surface of Mars, sent probes to outer planets and operates a worldwide network of antennas that communicates with interplanetary spacecraft.
Its latest mission is defending itself in a workplace lawsuit filed by a former computer specialist who claims he was demoted — and then let go — for promoting his views on intelligent design, the belief that a higher power must have had a hand in creation because life is too complex to have developed through evolution alone.
David Coppedge, who worked as a “team lead” on the Cassini mission exploring Saturn and its many moons, alleges that he was discriminated against because he engaged his co-workers in conversations about intelligent design and handed out DVDs on the idea while at work. Coppedge lost his team lead title in 2009 and was let go last year after 15 years on the mission.
Opening statements are expected to begin Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court after two years of legal wrangling in a case that has generated interest among supporters of intelligent design. The Alliance Defence Fund, a Christian civil rights group, and the Discovery Institute, a proponent of intelligent design, are both supporting Coppedge’s case.
“It’s part of a pattern. There is basically a war on anyone who dissents from Darwin and we’ve seen that for several years,” said John West, associate director of the Centre for Science and Culture at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute. “This is free speech, freedom of conscience 101.”
The National Centre for Science Education, which rejects intelligent design as thinly veiled creationism, is also watching the case and has posted all the legal filings on its website.
Litmus testing must be confined to Christian god-botherers and conservatives. Oddly, one of NASA’s new missions is to boost the self-image of Muslims by helping them go to space. I have the feeling a few of them might reject Darwinian evolution. Of course, James Hansen’s pseudo-scientific Gaiaism is beyond reproach.
Even Darwin admitted it was impossible not to consider some form of hidden teleology when reflecting on how the human eye might have evolved, but then again, he was too scientific to have committed the sort of epistemological closure some of his followers have.