Jury Will Decide If ‘Junk Science’ Supporter Experienced Real Discrimination

David Coppedge is a well-known figure among proponents of intelligent design (ID), the form of creationism that says “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” On November 30, 2011, the Pasadena Star-News reported that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge will let a jury decide whether NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) discriminated against Coppedge, who claims he was a victim of employment discrimination when he was fired for discussing ID.

The Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think tank known for its promotion of ID, claims David Coppedge was demoted then wrongfully terminated for “simple viewpoint discrimination,” according to the Star. Discovery spokesman Andrew McDiarmid told the Star in an email that JPL demoted Coppedge for “pushing religion” on account of his loaning intelligent design DVDs to coworkers. Coppedge also writes the blog Creation-Evolution Headlines.

In an email, JPL spokeswoman Veronica McGregor told the Star, “The suit is completely without merit, and we intend to vigorously fight the allegations raised by Mr. Coppedge.” JPL contends Coppedge was part of “a natural attrition” and was let go in a round of routine layoffs related to a shrinking, extended budget.

While arguments for ID are often framed in secular terms, the discrimination at work alleged here certainly sounds as though Coppedge is seeking protection similar to being a victim of religious discrimination. Do you believe that Coppedge has a valid claim here?

Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob – Los Angeles employment attorneys


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