Community reaction to NASA 'intelligent design' lawsuit
Categories: Science & Technology
The story about a former NASA computer specialist who claims he was demoted for his views on intelligent design has generated a substantial discussion among the CBC Community.
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.
Readers posted more than 620 comments - more than four times the next most-commented story on the CBC News Technology and Science page.
The overwhelming majority of readers agreed with Coppedge's dismissal based on his alleged harassment of his co-workers, rather than his beliefs on intelligent design. Some felt that religious should not be discussed in the workplace, whether within a scientific community such as NASA or otherwise.
- "One's religious viewpoints should never determine how one is treated professionally or influence the carrier of an individual. That being said, if you are preaching and handing out DVDs, I don't care if you work for NASA or Wal-Mart, that practice is not acceptable...If you want to go for beers after work and yack about a higher power, go ahead...but there's no reason to be bringing religion into the workplace." - misfit
- "Plenty of scientists in NASA believe both in Darwin and in a god. I doubt it would be an issue unless he spent his time trying to convert people, or was annoying the hell out of his co-workers." - BeerForCanada
- "Leave your religious beliefs at home. They have absolutely no bearing in the workplace. If a co-worker handed me a DVD on intelligent design I'd be going over to HR and filing a complaint." - kkryptikk
- "If we leave religion out of it he is just a guy who was wasting time at work and annoying his co-workers. If he had been engaging in conversations about American Idol and handing out DVD's about who was should win we wouldn't be hearing about workplace discrimination or a war on Seacrest." - Bgibbs
- "Even putting aside the scientific validity of intelligent design, it sounds like NASA was probably in the right. It wasn't a case of them finding out he believed it and then demoting him, by his own admission he was harassing all his co-workers with materials and pushing those beliefs on others." - kevlarcardhouse
- "'He did not go around evangelizing or proselytizing.' Funny, earlier it says '...he engaged his co-workers in conversations about intelligent design and handed out DVDs on the idea while at work.' Sounds like evangelizing and proselytizing to me. - IvanNano
- "People often talk about their favourite sport team and often co-workers don't agree. And when debating one favourite team over another you're proselytizing. But you wouldn't get fired over it. Everyone is always trying to get others to think one thing is better than another from what coffee shop (or restaurant) is better to how we came to be." - Nunavuteh
- "If someone routinely pressured me to come watch their favourite team play, gave me DVDs of their team playing and repeatedly argued with me that their team was better than my team AFTER I told them it made me uncomfortable and would they please stop, I would hope they would get fired over it." - Reverse
- 'Even if he didn't go around evangelizing or proselytizing, being a team leader needs credibility and the support of your team. I imagine he had neither." - JoolsBUK
- "I think Intelligent Design is a tanker load of crap, but if his firing was significantly affected by his beliefs, then there is a strong basis for discrimination. Only a hearing will with a complete and proper presentation of evidence will clear this up. I have no way deciding whether there was discrimination or not based on the content of this article alone." - Robert1950
- "By the way, the idea of intelligent design is not necessarily Christian. Intelligent design is a good hypothesis, and should not be confused with ancient religious mythologies." - calabrian
- "Many people tend to confuse genetics with evolution. The scientific method can be applied in genetics, biology and botany, but not evolution. There is no concrete proof as to where life originated, or to support the notion that species evolved from other species. I am not religious and I have divorced myself from belief systems. However, I think the theory of intelligent design, which is also faith based, is just as valid as the faith-based theory of evolution. Neither one can be proved, so why is one held up as truth while the other is denigrated as nonsense?" - GordonRobertson
- "Evolution is not faith-based - it is based on scientific evidence. As new evidence is discovered the theory is adjusted to fit the facts. Believers in intelligent design want to change the facts to fit their theory. Saying the theory of evolution is not provable is a cop out. There is an abundance of scientific - and by that I mean objective, examinable and repeatable scientific data - supporting many elements of evolutionary theory. The same can't be said of intelligent design." - Shark Man
- "I don't believe that the 3-billion-letter DNA code couldn't have been invented by accident or evolution too. Actually, it's one of the cheeriest thoughts I've ever had to realize that there is some power great enough to create the DNA code and maybe great enough to allow the soul to go on. Anyway, I find it neat that who they can't argue with, they fire! Good for David Coppedge." - KingofPaupers
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