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How NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Punished David Coppedge for His Views on Intelligent Design
By: Discovery Staff
Discovery Institute
April 15, 2010

Supervisors at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory illegally harassed, demoted and humiliated a computer specialist and high-level system administrator for his beliefs about intelligent design, according to a lawsuit filed in California Superior Court.

David Coppedge has worked on the Cassini mission since 1997. In 2000 he earned recognition for excellence, receiving the important role of “Team Lead SA” (system administrator), a role he held until his demotion in 2009. SAs oversee 200 Unix workstations, several high-capacity date storage units, networking equipment, and other specialized computing equipment across America and Europe. He has a wide breadth of knowledge about technical aspects of Cassini's computers and networks and was heavily involved in all the mission operations. Coppedge is suing JPL and Caltech for religious discrimination, harassment and retaliation; violation of his free speech rights; and wrongful demotion.

Intelligent design offers scientific evidence that life’s development is best explained as reflecting the design of an intelligent cause, citing mainstream research in biology, cosmology, and paleontology. The DVDs that Coppedge distributed, intended for viewing after work hours, contain no religious arguments or references. They are:

Coppedge had every reason to think his raising scientific issues related to intelligent design and life’s origins fit well into his job responsibilities:

Coppedge’s case would correctly be described as ideologically based persecution:

Coppedge’s case is one of a series of similar free-speech controversies, including:

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