Nasa sued by scientist 'sacked for belief in intelligent des

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PostMon Mar 12, 2012 7:28 pm » by pretzellogic

Nasa sued by scientist 'sacked for belief in intelligent design' ... esign.html

By Nick Allen, Los Angeles
4:00PM GMT 12 Mar 2012

David Coppedge, who worked for 15 years on a mission to explore Saturn and its moons, is suing the space agency for religious discrimination.

Adherents of intelligent design say that a higher power must have had a hand in creation because life is too complex to have developed through evolution alone.

Mr Coppedge was a "team leader" on the Cassini project at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. He used to talk to his co-workers about the theory and handed out DVDs on it while at work.

He claims that led to him being demoted in 2009 and the termination of his employment as a computer specialist last year.

His case, which is being heard in a Los Angeles court, is being backed by a Christian civil rights group and the Discovery Institute, a proponent of intelligent design.

John West, of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, said: "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. This is free speech, freedom of conscience 101."

William Becker, Mr Coppedge's lawyer, claimed his client was singled out because his superiors perceived his belief in intelligent design to be religious.

He said: "David had this reputation for being a Christian, for being a practicing one. He did not go around evangelising or proselytising.

"But if he found out that someone was a Christian he would say, 'Oh that's interesting, what denomination are you?' He's not apologising for who he is. He's an evangelical Christian."

In legal documents Mr Coppedge claimed other factors also led to his demotion, including his opposition to same-sex marriage and his request to rename the annual holiday party a "Christmas party".

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