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NASA The Courts Science

JPL Employee's Firing Wasn't Due To Intelligent Design Advocacy, Says Judge 477

Posted by Soulskill
from the does-not-play-well-with-others dept.
SternisheFan writes with an update to a story from earlier this year about a lawsuit in which David Coppedge alleged he was fired from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for his advocacy of Intelligent Design. Now, a judge has ruled that Coppedge was legitimately dismissed for performance reasons. From the article: "n 2009, he apparently got a bit aggressive about promoting these ideas at work, leading one employee to complain. The resulting investigation found that he had also aggressively promoted his opinion on California's gay marriage ban, and had attempted to get JPL's holiday party renamed to 'Christmas party.' ... Coppedge was warned about his behavior at work, but he felt it was an infringement of his religious freedom, so he sued. Shortly after, as part of a set of cutbacks on the Cassini staff, he was fired. In court, Coppedge and his lawyer portrayed him as being targeted for promoting an idea that is, to put it mildly, not popular with scientists. But JPL's legal team introduced evidence that his aggressive promotion of it at work was part of a pattern of bad interactions with his fellow employees that dated back at least five years earlier."
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JPL Employee's Firing Wasn't Due To Intelligent Design Advocacy, Says Judge

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  • by wkcole (644783) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @12:28PM (#41865037)

    An advocate of Intelligent Design who wasn't competent to work in a scientific organization? I'm SHOCKED!

    Not really....

    • by sribe (304414) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @12:33PM (#41865097)

      An advocate of Intelligent Design who wasn't competent to work in a scientific organization? I'm SHOCKED!

      OK, your sarcasm is on point, but... I wonder... Think about this: is it possible that the level of aggressive misbehavior exhibited by this person was fueled by cognitive dissonance? Was he trying to convince his coworkers or himself?

      (Either way, firing him was the right thing to do and he deserves whatever mockery and sarcasm we can dish out.)

      • by Jessified (1150003) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:10PM (#41865389)

        Also, could a religious organization not fire someone who is promoting ideas contrary to the church? Why should a secular organization have to tolerate religious fanaticism if a religious organization does not have to tolerate other views?

        • by timeOday (582209)
          I would guess that issue is much more muddled at JPL because they're working on government projects using government money.

          The private religious university I attended has a strict rule about accepting public funds because above some threshold, determined by law, you are subject to a lot of federal non-discrimination laws that would preclude things like firing a professor for his religious views.

        • by Americano (920576)

          Government agency, supported by government funds - non-discrimination rules are legion, and if a government agency implements a rule that basically amounts to, "you can't talk about your religious beliefs," there is a first amendment concern there. It would have to be shown that it wasn't the "religious beliefs, per se" that caused the firing, but a pattern of disruptive behavior and poor performance. It looks like JPL has shown this, but if they weren't able to provide documentation of the issue, the cas

          • I would have thought that discrimination laws would transcend the private/public barrier. For example, can a private institution not hire black people (you know, for being black)?

            In Canada (it varies from province to province), discrimination is discrimination. While there are different rules for different areas (i.e. tenancy vs employment) I do not believe that in the area of employment that private institutions have a different set of rules when it comes to discrimination.

            The only exception is if it's an

            • Religious organizations can fire their employees for almost any purpose. It used to be that it was limited to people who directly teach or perform religious duties however if you give a 10 minute morning chapel or direct a class in prayer you are now considered a religious employee according to a recent supreme court ruling.

              So even if you're teaching chemistry at a church affiliated school they can fire you for talking about carbon dating if they also require you to start your class with a prayer. In the

      • by Livius (318358) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:31PM (#41865569)

        Was he trying to convince his coworkers or himself?

        Himself. Exactly the same as everyone else who "believes" in Intelligent Design.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @02:07PM (#41865897)

        I think it's a lot more likely that he was simply a aggressive, socially awkward guy who simply didn't know when to shut the fuck up about the things he was really "into". Not that much of a departure from fairly typical geek behavior, he just happened to be into a "hobby" that rubbed a lot of his fellow geeks the wrong way and they were less patient with.

        I have no sympathy for the guy, but I work with people like this who get nutty over their pet issues and drive me up the wall too - every one of you reading this probably know someone like this as well - and if you don't, you're probably the one everybody else in your workplace thinks of.

    • by damienl451 (841528) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:01PM (#41865335)

      Never doubt the ability that people have to compartmentalize their thinking. You can actually have a lot of technical skills, and even a lot of science knowledge, yet hold fairly bizarre views that are directly contradicted by the evidence that you know. It's kinda hard to do if you actually have to use the principles that directly contradict your beliefs (i.e., you usually won't find young-earth creationists doing research in evolutionary biology), but most scientific fields are broad enough that you can easily specialize in something that won't threaten your bizarre beliefs.

      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:32PM (#41865579)

        The way I see it is that someone with a personal belief will try to get a measure of authority by earning a degree in a related field of science.

        Remember that getting a degree does NOT mean that you agree with the material. Only that you have mastered the material.

        Then they write books about their beliefs and make sure that their degree(s) are included in their author bio.

        Maybe they'll find a job with some real research firm or something. But that is a bit difficult after their first book is published and anyone looks up their name on Google.

        • Remember that getting a degree does NOT mean that you agree with the material. Only that you have mastered the material.

          Unless you get it from Liberty University.

        • Have you encountered many 18-year-olds with such a cunning plan? I'm afraid that you're ascribing sinister designs to people just because they happen to disagree with you. It sounds a bit like the fundamentalists who think that they have to make students sign an über-detailed statement of faith, because we all know that atheists have nothing better to do than pretend to be Christians to ruin a seminary.

          Perhaps some people come up with such schemes. But, then, once they get their PhD (assuming they were

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Snotnose (212196)

        Back in the mid-90s I worked with a hella great, hella smart guy. One of the best software engineers I've ever run across. He also believed every conspiracy out there. The hot one at the time was the face on Mars. He had every book on it, followed all the Usenet groups, and, given the chance, would talk your ear off about it. Not to mention the Kennedy assassination and every other whacko theory you can think of.

        But he wasn't a jerk about it. If you didn't ask he didn't bring it up.

        Wonder what ever ha

    • by MacTO (1161105) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:31PM (#41865577)

      Let's try to keep facts straight. The articles that I have read did not bring his professional competence into question. His professional competence would only be an issue if he was unable to perform his duties (due to his religious beliefs or otherwise).

      The issue was that his conduct in the workplace was interfering with the function of that workplace. If he said that he believed in intelligent design and left it at that, there probably wouldn't have been an issue. Yet he upped the ante by being aggressive about promoting those beliefs. Since the promotion of individual beliefs is outside the scope of most workplaces, it is outside the realm of religious freedoms.

      • by PNutts (199112)

        The articles I read did bring his competence into question which is why he was let go.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @12:31PM (#41865075)

    In other words, he had been acting like an asshole at work for years, and when cuts came around, they decided to get rid of an asshole. Guess what? If you act like an asshole at work, you MIGHT GET FIRED.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @12:33PM (#41865091)

    If you don't adapt......

  • by sideslash (1865434) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @12:57PM (#41865293)
    Let's suppose that somebody at JPL was promoting atheism, complained that the Christmas party should be renamed to the Holiday party, and suggested that California allow gay marriage. Would that be offensive as well? Be careful about piling on with "serves him right" when somebody is fired for what amounts to political incorrectness in the workplace. Without more detail I am skeptical of the accusations that he was "too aggressive" with this stuff or that it was a serious dereliction of his job. In my experience, many atheists are offended even by any public display of personal religious belief and practice, or any religious people engaging in discussion with others about it. They think religious people should be forced to maintain an appearance of secular belief when in public places, which is actually absurd and offensive in its own way.

    As a religious person who works professionally with a diverse bunch of colleagues, I have experienced offensive pushing of personal beliefs from atheists much more often than from religious colleagues. And frankly, it's my habit to just smile and get along. I don't think my colleagues should be fired for promoting atheism, gay marriage, abortion, or what have you.
    • Of course you do. (Score:4, Informative)

      by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:07PM (#41865365)

      ... I have experienced offensive pushing of personal beliefs from atheists much more often than from religious colleagues.

      That makes sense because you already share the same beliefs as your "religious colleagues". So why would the "personal beliefs" be "offensive" to you?

      Since you do not share the same beliefs as the "atheists" then their beliefs are more "offensive" to you when they interject them.

      Let's suppose that somebody at JPL was promoting atheism, complained that the Christmas party should be renamed to the Holiday party, and suggested that California allow gay marriage.

      Are they being an asshole about it? Because those don't seem like work-related subjects.

      Would that be offensive as well?

      You don't seem to be understanding the situation.

      It isn't the nature of the beliefs.

      It is the asshole pushing them in an asshole'ish fashion and INSISTING that his "freedom" is more important than anyone else's freedom to NOT have his religious beliefs inflicted upon them AT WORK.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine932038 (1934132)

      If you're a religious person, would religious colleagues push their opinions on you?

      Agreed with you on the other point, but one caveat: you're at work to work, not to preach. At some point, common courtesy indicates that a subject be dropped. Otherwise it's disruptive to everyone.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:15PM (#41865431)

      It's called confirmation bias. You don't experience other religious people pushing their personal beliefs because when another religious persons says something like "god guided me to a solution," you think, "yes, god is good." But when a non-religious person says, "there is no god, we have to do this on our own," you think, "wow, pushy!"

      And yes, if a coworker spends a lot of time promoting religous or political issues at work, I want them to stop, even if I agree with them. I'm there to work, not to debate philosophy or current events. And if this goes on for years, with management asking them to stop, then they should be on the short list. Even if I agree 100% with what they say.

      I may not agree with you, and I will defend your right to speak your mind, but in an appropriate forum. Not in department meetings, not in team meetings, not when I'm trying to focus on my job.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      As a religious person who works professionally with a diverse bunch of colleagues, I have experienced offensive pushing of personal beliefs from atheists much more often than from religious colleagues.

      insert pic of 'help, help, we're being repressed!' here.

      you folks have been the VERY vocal majority since, well, the beginning of your religion. don't you think its fair that others get to try to balance the scales just a wee bit?

      right, its an attack on christianity. knew you'd be thinking that, if not sayi

    • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:26PM (#41865537)

      Let's suppose that somebody at JPL was promoting atheism, complained that the Christmas party should be renamed to the Holiday party, and suggested that California allow gay marriage. Would that be offensive as well? Be careful about piling on with "serves him right" when somebody is fired for what amounts to political incorrectness in the workplace. Without more detail I am skeptical of the accusations that he was "too aggressive" with this stuff or that it was a serious dereliction of his job. In my experience, many atheists are offended even by any public display of personal religious belief and practice, or any religious people engaging in discussion with others about it. They think religious people should be forced to maintain an appearance of secular belief when in public places, which is actually absurd and offensive in its own way.

      Promoting atheism is just as offensive as promoting theism. Religion has no place in the workplace, unless your workplace happens to be devoted to religious study of some sort. As long as you're not hurting anybody, I don't give a flying fuck what you choose to believe. It's not my concern, as long as you recognize that I have a right to believe differently.

      That being said, renaming the Christmas party to the Holiday party is about inclusion... all 3 of the Abrahamic religions have holy festivals around that time of year, not to mention a large number of other festivals associated with the solstice. Almost every religion in the world does something that time of year, and calling it the "Holiday" party instead of the "Christmas" party acknowledges that those other religions have value. It also acknolwedges and includes people who don't follow any specific religion. (though the word "holiday" itself is a bastardization of "holy day", which kind of excludes the atheists)

      Allowing gay marriage, similarly, is about inclusion. I can't believe I even have to make the argument here, but the only consequence of allowing gay marriage is that gay people will get married. The world will not blow up, cats will not start having sex with dogs, it will not suddenly start raining fish, the sun will not turn purple, and you will not hear 7 trumpet blasts. It's about extending the same rights to gay people that heterosexual people enjoy, pure and simple. And if your religion doesn't endorse gay marriage, then don't fucking perform it. Gay people can just as easily have a civil ceremony before a justice of the peace, or go to one of the churches that *does* support gay unions. It is *not* about people with an agenda trying to force their beliefs on others, it's about people wanting to have the same rights as everybody else. Of course, opposition to extending these rights to the queer community is about people forcing their beliefs on others....

      Now... if you'd bothered to read the articles linked, it would be quite clear that this guy was a douche. He had a reputation for being pig-headed, and refusing to negotiate on anything... it always had to be his way that things got done. He had been spoken to as early as 5 years before he was dismissed about his unprofessional behaviour, and even admitted during his own testimony that they had been asking him for years to smarten up. There are plenty of religious people working for JPL who don't have any problems at all, and his religion had nothing to do with his having been laid off. And yes, it was a lay-off... they let 200 people go at the same time as him, because there was a funding cut. This is a complete non-story, and the only reason it's getting any press at all is because a number of zealots are trying to incorrectly paint this as an attack on religion.

    • by mewyn (663989) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:27PM (#41865547) Homepage
      Well, if an atheist were going around the way that Coppedge is reported to, yeah that would be trouble. You just should act like a dick. Civil discussion is fine where it's appropriate, but being a pushy dick isn't. Coppedge does have the right to say whatever he wants, and as the results of this court case shows, he was not fired for that.

      Secondly, this whole thing is a tactic that the Christian right of getting into scientific or academic positions, being loudmouthed about their beliefs, and finally getting themselves canned for other reasons and shout that they are fired for being Christian. They do this to try and promote the idea that Christians are being persecuted, and that they need more recognition. It's a scummy tactic that these evangelical groups are trying to use to gain power. No, evangelicals, you are not being persecuted in this country; just because someone tells you to be quiet in a place you aren't supposed to be mouthing off about anything doesn't make it an oppression of your religion; no, because something is offensive to your beliefs does not make it an attack on your beliefs, you have no right to be not offended.
    • by Ogive17 (691899) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:27PM (#41865549)
      If the person is being an asshole and combative about it, yes.

      Maybe you're in a different part of the country. I'm in Ohio, we get people trying to shove religion down our throat every day. I can't imagine having to live somewhere in the actual Bible belt....

      I'm not going to trounce on anyone's beliefs but when you get up in front of the entire office (around 120 people) and ask people to pray for you because a home inspector is coming to your house this afternoon representing the potential buyers... well, you can just shut the fuck up. I'm sure as hell not going to waste any prayers on a greedy asshat like that.

      But I digress... if the office is going to remain a professional environment, politics and religion really should stay out of it.
    • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:34PM (#41865591) Homepage

      I want Christmas to remain Christmas. I'm an atheist. I don't care for the name "saturnalia" or whatever else it may be called. There is history behind it and its practices and people respond to it with happiness and that's why I like it too. Don't change Christmas. But also, don't change Halloween. Don't change Easter. I liked the way things were. There's a lot of human heritage there.

      Most "religious people" aren't really religious. I find that comforting and reassuring. Even people that claim to be devout just really aren't... they are merely selective about which rules they follow. I find that reassuring as well... knowing this keeps me comfortable in the face of even the most rabit of "religious" situations. But those situations bring out a kind of snarky pity from me... "I forgive you" is my attitude to those... it's what Jesus would do.

      • by HungWeiLo (250320)
        Most "religious people" aren't really religious. I find that comforting and reassuring. Even people that claim to be devout just really aren't...

        Turns out Americans go the church about as much as the "godless" Europeans - except Europeans don't lie about it nearly as much. [npr.org]
    • Let's suppose that somebody at JPL was promoting atheism, complained that the Christmas party should be renamed to the Holiday party, and suggested that California allow gay marriage. Would that be offensive as well?

      Offensive? No, not to me at least. But in a workplace like NASA, at a time where many people are getting laid off. I would expect that if the atheist in question was evangelical enough and annoying enough -- he would be one of the first ones to be let go. And I say this as an atheist myself. In times of lay offs, you let go of the troublemakers (even the ones that are of the same group and the same religion as you are).

      But the reverse is also true, in periods of growth, when there is nobody else to hire

    • But that's exactly why we let courts handle such matters. It's impossible to have standards that deal with every possible situation and draw a clear line in the sand between innocuous lunch time conversation (so, what do you think about proposition whatever) and inappropriate behaviors. So, if someone thinks that their dismissal was unfair, they're free to challenge it. Then an unbiased third-party can decide if their conduct warranted dismissal or not.

      The key here is that, while it's true that employees ha

    • by supercrisp (936036) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:57PM (#41865799)
      I'll match your anecdote with another. I worked in a natural history museum where we had a Christian nut who harassed one of our Jewish employees constantly, putting Jews for Jesus tracts in her box, giving her Christmas cards, telling her Jesus loves her, etc. It doesn't sound so bad, but it was unrelenting and drove the Jewish woman to tears quite often. Sadly no one had the guts to can the Christian lady. She eventually converted one of my co-workers, turning a perfectly good astronomer into someone who proclaimed that various laws of physics were impious deceptions thrust upon us by Satan. So, now, there's my anecdote, canceling yours out, unless of course I'm just making this up to persecute all the poor long-suffering Christians in the world.
    • Let's suppose that somebody at JPL was promoting atheism, complained that the Christmas party should be renamed to the Holiday party, and suggested that California allow gay marriage. Would that be offensive as well? Be careful about piling on with "serves him right" when somebody is fired for what amounts to political incorrectness in the workplace. Without more detail I am skeptical of the accusations that he was "too aggressive" with this stuff or that it was a serious dereliction of his job.

      With your self-avowed lack of knowledge of the details, maybe you should assume the judge knows what he's talking about.

      In my experience, many atheists are offended even by any public display of personal religious belief and practice, or any religious people engaging in discussion with others about it. They think religious people should be forced to maintain an appearance of secular belief when in public places, which is actually absurd and offensive in its own way.

      So how would you feel if one of your coworkers constantly tried to proselytize you to homosexuality?

      As a religious person who works professionally with a diverse bunch of colleagues, I have experienced offensive pushing of personal beliefs from atheists much more often than from religious colleagues.

      My experience is quite the opposite. I do have one coworker who puts in an irreligion jibe in a meeting about every two years. Compare that to a former coworker who couldn't let a conversation go by without trying to recruit you to his religion, whose religious decorations on his office wa

    • by timeOday (582209)

      Without more detail I am skeptical of the accusations that he was "too aggressive" with this stuff or that it was a serious dereliction of his job.

      There was more detail - he got a trial to air his side of the story. And he lost. And I am glad there are such trials, and approve of paying taxes to support them, because I agree there is a big potential for unfair bias in employment.

      Although I think it usually cuts the other way. For example, there is a de-facto Christianity test for the Presidency of t

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:01PM (#41865331)
    Let's assume that he is even right for a moment on all his issues. He is in an environment of people who really don't like any of these positions; yet he keeps bringing them up and pushing them in others' faces. Can you imagine what this tool was like to work with on normal issues?

    I suspect he was fired for not being able to read others and play well with others. In an engineering/science world this would be quite an accomplishment to stand out by having poor social skills.

    I know a parent at a private school who was equally religious about her health-food lifestyle and was always pushing it down people's throats. The other parents suddenly had important texts to send when she showed up. Where she crossed the line was when she began to try an enforce her view on the other kids arguing it was unfair to her kids to have to see them eating junk food like milk, wheat based bread, and cheese. The school asked her not to enroll the next year.

    There are people who don't understand boundaries and they can create a poisonous atmosphere.

    It is like fat people being angry when skinny people eat donuts. Fat people aren't the problem, donuts aren't the problem, it is the fat people imposing on the skinny that is the problem.
  • Why the fuck is this case still in court and not already dismissed?

  • Sharia law (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fermion (181285) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:12PM (#41865411) Homepage Journal
    It is interested that practicing and promoting Christian sharia law while accepting taxpayer handouts is acceptable, even mandatory, by the wing nut right, and considered protected speech, but any other religious law is considered illegal activity. Case in point. We have holiday parties because some don't want taxpayer money to be used to indoctrinate their kids into the some Christian ideal that physical gifts, not love or the acceptance of the savior is the critical parts of Christmas. We see this in the fact that many Christians want Christmas sales, not holiday sales, to cement the connection between manufactured secular good and a very important, at least to some, Christian festival. This promotion is to such a point that many have called such separation between religion and the money changes a 'war on Christmas.' It seems simple enough to say we don't like sharia law, and it is cause for termination to promote it, but obviously if one is Christian wasting taxpayer money to annoy your workers is a god given and constitutional right.
    • the 'war on christmas' is, strangely enough, only a concept held within the minds of those who were brought up from childhood in a usually isolated christian-majority town.

      how can you grow up in a modern world and still think that the country you live in owes YOUR religion something special above and beyond the others?

      the lack of ability to put yourself into others' shoes is pretty sad. you can't even imagine how a non-xtian would feel if being bombarded continually during this season, on things that they

    • Re:Sharia law (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @02:13PM (#41865961)

      The "War on Christmas" is actually a war on inclusive society. It exists only in the minds of people who feel persecuted if they aren't allowed force their ways on everyone else.

      Also, I would be willing to wager that the people screaming loudest about the (imagined) incorporation of Sharia into US law are the same people who are demanding loudest to have US law to force *their* religious scruples on the rest of us.

  • Extreme -isms are things that prevent even the most similar groups of people to become separated. This causes division and discomfort.... isolation and ostracism.

    In this case, the guy was preaching to the wrong crowd even if they tried to tolerate him for at least 5 long years. But then again, their tolerance was probably viewed as acceptance... that what he was doing was okay somehow. I see guilt on both sides.

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:18PM (#41865475)

    Expect to see more of this sort of thing. Here is the thing. In my estimation/opinion, Christianity is 'done'. There is no good reason for anyone to follow this religion anymore. The reason for that is that it has been scientifically disproved. So what you are seeing now is, people whose entire lives have been raised on this belief system we now have concrete evidence to debunk, attempting to use the legal system like a bludgeon to cover up the evidence.

    What we are in right now with situations like the ID movement is denial. There are people out there who Christianity has been all they've known there entire lives. They will go through all manner of mental gymnastics to try and fit this bronze age myth into the scientific world as much as possible. Here's the problem. It's going to kill us if we don't stop this.

    For one thing, we have severe environmental issues that are getting worse by the day, and we have diseases that are getting more difficult to treat. People who believe in Christianity, are also to some extent rejecting modern medical science. There was a US Congressman who advocated not vaccinating females against a kind of cervical cancer because the Bible said so.. Many children die in the US due to things like faith healing.

    Are you entitled to your religion? Sure. But you are not allowed to ban science you don't like because it goes against your religion. The supernatural claims of the Bible just patently false. There is no Holy spirit, there is no salvation by Jesus, or any other such insanity. You can think that if you want too, but you are not allowed to tell other people what they can do, and create and invent. You aren't allowed to impose your religion on other people.

    • What we are in right now with situations like the ID movement is denial.

      I suspect that for the leaders of the movement it is just a cynical scam to keep hoi polloi opiated and obedient.

      Not everyone asks "who guards the guards?".

  • Noah's freakin' Arc (Score:4, Interesting)

    by poly_pusher (1004145) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:55PM (#41865773)
    I work with a guy who through the years has slowly shown his beliefs. We often have cigarette breaks together and talk about whatever. He knows that I'm really interested in science and archaeology and one day he says "So did you hear they found Noah's Arc?" My blood boiled at this statement alone. A couple Korean evangelicals had claimed to have found the Arc. There wasn't even strong evidence that this could be the Arc but here he goes claiming it is Noah's freaking arc... I corrected him, probably with some visible agitation. Then he came back with "Yeah, well wouldn't that be cool if it was Noah's Arc?" I replied "not really," that isn't what I believe in so it wouldn't be pretty cool for me. What I will give you is that it would be amazing, not just that they found it but that every animal on earth was in fact put on one boat by God's orders, that would be amazing." My response pissed him off too, he paused and his cheeks flushed.

    After a few moments we started talking about his dog, who I agree is probably one of the most awesome dogs around...

    So I do think he's pretty loony for believing in a literal interpretation of Noah's Arc. I thought he had a greater capacity for critical thinking but oh well that's my opinion and my belief. What matters is that was the moment he found out what I believe and I found out what he believes. From that point forward we both dropped it, we haven't talked about religion again. That is how you handle situations like this. If the non work-related conversation causes conflict at work, that conversation better not happen again. Why can't more people do this?
  • When all the women in the office came to my desk and demanded to know why I had stopped sexually harassing them. I'm gay and they apparently liked the behavior the personnel manager had warned me about.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @04:51PM (#41867351) Homepage Journal
    The funniest thing about the whole ID position is that I've played around with neural networks and genetic algorithms over the years. Cool thing about genetic algorithms, you just set some parameters and let your critters compete until one does what you want. You know how many of those you're actually interested in? One. Or maybe four or five from the last generation. Any intelligent creator isn't going to bother saving all those generations of failures! Such a creator would only save one or a few from the last generation, the ones that do the job he designed his critters to figure out how to do. And he's going to put those fuckers TO WORK! That's hardly the scenario I'd be hoping to find myself in.

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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