Sunday, January 22, 2017

Do You Blame the Scinetific Community From Giving You Ammunition?

Ridiculous post over on the Discovery Institute's (DI) usual haunt, 'Whatever You Do, Don't Say "Irreducible Complexity"'.  Apparently there is an article in a real scientific journal that warned against using the word 'complex' because of it's association with 'biocomplexity' and 'irreducible complexity'.  Can you blame them?

Just yesterday I posted how the DI is willing to grasp any use of intelligence and claiming it as a victory for their pet religious concept of Intelligent Design. (More Misdirection from the Discovery Institute).  In that post I said:

"What we have also learned, yet again, is that whenever anyone uses their brain (intelligence) and discovers anything that can be interpreted, or even mis-interpreted, as 'design' then the DI is going to try and claim yet another victory for their pet concept ID.  They, the DI, still cannot tell the difference between their Intelligent Design 'theory' and use of intelligence in scientific discoveries."
Since the DI is so quick to make such claims, is it any wonder an article's author might want to avoid some specific terms that would supply the DI with more opportunities?  How many other words do we avoid using because of a specific connotation?  I'm sure you can think of a few, I know I certainly came up with a dozen without much effort.

Of course the DI tries to spin that this as some sort of prejudice . . . and they are right, although not in the way they intended.  Should actual science be prejudiced against pseudo-science?  Most certainly!  The DI doesn't see themselves as pseudo-scientists, but admitting it might have a negative funding impact on the DI.  I mean it's hard to push religion if the donations dry-up.

I do wish to point out one other . ..  lie . . . I know, sugar-coating things isn't my style.  Here's a quote from the DI post:
"Oh, and isn't BIO-Complexity the title of a peer-reviewed science journal open to examining ideas supportive of intelligent design?"
Two problems here.  The first is simple, the paper they found so offensive suggested avoiding the term 'biocomplexity'.  According to Wikipedia:
" . . . some researchers have begun to use the term biocomplexity in a narrower sense to denote the complex behavioral, biological, social, chemical, and physical interactions of living organisms with their environment. This relatively new subfield of biocomplexity encompasses other domains such as biodiversity and ecology." 
Which means the original paper might not have been addressing the DI's journal at all.  The second problem is that even if they were addressing Bio-Complexity, is it really a peer-reviewed science journal?  Not in the least.  It's been identified as the latest Intelligent Design journal. Origins & Design from Access Research Network (ARN) and Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design  from Wild Bill Dembski were two previous attempts.  I said this about Bio-Complexity a while back:
"The National. Center for Science Education had a lot to say about Bio-Complexity shortly after it was announced.  Here is my favorite comment:
"Unable to convince the scientific establishment of the merits of their views, creationists have long been engaged in the project of constructing a counterestablishment, which mimics — or perhaps the mot juste is “apes” — not only peer-reviewed journals but also professional societies, textbook publishers, media organizations, natural history museums, and graduate programs at accredited universities."
So you see, even if the original offending paper was addressing the DI's in-house journal, calling it a peer-reviewed science journal is at best humorous, at worse just another lie.   Real science peer review is not the same thing as having a few people who already agree with you read your papers and pat you on the head.

Personally, I think avoiding certain terms are a waste of time, not because they might cause an association with something the DI might say.  It's because since when does the DI need actual words to try and form an association.  Look at my own post link at the start of this post.  The DI took something unrelated and drew an imaginary line to Intelligent Design.  After all, wasn't it the DI who handed to Ohio State School Board a list of 44 peer-reviewed publications that they said showed support for Intelligent Design?  A list that was fraudulently represented by them! (http://ncse.com/creationism/general/analysis-discovery-institutes-bibliography).

Yea, the DI 'don't need no stinkin' words!

Friday, January 20, 2017

More Misdirection from the Discovery Institute

In my last post (Skepticism vs. Scholarship (From James F. McGrath)) I said:

"As new scientific discoveries are made, you can bet that shortly thereafter they will try and put an ID [Intelligent Design] spin on it, regardless of the fact the discovery doesn't support it."
This new post over on the Discovery Institute's (DI) Evolution and 'news' and Views (EnV) blog bears that out. "University of Alabama "Space Archaeologist" Seeks Evidence of Intelligent Design".  As you read their post, I want you to identify where Intelligent Design . . . not intelligence or design . . .  but something from the Discovery Institute, being being used in Sarah Parcak's work.  If you can't see it, don't worry, it's only in the very limited imagination of the DI.

In a nutshell, the associate professor of anthropology (University of Alabama at Birmingham) pioneered the use of satellite imagery to discover ruins, tombs, and more.  She's highly recognized, well regarded, and apparently quite successful.  What she is identifying signs of human habitation in ways that would have been impossible before today's modern satellites.  So what does this have to do with the DI?  Nothing, but since when does nothing stop the DI?

What the good professor is looking for are patterns, patterns that when combined with her other research, indicate the probability of being a former location of a town or village.  We recognize patterns all the time, but does there being a pattern automatically mean an intelligent source?  Here is a quote from Professor Parcak from the Smithsonian article::
"Any discovery in remote sensing rests on hundreds of hours of deep, deep study. Before looking at satellite imagery of a cemetery or a pyramid field, you have to already understand why something should be there."
I am surprised the DI used this particular quote, because I believe it defeats their own argument.  Parcak isn't just looking for patterns, she, and I would guess her team, spend hundreds of hours studying a location before looking at the imagery itself.  Her own words, "you have to understand why something should be there."  I this as a parallel to actual scientific work, you look, you study, you learn and what that does is frame any discoveries.  You don't just look at something and declare you are done!  But isn't that the modus operandi of the DI?

Parcak is looking for patterns, the DI insists on calling it 'design', they do that so they can tie into their pet idea of 'Intelligent Design'.  Does Parcak call it design?  Certainly no sign in the Smithsonian article.  The DI wants to call it 'design' so they can compare what she is doing to what they should be doing in examining DNA.  Of course they aren't exactly doing what she is doing.  They are making lots of declarative statements, but never seem to follow up with any supporting evidence.  The reason I am surprised they want to draw such a parallel is because I believe they are missing two points of Parcak's work.

One is illustrated in the quote above.  Where are the hours of deep study of DNA that would lead you to understand why design should be there?  There isn't any.  The DI looks just deep enough to recognize what they claim in the 'appearance' of design, and then they declare victory and demand to be taken seriously.

The second thing they are missing is based on another quote, this one near the  end of the Smithsonian article:
"Parcak often confirms discoveries made at her desk by visiting previously unseen sites and coring the earth or otherwise scouting for artifacts, a process called “ground truthing.”
Where is the 'ground truthing of the DI's arguments?  Where is the supporting evidence?  You will notice that Parcak doesn't just leave things at the level of the imagery, her discoveries are confirmed in the field.  The DI doesn't seem to think that's a required step, they even missed this quote from the article.

Let's imagine that Parcak made an announcement of a discovery and failed to follow-up with what she calls 'ground truthing'. Would she have been written up in the Smithsonian? Would she have been called "The Indiana Jones of low Earth orbit"?  Would she even be an associate professor?  She most certainly wouldn't have made over 3,000 discoveries with a hit rate of close to 100%!  What's the DI's hit rate on actual scientific discoveries again?  That's right: 0%?

As we have learned over and over again, the appearance of design does not mean it was actually designed.  The DI hasn't made the case that apparent design must have been designed and since they claim that only intelligence can design things, any 'design' must be the hallmark of an 'Intelligent Designer' (code word for the Christian God).  Yet their arguments fail on a number of points, particularly on a lack of evidence.  Conjecture and wishful thinking are not evidence.

What we have also learned, yet again, is that whenever anyone uses their brain (intelligence) and discovers anything that can be interpreted, or even mis-interpreted, as 'design' then the DI is going to try and claim yet another victory for their pet concept ID.  They, the DI, still cannot tell the difference between their Intelligent Design 'theory' and use of intelligence in scientific discoveries.  They keep confusing the two in order to confuse everyone else.  If they really want to make this claim, they should be able to tell us just what part of 'Intelligent Design Theory' is this particular professor using?

Well?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Skepticism vs. Scholarship (From James F. McGrath)

Very interesting post from The Religious Prof, aka Professor James F. McGrath.  It discusses the difference between Scholarship and Skepticism:
There is an unfortunate tendency in many circles to suppose that critical scholarship consists of pronouncing negative judgments on early Christians’ own self-understanding of their origins. I would suggest that this is a misunderstanding of what it means to be a critical historian. The critical historian is one who formulates a question, attends to the data relevant to answering that question, weighs possible answers, and then affirms that answer which handles the relevant data best. Sometimes that will much resemble early Christians’ self-understanding of their own origins; sometimes it will be remarkably at variance therewith. The skeptic supposes programmatically that the best answer will be at variance with traditional narratives. That is bias, the bias known as skepticism, which takes as its sinister twin the bias known as credulity: the programmatic supposition that the best answer will be fully congruent with traditional narratives. Both arbitrarily close off possible answers before the investigation even begins. As such, the spirit of critical thought is programmatically opposed to both. (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2017/01/skepticism-vs-scholarship.html)
I underlined what I think are the takeaways, at least for me.  It reminded me of an episode of the Mary Tyler Moore show.  Eric Braeden, who had played one of my favorite characters from an even older show "The Rat Patrol",  played a critic who had joined the staff at Mary's television studio.  He was a critic who was critical of absolutely everything, nothing was good in any form and he never said a positive thing about anything.  As with this TV character, I've often found critics focusing on the negative, looking for the perceived problems with no regard for anything positive.

When it comes to being critical of science, the above quote really hit home.  How many critics of current science are not 'critics' at all, but skeptics or out-and-out deniers?  They enter into any area with the automatic assumption that science, and scientists, are already wrong and come into the conversation with a different 'answer', even ones that do not align with any of the evidence.

Look at the Discovery Institute (DI), my favorite target.  How much evidence have they offered supporting their pet religious concept Intelligent Design (ID)?  Absolutely none, and yet they are intensely skeptical of any science that doesn't have a religious imprint.  As new scientific discoveries are made, you can bet that shortly thereafter they will try and put an ID spin on it, regardless of the fact the discovery doesn't support it.

Look at little kennie ham and his Answers in Genesis (AiG) ministry, another favorite.  How skeptical is ham and Co. of real science, and yet again offers nothing but belief in his version of the Bible in return.  Both the DI and AiG cloak their skepticism/denial as if they are being critical, but since they already have their 'answer', they aren't!

If you doubt that, look at the tactic commonly referred to as their "Academic freedom campaign", a campaign that has nothing to do with academic freedom and everything to do with protecting any teacher who teaches Creationism/ID in science class, cloaking their religion under the guise of academic freedom.

They have even started another petition the poorly named "Academic Freedom Petition".  Right on the first page they highlight four 'martyrs' for the cause, yet they have to lie about them to sell their story.  Here's what the DI says on their petition site:
  • In Washington state, high school teacher Roger DeHart was driven from his public school because he wanted students to learn about both the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian evolution discussed in science journals.
  • In Minnesota, Rodney LeVake was dismissed from teaching high school biology after expressing doubts about the scientific evidence for Darwin’s theory.
  • In Texas, biology teacher Allison Jackson was ordered to stop presenting students with information critical of key aspects of modern Darwinian theory.
  • In Mississippi, chemistry professor Dr. Nancy Bryson lost her job at a state university after she gave a lecture criticizing Darwin’s theory to a group of honors students.

Yet the truth is Roger DeHart was always an old fashioned Creationist and latched onto ID late in his public school teaching career.  he wasn't 'driven away', but was re-assigned teaching duties that didn't involve teaching his religion -- eventually he resigned and started teaching at a Christian school. 

Rodney LeVake wasn't dismissed either.  After it was made clear that LeVake was refusing the teach the prescribed curriculum in 10th grade biology, he was also re-assigned to 9th grade general science which did not include any evolutionary theory.  He sued the school district and lost as every turn.

I can't find much about Allison Jackson, other that the DI's own comment about her being ordered to stop teaching her religion.  I would have to say she was probably doing exactly what the others were doing and got caught.  There is an Allison Jackson who is now associated with:
"The Society for Classical Learning (SCL) has existed since the mid-1990s to facilitate and encourage thinking and discussion among professionals associated with Christ-centered education in the liberal arts tradition."
My further guess would be that the DI wants to present her as another martyr for the cause, but the reality is she got caught between her professional responsibilities and her religious beliefs and made the choice to abandon her responsibilities.  What did I say just a few posts back (Religious Beliefs vs. Personal and Professional Responsibilities) about what to do when you are caught in such a predicament?  Either accept your responsibilities or get out of the situation.  It looks like Allison got out, but not until she was disciplined for failing in her duties.

As for Dr. Bryson, exactly how and why she left her teaching position at the Mississippi University for Women is unclear, there are conflicting reports, including hearings and a change of heart by the administration after announcing her contract wouldn't be renewed.  But even she admitted that her views on Evolution were based on religion and not science.  Here is a very small part of Dr. Bryson's testimony during the Kansas Hearings from 2005.  Pedro Irigonegaray, a Topeka lawyer is asking the questions, Dr. Bryson is answering:
Q. Now, that opinion that you have about intelligent design, that's not based on science, correct?
A. Correct.
Q. That's based upon your theistic views?
A. Correct.
Q. And you would agree with me that religion has no place in science?
A. Yes.
Q. And you would agree with me that in a science curriculum religion should not be included, correct?
A. Correct. 
So you see, this isn't critical thinking, or really any scholarship involved, just pure and simple dishonesty.  I would have respected any of the 4 who decided to resign their positions BEFORE abdicating their responsibilities.  But if they had, the DI wouldn't be declaring their martyr-hood.
Does anyone every see any signs of scholarship from the DI?  What we get is skepticism and denial-ism and a bunch of creative writing purposefully designed [pun-intended] to disguise their religious beliefs.

The original quote, at the top of this post, discusses biases.  The DI consistently accuses the scientific community of being biased against their pet ideas.  Yet, who is actually being biased?  Look at their four martyrs, can anyone explain how they are the victim of bias, or are their students and the schools  that hired them the victims of their bias in favor of their religious beliefs.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book Review: Righting America at the Creation Museum

First off, I haven't read this book (yet).  While I do read a lot, I can't read everything I would like to, there is only so much time in the day.  In this case I ran across this review and thought it was very interesting.  "Book review: ‘Righting America at the Creation Museum’ "  I wasn't going to read it, thinking it was yet another puff piece about little kennie ham's monument to his own ego.  Plus it was written by two University of Dayton professors.  While I do live in the Dayton area, UD is one of the premiere Catholic Universities in the country.  Those of you who have been reading my blog are familiar with my issues over various organized religions.  Secondly it was in the "Mennonite World Review", self-described as "An independent ministry of Christian journalism serving Mennonites and the global Anabaptist Movement"  You can see my skepticism, but I also recognized it as a knee-jerk reaction and I try not give way to knee-jerk reactions.  Which means I have read a great many things that end up quickly dismissed.

So I started reading the review, still expecting to see a puff piece, wow . . . I was surprised.  This book . . . well let me quote the review:

"Susan L. Trollinger and Wil­liam Vance Trollinger Jr. [the authors] describe the Creation Museum as an arsenal for the Christian Right’s culture wars. It’s an apt analogy, but perhaps a better comparison would be a propaganda campaign."
That sort of opening certainly got my attention.  No puff piece would have used the term 'propaganda campaign'!  The review got better:
"They describe exhibits that don’t adhere to stated principles, opportunistic applications of Scripture and dubiously employed uses of theology, history and science — all in a facility that douses visitors with a flood of information in a fast-paced environment that obscures the shortcomings."
I likened the 'museum' as a carnival ride.  An Opportunistic applications of Scripture . . . I would have worded that slightly different, and have in the past.  The Creation 'Museum' and its sister exhibit, the 'replica' of Noah's Ark. are  based on kennie ham's personal interpretation of the first 11 chapters of the Christian Bible, or as I like to say: "The Bible according to kennie ham".  For example:
"The museum’s biblical foundation is problematic. It asserts not only that all Scripture must be read literally but also that it’s commonsensical and doesn’t need interpretation — which is itself an interpretation. Righting America points out that the museum doesn’t address the striking differences between the two creation stories in Genesis and the two sets of instructions to Noah, who first was told to take two of each kind of animal but later seven pairs of each clean animal and one pair of each that was unclean."
See what I mean, little kennie cherry picks the hell [pun intended] of the Bible and then assumes he's the only arbitrator truthfulness.

There are more critiques, some even more damning than what I have posted here.  I encourage you to go read it all for yourself.  If I quote any more, I would simple have to quote the entire article, but that's against the rules to reproduce it in its entirety.  So go and enjoy this reminder that little kennie doesn't represent all of Christianity, as much as he seems to think he does.  He only represents a small minority, a very small minority.  In my opinion most Christians probably think he's nuts.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What Happens When You Keep Repeating The Same Lie Over And Over Again?

I don't know about you, but as the saying goes, no matter how much mayonnaise you use, you cannot turn chicken sh** into chicken salad.  Little davey 'klingy' klinghoffer, one of the Discovery Institute (DI) talking heads, seems to think if you repeat the same lie enough times, it magically turns into truth.  I disagree, as you can plainly see.

He's been bleating about the David Coppedge trial for a few weeks now, only this time he's tried to enlist Martin Luther King.  (On Martin Luther King Day, Consider This About Intelligent Design) At least this time he hasn't tried to turn Dr. King into an Intelligent Design (ID) proponent.  I am sure that's on the agenda eventually, after all Dr. King meets the only apparent criteria -- he's deceased.  What klingy is doing is bad enough, he's trying to claim that Evolution is a civil rights issue rather than a scientific issue.  In a word, No, it's not.

First off, where were Coppedge's civil rights violated?  He was hired by people who were well aware of his religious beliefs.  He was employed there for years without any adverse actions based on his beliefs, he was even given an additional administrative responsibility based on his seniority --regardless of his beliefs.  What changed wasn't CalTech/JPL policy, but Coppedge's behavior.

Coppedge seems to believe that his beliefs would permit him to harass other employees multiple times.  That his beliefs would protect his position and his job regardless of any complaints or reports of poor performance, and that his employers would take no action even though he allowed his skill set to lag behind the needs of the job.  And  . . . here is the best part . . . when he discovered that none of that was true, he sued for religious viewpoint discrimination.  So, other than in his mind -- in the minds of his lawyers -- and in the DI's public relations department, where in all this were his civil rights being violated?

He was not let go because of his religious beliefs!  He was not let go, as klingy would have you believe, for sharing his religious beliefs in a non-intimidating manner.  He was let go primarily because of his lack of needed skills!  So, one more time, klingy, where was his civil rights violated?

I will tell you whose civil rights were violated, the people whom Coppedge harassed over Creationism/Intelligent Design, CA Prop 8 (Gay Marriage) and the Holiday Party.  Also the managers who tried to counsel an obviously belligerent employee.  And if they had kept Coppedge and fired a more qualified employee, that employee's rights would have been violated for real instead of this imaginary violation against Coppedge.  But no, according to klingy:
"Coppedge's right to dissent from Darwinian orthodoxy was crushed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the judge in the case accepted NASA's slickly constructed defense, rubber-stamped it, denying him the justice of what should have been total vindication."
According to the trial transcripts and the decision rendered by the judge, Coppedge was not 'crushed' by Darwinian orthodoxy, but by his own unprofessional and harassing behavior and his lack of skills. He was given the precise justice he deserved.  Coppedge, and the DI, are trying to use his religious beliefs as a shield to protect him from his own folly!  Coppedge continues to enjoy the right to dissent from evolution. He ran, and I believe still runs, a creationist blog -- which he was running while he was employed by CalTech/JPL. As you can see by klingy's recent posts, Coppedge is free to grant interviews and make speeches. He has the same freedom of expression of every US citizen, including those less-than-stalwart fellows at the Discovery Institute.

What he does not have is the freedom to harass his co-workers. He does not have the right keep a job amidst validated customer and co-worker complaints. He does not have the right to retain a job when his skill set failed to match the requirements of the job.  You cannot expect an employer to retain an employee like Coppedge?

In the post, klingy mentions "Cecil Phillips".  Cecil's issue was a few years back and didn't impact his employment, just his membership in a private organization.  Little klingy says this:
"For every Cecil Phillips, for every David Coppedge, there are countless other people who share their scientific doubts about Darwin, their openness to seeing evidence of design in nature, but who keep their views to themselves in a strategy of self-defense. They are teachers, professors, students, and other thoughtful open-minded citizens, who can't exercise their right to advocate a particular scientific view. They reasonably fear censorship and bullying."
First of all, like Coppedge, Cecil did not lose any of his civil rights.  What Cecil lost was membership to a private organization after advocating the opposite of the goals of the organization. Tell me, klingy, just how many senior fellows over there at the DI's Center for Science and Culture are proponents of evolution and not Intelligent Design?  Gee, I wonder why that is?  Why is that different for the Americans for the Separate of Church and State?  Why should they be forced to retain a member who opposed their goals?  Especially a private organization?  Cecil didn't just advocate a dissent from evolutionary theory, he pushed for a religious-based alternative, your version of ID.  Gee, he was surprised when they not only told him he wasn't welcome, but they refunded his fee!

What I do find interesting, in both cases, klingy can't seem to stick to the facts of the case.  Klingy says Coppedge was fired for sharing his ID videos. . . he also says Phillips was kicked out for raising doubts about Darwin and Evolution.  Yet the fact show Coppedge did a great deal more than just share his videos and did so in a harassing manner.  Phillips didn't just doubt Darwin, he pushed for DI, a religious alternative to science.  Gee, having trouble with the truth much, kilngy?

As for the rest of the folks klingy mentioned, they can certainly exercise their right to advocate a particular viewpoint, although I cannot call ID a scientific viewpoint with a straight face.  What these 'countless' (yea, sure!) teachers, professors, and students cannot do is offer ID as a valid and viable answer to biological questions in a public school setting.  After all, it's a religious viewpoint, as determined by Federal Court about 11 years ago, and re-affirmed every time the DI rushes to the defense of people like Coppedge and Phillips claiming some sort of religious viewpoint discrimination.  Sure, ID's not religious, yet you rush to the aid of such religious arguments all the time.  Plus you never seem to get the facts straight, it always boils down the religion with you.  Check out those other 'heroes' of the DI Movement (Sternberg, Crocker, Gonzalez, Abrahams, and Davis), in each instance the facts of the case differ greatly from the DI's portrayal.

Bottom line is that according to the court transcript and the final decision, the employment decision to terminate Coppedge was not based on his religious beliefs at all.  Every time klingy posts about Coppedge he's simply lying, as we have pointed out before, and here, and here.  He, and the rest of the DI, just seems to think that if you repeat the same lie often enough, some people will accept it as true.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Map-making in a Modern World

I came across an analogy that I simply love, let me quote part it first:

"Earlier maps might still be useful, if you realize their limitations and use them appropriately — but newer maps, even though the differences are slight, are better at describing 'what is there'." (Quoted from a comment from When Science Stands Up To Creationism)
Yes, this is part of an analogy, but more on that later.  I just want to explore this quote for a moment because I love Maps!  When I was a child I had a globe in my bedroom, which I kept even after my little brother drew on it.  Of course the lines on that globe, excluding my brother's colorful additions, wouldn't match up too well with a current globe.  Countries have changed from my childhood, some renamed, others have new borders, and some have ceased to exist entirely.  I always wanted one of those large globes that you could open up and have stuff hidden inside!

Maps hold a similar fascination for me.  I used to do a great deal of traveling and I always kept a Rand-McNally Road Atlas in the car.  It got me from place to place across America and parts of Canada.  I enjoyed the route planning and even used it to track my progress.  My wife enjoyed them as well because she would find the most obscure attractions, like the World's Smallest Cathedral (in Missouri).  What I did find was that as good as the maps were, they would quickly become outdated because  . . .  as with my beloved globe . . . things change.

Even in this modern day of Google Maps, things change.  It's something we have to be aware of and plan to adjust to those changes.  I have been driving along and coming to a dead-end that used to be a through road, but the road ended in a 'T' intersection and there was a building where the road used to go through.  Imagine the reaction if I stood there complaining about my map's inaccuracy because some town had built a building where there used to be a road!  Here in the Dayton Ohio area the roads are subject to name changes as you drive along.  It was confusing at first, but it makes sense as you consider how communities grew and eventually connected and merged.  We have certainly kept map-makers busy over the years.

The person who made the above comment was using it as an analogy to science.  Barbara King, the author of the article I lifted the quote from, continued the quote with this:
"Science is the process of learning what is where in the world of knowledge; and we are constantly developing better tools to make better measurements. We are constantly re-drawing the stuff that we suspect might be out there, slowly getting closer and closer to getting the stuff beyond the boundaries of knowledge successfully mapped out, and firmly within the boundaries of what we know. This means there will be a new frontier, and new questions, and maybe some corrections along the way."
Hopefully you can see the connection now.  Barbara King's original article about not failing our children on teaching Evolution brought out some typical vitriol, pretty much as expected.  But at least some of the comments were positive, like the analogy between science and map-making.  The parallels are there for anyone who wishes to see.  Science isn't an end, but a journey.

I've often used the analogy of a snapshot, as in a scientific theory is like a snapshot in time.  It represents what we know right now.  It is subject to change as we learn more and more, which is why the snapshot analogy worked well for me.  Maps might actually be better, because when you take a new snapshot, you are replacing the original.  Maps are updated with new information than replaced. 

Of course Creationists, and I do lump the Discovery Institute in with that group, treat the update-ability of science as a negative.  I can't tell you how many times I have heard something along the lines of 'but science changes!' as an attempted hit.  Of course they will never admit to it actually being a whiff.  Science improving the maps are a positive not a negative.  To a Creationists any map was written a long time ago and updating them is some form of sacrilege.

Imagine trying to navigate using a map from 2000 years ago!  That's pretty much what kennie ham and the DI are demanding.  Forget anything we have learned in the past couple of thousand years, if anyone stands up and says it conflicts with their perception of how things ought to be,m the rest of us are supposed to ignore it.  Hasn't worked too well for them, has it?  While they keep dragging their feet and kicking and screaming, the 21st century is here and as much as they don't wish to be part of it, they are.

I prefer a modern and up-to-date map when I do my traveling and apparently most people feel that way -- more and more, since kennie, and others, are whining about declining attendance at their various houses of worship.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Balancing the Scales . . . Artificially!

If you bothered to read "You Already Support Goliath with Your Tax Dollars; Won't You Consider Balancing the Scales?" you know what it is . . . even if you don't bother to read it, you can tell just from the title.  The Discovery Institute (DI) is begging for money, something they do regularly.  This time asking anyone who reads it to 'balance the scales'.

Let's talk about that for a minute.  Actually we already have in previous posts.  Let's place this in perspective.  There are Federal and State tax dollars being used for a variety of actions dealing with discrimination.  So let us balance the scales and donate money to groups like the Ku Klux Klan, after all, it would be balancing the scales, right?

I know, you think I am equating the DI to the KKK, but if you read what I actually wrote, I am not equating those two organizations.  What I am saying is that 'balancing the scales' is a pretty foolish idea unless the two opposing positions are equivalent in some fashion.  Does anyone believe anti-discrimination efforts by government organizations and the efforts to discriminate by the KKK are equal?  No, they are not, therefore there can be no balancing of the scales by any means.

It's the same thing for the DI.  Is their pet religious proposition, currently called 'Intelligent Design (ID)', the equal of Evolutionary Theory?  Not in any way shape of form!  I have asked many times for them to present the scientific advances that can be traced back to their pet concept.  There aren't any!  Yet evolution has led to advances in medicine, ecology, and environmental sciences -- just to name a few.  Evolutionary theory is a real, actual scientific theory, not pseudo-scientific religious babble.  Without such equivalency there can be no balancing of the scales.

The DI is just using this  . . . balancing . . . as another marketing concept to raise funds.  I guess their other sources might be drying up a bit, especially considering their lack of progress in advancing their religious agenda.  Think about what they are actually saying:  "Feel sorry for us because no public schools are taking us seriously, so no tax money supports our efforts."  But shouldn't you ask yourself why no public schools teach Intelligent Design (ID)?  The DI spins all sorts of excuses, but take it down to it's most fundamental, what has ID accomplished?  Nothing!

Depending on which posts from the DI you read, ID is either as old as Ancient Greece or too new to have had much of an impact on modern science.  So they are either asking you to donate to something that has been totally ineffective for centuries or just totally ineffective for decades, your choice.  To me it would be the same thing as donating money to a Numerologist since Math teachers in public school are supported by tax dollars.  It makes just as much sense.

There is another reason tax dollars don't support it, and one we have explored numerous times, it's called the US Constitution.  Should our tax dollars be used to promote a religion?  You need to remember that's all ID is -- a religious viewpoint.  It says so in their own guiding document:

" . . .reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions."
In other words they want to replace science with a religion without worrying about minor details like whether or not it actually does anything.  There is the rub, science works without having to invoke any of the thousands of deities mankind has created for themselves over the centuries.  And that just pisses people who insist on forcing their religion onto everyone else off!  Cars run, aircraft fly, medicines work . . . because of the scientific work that supports then, not because you prayed to one particular deity or another!

The rest of the post is nothing outside of the usual.  Someone said something negative about ID and the DI just has to respond.  I think that sort of knee-jerk reaction is built into their DNA.  Remember the quilt, here is part of something I wrote up about a year ago:
"The DI are masters at Public Relations and Marketing.  Anyone who says something negative about the DI or Intelligent Design is automatically a target.  Do you remember little gem from 2006: "Canadian Quilters Attack Intelligent Design" from Evolution 'News' and Views and "“ID is a Myth” Quilt Wins National Contest" from Uncommon Descent.  Yes, a quilter . . . a single quilter did a quilt that made fun of Intelligent Design . . . and she is suddenly part of a cabal of Canadian Quilters who are attacking ID.  See my point?  They can't even allow someone to make a little fun of their pet version of Creationism without trying to gain some PR mileage out of it.  A humorous quilt is suddenly an attack!"
In this case it was a biology professor who had the audacity to review the actual court documents instead of . . . here let me quote davey 'klingy' klinghoffer's post:
"Herron's "research" appeared to consist of downloading a court document from the website of the Darwin-lobbying National Center for Science Education. If he had consulted any of our copious analysis here, by Casey Luskin and others, from the months around the Coppedge trial, that was not reflected in his post."
Yes, according to klingy, Mark Herron (Senior Research Scientist in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech) downloaded the court documents instead of reading the DI's spin on the Coppedge case, something klingy has been spinning on a lot lately.  How dare Herron go to the source!  What Herron did in his own blog post (Lies of omission and straight-up lies) was highlight many of the things klingy has been omitting from his recent spinning of Coppedge.  I wrote a bit about it here, but let me quote Herron a little, I added the underlining for emphasis:
"So Klinghoffer’s version of events is, at the very least, grossly oversimplified, failing to mention either the negative performance review or the history of customer complaints. Furthermore, Coppedge’s claim that the 2009 performance review “…was the first indication of me being at fault for communications problems” contradicts his own notes, which indicate complaints going back to 2004. 
The biggest problem for this bit of revisionist history, though, is that the annual performance reviews were not considered in the layoff process."
and
"Klinghoffer’s omission of relevant information goes well beyond spin and into dishonesty. His articles at Evolution News and Views never mention that everyone knew layoffs were coming or that another system administrator was laid off at the same time. It doesn’t sound quite so sinister when you know that Coppedge was part of the 40% of system administrators laid off due to budget cuts, does it? Klinghoffer also fails to mention the history of complaints from “[e]very office..Even [his] own team members,” or that Coppedge was ranked fifth out of five in skills relevant to the extended Cassini mission. His claim that Coppedge was “fired” entirely for lending out DVDs doesn’t even match Coppedge’s version of events. 
Coppedge might just be deluded, but Klinghoffer is lying to promote his “Anti-Intelligent Design Persecution” narrative."
The other whine, and the one that leads to the plea for funds, is that Georgia Tech is a public university, therefore Herron's work may be funded by tax dollars . . . so since tax dollars do fund real science, klingy wants to 'balance the scales' by asking for donations to fund pseudo-science.  Of course Herron may be funded by other sources, that's how real science funding works, not that I would expect klingy to understand that.

If you are a supporter of ID, then go ahead and support it.  But don't do it because of this artificial idea of balancing the scales.  The only way the scales can be balanced is if ID proponents get off their marketing asses and get into a lab and perform real science.  They have to offer scientifically valid data, not conjecture and wishful thinking.  ID is currently getting all the tax support it deserves, None at all.  Until ID proponents manage to find actual supporting evidence through scientific methodology that can be validated and verified, then their religious proposition remains religious.

The only thing I plan on doing is adding Mark Herron's blog "Fierce Roller" to the list of blogs I read regularly.  You can find a link over on the right if you wish to join me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Religious Beliefs vs. Personal and Professional Responsibilities

This has been a recurring theme in this blog, and in many other places.  In a recent post (Let's Rename the Discovery Institute to the 'Re-writing History Institute'), I tried to make this clear, at least my own position, but I decided to really lay out my thinking on the subject.  In that post I said:

"In my opinion, religious beliefs do not trump personal and professional responsibilities."
Let's expand upon that for a while.  When I use the phrase 'personal and professional responsibilities', what I mean is that as one goes through life, one assumes various responsibilities, for example:

  • By accepting a job, you accept the requirement to perform specified duties.  
  • By signing up for a college course, you accept the requirement to perform assignments and participate in the activities of the class.  
  • When you get married you accept a number of responsibilities, too many to list in this short paragraph.  
  • When you enter into a personal relationship with someone, there is a certain amount of give-and-take as the two of you define many of those responsibilities.  
  • Becoming a parent, by deliberate choice or not, you have an even longer list of responsibilities, all revolving around the care and development of a new life.

You assume these responsibilities through specific actions of your own, YOU decided to attend school, YOU decided to accept a job offer, YOU decided to enter into a relationship, YOU decided to have children . . . while I know some folks who didn't make that particular conscious decision, they still took the actions that resulted in childbirth.  Whatever the reasons, you made these decisions, and many more, and each and ever one of them came with a set of personal and/or professional responsibilities.  Sometimes those responsibilities conflict and overlap, and part of your life is always spent dealing with them.

Now why do I separate Religious Beliefs from personal and professional responsibilities?  While many would lump them into 'personal', and I am sure you can make an argument for that -- I want to focus on them in a different light because religious beliefs can, and do impact many other decisions because for many people it's part of their decision-making criteria.

For example selecting a college, many people elect to attend a non-secular school because the school aligns with their religious beliefs.  Personal relationship criteria is often based on religion, as in not dating or marrying someone who didn't share the same religious faith.  While it is only one of the possible sets of criteria, it is one of them commonly used.  I worked with someone years ago who was single . . . and enjoying it to the fullest, including the late 1970's Sexual Revolution.  However for all the women he was involved with, he would not consider marrying a single one of them unless they were Jewish!  That was an absolute hard-line for him.  He dated, had sex, had three children that I knew of . . . yet refused to consider marrying any of the mothers of his children because they didn't share his belief set.  I'm not trying to pass judgment on his behavior, simply offering it as an example of how religious beliefs are often used as a decision criteria.

My issue revolves around what do you do when your religious beliefs conflict with already accepted personal or professional responsibilities.  My position is simply, your personal religious beliefs should in no way come before your personal and professional responsibilities!

So let's look at a few examples, like college.  If you do not want to learn subjects that conflict with your religious beliefs, then go to a school that is also based on those beliefs.  If you go to a public school, you do not have the right to force the school to comply with your beliefs.  That's what I am talking about with this conflict between personal responsibilities and religious beliefs.  Imagine a Catholic student in a Muslim school demanding the school support their belief set!  I know, I know, the immediate question is why would a Catholic go to a Muslim school in the first place . . . but you can ask the same question about why an Evangelical Christian would attend a public school and then demand the school let them opt out of classes that disagree with their religion?  Yet that seems to happen all the time.

Personal relationships are like that as well.  People of different religious beliefs, and even the same religious beliefs can come into conflict over those beliefs.  Yet people manage to overcome those difficulties regularly.  Those that cannot, end those relationships in one manner or another.  They say breaking-up is hard to do, but hopefully you learn the lessons and carry them into your next relationship.

Having children is a huge set of responsibilities, and the news has frequently cited examples of where parents caused actual harm, and even death, to their children in the cause of complying with their religious beliefs.  Children haven't yet had the option of accepting any set of religious beliefs, so forcing their compliance on the parents belief set seems more than a bit unfair, and in many cases deadly for the children.  I've stated many times that children shouldn't be even exposed to religion until they are over 18.  After all, they can't vote, drink alcohol, or join the military, so they should get to examine the options and elect once they know what those options are.

When it comes to professional responsibilities, when you accept a position, you also have to accept the responsibilities that come along with it . . . all of them!  If there are responsibilities that you cannot accept due to your religious beliefs . . then do not take the position!  If the responsibilities change while you are in the position and the new ones conflict with your religious beliefs . . . then you have a choice to either suck-it-up and do the job or resign your position and go find something else to do.

Now I mentioned this recently to someone when that Kentucky Clerk decided to put her religion ahead of her responsibilities and they immediately brought up an example of what if your responsibilities involved killing.  My response was that now you are talking beyond religion and into legalities.  Being a policeman or a member of the military may well involve the taking of a life, those acts, when done in accordance with the law, are not illegal.  Any other form of killing is illegal and needs to be be dealt with.  Legal issues aside, what I am talking about  specific examples where people allowed their belief set interfere with their responsibilities, like:
Each and every one of them put their religious beliefs ahead of their professional responsibilities, and they aren't the only ones.  In these cases, they made their stand and were held accountable to one degree or another.  The Discovery Institute (DI) and others like to hold these names up as example of some sort of religious persecution, but the reality is their religious views weren't the ones being violated, they were trying to use their religious views to violated the rights of others and then using their religion as a shield to allow them to discriminate against others.

That's why I consider religion to be one of the most dangerous forces on Earth.  It is incredibly divisive.  While some religions pay lip service to religious freedom, their acceptance of most other religions is one of tolerance rather than acceptance.  Most think the idea of religious freedom is one that protects them while they use their religion as a license to discriminate against those who do not share their beliefs.  I wholeheartedly disagree!  

Bottom line, is that religious beliefs are personal beliefs.  No one has the right to force those beliefs on anyone else, adult or child.  If personal or professional responsibilities conflict with  religious beliefs, then either take care of those responsibilities in spite of the beliefs or get out of the situation.  Resign from a professional position, get out of a personal relationship, even if it means giving a child up for adoption . . . which in my mind is certainly better than refusing them needed medical treatment because of religious beliefs . . . the child doesn't end up dead and the parent doesn't end up in jail.

While people like to say things like God, Country, Family . . . the exact order needs to be a bit more fluid.  But of the three, I would place religious responsibilities far in the back, well behind personal and professional responsibilities.  I know there are many who will disagree!  Personally I cannot imagine any deity worth following having a problem with someone accepting and handing their responsibilities.  There are so many different belief sets, that to try and follow them all would be insane.  Yet every time a theists asks for a religious exemption, that's exactly what they are trying to do, build a system that not only supports their belief set, but allows them the ability to force their belief set onto others.

I look at things a little more . . . well  . . . black and white.  When you accept personal and professional responsibilities, you make a commitment.  You made the choice, now you should live up to them.  If your religious beliefs will not allow you to carry out those responsibilities . . . then do not accept them.  Don't take the job, don't enter the relationship, and above all else, do not have a child.  But once you accept those responsibilities, then accept them fully and carry them out!  If you cannot, or will not, carry them out, then what you are is a liar and using your religious beliefs as an excuse for lying is contemptible.  Clear enough for you?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

News Bias . . . Yes, this is a real thing!

A recent conversation came to mind when I saw Prof McGrath's post "What's your Source".  I loved the opening sentence:

"Does it match your perception of these sources?  If not, do you assume that the issue is with the chart, or with your perception?"
Here's the chart in question:

The conversation was mercifully brief with someone who considers CNN a liberal partisan news organization and Fox News as the bastion for truth.  I wish I had this graphic with me during that brief, but memorable conversation.

For me, I find the graphic very close to my own perceptions.  I might have moved the Huffington Post a bit lower on the Journalistic Quality axis and maybe NPR a tiny bit more to the left on the Partisan Bias axis, but for the most part the only thing I really have trouble with is the oval that contains Fox News reaching nearly to the Analytical.  I don't watch much of Fox News, so maybe there is a Fox show or two that lean that way, but my experience would have ruled against that.  The shows I have seen fall much further to the right and at best would rarely come under the heading of 'Meets High Standards".

In fact of all the news organizations, Politifact usually measure Fox News much lower on any scale of truthfulness, rating their average at 60% being untruths, or as I was brought up to call them, lies.  CNN, the news service much maligned by most of the conservatives that I know, came in at 20% untruths.  If you wonder about what political ax Politifact grinds, you might do some homework and find that unlike Fox News, Politifact doesn't seem to care about content, only how the content relates to the actual facts.

So there you have it.  I would be interested in feedback and where you would rate your usual sources for news, as compared to this chart.  So, if you feel like it, leave a comment or two.  My usual sources are NPR, NBC, my local paper (Dayton Daily News -- which my much more right-leaning spouse calls the 'Dayton Daily Liberal'), and Google News.  But, unlike some, I try and trace information back to sources rather than just accept the headlines as gospel.  For example if Fox has a story and cite Reuters, I nearly always find the Reuters story and rarely find it says what Fox News said it did.  But that's just me!  It's not just "What are your Sources", but checking your source material as well.

As for my own political leanings, I would have said more of a Centrist for years, even though I was a Republican.  But recent Republican activities over the past couple of decades has made me an independent.  I still lean a little left on social issues, right on fiscal conservation, and most interested in accuracy from my news sources than any sort of spin.  Which is why my expectation of Fox News, in particular, is pretty low . . . and they seem to meet that expectation quite regularly.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Let's Rename the Discovery Institute to the 'Re-writing History Institute'

I have to wonder what passes for a scholarship at the Discovery Institute (DI).  One of their most common, and typically disreputable, tactics involves a fanciful re-telling of events from the past. Their collective 'recollection' of the Dover Trial is something I've commented on regularly, their re-baptizing historical figures -- such as Thomas Jefferson and Alfred E. Wallace -- as Intelligent Design proponents is another example.  When you look at all the effort they keep spending trying to vilify Charles Darwin as the sole person responsible for Hitler and the Holocaust and you really do get the idea that there is absolutely no one at the DI who bothers with actual history or even what they might remember from grade-school history classes.

I don't know if you are familiar with alt-history, it's a genre of fictional literature where a historical event's outcome is changed and the story that follows chronicles those changes and subsequent events.  For example What if Germany had won World War II, or if the South had won the Civil War.  Amazon Prime Video has an alt-history series called "The Man In The High Castle" about Germany and Japan splitting the United States following a very different WWII.  Alt-history is usually big events with widespread changes and it can make some interesting reading.

The DI's version of alt-history isn't for entertainment, well not intentionally.  Rather than make it clear that it is an alternate version of past events, they present their version as if it actually happened that way.  A good example is their latest from the 'Anti-Historical Society' of the DI.  we have them placing NASA in the middle of a lawsuit that wasn't against NASA to begin with.  They are again trying to market alt-history by re-writing the David Coppedge lawsuit.  Here's their post, "NASA on Trial: David Coppedge Fell Victim to Anti-ID Zeal at America's Space Agency", by one of their regular mouthpieces, davey 'klingy' klinghoffer.

When I say the lawsuit didn't involve NASA, what I mean is Coppedge was an employee of Caltech, not NASA.  NASA was the customer of the CalTech who runs Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL).  Now anyone who knows about government contracts, the government doesn't have much say in hiring and firing.  If the people assigned by CalTech can do, and are doing, the job, the government will say very little.  I know, I spent 20 years as a contractor working on over 12 different projects.  The government-side of that relationship can actually get themselves in trouble if they interfere with the decisions of the contractor, as long as the job is getting done.  The lawsuit itself didn't even name NASA as a plaintiff:

 Do you see NASA listed?  I don't, but since when does the DI allow facts interfere with their re-writing of history.

Before getting into their post, you might think back for a few about David Coppedge.  He was a JPL system administrator who worked there for 12 years (hired in 1996 as a contractor and later directly for CalTech/JPL) before his religious zeal started getting him in trouble.  He was considered senior because of the length of employment and was given an additional responsibility as a Team Lead, which was an unpaid administrative position.  Apparently he wasn't performing it well and there were multiple reports of harassment over California Proposition 8 (gay marriage) and Intelligent Design.  It was the harassment that caused his problems, not his religious beliefs.  If you read the decision you will find that his religious beliefs were well known and weren't a bar to being hired as a contractor and then eventually hired directly with JPL.  If you are familiar with the contracting world, a contractor that gets hired by a client usually shows superior performance and reliability, but you have to keep your skills current and handle your responsibilities.  When you don't, well you find yourself looking for work, just like Coppedge!

Things seemed to start Coppedge's downhill slide when he was first removed from an unpaid additional duty because he wasn't doing it well.  He sued for that, claiming religious discrimination.  Later he was let go as part of downsizing at JPL and he added all that to his suit.  In a nutshell, he became a poor employee, who had a habit of harassing other employees over his religious and homophobic beliefs, did not get a long well with customers, and didn't keep his skill set current -- so when his current project was downsized -- he was let go.  There was no evidence of religious discrimination, other than in the mind of Coppedge and his lawyers . . . Oh, and apparently the Discovery Institute.  If you want more, you can search this blog, there are too many posts to list.  Or, better, you might read the decision in his lawsuit.  It reveals a great deal about Coppedge and why he was removed from a position and eventually let go.  From reading the DI's latest, apparently they haven't bothered reading the decision.

Klingy has forgotten to mention a few things, like the harassment of his co-workers, the customer complaints about Coppedge's work, the conflicts with management, and  . . . best of all . . . Coppedge's own acknowledgement that the people who weren't downsized were superior to him in their skills.  No, the only thing klingy is interested in is painting the man as a martyr for the cause, the Intelligent Design (ID) cause.  it's pretty evident when klingy says things like:
"He had taken a shine to Illustra Media's series of documentaries laying out the evidence for ID in biology and cosmology."
That's a rather tepid view of his interest.  He was an Creationist/ID supporter well before his job at CalTech, it was a known quantity and didn't stop them from hiring him.  But does klingy mention that the trouble with Coppedge's employment started after he was doing more than just offering his opinions, that he was pressuring people to the point of harassment and even had a list of people showing that he needed to approach them again . . . Again?  That his harassing behavior was further exposed when he complained about the Holiday Party not being called a Christmas Party multiple times, or that his opposition to California Proposition 8 caused him to accuse one of his managers that 'he must hate children!'.  No, none of that matters to klingy, just that after years of employment, klingy thinks is ended because of his 'shine' to a set of DVDs about ID.

This isn't the first time klingy has tried to re-write history about Coppedge, the last time was just this
past May, "Time to Re-Write History . . . Again". The last time klingy said that:
"Coppedge's claims that his advocacy of Intelligent Design (ID) was always done in 'the most respectful, appropriate manner' and 'If anyone expressed disinterest, he says, he immediately backed down'"
Yet the testimony from his co-workers found that the opposite was true, he not only was persistent, but had a list of people to approach again . . . approaching someone again isn't something I would consider 'respectful and appropriate'.  The decision specifically stated:
" . . . the evidence reflects that Coppedge was less skilled than those retained, regarding the skills needed on Cassini going forward; Coppedge himself testified that the other SAs [System Administrators] were more expert in these areas."
Yes, so this time around the DI is changing the tune a bit, claiming that:
"Coppedge made the mistake of misjudging one coworker's attitude. Soon she was complaining about him to their supervisor, and before you knew it, the HR department was conducting a full-scale witch-hunt. A mild-mannered individual for whom advancing NASA's mission was a long-held dream come to true, David Coppedge was the witch."
First of all, klingy, it wasn't just one complaint, but multiple, and mild-mannered individuals do not behave as Coppedge did, to the point of having to apologize to at least one manager.  HR also didn't get immediately involved until the managers saw a pattern of behavior.  Once the pattern was established, JPL needed to take action.  Coppedge's religious beliefs might be his rationalization for his behavior, but it was that unprofessional and harassing behavior that got him disciplined and it was his less than stellar skill set that got him downsized.  But klingy and the DI will never admit it.
I do have to laugh at this line:
"Coppedge tells his own story for the first time. "
That's not particularly true either.  Coppedge told his story over and over again to anyone who would listen, he also told his story in court.  The problem is his story didn't match the facts, but --  once again -- when do facts seem to matter to the DI?

In my opinion, religious beliefs do not trump personal and professional responsibilities.  Coppedge, among the other pseudo-martyrs the Di likes to parade, allowed their belief set to drive their behavior until they crossed personal and professional boundaries.  Too often they believe that their religious beliefs will protect them from repercussions, much like the pedophile priests once believed.  Politicians might be afraid of losing votes by holding religious nut-jobs accountable, but businesses can't really afford to keep such people on the payroll.  Coppedge is a bully, and as such was held accountable and removed from a position of administrative responsibility.  His firing was primarily related to his lack of the needed skillset, by his own admission.

Imagine the lawsuits if JPL failed to take action against Coppedge's bullying?  Do you think his harassment wouldn't have escalated over time?  Does it ever not escalate once the harasser believes they will not be held accountable?  What would the impact to CalTech and JPL if they kept poor performers on the books?  Government organizations hire other organizations for their expertise, not for poor performance.

In this case, CalTech did the right thing, the court made the right ruling, and the DI just can't accept it so they do what they always do . . . spin!