Archive for the ‘Definitions and Meanings’ Category

As used on this blog, I provide the following definition of “theistic materialism”:

The belief that God exists, but God did not intervene supernaturally in the history of biological life on earth until the miracles recorded in the Bible pertaining to salvation history.  God did not intervene supernaturally in the creation of Adam and Eve and did not intervene supernaturally in any significant way in the history of humanity from its origin until the Bible makes reference to miracles such as the virgin birth of Jesus.

Please see the category Theistic Materialism for more posts and examples of scientists articulating this position in their own words.

In a previous post I described it this way:

RJS is a theist and accepts God’s miraculous workings in some contexts. But she rules out the miraculous in biological history and biological origins. There are certain spheres where she is a materialist. I see no basis in Scripture or the scientific evidence for this a priori philosophical position.

RJS then put it in her own words:

I think that, until proven otherwise, there will be a “natural” explanation in general, because God created the world in a rational manner. If you want to call this theistic materialism – ok. . . .

I think that God is outside of the natural order and can certainly intervene. But the evidence suggests (including the evidence of scripture) that he only does so for a purpose and in relationship with his creation. Intervention is almost always, if not always, in relationship with humans created in his image.



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Ignorance is the handmaiden of prejudice and discrimination.  Here is some more evidence of it at JPL:

Some testimony from Margaret Weisenfelder:

Q. I’m trying to understand why you feel [ID is] a religious viewpoint, not a scientific viewpoint.

A. I’m really not — I’m not clear on the distinction. I’m not well versed in the idea of intelligent design. … I’m not an expert in any of this. (33:9-19)


Q. And your understanding of intelligent design what’s that based on?

A. Just my own surmise.

Q. Okay. It’s not based on any literature, is it?

A. No, it’s not. (April 3, 2012, PM, 239:1-11)

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Based on the federal guidelines on religious expression in the workplace and the standards for harassment, it seems to me that David Coppedge’s actions do not even come close to harassment, even if you accept all the interview notes of the JPL HR department.  The EEOC guidelines provide:

To establish a case of religious harassment, an employee must show that the harassment was:  (1) based on his religion; (2) unwelcome; (3) sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of employment by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment;

Coppedge’s actions also seem to be well within the guidelines set by the Clinton administration for conduct in federal agencies:

(1) Expression in Private Work Areas. Employees should be permitted to engage in private religious expression in personal work areas not regularly open to the public to the same extent that they may engage in nonreligious private expression, subject to reasonable content- and viewpoint-neutral standards and restrictions: such religious expression must be permitted so long as it does not interfere with the agency’s carrying out of its official responsibilities.


(a) An employee may keep a Bible or Koran on her private desk and read it during breaks.

(b) An agency may restrict all posters, or posters of a certain size, in private work areas, or require that such posters be displayed facing the employee, and not on common walls; but the employer typically cannot single out religious or anti-religious posters for harsher or preferential treatment.


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The title of this post is the stunning quote from the Paul Hastings attorney who is representing JPL in the Coppedge case.  Is it possible that a partner at a reputable firm has no knowledge of “viewpoint discrimination”?  Could this be why this case hasn’t settled yet?

This quote is from a deposition transcript and can be found on page 21 of one the case documents.

Viewpoint discrimination is a well-established legal principle discussed in several Supreme Court opinions, including Good News Club v. Milford Central School.


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