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Scientist dismissed after soft tissue found on dinosaur fossil

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A microscope scientist working for California State University has been fired following the discovery that a Triceratops horn still contained soft tissue complete with bone cells “that look alive”, according to a report in CBS Los Angeles . The scientist, whose analysis of the Triceratops horn was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, is also an evangelical creationist, and claimed that the finding supports the view that Earth is 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs roamed the planet around 4,000 years ago. While the university claims the scientist, Mark Armitage, was fired for allowing his religion to interfere with his work, Armitage is suing the University for wrongful dismissal on the basis of violation to freedom of speech and academic freedom. 

Mark Armitage, a published scientist of over 30 years, was working at the Hell Creek Formation excavation site in Montanaa when he discovered one of the largest Triceratops horns ever unearthed at the site. According to conventional perspectives, the Triceratops is a genus of herbivorous dinosaur that first appeared in the late Cretaceous period, about 68 million years ago in what is now North America, and became extinct around 66 million years ago.

Example of a Triceratops horn

Example of a Triceratops horn. Photo source .

Armitage studied the fossil in the California State University lab using a high-powered miscroscope and was stunned to find soft tissue complete with bone cells.  According to Armitage, the preservation of such cells is a scientific impossibility if the dinosaur really walked the Earth over 66 million years ago. On this basis, he felt it was not unreasonable to open discussion with colleagues and students about the implications of such a finding being that the creationist perspective is correct and that dinosaurs existed much later than mainstream science maintains. The results of Armitage’s analysis of the soft tissue was eventually published in July 2013 in the journal Acta Histochemica . Nevertheless, Armitage was fired from the University of California, which he is now fighting in court.

“Terminating an employee because of their religious views is completely inappropriate and illegal,” said Attorney Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute. “But doing so in an attempt to silence scientific speech at a public university is even more alarming. This should be a wakeup call and warning to the entire world of academia.”

While numerous examples of suppression of ‘academic freedom’ can be cited in which scientists have been discriminated against for presenting views that conflict with mainstream perspectives, Armitage made the ‘unscientific’ mistake of assuming that the dinosaur must be only several thousand years old simply because the process in which the cells were preserved was not understood by him.

In fact, the finding of the soft tissue is not the first of its kind.  Several ground-breaking discoveries in the last decade have revealed preserved soft tissue on dinosaur remains, such as the recent finding of 68-milion-year-old soft tissue from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex. However, Mary Schweitzer, a molecular paleontologist at North Carolina State University, who headed up the research on the T. rex remains, explained that the soft tissue was able to be preserved by iron in the dinosaur’s body, which preserved the tissue before it could decay.

The legal case surrounding Armitage’s dismissal opens up many important questions about academic freedom, whether science and religion can ever truly coexist in harmony, and what knowledge may be unravelled by the discovery of preserved cells in the remains of dinosaurs.

Featured image: A Triceratops. Source: BigStockPhoto

By April Holloway

Comments

Religion aside. I can't even begin to Imagine how insecure you must feel. This is simply exciting no?

You guys need to think long and hard about what the world would really look like if you guys were in complete control. It would be a very dark and scary place.

You mean like the Godless Soviet Union in the 20th century?

We would have no hospitals no doctors no medicines no books no learning no freedom of thought no exploration of nature.

Like in Cuba and their pity full hospitals except for ruling elite?

These are all things that Christians at one time burnt people at the state over. Yes 400 years ago...

Psst its 2017 and the vast vast majority of scientific discovery in the 20th century and earlier were by Christians ..

At last someone with a Brain! I love this guy.

You ask if what we really want is rule by church. No - I would like to be ruled by Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible, that's what I'd really prefer. Perfect love, perfect justice, and infinite intelligence.

You’ve managed to unload load more weapons grade stupid in one post that I don’t even know where to begin to respond.

For one, your entire post is built on false assumptions. Who says humanity would stop looking for answers just because there was evidence that supported an intelligent designer? What a stupid ignorant thing to say!

Where would we be if scientists and other members of the academia called into question, Neo Darwinism? Lets see, well, for starters, we’d be a lot closer to academic freedom then we are now. Furthermore, academics that don’t support, or call into question, Neo-Darwinism, wouldn’t be “Billy Clubbed” to death every time they raise an objection to it. Imagine that, academic freedom, what a concept. Would you people like to go back to the dark ages? Are you serious? Why, for following the evidence to where it leads? Ya, lets not do that…that would be science.

“You guys need to think long and hard about what the world would really look like if you guys were in complete control. It would be a very dark and scary place. We would have no hospitals no doctors no medicines no books no learning no freedom of thought no exploration of nature. These are all things that Christians at one time burnt people at the state over.”

I don’t know whether laugh or cry at this statement… You do know that for over two thousand years, Christians have lead the way in trying ease human suffering, whether as doctors, nurses or missionaries. As a matter of fact, Christianity and the church played a fundamental role in the advancement of medicine and the practice of it. No exploration of nature? What? Do you know who David Livingston was? What made some to realize how out of touch with reality you really are was when you included the statement that “there’d be no freedom of thought!” Funny, this is precisely what the article was all about in the first place? Maybe you’ve heard the maxim, “people who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.”

“What would the Baptists do to the Pentecostals? Or the Protestants the Catholics (let alone all the bloodshed between all the protestant groups). This is what you guys are hanging your hat on. This is what the world would be like without real scientific secular inquiry about nature and reality. The world would be filled with far more pain, suffering and brutality and no magical being would be coming down from the sky to stop it."

Really? The last time I checked, more people have lost their lives at the hands of secular atheistic regimes in the last one hundred and fifteen years than all the religions combined throughout all of history. History stands in aw of the irreligious governments.

I’ll take a "magical being" in the sky over "magic dirt" any day of the week…..

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