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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

It's good to keep an open mind and continue to search and "test out" the scriptures. Religion as a whole and especially Christendom has a poor record of adhering to the actual teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught using many illustrations. One being the field of wheat sown with weeds. It wasn't until the harvest time that the weeds would be apparent and burnt by the master of the harvest. That prophetic time is of much interest to me. Not all who live a christian way of life are hypocrites. Or stupid.

Tsurugi's picture

I don't think legendary spiritual teachers like Jesus, Buddah, etc. didn't talk about brain-eating bacteria because "they had bigger things to tell us". It appears to me that their philosophies indicate that life as we know it is just a miniscule bit of the entirety of our conscious existence, and that the stuff that happens here can't really be assessed properly without some understanding of the bigger picture.
Presumably this includes brain-munching bugs as well as genetic diseases and any of the other millions of things that cause suffering.(I for one despise gravity; what sadist thought it would be fun to shove me against the ground at 10 meters per second acceleration every second of every hour of every day?)

So whether such spiritual teachers were real or not, asking those kinds of questions is nonsensical and, for someone who actually knows the teachings well, perhaps a bit disingenuous. Your anger at the dogmatic fundamentalist mindset is understandable. However, not everyone who is religious is like that. Most are not, actually, at least in my experience.
Having escaped so confining a mindset once before, I would caution you against running all the way across the aisle and falling into the camp of the militant atheists, who are no less fundamentalist and dogmatic than those they profess to despise, and whose inflammatory rhetoric I recognize in some of the things you say.

You ran from "I KNOW there is a God" to "I KNOW there isn't a God", both of which profess to hold a knowledge that is impossible to prove, and the latter lacks even a philosphical morality discussion to soften its edges. Maybe you should spend some time in the "I have NO IDEA what's going on" camp for a while? Thats where I am, and it's peaceful and quiet, good place to relax and unwind. There's not a lot of people here, but those few who are often have questions that lead to the most interesting possibilities...

here is the actual scripture. Hebrews 9:25-26

Hebrews 9:25-26New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

25 Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; 26 for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself.

In the year 2014 it is now been longer since "the time of jesus" than the entire history of the nation of Israel. in fact its a century or more longer than the entire made up history of the nation of Israel going back to the supposed time of Abraham.

Jesus did not come at the end of the age or the end of the world or the end of the ages depending on how the greek is translated. In fact he didn't come at all. He is a made up character embodying various teachings and typologies that were around in the mystery schools of the day. In fact I am quite sure the majority of his story was made up after 70 AD.

There are numerous contradictions, mistakes and misunderstandings throughout the gospels and the epistles and the writings of the "church fathers". for instance Jewish Passover has nothing to do with a sin offering. Passover and the Day of Atonement were seasonal holidays based on crops and the moon cycles. Passover in early spring and the Day of Atonement in fall.

You have gnostic gospel writers like the writer of John insisting that Jesus is the Passover lamb and you have the writer of Hebrews insisting that Jesus blood is all about atonement for sin, cleansing the temple in heaven like on the day of atonement. They are not the same thing at all. Not that this will sway anyone who is a firm believer. It took me three years of study and soul searching to deal with the truth and come to terms with it. (during all that time Jesus never saw fit to come have coffee with me, nor does he do that with anyone else when it would be the easiest thing in the world. why? Its because Jesus only lives in your head and everyone has their own version of Jesus living In there head and no two versions of Jesus are exactly the same because no two people are exactly the same.)

This is what happens when you have a religion being made up out of whole cloth by people who have a partial knowledge of their source material and are spreading the new religion among the slaves and illiterate. You can say whatever you want because no one can fact check you. Well we can do that now.

how much trouble would it have taken Jesus to say "oh by the way there are these little guys called bacteria and virus that my dad and I thought would be a good idea to make some of them will eat your brain from the inside out. "

I know, I know he had bigger stuff to tell us... to bad there is about 5 different version of it depending on which gospel or epistle you read. Plus when Jesus comes back any second on a flying horse and kills most of humanity before torturing them forever while those of you who "believe" sit back and cheer the carnage on.. all the flesh eating bacteria will be tossed into the lake of fire also... unfortunately that any second now may turn out to be another 2, 5, 10 or thousand , million or billion years.

yes this is all waaaaay better than rolling up your sleeves and doing to hard work of science to figure out how things actually work and doing real good for humanity and the world.

Okay - but how do you explain Israel? The bible said Israel would one day exist again, never to be defeated again. Israel exists again just like it said would happen. I think we can agree no one wrote that after 1948.

How many prophecies did Rand fulfill in the Wheel of Time series? Let me check back through the books and get an exact number for you. I know this happened because I read all the books and the books support the facts in each other book of the series.

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