Scientist sues Cal State Northridge for firing him

After his dinosaur discovery supported creationism
Triceratops soft tissue

Triceratops soft tissue

The following comes from a July 27 story on The Christian Post.

A scientist has filed a lawsuit against the California State University, Northridge saying he was terminated from his job due to his religious views after he discovered soft tissue on a triceratops fossil which supported his creationist view.

Mark Armitage, a former scientist at CSUN in Los Angeles, was terminated after he discovered supposedly the largest triceratops horn ever unearthed at the Hell Creek Formation excavation site in Montana, according to attorney Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute, who’s filed the lawsuit.

“Since some creationists, like [Armitage], believe that the triceratops bones are only 4,000 years old at most, [Armitage’s] work vindicated his view that these dinosaurs roamed the planet relatively recently,” states the complaint filed against the CSUN board of trustees in Los Angeles Superior Court, according to CBS News.

The scientist’s findings, which indicate that dinosaurs roamed the earth only thousands of years in the past rather than going extinct 60 million years ago, were published in July 2013 in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

“Terminating an employee because of their religious views is completely inappropriate and illegal,” Dacus said in a statement. “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.”

Armitage is a published scientist of over 30 years.

Soon after the soft tissue discovery, a university official challenged the motives of Armitage, by shouting at him, “We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!” according to court documents.

Armitage was later let go after the school abruptly claimed his appointment at the university of 38 months had been temporary, and claimed a lack of funding for his position….

To read the entire story, click here.

 

 

To add a comment, click on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ icons OR go further down to the bottom of comments to the Post your comment box.

Comments

  1. Your Fellow Catholic says:

    Oh good God! You are publishing intentionally misleading “court documents” – which means his own statements to the court! – in order to bolster your own creationist and therefor anti-catholic beliefs.

    • Tom Byrne says:

      YFC:
      Would you believe that my first impulse is to agree with you? The question for this veteran science teacher is this: did the good doctor make a claim based on evidence (however strange it may seem at first glance) or is he twisting evidence to fit a preconceived idea? The second only is unscientific (and dishonest), the first merely a challenge that will be sorted out in due course. While I have my doubts about 4000 year old ceratopsian dinosaurs, science has seen challenges before and has to go by evidence. Don’t worry: science can take it.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        haahaa Tom. I actually don’t make assumptions that there are two kinds of people on CCD, those like me and those like the “other” and we think and act only in accord in one camp or another, so I welcome the conversation.

        I totally agree with you when you say “science can take it”, so I’m not at all worried about the conclusions that are ultimately drawn from his finding. And I don’t immediately assume that the gentleman in question is faking his results. I DO wonder how he postulates that this material is as intact and viable as he seems to be saying it is if it is as old as even HE says it is. I mean, if your cells are a few thousand years old or a million years old, it would be almost equally incredible and warrant a high degree of speculation.

        Also, i tried looking up the findings in question. It doesn’t appear to be a recognized peer reviewed journal, but a sales magazine for a microscopy company. Which says to me that he may have a conflict of interest with his employer, and we should be looking for that from the defense side.

        However this plays out, the author of the piece for CCD is crazy to take the plaintiff’s complaint and use it as “court documents”, as though the court had independently verified the claims. It is just very bad journalism from start to finish. And all of this at the service of creationism, which is not even close to a Catholic doctrine to boot.

  2. These enemies of the faith know how important these creationist findings are to them losing the debate, he had to go he was to dangerous to them

    • Dangerous because he is an imbecile and makes the university look bad.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Ed, “The Faith” isn’t creationist. Catholicism and all mainline Christian denominations have no problem with the notion that the earth is millions of years old.

      • You do understand, do you not, YFC that If you do not believe that God made the world you are an atheist and against Church teaching? Creationism has absolutely nothing to do with time…God is outside of time. Our understanding of how the world is created is absolutely beyond any of our ken…all we do know for certain is that God is our Creator. “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth”…we say that at every Sunday Mass and if you do not believe it, it’s absolutely a disgrace that you take Communion. As I’ve said before, liberals can pretty much believe unlimited contradictory views without seeing any conflict. What kind of scientist could believe matter doesn’t exist, that it is made of waves, that it is is a solid, that it is 99% empty space, that it is a liquid, that it exists only in our minds, that it exists only in time, it exists outside of time, time doesn’t exist, nothing exists, everything happened by chance, ad infinitum…?

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        Dana the word “creationism” denotes a believer in a number of ridiculous theories about the age of the earth, the origins of the universe, and a rejection of Darwinian evolution. I’m not sure, Dana, if you are suggesting that Catholics must be creationists. If you are suggesting that, then you would be wrong. We are not required to believe that the earth is thousands of years old, or that dinosaurs roamed the earth with humans, or that God created Adam out of clay. What we profess in the Creed is not creationism. I am neither an atheist nor am I contradicting the teaching of the Church on the matter. The rest of your blathering on about matter and waves and whatnot – I have no idea what you are even talking about or referring to. As to your attack on me, well, I just turn the other cheek while I consider the source.

        • I do apologize for my unfriendly tone..it is definitely something I must work on! Also, I agree that it is ludicrous to try to encompass and measure God…it’s preposterous to say the earth is only six thousand years old, but to me it is equally foolish to try to determine the age of the universe at all…since I’ve been alive the ‘definitive age’ of the universe and the cause of its existence has been attested to countless times by our formost scientists and I have no doubt they will be positively qualified many times in the future. The immensity and power of our Creator is so overwhelming that just to look at the beauty of a human ear or the perfection of a tiny baby’s hand is awe inspiring. I don’t mind if scientists keep seeking answers, but to do so with slanted views and a preset agenda is not science. As I’ve mentioned before, everyone should read “The Signature in the Cell”…especially scientists. He exposes the vicious prejudice against Christian scientists, even when support comes from unbelieving scientific data from China because what they have discovered supports facts that only prove a designers hand. Anyway, I’m sorry for my harsh tone. If you would forsake your ‘dripping condescension I would appreciate it! as well. 🙂

          • All that exists outside God was, in its whole substance, produced out of nothing by God.
            God was moved by His goodness to create the world.
            The world was created for the glorification of God.
            The Three Divine Persons are one single, common principle of creation.
            God created the world free from exterior compulsion and inner necessity.
            God has created a good world.
            The world had a beginning in time.
            God alone created the world.
            God keeps all created things in existence.
            God, through His Providence, protects and guides all that He has created.
            The first man was created by God.
            Man consists of two essential parts – a material body and a spiritual soul.
            The rational soul per se is the essential form of the body.
            Every human being possesses an individual soul.

          • Anonymous says:

            Concerning cosmological evolution, the Church has infallibly defined that the universe was specially created out of nothing. Vatican I solemnly defined that everyone must “confess the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, as regards their whole substance, have been produced by God from nothing” (Canons on God the Creator of All Things, canon 5).

            The Church does not have an official position on whether the stars, nebulae, and planets we see today were created at that time or whether they developed over time (for example, in the aftermath of the Big Bang that modern cosmologists discuss). However, the Church would maintain that, if the stars and planets did develop over time, this still ultimately must be attributed to God and his plan, for Scripture records: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host [stars, nebulae, planets] by the breath of his mouth” (Ps. 33:6).

          • Anonymous says:

            Concerning biological evolution, the Church does not have an official position on whether various life forms developed over the course of time. However, it says that, if they did develop, then they did so under the impetus and guidance of God, and their ultimate creation must be ascribed to him.

            Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul. Pope Pius XII declared that “the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God” (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36). So whether the human body was specially created or developed, we are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our bodies are.

            While the Church permits belief in either special creation or developmental creation on certain questions, it in no circumstances permits belief in atheistic evolution.

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            Dana, thank you for your apology and I accept it. And, by the way I think you and I probably agree on much of your post at 9:08 AM. My own scientific studies never made me doubt the creation or marvel less at the creator, it only caused me to be more in awe.

          • Anonymous says:

            The Vatican does not have a problem with Creationism theologically; it’s problem is with it as a science. To some people, especially fundamentalist Christians, evolution is synonymous with atheism. The Catholic Church rejects all atheistic theories of evolution. They have not been very welcoming to the Catholic creationists, either. I believe the Bible.

  3. St. Christopher says:

    What is your point, “YFC”? He was terminated, according to the story, for his religious views, and by a public university. This professor likely deserves to receive, and should, a large settlement, or judgement from the Cal State system. No public univerity should ever, ever have the authority to punish an otherwise acceptable professional employee for their religious point of view. Of course, Homofascists see no problem with this kind of approach, do they? They are happy to try to destroy the lives of people just for disagreeing with the homosexual sexual pervision worldview. Nope, labor contracts, and the constitution, work for the good professor here, it seems (subject to other facts that are not clear from this story). Public universities are not arbitors of ones life (versus a Catholic institution which is fully within its rights to terminate employees that fail to live lives consistent with Catholic teachings — assuming that this is made part of their employment agreement). Cal State Northridge gets the Horn for its dopeyness.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      “St” Christopher, it all boils down to being gay, doesn’t it, for you? You can’t stand the possibility that being gay has nothing to do with this story or with my view of it.

      I’ll just point out that this article is based entirely on his court complaint. Nowhere did the authors attempt to obtain the other side of the story. I actually READ the complaint in its entirety, and it is very unconvincing even if it is all true. Alleging an allegation is not the same as proving that the allegation is true.

      I also read an abstract of the paper in question. His “scientific” conclusion that his finding supports the idea of a 4,000 year old earth is utter nonsense: He offers no data at all to support that conclusion, he did no experiments to test the conclusion, he simply made it up. His initial discovery, that of soft tissue, is fine so far as I can tell, but taking soft tissue as evidence of creationism is bonkers.

      • Tom Byrne says:

        YFC: The question for the courts is less what the professor said than what the university said. I have a degree in public administration and the language used to dismiss an employee can be very tricky. If you are terminating someone “for cause”, it better be a well-documented, legally-defensible cause. One goofy paper would not seem to be enough. You can not fire someone for their religious views, and if the professor can show that in their communications to him, he may have them.

        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          Tom Byrne, if, as I suspect, he was using his paper to attempt to sway his colleagues in the workplace to accept his religious views or was using the workplace to evangelize, and had been admonished for it, and refused to stop, then he does not have a case. Of course, he may not be lawfully terminated for HAVING a religious view, but inappropriately expressing those views if it contradicts workplace policies, would put him in shallow water. Regardless, I’m sure you agree that every story has two sides, and if he had verbal or written warnings, he would not have put that into his complaint, now would he?

  4. St. Christopher says:

    “YFC”: You do not understand. He does not have to be accurate to win his suit. The point is not the validity of his “scientific” data and theories (which neither of us have any idea as to their truth). The point is his right to the free exercise of his faith, and speech. Now, there may be reasons of competency or other things that could lead to his ultimate dismissal. But reasons provided in the article give no basis for the college to eliminate the professor’s right to his private thoughts and expressions. As to “everything being about homosexuals,” the problem is with the Homofascists that demand obedience and allegiance in everything, from adoption onward. Moreover, Homofascists despise Traditional Catholicism and Christianity, because the homosexual perversion, and all their pretensions, are rejected by the Faith. Homosexual activists are everywhere, aren’t they: demanding that public schools include passages about homosexual contributions to this or that discipline, choosing what bathroom to use, impacting anyone’s right to want traditional things like man-woman marriage and normal parental relationships — all of that. Why the LGBTQ crowd wants their own Disney day, Pride day, travel lines, everything. Looks like the dominate issue of our time, in addition to the all-important right to life issue (and we all know where Homofascists are on that one, don’t we?).

  5. Somehow, people get opinion and theory mixed up. The belief in creationism, as some denominations insist on, is an opinion. A theory must be consistently repeatable in test after test, such as evolution. This goes back to high school freshman science when we learned to postulate an idea, and then test it, and test it again to come up with a theory. If a theory stands the test of time, then it becomes, after proofing, science. But, a large number/percentage of people in our country just don’t believe in science. I wonder why?

    • Anonymous says:

      Bob One, because no man was present at the creation of the world.
      God was.
      God has given us his infallible, inerrant Word in the Bible.
      Science has been wrong a lot. As new data is made known, scientists revise their theories and hypotheses.
      The Scientific Method will produce results. Eventually, science will learn enough that their theories will mirror the Truth already known.
      I don’t need to wait that long.

  6. If soft tissue was found, it probably could be dated by analysis of the Carbon-14 in it. That ought to satisfy scientists and the rest of us. It’s an accepted method to at least approximate a date for when the animal was alive. On the other hand, that won’t be good enough for some, as their world might fall apart for them if their long-held beliefs are suddenly opened up for doubt. Be careful what you ask for – you might have to start thinking.

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.