I apologize that this story is over a year and a half old, but I somehow missed it at the time, possibly because the news broke about the same time my mother died.
In 2010, California State University at Northridge hired microscopist Mark Armitage to manage its electron and confocal microscope laboratory. Armitage was well qualified for the position, having published some 30 articles in scientific journals.
A graduate of Liberty University, Armitage is a Christian and a young earth creationist.
In May, 2012, Armitage went on a dinosaur dig at Hell Creek in Montana, a very famous dinosaur fossil site of longstanding, and dug up the largest triceratops horn ever found there. Back at CSUN, he put the fossil under his microscope and found unfossilized, undecayed soft tissue.
If you’ve followed the issue of soft tissue in dinosaur bones, you know that this isn’t the first time it has been found. Mary Schweitzer, who is not a creationist and adheres to the conventional dating scheme, shocked the world of paleontology when she found soft tissue in a dinosaur leg bone in 2005.
But if dinosaur fossil were at least 65 million years old, as conventional dating scheme asserts, the soft tissue could not possibly have remained. It will last for thousands of years at most, not millions.
Armitage published his findings in July, 2013, in Acta Histochemica, a peer-reviewed journal of cell and tissue research.
Armitage Fired for Publishing His Results; Reinach Takes His Case
Two weeks later, Armitage found himself without a job.
A CSUN biology professor had come into his office and said, “We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department.”
Armitage fought back. He sued CSUN for wrongful termination; Alan Reinach, a Seventh-day Adventist religious liberty lawyer, represented him. Professors and students alike had praised Armitage’s work managing the microscopy lab. According to Inside Higher Ed, a colleague described the process as a “witch hunt.”
For two years, CSUN fought Armitage’s lawsuit, claiming that his firing was an innocent part of a restructuring of their biology department, not a case of religious discrimination. But during discovery, CSUN turned over what Reinach described a s “smoking gun” email thread, in which CSUN administrators discussed pushing Armitage out by changing the microscopy lab position from a part-time to a full-time job.
In 2016, CSUN settled with Armitage for almost $400,000.00, according to Inside Higher Ed.. Alan Reinach hailed the settlement as precedent-setting. “We are not aware of any other cases where a creationist received a favorable outcome,” said Reinach. “This was truly a historic case.”
The Darwinian Origins Narrative Requires Deep Time
“Evolution is a structure supported by two pillars: one is chance, and the other is time. Chance is required because we obviously can’t say that a thinking force created life on earth. That is anathema for the materialists. If you kick out one of those two pillars the whole structure collapses,” Armitage noted. “If you kick out chance by showing incredible design, the structure of evolution starts to totter and it may crash. Because you cannot have design in a world that doesn’t have a Designer.
“The other pillar is time . . . Soft tissue in dinosaur bones destroys deep time.” Armitage said. “Dinosaur bones cannot be old if they’re full of soft tissue.”
“That’s the importance of this case. It’s to magnify God’s word, to show God’s word is true. You can believe it, you can trust it. You can put your trust in the Book of Genesis, and the Book of Acts, and all those letters from Paul that tell us that Jesus is real. All those red letters in the Gospels, you can trust those, because they come from Creator of the Universe, who died for me and left His fingerprints on the earth.”
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Here is an excellent article on this case by Clifford Goldstein, published the year before last in Liberty Magazine. Since I’ve recently been critical of Liberty Magazine in comments, it is only fair that give them props for publishing Cliff’s excellent piece. I’ve also been critical of the SDA religious liberty establishment, but Alan Reinach did great work in this case, and he deserves a great deal of credit.
If you are interested in further details of this case, below is a half-hour video in which Armitage discusses his discovery and the subsequent firing by CSUN: