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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Inquisition Strikes Again – Twice!

Posted by jlwile on August 8, 2013

This is 19th-century artist Cristiano Banti's interpretation of Galileo before the Inquisition in Rome. (public domain image)

In March of this year, I wrote a post about an article that would later appear in the peer-reviewed journal Acta Histochemica. It was an exciting report about soft tissue recovered from a fossilized Triceratops horridus horn. Unfortunately for the lead author, Mark Armitage, it was too exciting for the High Priests of Evolution. According to Creation Ministries International:

Until recently, Mark served as the Manager for the Electron and Confocal Microscopy Suite in the Biology Department at California State University Northridge. Mark was suddenly terminated by the Biology Department when his discovery of soft tissues in Triceratops horn was published in Acta Histochemica.

He is currently seeking relief in a legal action for wrongful termination and religious discrimination by the University.

Now, of course, the exact details of why Armitage was fired from California State University Northridge are not publicly known. However, the timing of the event speaks volumes. It’s not every day that a university employee gets fired right after publishing a paper in a peer-reviewed journal!

If the article was the motivation for Armitage’s termination, it wouldn’t surprise me. As more and more evidence against the ruling scientific dogma of the day continues to accumulate, the only thing the fervently faithful can do is call out the Inquisition in an attempt to squelch that evidence.

That’s what happened when Grand Inquisitor Jerry Coyne decided that Dr. Eric Hedin at Ball State University had to be silenced. He called in the attorneys and forced the university to cancel a course that introduced students to Intelligent Design, as well as the arguments against it. Obviously, the university had to give in to the attorneys, since there was no way it could afford to face an easily-avoided lawsuit. The only good news that comes from this Orwellian situation is that Dr. Hedin will not be fired.

Of course, squelching competing ideas is incredibly anti-science, and it never works. The evidence will win out, and science will eventually correct itself. Thus, the High Priests of Evolution are fighting a losing battle. The only thing their Inquisition can do is delay the inevitable.

Comments

11 Responses to “The Inquisition Strikes Again – Twice!”
  1. Joel Duff says:

    Seems like it is too early to be making much of this case as we really know nothing. I see many sites making much of the timing of the “firing” and the publication but this is a correlation which all scientists should know does not mean causation. I know people at CSUN and the budget situation there is quite grave (like most California Public schools). Nearly all public institutions are letting people go right and left even if they have long service records. We are doing it right now to people that thought they were going to be teaching a class in just a few weeks. That this publication would be the cause seems extremely unlikely. A technicians paper isnt going to put a black eye on a school especially when there is nothing particularly blatant in the paper. I read the paper and it is good stuff. There is nothing creationist in it and I have found that paleontoligist I know have no issue with it. I didn’t find it particularly surprising myself but very interesting. Until the University or Armitage makes a public statement we don’t even know what “fired” means. Personnel slashing, if that is what is happening, is a form of firing but it isn’t necessarily for cause although when someone obviously had to make a decision about which people get let go and there has to be some deciding factor but unfortunately it could be he had a higher salary. Obviously I could be wrong since I don’t have any specific facts, but I hope that CMI, which has made a direct claim of cause-effect relationship, has many more facts that they are revealing.

  2. jlwile says:

    I am more inclined to think there is a relationship, Joel, because Armitage is seeking legal relief. That means at least in his mind, there is some link.

  3. Mark H Armitage says:

    The facts are these:
    Ernie Kwok came into my lab in June of 2012 and said, “We will not tolerate your religion in this department, or your creationist projects either!” Later in 2012, when Kwok assumed the chairmanship of the Electron Microscope Committee which supervised my lab, he made it plain he was my supervisor, and he met with the committee on the day that my paper was published online and told the secretary “don’t tell Mark” that they were meeting in secret (on a committee that I served on for 38 months). I was excluded from the meeting. It was in that meeting that they determined to fire me. Ten days later I was terminated, “because the lab has to be shut down due to funding issues.” The lab is still up and running today – (don’t believe me? Just go to CSUN Biology and look up the microscopy lab). In fact, the lab phone number still answers with MY VOICE. Funding problems my hairy white arse. We are filing suit suit soon – stay tuned….Mark

  4. Mark H Armitage says:

    By the way – I only worked 20 hours per week. mark

  5. jlwile says:

    Thanks for giving us a first-hand report, Mark.

  6. John says:

    Wow. Great to have found this blog. I was doing some research on the Mary Schweitzer T Rex story and landed here.
    Very sad to learn of Mr. Armitage’s situation. From what I gather there is a LOT of this going on.
    Is anyone doing C14 work on the Schweitzer (or other) soft tissue samples? I know something about the Singapore presentation–saw it on Youtube as well–but was wondering more whether this matter being not *entirely* discordant with the facts of chemical/atomic decay?
    Thanks for any direction, comments,
    signed,
    the lowly born again realtor from northern virginia :-)

  7. jlwile says:

    I am glad you found the information helpful, John. In answer to your question, no one is doing carbon-14 work on the Schweitzer tissues. The folks in Schweitzer’s group honestly believe the bones are more than 65 million years old. As a result, they have no reason to think that carbon-14 dating will provide any useful information.

    There are others who are doing carbon-14 dating on many different kinds of fossils, including dinosaur bones. The group that did the Singapore presentation is doing a lot of work on the issue, and I blogged about it quite a while ago. In addition, the folks at ICR have done a couple of studies of carbon-14 in samples that are supposed to be millions of years old (here and here). Dr. Andrew Snelling has done similar work.

    Could you elaborate on your question about whether or not this is “entirely” discordant with the facts of chemical/atomic decay? If radioactive decay happens the way we think it does, then all these results are entirely discordant. In the end, the radioactive isotope becomes pretty much undetectable after about 10 half-lives. As a result, there should be no detectable carbon-14 in any fossil sample older than about 57,000 years. About the only way old-earthers have addressed the results of studies like the ones listed above are to postulate that all these studies are detecting carbon-14 that came as a result of contamination. However, that is incredibly unlikely, especially in the diamond results linked above.

  8. John says:

    I will read your links with interest. Years ago I used to be a regular on Tom Woodward’s site apologetics.org. And I got to know Tom a little in those days–early 2000′s. That board became defunct as far as I can tell. But as my interest in ID has given rise to an interest in creationism I’ve been drawn back into the debate from time to time. Currently exchanging some posts on YouTube with some rather truculent “evolutionists” (whatever that is) and I find the level of obfuscation remarkable. You talk about the Carbon 14 and they all descend at once like leather-winged harpies.
    At any rate, when I saw you were a nuclear chemist, after having found you while doing research, I thought I’d put it to you directly.
    I mean, am I crazy or is the entire monolithic evolutionist world simply ignoring the fact that if you find soft tissue in a dinosaur then the *other* explanation is that the dinosaur might NOT be 65MYo?

  9. jlwile says:

    Of course they are ignoring the obvious explanation for soft tissue in dinosaur bones, John. After all, the world must be billions of years old for evolution to be true. Thus, any evidence to the contrary must be ignored, and anyone who points out said evidence must be ridiculed.

  10. John says:

    That is amazing to me. I mean, I’ve been blown away in the past but this is…different. It’s really incredible to me that honest, hardworking people like Schweitzer and that group simply would say “Ho hum, soft tissue in dinos found, isn’t it how they could be preserved. Let’s NOT c14 test them”. It just is too much.

  11. jlwile says:

    They definitely aren’t “ho humming” their soft tissue results. They think it is incredibly exciting, and they are vigorously fighting those who say it can’t be from the dinosaurs. At the same time, however, they see it as fact that the bones are tens of millions of years old. Thus, they have to assume some amazing preservation mechanism. To them, that is significantly more realistic than thinking the bones are not tens of millions of years old.

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