Professor Claims California State University Fired Him Over His Creationists Belief

Seal_of_the_California_State_UniversityTriceratops-skull-Zachi-Evenor-002There is a controversy at the California State University where scientist Mark Armitage claims that he was fired for his creationist beliefs as an evangelical Christian. Armitage recently published a paper where he suggested that soft tissue that he found in a triceratops suggested that the animal died no more than 4000 years ago rather than the common view putting extinction at 65 million years ago. The school is investigating his claim of religious discrimination.

In his lawsuit, Armitage details his publications and research including the heralded discovery in 2012 of the largest triceratops horn ever recovered from the world-famous Hell Creek Formation in Glendive, Montana. The fossil then revealed an even more exciting discovery, soft tissue with what appeared to be live bone cells or osteocytes.

Armitage argued that the cells show would have long ago “decayed into nothingness” if it was millions years old. For creationists the point could not be more significant to suggest that the Earth is only a few thousand years old as stated in the bible. However, just days after the article was published, Armitage was fired.

While the university claimed that his temporary position was eliminated due to a budget shortfall, Armitage says that his superior, Dr. Ernest Kwok, was hostile to his religious beliefs and even once allegedly “stormed into” his lab and shouted, “‘We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!!”

While I have long been a critic of creationism and frankly I am a bit surprised to see a scientist clinging to such views, this does raise concerns over academic freedom unless the school can prove the budgetary claim. He is obviously an active and accomplished academic. His paper was published to express his view on the possible meaning of the find. (Note this is not the first such find and scientists have found such cells and, after prior find in fossils of a Tyrannosaurus rex, scientists concluded that the iron in the fossils had preserved the tissue from decay).

The controversy raises an interesting question of when such views are legitimate grounds for termination. For some scientists, a faculty member espousing creationist views is objectively unqualified. However, that would depend on how those views affect his teaching and research. Armitage is clearly functioning at a high level in this field, including the discovery and study of rare fossils. He is simply reaching a conclusion based on those findings that reflects a very small percentage of scientists. At what point does such minority views impact the status of an academic?

Armitage has a BS in Education from Liberty University and an MS in Biology (parasitology) at the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego, CA. He later graduated Ed.S. in Science Education from Liberty University

He is currently listed as part of Creation Ministries. The site confirms what many would consider the distortive impact of faith on science:

“The scientific aspects of creation are important, but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer and Judge.
The doctrines of Creator and Creation cannot ultimately be divorced from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority, not only in all matters of faith and conduct, but in everything it teaches.”

146 thoughts on “Professor Claims California State University Fired Him Over His Creationists Belief

    • Bob – the phrase “good science good theology and bad science bad theology” I have paraphrased for short-hand. Basically I thought it meant nothing.

  1. Paul – was this an attempt to hijack the thread, so that we’d be discussing your favorite obsession?
    Why not write to him, tell him of your obsession, and ask whether he’d leave Michelle, to be with you? It’s healthier to just get it out into the open.
    I don’t suggest knocking on the front door. People might think you’re a little creepy. Or one of them ad hominem weirdos.

    • Bob – which Paul are you referring to. There are at least two of us on here regularly. If it is me you are referring to, that is an ad hominem attack. FYI, I like my women less muscular than Michelle O. More Amy Adams.

  2. I’m referring to the Paul who has an obsession with Barack Obama. You.
    The fellow who also attributes every comment to an ad hominem attack. The guy in the mirror.

    You know, if you notice a lot of people making ‘ad hominem’ attacks on you, maybe they’re just trying to tell you something.
    Jes’ sayin’.

    • Bob – thank you for your comments. What those ad hominem attacks tell me is that I am winning the argument. If you follow me carefully, which you have not, as evidenced by this post, you would learn that I engage with many people without being attacked. We may not agree, but it does not drop to that level.
      I am obsessed with Obama only because he affects my life so much. As such, I should be obsessed by him and his administration. You, too, should be obsessed with him and his minions.

  3. I’ll try to be obsessed with him, on your recommendation, Paul. But I don’t really think he’s my type.
    I’m very glad that you don’t think that everyone you talk to is mounting an ad hominem attack. That’s a step forward.

  4. If every half-assed “scientific” claim asserted by someone with an agenda (or without an agenda) had to be directly refuted before we can call it wrong, then we would be spending all our time arguing with morons. Some claims are just so far outside the scientific consensus, they violate so many well-founded and based upon evidence scientific theories, that they can be dismissed out of hand; they do not require investigation. I can assert that the speed of light is actually 50 billion miles per second, and quasars are therefore much closer than astrophysicists believe, so the universe must be younger than they claim; NOBODY has to run experiments to prove me wrong. The experiments have already been run. I am wrong. Period. It doesn’t matter how I interpret or explain my evidence. I am wrong. Period. Nobody needs to waste time refuting me. I can, and should, be ignored. Claiming a dinosaur fossil is 4000 years old falls into the same category. Nobody has to run further experiments to prove it is not possible. It is junk science BECAUSE the science has already been done, and the 4000 year old claim ignores that reality. It is junk logic to not acknowledge that fact. Some science is junk. Some logic is junk. Not calling junk junk gives us a world filled with junk.
    By the way, I taught in the CSU system. It is absolutely given to wild ideas. Of all types. I do not recall anyone not being allowed to express whatever belief they felt like expressing. I do recall them being asked for the evidence to claim it is more than just a believe.

    • Claims about the speed of light and the age of dinosaur tissue are very different.

      The speed of light is a physical constant. We have strong evidence that the speed of light is the same whenever and where ever we measure it. If you stand beside me or on the other side of the galaxy we believe your tests will show the speed of light to be approximately 300 thousand meters/second.

      Dinosaurs, on the other hand, died out due to a cataclysmic accident. There is no fundamental scientific reason why they could not have survived to this very day. We have evidence to believe their demise began approximately 65 million year ago. But even that extinction may have taken millions of years.

      So the question remains, could there be dinosaur tissue 4,000 years old? Well… could a colony of dinosaurs have survived 64996,000 years without anyone noticing? It doesn’t seem very likely to me. But I can guarantee you this, my opinion has absolutely no influence over the age of dinosaur tissue. If you want to know the age of dinosaur tissue – you have to test it – unless you believe in faith based science.

  5. Yup. If you assert things that refute the current theory of how things work, all you gotta do is prove them.
    If you find tissue in 60 million-year-old rock layers, and you claim it’s a few thousand years old, or a week old, you got some explainin’ to do.
    Should be a damned good story.

    • Fascinating stuff. And if you really want to burn some time, try looking up measurements for the speed of light over the decades and see if there is any trend in the measurements. I had a college buddy who was pretty sure the universe is slowing down.

  6. Haven’t scientist been arguing both sides of every issue for centuries? This is a hypothesis based on both parties beliefs. Debate, testing and re-examining is how all science consensus is determined. Sometimes, it may be years or even centuries before claims are proven. Many findings have been reversed in their original claims.
    In my estimation, I think Mr. Armitage was let go for his religious beliefs. The majority of public colleges hire atheists and agnostics to be on their staff. They claim that these teachers will be balanced in their thinking. However, we all know that they also have their definite set of beliefs and hammer them into the young vulnerable minds of college students.
    When I returned to college in my 50’s, I witnessed this in some of my classes. I, and others, were frowned upon for asking questions that challenged my professors, who in turn would squirm and try to evade the question or give a indignant and defensive answer, often not making any sense at all.
    It would be great to have a variety of teachers in our college system, or teachers who offer all sides of an issue, so young adults would be challenged to think for themselves, analyze and research issues and then make up their own minds..

  7. leejcarroll–The voucher system gives the parents the freedom to send their children to other public schools as well. A parent does not have to jump through hoops or break any laws, by using false a address, to send their child to a school in another district.
    ~It would inspire public schools to be more competitive in teaching the students.
    ~A voucher would help a family, who otherwise could not afford it, to send their children to the private school of their choice.
    ~If we are a truly free country then we should have the options of choosing the educational institution we wish to send our child.

  8. leejcarol–How do we know if the scientific point of view is correct? Both sides of the issue should be taught to stimulate great thinkers and to entice further research in young adults.

  9. Gigi, You have the option to send your child to any educational institution you want, even home school.
    We know that fossil dating is legitimate scientific process. Creationism is a religious point of view.
    scientific concensus is based on data and studies that are replicatable. Creationism is based on belief and nothing more.

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