Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dinosaur Flesh Found

In 2012, Professor Mark Armitage of California State University, Northridge in Los Angeles, published an insightful, peer-reviewed article in “Acta Histochemica” regarding a breakthrough discovery of a triceratops horn at the famous Hell Creek Formation in Montana. Armitage, a 30-year veteran in the field, discovered the horn and also conducted related analysis of the bone. Upon examination under a high-powered microscope, Armitage found soft tissue (fleshy) that had not been fossilized. The find surprised many in the scientific community because such a find is contrary to popular belief regarding the age of such fossils. The triceratops, along with the rest of the dinosaurs, have long been believed to have become extinct approximately 65 million years ago. However, finding soft tissue that has not been fossilized would beg to differ.

And that is only where the sad story begins. Armitage taught students at Cal State how to use high-powered microscopes at the school’s Electron and Confocal Microscopy Suite. One day after discussing his published find in class and the implications that the fossil was relatively young, he was apparently reported by one of the students to his supervisor. This was followed by harsh questioning by his supervisor accusing Armitage of religious motivation. The supervisor told Armitage that the school would not “tolerate” his religion in the department. And, just two weeks after publishing his findings, Armitage was informed that his 38 month contract had run out of funding.

What does the discovery of soft tissue in a dinosaur horn suggest regarding the fossil’s age? How is it possible that a fossil that is 65 million years old had not yet fully fossilized? What more science could be learned from dinosaur soft tissue if an intolerant blind eye were not turned towards the discovery? Which world view does such a discovery support? Is the fossil 65 million years old or only thousands of years old as the soft tissue would suggest? Why would a scientist be discriminated against for such a discovery? Isn’t science open to data that contradicts the status quo? Isn’t science always subject to future challenge and rejection? Even if Armitage is a creationist Christian, should that be grounds for termination? Was there truly anything wrong with what Armitage did? Or is the school totally in the wrong? What does it suggest when a recent discovery strongly opposes evolutionist dogma, only to be followed by termination of the scientist who discovers it? I think you probably know the answers to all of these questions.

This episode highlights the fact that the evolutionary bias in the scientific community is dangerously dogmatic. Academic freedom is dying a swift death. Ignorance is not the way scientists should handle opposing facts. This is the way propagandists do though. But, propaganda is the exact opposite of science. Consider for a moment what could be scientifically learned through the proper exposure of this discovery and the analyses that could arise from it. What could we learn from soft tissue from extinct species of dinosaurs? We may never know. But, we did learn that what we were previously taught were the “facts” are not the facts. And, we did learn that facts can get you fired, even unconstitutionally fired.

When relevant scientific data is ignored, violation of the scientific method is the result. When such ignorance is applied with indirect implication towards the existence of God, scientific malpractice produces foolishness. 1 Peter 2:15 says, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” Armitage's actions were in keeping with both good science and sound philosophy. The school's response to this discovery is nothing short of the truest definition of “ignorance.” This is not intelligence on display, but the display of willful ignorance of challenging data.

For Armitage's work, we are truly grateful. This discovery should encourage all Christians to know that scientific facts support the Bible and our faith.

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