The Pacific Justice Institute reports the following: “A scientist was terminated from his job at a California State University after discovering soft tissue on a triceratops fossil, and then publishing his findings. . . . While at a dig at Hell Creek formation in Montana, the scientist, Mark Armitage, came upon the largest triceratops horn ever unearthed at the site. When examining the horn under a high-powered microscope back at CSUN, Armitage was fascinated to see the soft tissue. The discovery stunned members of the scientific community because it indicates that dinosaurs roamed the earth only thousands of years in the past rather than going extinct 60 million years ago.”
The Pacific Justice Institute is suing CSUN for religious discrimination. If Armitage, a published scientist for more 30 years whose micrographs have appeared on the covers of eleven scientific journals, was only making religious claims, that’s one thing, but if his analysis was questioning the science behind evolution, well, that’s what’s science is all about.
Armitage’s problem is that he is critical of the entire Darwinian paradigm. It’s one thing to question bits and pieces of evolutionary science; it’s another thing to call the entire scheme into question. There are evolutionary scientists who admit that some of evolutionary science is very week, but they remain evolutionists. That’s acceptable to the guild.
Scientists claim that they are all about the facts. No matter what the facts, as scientists, they must go where the facts take them. This is not always the case.
“Facts do not come with interpretation tags, telling us how to view them. . . . Both sides haggle over the facts. Both sides search for new facts to add to their arsenals. Both sides raise accusations, yet it’s a rare day indeed when both sides acknowledge that their differences stem from something much more basic than facts. Their differences are rooted in opposing worldviews, which in turn are permeated with philosophical assumptions and commitments.”1
Armitage’s peer review article is not the first soft tissue discovery that casts doubt on the time table of evolutionary history.
In 2004, Dr. Mary Schweitzer, from North Carolina State University, caused a stir when she found “soft tissue” in a “fossilized dinosaur skeleton.” It’s a matter of faith among scientists that soft tissue can survive at most for a few tens of thousands of years, not the 65 million since T.rex walked what’s now Hell Creek Mountain in Montana.”2
“I had one reviewer tell me,” Schweitzer reported, “that he didn’t care what the data said, he knew that what I was finding wasn’t possible. I wrote back and said, ‘Well, what data would convince you?’ And he said, ‘None.’”3
Like what scientists are supposed to do, Schweitzer’s discoveries were studied. Some scientists questioned her conclusions and “challenged the claims that the material found is the soft tissue of Tyrannosaurus,” but another study “supports Schweitzer’s original conclusion.” I suspect that because Schweitzer did not question Darwinism itself that she was not academically molested.
Take a look at this “60 Minute” interview about her discovery and listen to Leslie Stahl comment on what such a discovery might mean to the tightfisted and close-minded evolution lobby: “The things Mary was finding inside dinosaur bones – blood vessels, even what seemed to be intact cells — pose a radical challenge to the existing rules of science that organic material can’t possibly survive even a million years let alone 68 million.”
Real scientists should not be afraid of where the facts take them even if it means dismantling their long cherished views of science.
- William D. Watkins, “Whose Facts Anyway?,” Christian Research Journal (24:2), 60. [↩]
- Barry Yeoman, “Schweitzer’s Dangerous Discovery,” Discover (April 2006), 37. Also see “Scientists recover T. rex soft tissue: 70 million-year-old fossil yields preserved blood vessels” (March 24, 2005). [↩]
- Mary Higby Schweitzer as quoted in Yeoman, “Schweitzer’s Dangerous Discovery,” 37. [↩]
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