A creationist scholar recently received a six-figure settlement from California State University Northridge, a payout that resolved a 2-year-old lawsuit that alleged the scholar had been fired after discovering soft tissue on a triceratops horn and publishing his findings.
The plaintiff, Mark Armitage, had alleged religious discrimination and a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act in his suit...
Armitage’s attorney, Alan Reinach, called the settlement “groundbreaking,” noting that in his decades practicing law he is unaware of any other favorable settlement of this nature on behalf of a creationist.
Armitage, who has some 30 publications to his credit and is past-president of the Southern California Society for Microscopy, was hired by the university in early 2010 to manage a wide variety of oversight duties for the biology department’s array of state-of-the-art microscopes, court documents state. He also trained students on how to use the complicated equipment.
In the summer of 2012, while at the world-famous dinosaur dig at Hell Creek Formation in Montana, Armitage discovered the largest triceratops horn ever unearthed at the site — complete with soft fiber and bone tissues that were stretchy.
He published his findings, first in the November 2012 issue of American Laboratory magazine, which published images of the soft tissue on its cover, and then online in February 2013 in the peer-reviewed journal Acta Histochemica, according to court documents.
The lawsuit contends that’s why Armitage’s employment at Cal State Northridge was terminated, with one professor allegedly storming into his office and shouting: “We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!”
Campus officials told Armitage his job was only a “temporary appointment,” and claimed a lack of funding for his position.
“When it became published and the university was associated with this,” Reinach said, referring to Armitage’s article reporting on the soft tissue, “that was intolerable.”
“To have CSUN associated with the creation heresy — that was the capital offense,” Reinach said, noting Armitage was fired a few weeks after the article was published.
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