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More news from the decline: Revealing responses to creationist’s wrongful dismissal over soft dinosaur tissue discovery

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From Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Education:

California State University at Northridge has settled a lawsuit brought by a former employee who said he was fired for sharing news of an archaeological discovery that supported his young-Earth creationist beliefs. The university says it settled for $399,500 to avoid a protracted legal battle, but some scientists say the outcome has implications for how scientists critique creationist colleagues going forward.

Armitage published his findings in 2013 in Acta Histochemica, a peer-reviewed journal, leaving out his interpretation of the tissue’s age.

If Armitage really found soft dinosaur tissue, his interpretation of their age would be irrelevant to others’ subsequent work. It would be irrelevant if he believed that dinosaurs were specially created by space aliens.

But Darwin’s Mediocrity Insurance Program prevailed and the usual back alley stuff resulted in his lawsuit.  Alumni, take heed.

Adam Laats, a professor of education at the State University of New York at Binghamton who studies cultural conflicts in the classroom, said the settlement probably won’t change things for science in the short term. But if Northridge employees had known “about the deep-pocket legal groups that were committed to pursuing Armitage’s case, they would have handled themselves very differently from the get-go,” he added. More.

The Darwinians, stuck for much evidence for their model, will probably handle themselves “very differently” by more aggressive policing against non-conformist productivity. Any time they can get court rulings in their favor they do not need productivity anyway, they just need a system for churning out approved papers.

From Julie Borg at World:

Although he won the settlement, Armitage reports the discrimination hasn’t stopped. Since the university fired him, he has discovered additional soft tissue in fossils on two different digs, but he cannot find a journal willing to publish his papers. “I’m clearly being blackballed,” he said. More.

Won’t publish it? Did the soft dino tissue turn out to be misdated landfill? Who knows? We’ll never get a straight answer out of Darwin’s Alley.

What’s really going on here? Soft dino tissue would upend paleontology as now practiced, subsuming it under molecular biology.

Just at a time when so many of Darwin’s boffins are only halfway to retirement. And below them could be a seething mass of molecular biology hotties, many of whom may not give a rat’s patootie for the Word of the Beard… They only say it to get the job.

Perhaps the current establishment wants anyone but creationist Armitage to take the credit for the find. But who? Some innocuous Poster Smiled? Some convenient Rock Star? I don’t know. I don’t read minds. But these people do not fill me with confidence.

If the Darwinians had more confidence in their own views, they might have stuck their noses into the tissue instead of into the finder’s beliefs. – O’Leary for News

See also: Gunter Bechly: Decline of science? Imaged in a single paragraph So comparative mediocrities helped force out a gifted scientist because, on reflection, he thinks the universe shows evidence of design. In other words, orthodoxy beats achievement. Mediocrities inflate their value when they become witch hunters. They keep their own jobs while diminishing the value of the disciplines they represent.

Who controls Whom in science and what it means for new thinking and new discoveries. Within any particular field, a certain amount of criticism is allowed from PhD critics in that same field, because otherwise, there could be no progress at all. But the nature of the criticism has narrow de facto limits, such that nothing discrediting is said of the intellect of any of the elders, only modifications based (supposedly) on newly-discovered evidence, enabled by better experimental instruments than the elders had had available to them.

Food for thought from that paywalled soft dino tissue article in Science

Is Mark Armitage’s soft dinosaur tissue work a replication of Mary Schweitzer? If so…?

Is there some reason that paleontologists do NOT want soft dinosaur tissue?

Dinosaur found with preserved skin

and

Dinosaur found with preserved tail feathers, skin

8 Replies to “More news from the decline: Revealing responses to creationist’s wrongful dismissal over soft dinosaur tissue discovery

  1. 1
    J-Mac says:

    The world has not changed withing the last few thousand years… a minority ideology has dominated and still dominates the majority…whether true of false…
    The societies have not learned anything…
    I blame partially the organized religion for what is going on because of their support for the so-called science like Darwinism…If the majority of Christianity supports the theory of evolution, why should we be surprised that Darwinsts, a minority, have so much influence and they are pushing their bs on everyone with the blessing on the majority of Churches…
    Religion has lost…there is no going back…and the great majorities love it because there is no accountability for their actions…

    Why should we be surprised that Darwinists filter what information is published or not, especially the one that doesn’t fit into their skim of things?

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    The settlement does suggest that the university recognizes it behaved improperly if it fired Armitage for his religious views, or their lawyers advised they would have difficulty persuading a court otherwise if the case went to trial. Either way, if the university did fire Armitage solely on the grounds of his religious beliefs then they did act improperly.

  3. 3
    News says:

    Seversky at 2, there’s little doubt that they did “fire Armitage solely on the grounds of his religious beliefs” and yes that’s wrong. But some of us wonder if they wanted to kick him out of the soft dino tissue story in order that others might take credit for it.

    Possibly, other papers will be rushed to press and then he will be told that his information (for which he can’t find a publisher just now for some reason) is redundant.

    Yes, it’ll stink worse than a 2-week-old bronto carcass but the science media will suddenly develop a bad case of stuffy nostrils, right?

    We only know about this stuff when it concerns issues we follow. In what other fields are establishment mediocrities getting away politics instead of science? Alumni take note.

  4. 4
    Bob O'H says:

    It’s also possible that the reason Armitage’s papers are getting rejected is because they aren’t very good. Without seeing them, it’s impossible to know. I don’t suppose anyone knows the authors, and would ask them to put up a pre-print on the web? e.g. on bioRxiv?

  5. 5
    Latemarch says:

    Bob O’H@4

    Possible though he has lots of published articles including in England and Germany.

    Notice he did publish a soft tissue finding in 2013 which was just early enough to be Politically Incorrect. He then made the mistake of using that finding to bolster his creationist worldview there at the university. That’s what got him fired. It’s also likely that is what is keeping him from publishing in secular journals.

    Today soft tissue in fossils is no longer taboo.
    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaur-shocker-115306469/
    Though if you read the Smithsonian article you’ll see that they still decry the creationists “hijacking” the finding. You’ll have to admit that it is an inconvenient fact.

  6. 6
    News says:

    Bob O’H at 4, that thought had occurred around here too. In fact, the papers might be sloppy, verging on fraudulent.

    But the obvious flaw is that, were it so, we’d have heard that by now.

    Putting them up on bioRxiv might indeed be a good idea, so long as the worthies in charge don’t feel impelled to take them down, so as to avoid generating “pointless, divisive”* controversy set in motion by tenure trolls.

    That would create a bad precedent for pointless, divisive future finds of all kinds.

    When things are probably corrupt, there is a danger that one can act reasonably – but in such a way as heightens the corruption.

    We certainly hope Armitage will put the papers up but it is his call if he wants to accept the ongoing risk.

    That he can’t get the papers published in the usual way –
    and no clear reason is forthcoming – tells us what we need to know if we are honest.

    * possible canned rhetoric for use in such a case.

  7. 7
    Bob O'H says:

    Bob O’H at 4, that thought had occurred around here too. In fact, the papers might be sloppy, verging on fraudulent.

    But the obvious flaw is that, were it so, we’d have heard that by now.

    I’m curious to know why you think we would have heard. If a manuscript has been submitted to a journal, it should be confidential, so there is a good chance that we wouldn’t hear, even if there was an accusation of fraud.

    That he can’t get the papers published in the usual way –
    and no clear reason is forthcoming – tells us what we need to know if we are honest.

    The peer review process is confidential, so we (the general public) shouldn’t hear the reasons. It may even simply be that Armitage hasn’t yet worked out what the right venue is (this does happen: I’m a co-author on a paper that’s doing exactly the same thing).

  8. 8
    News says:

    Bob O’H at 8, all granted, but the surrounding circumstances in this case probably differ significantly from the ones with which you contend. Confidentiality conceals a variety of things and the stench of two-week-old bronto carcass hangs about…

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