A team of attorneys is jumping to the defense of a scientist who was fired after making the stunning discovery of soft tissue attached to a triceratops skeleton, undermining the belief that dinosaurs roamed earth no less than 60 million years ago.
The Pacific Justice Institute said its case on behalf of Mark Armitage alleges a university official where Mark Armitage worked shouted at him, “We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!”
The suit against California State University Northridge, filed recently in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the board of trustees, alleges discrimination.
“Terminating an employee because of their religious views is completely inappropriate and illegal,” said Brad Dacus, PJI president.
Unruh is so invested in advocating for PJI that not only can't he be bothered to obtain any response to the lawsuit from the university, the headline of Unruh's article is surprisingly close to the headline on PJI's press release on the lawsuit.
Unruh also obscures facts to make PJI and its client look good. He suggests that Armitage's dinosaur research was done under the auspices of the university that employed him; in fact, Armitage was doing his dinosaur research outside of the school with other creationists, and he was employed by the university only as a part-time microscope technician.
Unruh also suggests that Armitage's publication of his "stunning discovery of soft tissue attached to a triceratops skeleton" was directly linked to his alleged firing. But as the blog io9 points out, Armitage apparently went beyond his job description by discussing his young-earth creationism with students:
This description of events sounds like Mr. Armitage informed some students of his young-earth creationist beliefs, and this might be where Dr. Kwok, his new supervisor, found out about them as well. Unmentioned by the lawsuit, students (undergrad? grad?) in biology departments are not big fans of hearing about young-earth creationism, so at least one of these students might have thought Mr. Armitage was proselytizing to them, even if he didn't intend to.
It sounds like Mr. Armitage said something not-very-scientific towards students and may or may not have told them that dinosaur fossils are thousands of years old. Maybe Mr. Armitage shouldn't have done that.
Further, as io9 commenters went on to note, Armitage's paper on his dinosaur research is suspect because it lacks information about where his research was conducted or any acknowledgments for research assistance. This raises the possibility that Armitage may have been using the microscope lab he worked at to conduct his research, perhaps without permission.
It seems there's much more to this story than Unruh would have you think. Too bad Unruh is completely uninterested in reporting it.