This is the only active creationist litigation of which we’re aware, and the last time we wrote about it was Mark Armitage Update: 06 June 2016. The next few indented paragraphs provide background information, which most of you can skip:
Mark Armitage, described by his supporters as a “scientist,” is an electron microscopy technician who, according to California State University, Northridge (CSUN), was a temporary hire between 2010-2013. While on a fossil hunt in Montana, he found a large triceratops horn.
Back at CSUN, he examined his fossil and saw what he believed to be “soft tissue.” In July 2013 a peer-reviewed scientific journal, Acta Histochemica, published his article: Soft sheets of fibrillar bone from a fossil of the supraorbital horn of the dinosaur Triceratops horridus.
He subsequently lost his job is now suing CSUN. He claims he was fired because his discovery indicates that dinosaurs roamed the earth only thousands of years ago. It’s an old creationist issue. The TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims discusses the claim that dinosaur fossils with “red blood cells” have been found, and we’ve posted about the subject before — e.g., Dinosaur Fossils Found with Hot Red Meat?
It appears that Armitage kept his views on the age of the fossil out of his published paper, and it was only later that he promoted his young-Earth interpretation. Clever fellow. He complains about “viewpoint discrimination,” and claims he has Evolutionists On The Run. Also, he has degrees from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the Institute for Creation Research. He self-published a book titled Jesus is like my Scanning Electron Microscope (Amazon listing).
This is a copy of the complaint that was filed: Mark Armitage vs. Board of Trustees of the California State University, et al. (21-page pdf file). You can check the court docket here Los Angeles Superior Court to see what’s been filed. If you go there, click on “Access your case” and enter case number BC552314.
That’s an ark-load of background material. In our last update we informed you about the latest pleadings that had been filed, among which were a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by at least one of the defendants, which has not yet been ruled on. A jury trial has been set for 08/22/2016 at 09:30 am, which is only a month from now.
Upon checking the court’s docket, we learned that still more pleadings have been filed, among which are an Amended Complaint filed by Armitage on 08 July. That’s a remarkable thing so close to the trial date, especially considering that Armitage filed his original complaint in July of 2013. Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have obtained and sent us a copy of the defendants’ motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint. It’s 57 pages long, but most of it is exhibits. We’ll try to summarize what it’s all about.
The Amended Complaint attempts to add two more defendants, Larry Allen and Jerry Stinner. Stinner wrote the termination of employment letter that Armitage had received before the case began, and the employment separation form was signed by Allen. Their motion to dismiss, filed on their behalf by the same firm that represents the original defendants, states that Armitage knew about them all along and had mentioned them in his deposition of 20 October 2014. Also, it would be prejudicial for them to be brought into the case so close to the trial date. That seems rather obvious.
The exhibits are copies of the documents signed by Allen and Stinner, plus several excerpts from Armitage’s 2014 deposition in which he discussed the two of them. That seems to be the whole story.
It’s often risky to predict what a judge will do, but not in this matter. We strongly suspect that the Amended Complaint will be dismissed. It seems to be nothing but a desperate attempt to delay the trial, in the hope of somehow working out some kind of settlement. But we’ve been wrong before.
As of now, the trial is still set for 22 August. We’ll keep watching for further developments.
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