A scientist has filed a lawsuit against the California State University, Northridge saying he was terminated from his job due to his religious views after he discovered soft tissue on a triceratops fossil which supported his creationist view.
Mark Armitage, a former scientist at CSUN in Los Angeles, was terminated after he discovered supposedly the largest triceratops horn ever unearthed at the Hell Creek Formation excavation site in Montana, according to attorney Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute, who's filed the lawsuit.
"Since some creationists, like [Armitage], believe that the triceratops bones are only 4,000 years old at most, [Armitage's] work vindicated his view that these dinosaurs roamed the planet relatively recently," states the complaint filed against the CSUN board of trustees in Los Angeles Superior Court, according to CBS News.
The scientist's findings, which indicate that dinosaurs roamed the earth only thousands of years in the past rather than going extinct 60 million years ago, were published in July 2013 in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
"Terminating an employee because of their religious views is completely inappropriate and illegal," Dacus said in a statement. "But doing so in an attempt to silence scientific speech at a public university is even more alarming. This should be a wakeup call and warning to the entire world of academia."
Armitage is a published scientist of over 30 years.
Soon after the soft tissue discovery, a university official challenged the motives of Armitage, by shouting at him, "We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!" according to court documents.
Armitage was later let go after the school abruptly claimed his appointment at the university of 38 months had been temporary, and claimed a lack of funding for his position.
The university's claim contradicted its prior statements and documents, says the Justice Institute, a legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties.
"It has become apparent that 'diversity' and 'intellectual curiosity,' so often touted as hallmarks of a university education, do not apply to those with a religious point of view," said Michael Peffer, staff attorney with PJI's southern California office. "This suit was filed, in part, to vindicate those ideals."