Oh dear, it seems the high priests of the Darwinian Uniformist religion have received a bit of a setback from the discovery of some soft tissue on a triceratops fossil excavated from a fossil dig in the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, USA, according to CBS Los Angeles. The scientist, one Mark Armitage, who discovered it was subsequently fired from his job, apparently because he interpreted this discovery to support his creationist views of a young earth, and that this was therefore blasphemy.
Upon examination of the horn under a high-powered microscope back at CSUN, Dacus says Armitage was “fascinated” to find soft tissue on the sample – a discovery Bacus said stunned members of the school’s biology department and even some students “because it indicates that dinosaurs roamed the earth only thousands of years in the past rather than going extinct 60 million years ago.”
“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,”according to the complaint (PDF) filed July 22 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
An ad hoc explanation for this “anomaly’ can be found in the articles concluding remark,
The discovery is the latest in several recent – and controversial – soft tissue finds by archaeologists: researchers last November claimed the controversial discovery of purported 68-million-year-old soft tissue from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex can be explained by iron in the dinosaur’s body, which they say preserved the tissue before it could decay.
Of course this isn’t the first time that an extinct animal fossil yielded “soft” tissue since Charles Darwin did so as he reported in his Journal of his voyage on the Beagle, when a fossil was discovered in a river bank deposit in South America with soft tissue still adhering to it. And then there are those anomalous pictographs of triceratops in Amerindian art, or on old South American artefacts, those carvings that cause so much angst in the ranks of the liberal creationists, aka the geological uniformitarians, or Lyellians, implying that our ancestors were living at the same time as the extinct triceratops or dinosaurs. Whatever.
If we dismiss the creationist cosmology and in its stead consider, what the physicist Amit Goswami describes as, ‘monistic idealism’, or the idea that physical reality is being continuously formed by an underlying consciousness, in which life never started, or ends, but just is, then the presence of soft tissue on a triceratops fossil isn’t that much of a problem. But it does lead to the possibility that our understanding of the earth’s chronology and evolution might be incomplete, and at worst quite wrong. And if we think of physical reality as something like a hologram, as described by the late Michael talbot in his book ‘The Holographic Universe’ in which he reported the scientific ideas of the late David Bohm, and those of Karl Pribram and other extant scientists, then this discovery of soft tissue isn’t all that much of an issue either, apart from the implication that our geological model might be fundamentally wrong, and for that matter our materialist world-view, on which that geological model is based, equally flawed.
(The idea of physical materialism is a logical outcome of a culture dominated by a creationist religious belief system, in which an almighty deity or god created the physical universe. If you believe in the duality of a god and that god’s creation, physical material reality, then you have to conclude that reality is fundamentally described as physical materialism. Even the secular humanists, who surprisingly also firmly believe in a Big Bang theory, or creatio ex nihilo, are as religious as their fundamentalist biblical opponents, in which both only see what they believe in).
Mark Armitage’s dismissal is thus the unfortunate result of his daring to interpret the data at face value and thus incurring the wrath of the ruling priests of the existing religion of scientifically acceptable creationism, Darwinian evolution, by stating the blindingly obvious, that this particular triceratops was only recently fossilised. He thus had to pay the price for his blasphemy.
But just how iron in a fossilised dinosaur’s body can stop biological decay over millions of years, as implied by the quote above, has to be seen for what it is – a lame attempt to explain away empirical data that contradicts the dogma of progressive biological evolution from an earlier creative event, whether chronologically recent or distant.
However as this recent discovery is but the latest in the continuous argument between the literal and liberal creationist camps, it may well be, as the late Fred Hoyle remarked, that both arguments are probably wrong and that a third model, or idea, might be worthwhile considering. Whether this happens in my lifetime, however, lies in the laps of the gods, as they might say.