Creation Science Issues, Radiometric Dating - A Christian Perspective
Jim Mason answers Justin Payne on radiometric dating and the age of the earth. that Steno's law is a statement of relative time, not absolute time: two rock layers, in attributing the formation of most rocks to the flood mentioned in the Bible. This can be demonstrated with a couple of simple examples. Long-age geologists will not accept a radiometric date unless it matches For example, a geologist may examine a cutting where the rocks appear to work out a geological cross-section and the relative timing of the geologic events. . And that is why creationists use the historical evidence in the Bible to. This paper describes in relatively simple terms how a number of the dating Even though the Earth's age is never mentioned in the Bible, it is an issue For example, most people don't realize that carbon dating is only rarely used on rocks.
How do we know exactly how much potassium was originally in the volcanic rock? As we will see, this method clearly can give erroneous dates for strata. Even the method used for dating a sample can lead to dramatic changes in dates for an item. National Geographic Magazine explained that a different dating method for C indicated the oldest Maya civilization was not nearly as old as earlier data had indicated.
A thousand years is a very large error! Scientists use the term absolute to distinguish from relative dating methods. When fossil A is found in rock strata below a rock layer containing fossil B, fossil A can generally be dated as older, relative to fossil B.
That is relative dating.
Yet many presume these dating methods are absolute in terms of certainty. This is misleading, since dates determined by radiometric dating methods are not always absolute at all. Environmental conditions Erroneous dates can occur when the environment has affected the sample.
Geologic Dating Methods: Are They Always Accurate? - Life, Hope & Truth
For example, the C dates of living mollusks found in rivers can give anomalous dates. In an article published in Science, M. They found that living freshwater mollusks give anomalous dates of up to 3, years old. This is caused by the absorption of C from ancient plant remains in humus. Here we find that the environment can seriously affect the amount of C found in living creatures. Lee in the Anthropological Journal of Canada, said that artifacts found in the area of a volcano can give erroneous ages of up to 4, years.
Tree ring dating Some scientists have used tree rings to attempt to prove that C dating is accurate in dating items from thousands of years ago.
Yet there are problems with this method also. Tree rings are caused by the changes in growth rates during a calendar year. Studies in Interdisciplinary History,p. Frederic Jueneman discussed this problem in an article in Industrial Research Augustp. Discussing the problems of C dates, he wrote: There were many more years of tree rings than radiocarbon dating gave credit for. The simple answer to the problem is that more than one ring can be made when there is a drought.
Egyptian dating problems In his book Pharaohs and Kings, David Rohl explained that C dating is not always accurate: Likewise, it is not a science textbook concerned with accuracy of certain facts and formulas. The authorial intent of any text should be kept in mind when reading any work and evaluating it's accuracy in a given context. This then means that as readers, we need to ask ourselves the intent of the author in including genealogies.
- Your Answer
- Strengths and weaknesses of radiometric and other dating methods
- Non-radiometric Dating
Genealogies simply do not mean the same thing to western audiences as they did to their original audience. We therefore often miss that the point of the genealogies is to provide credibility and lend importance and credibility to an individual, such as the patriarchs and Jesus himself.
In much the same way that Kings and Kights were only important because of their Royal blood, so too was it in the ancient Middle East. The genealogies are also used to provide a structure, framework or outline to the book of Genesis using the Toledot which divides Genesis into 12 sections.
This claim is countered by the fact that the origin of short-period comets is still uncertain and that there may be a source of short-period comets e. Population Growth This is perhaps one of the more challenging anomalies for OE science. It is claimed that Homo sapiens appeared sometoyears ago.
But doesn't it seem strange that after more thanyears earth's population is still only 7 billion? After all, the population increased from 1 billion in to 7 billion in - a span of just years!
The Age of the Earth
Of course, population growth is exponential, but even then the numbers don't add up. Some claim a world-wide catastrophe may have occurred around 70, years ago, reducing the human population to maybe just 1, breeding pairs.
Let's do the maths on these 'catastrophe' figures. Of course, there are many factors that affect r, such as climate, disease, war, standard of living and so on. Typically, population growth rates are between 0. In words, earth's population should be some million, billion, billion, billion.
Geologic Dating Methods: Are They Always Accurate?
This an impossibly large number when compared to the earth's current 7 billion people. Either the population growth calculation is hopelessly wrong, or the theory of human evolution is suspect!
This computation appears much more realistic. Scientific Debate Earth dating via ocean sediments, magnetic field decay, atmospheric helium, short-period comets and other techniques point to a young earth. However, the scientifc accuracy of YE claims are frequently challenged e.
In order to balance the discussion we should also challenge the currently accepted radiometric dating methods. If these are suspect then the disputed methods take on more meaning. Assumptions and Weaknesses of Radiometric Dating Most rock dating methods rely on the following basic assumptions: The K-Ar method dates rocks by measuring the accumulated Ar It is claimed the advantage of this method is that it circumvents the zero date problem i.
In other words, all Ar in a rock is assumed to have been produced by in-situ radioactive decay of K within the rock since it formed and there was zero Ar in the rock when it solidified.
However, this primary assumption has been challenged e. This 'zero Ar' problem has also been identified by Snelling who comments for one research project: Certainly it is known to diffuse easily from deeper rocks under pressure so surface rocks tend to have a higher Ar concentration than would be expected.
This, coupled with the fact that potassium is easily washed out of minerals, suggests this technique can give an artificially high age for the earth and leads some to conclude that: Pitman, Radiometric Dating Methods, ] If we question these techniques, there is an alternative method called isochron dating.
The isochron dating method attempts to combat the zero date problem by using ratios of isotopes and samples of different minerals from the same rock. However, it still relies on certain basic assumptions, and in particular on the assumption that the specimen was entirely homogenous when it formed i. The method also assumes that all mineral samples will have the same initial Sr to Sr ratio, but this is not always the case.
So whilst isochron dating can give a straight line, the slope may have no significance [Vardiman et al]. Constant Decay Rate and Uniformitarianism What about the radiometric assumption of constant decay rate?
Such an assumption rests on the old evolutionary concept of uniformitarianism. In broad terms this means the observed geological features are the result of slow geological forces of the same kind and intensity as those found today. And for radiometric dating it means that the decay constant of the parent has not changed over earth's history. Scientific justification for this assumption is found for example in Radiogenic Isotope Geology, A.
The overall theme is that of a very old earth. In contrast, Humphreys has proposed an accelerated decay higher decay rate early in earth's history, leading to a younger earth.
This idea has been rebutted by those who claim there is no known scientific mechanism to produce such a change, see for example Tim-Thompson: Others disagree and say that studies in theoretical physics suggest accelerated nuclear decay can occur e. Variation in compactified dimensions could affect coupling constants Consequent variation in coupling constants could cause accelerated decay Changes in potential well depth change the alpha-particle wave function Changes in the alpha-particle wave function change decay half-lives Uniformitarianism is also challenged if we invoke the concept of a world-wide flood for which there is much evidence.
Vardiman et al claim that this would result in unreliable radioisotopic dating. They conclude from their research that: The chief reason is that uniformitarianism is not a legitimate model of earth history. Observational evidence supports the recent occurrence of a global catastrophic flood. Classical OE dating radiometric dating is based upon the spontaneous breakdown or decay of atomic nuclei, where a radioactive parent atom decays to a stable daughter atom. The clash between OE dating millions or billions of years and YE dating thousands of years centres on the decay constant K.
As discussed, OE dating rests on the evolutionary concept of uniformitarianism and an assumed constant decay rate for all time. But this is not necessarily so. The Decreasing Speed of Light: InAlbrecht and Magueijo proposed a reduction in 'c' over time as a solution to cosmological puzzles.