Did science prove Jesus wrong on the age of the earth?

In a previous blog, ‘Did Jesus know when creation happened?’ we discussed Jesus’ comment about the ‘beginning.’  According to the Old Testament the earth was created about 6,000 years ago.  Logically the world laughs at that.  They claim the earth’s age was scientifically determined as 4,5 billion years.  So what if radioactive dating (by which the age of the earth was determined) is true and Jesus is wrong?

#  The science of radioactive dating 

There are certain isotopes of elements that spontaneously decay into other elements (radioactive isotopes).  The original ‘parent’ element changes over time into the ‘daughter’ element.  The time it takes for this exchange (the half-life) has been determined (it differs for different elements).  Scientists can measure the rate of decay of the ‘parent’ into the ‘daughter’ element in a given rock.  From that they work out the presumed age of the rock. 1  Let’s look at some problems with radioactive dating:

#  Problems with radioisotope decay

  • Since nobody was around to measure the amounts of ‘parent’ and ‘daughter’ elements when a rock was formed, no one can be sure about the following:
    • Was there no daughter element present at the beginning?
    • Did no contamination take place during the decay process that could influence the parent daughter ratio?
    • Were there no changes in the decay rate?  Decay rates have only been measured for about 100 years. 2
    • These problems are said to be overcome by the isochron method, but it also has its problems. 3

# Problems to find the oldest rocks 

It was assumed that meteorites that fell on earth were the same age as the earth.  Patterson calculated the age of meteorites with radioisotope dating as about 4.55 billion years.4  That is generally accepted as the ‘true’ age of the earth.  He assumed that the meteorites were the same age as the earth, but there is no way to know for sure.

#  Problems due to assumptions

When rocks with known dates were tested, the results were wrong: 

    • Mount St Helens erupted in 1980.  In 1986 rocks that formed from a new dacite lava dome were dated.  With the potassium-argon method the age was determined as approximately 0.35 million years.  Constituent minerals yielded ages of up to 2.8 million years. 5
    • Five andesite lava flows from Mt Ngauruhoe in New Zealand of 1949, 1954 and 1975 were dated.  It gave dates of 0.27-3.5 million years. 6
    • Relatively young lava at the border of Uganda, Zaire and Rwanda in East Africa was dated with the rubidium-strontium straight line isochron.  The results were 773 million years. 7

# Facts to remember

  • For Darwinian evolution to be true, millions and billions of years are necessary.  Nothing will be allowed to interfere with the ‘old earth.’
  • Darwinian evolution is the modern creation myth.  People cling to it because they trust that it protects them from accountability to God.  It is so vital to them that the ‘reality’ of Darwinian evolution is non debatable.  It is a fact, established, proven, solid science.  For this reason no evidence against it will ever be accepted.

Conclusion

  • The public doesn’t hear about the problems with radioactive dating.  They only hear that the age of the earth, rocks and fossils have been proven scientifically and the earth is billions of years old.
  • So, if anyone believes Jesus knew, according to the Old Testament, that the earth was young, be prepared that you will be labeled as an ignoramus or illiterate backwoodsman who wants to take society back to the Dark Ages and undo all the advantages of science.

In the next blog we want to look at carbon-14 dating.  Many people think it supports an old age.

References

  1. Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth, Bantam Press, 2009, p 91-98
  2. J Sarfati, The Greatest Hoax on Earth, Creation Book Publishers, 2010, p 186-190; J Morris, The Young Earth, Master Books, 2007, p 48-54; AA Snelling, Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Volume 2, Institute for Creation Research, 2009, p 800-802
  3. AA Snelling, Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Volume 2, Institute for Creation Research, 2009, p 797-864
  4. CC Patterson,  Age of Meteorites and the Earth, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 1956, 10:230-237, cited by T Walker,  Western Culture and the Age of the Earth, Technical Journal 19(2), 2005, p 46-50
  5. SA Austin, 1996, Excess argon within mineral concentrates from the new dacite lava dome at Mount St. Helens volcano, Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, 10(3); 335-343, cited by AA Snelling, Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Volume 2, Institute for Creation Research, 2009, p 804
  6. J Sarfati, The Greatest Hoax on Earth, Creation Book Publishers, 2010, p 193
  7. G Faure, Principles of Isotope Geology, 2nd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1986, p 145-147, cited by T Walker, Radioactive Dating Methods, Ways they make the conflicting results tell the same story, Creation 32(4), 2010, P 30,31

Did Radiometric Dating determine the age of the earth?

Many Christians believe that the age of the earth was determined Mt St Helensscientifically with radiometric dating. Thus it is scientific fact and should not be disputed. They think Christians who deny that the earth is 4.5 billion years old are the laughing stock of intellectuals. Some even reason that Jesus lived in primitive times and was not aware of modern science that tells us the world is very old.1  

What does modern science have to say about the age of the earth?

Scientists like Henry Becquerel, Wilhelm Roentgen and Marie Curie investigated radioactivity and its decay process.  One of the well known examples is the unstable radioactive element uranium-238 (parent) that spontaneously decays eventually into lead-206 (daughter). Radiometric decay is a proven scientific fact that nobody can deny. 2

Radiometric decay and radiometric dating are not the same thing.

Problems come when the scientific fact of radiometric decay is confused with radiometric dating:

  • It is scientific to determine how much the parent element decayed into the daughter element over a  specific period of time (usually measured in half lives). But it has nothing to do with the age of the rock.
  • The age of rocks cannot be deducted solely from the decay of isotopes. One has to know how much of the parent and daughter elements were present in the rocks initially, and if any parent or daughter isotopes were added or removed by any other process?
  • That can never be done, since nobody knows what the initial conditions were. Thus ‘age science’ has to be augmented by assumptions. It is assumed there were only parent and no daughter isotopes in the beginning.  This assumption (plus some others), means that the age of the earth will always be in the millions. 3   But, and this is the big but, it is not science, but science plus unproven assumptions.

Here are two examples of the accuracy of radiometric dating.

  • About 35 years ago in 1980, Mount St. Helen’s erupted. The lava from the dome was tested by radiometric dating. It gave ages of 340,000 to 2,8 million years. 4  
  • Basalts from Hualalei which erupted in 1801 (about 214 years ago) were tested by radiometric dating. It gave ages of 160 million to 3 billion years. 5

Secular geologists dispute it and claim that their method of age determination is solid and foolproof. The two examples (out of many) prove it is not.

Summary

  • Radiometric decay is not radiometric dating.
  • There was a person present when the earth was formed. His name is Jesus. He does not endorse an old earth. We will be wise to believe Him. He knows the truth.

References

  1. C Wieland, Jesus on the Age of the Earth, Creation 34(2):51-54, April 2012.
  2. J Morris, The Young Earth, Master Books, 1994, 2007, p 48-59.
  3. Ibid, p 50-54.
  4. SA Austin, Excess Argon within mineral concentrates from the new dacite lava dome at Mount St. Helens volcano, Journal of Creation 10(3):335-343, 1996.
  5. R Milton, Shattering the Myths of Darwinism, Park Street Press, 1992, p 47.
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