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.
- 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.
- Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth, Bantam Press, 2009, p 91-98
- 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
- AA Snelling, Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Volume 2, Institute for Creation Research, 2009, p 797-864
- 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
- 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
- J Sarfati, The Greatest Hoax on Earth, Creation Book Publishers, 2010, p 193
- 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