Radiometric Dating – Creation Perspective

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in Marianis from the Front, The Biggest Challenges to Evolution | 0 comments

 

Creationists do admit that radioactive decay has occurred, but “it is important to understand the simple, fundamental principle behind all dating methods, and why they are not able to produce objective, absolute dates…The fatal flaw is that all scientific measurements are made in the present, whereas a date relates to a time in the past. We cannot go back into the past to measure all the parameters we need in order to do the dating calculation. Hence, all these parameters must be assumed—always. There is no other way.”[i] Naturalists still make assumptions even if they try to say that they don’t have to know initial conditions.

There are many assumptions that have to be made when using radiometric dating methods that might make these techniques unreliable. If any of these assumptions are wrong, then the reliability of the testing method can and should be put in question. The three main assumptions that affect the results of radiometric dating are: 1) the rate of decay has always been constant, 2) there has been no contamination (no movement of elements into or out of the object over time), and 3) we can determine how much daughter element there was to begin with.[ii]

There are many test results that make the reliability of these dating techniques very questionable.[iii] Naturalists try to explain these questionable results, but still can’t adequately explain them from their worldview.[iv] Evidence from “as far back as 1971” may show “that high pressure could increase decay rates very slightly for at least 14 isotopes.”[v] Naturalists even admit that radiocarbon dating does not work on living mussels because of the lack of new carbon in that environment. So what other situations and conditions create unreliable results that we must also throw out the dating because of?

In radiocarbon dating, there is limited precision and “given the way the atmospheric radiocarbon concentration has varied [based on tree ring dating results], there might be several possible ranges” of dates for the object being analyzed.[vi]

Plants and trees that are near volcanic areas appear older because the carbon they absorb will be older, from underground, and thus should have very little if any C-14. “The widespread emanation of 14C-free volcanogenic carbon dioxide after the Flood would have further inflated the carbon-14 dates of tree rings in a systematic manner in many parts of the world.”[vii] Naturalists have to assume whether wood remains were near volcanic vents or not. We would expect more volcanic activity due to the effects of the flood, naturalists would not expect or account for that.

There is also a lot of evidence that there is too much C-14 within supposedly old materials.[viii] C-14, which can’t last more than 100,000 years, has been found in coal, in oil, in fossils, in fossil wood, in diamonds, and even in deep strata where it should not exist.[ix] This evidence is above what naturalists can simply claim as contamination.

st-helens-crater

Crater at Mount St. Helens

Geologist Dr Steve Austin dated rocks from two lava flows in two different layers in the Grand Canyon and found the lower (older) rocks to be 270 million years younger than the higher (younger) rocks.[x] “A rock sample from the newly formed 1986 lava dome from Mount St. Helens was dated using Potassium-Argon dating. The newly formed rock gave ages for the different minerals in it of between 0.5 and 2.8 million years.” “Similar conflict was found by researchers in Hawaii. A lava flow which is known to have taken place in 1800-1801—less than 200 years ago—was dated by potassium-argon” as being around 1.5 million years old or more.[xi] 11 different rock samples were taken from 3 different eruptions (1949, 1954, 1975) of Mount Ngauruhoe in New Zealand and “the ‘ages’ of the rocks ranged from 0.27 to 3.5 million years old.”[xii] Also, “the less than 50-year-old lava flows at Mt. Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, yield a rubidium-strontium “age” of 133 million years, a samarium-neodymium “age” of 197 million years, and a uranium-lead “age” of 3.908 billion years!”[xiii] So if radiometric dating doesn’t even work on things of known age, is it reliable to determine accurate dates for things of unknown ages?

Different radiometric dating methods, on the same materials, often give very different results as evidenced by Mt. Ngauruhoe.[xiv] “The Grand Canyon was once dated at 6 million years, but recently scientists revised the date to 17 million years. A few weeks later, because of a different radiometric dating method using the phosphate mineral called apatite, scientists concluded that the last of the dinosaurs may have wandered around the canyon 65 million years ago.”[xv] “Rock samples brought back from the moon were tested and dated. Some were only millions of years old, while others were 28 billion years old.”[xvi]

“Conflicting radioactive dating results are reported all the time and, on their own, there is no way of knowing what they mean. So geologists research how other geologists have interpreted the other rocks in the area in order to find out what sort of dates they would expect. Then they invent a story to explain the numbers as part of the geological history of the area.”[xvii]

One evolutionary researcher said “For this complex, laboratory-based dating to be successful, the data must be compatible with the external field evidence.” In other words “you don’t just accept a laboratory date without question. It’s not the last word on the age of something. You only accept the date if it agrees with what you already think it should be.”[xviii]

A lot of radioactive decay does seem to be observed as evidenced by radiohalos and other marks. “For example, the radioactive decay of uranium in tiny crystals in a New Mexico granite yields a uranium-lead ‘age’ of 1.5 billion years. Yet the same uranium decay also produced abundant helium, but only 6,000 years worth of that helium was found to have leaked out of the tiny crystals.”[xix] Helium is created in radioactive decay reactions and should leak out of rocks rather quickly. “The data and our analysis show that over a billion years worth of nuclear decay has occurred very recently, between 4000 and 8000 years ago,”[xx] possibly at the time of the flood. “A period of accelerated decay would also solve the puzzle of the amount of heat emanating from the Earth—an amount consistent with the amount of radioactive decay that has occurred, but not with a billions of years timescale.”[xxi]

“Since 1955 the estimate for the age of the Earth has been based on the assumption that certain meteorite lead isotope ratios are equivalent to the primordial lead isotope ratios on Earth. In 1972 this assumption was shown to be highly questionable. Despite this, the momentum gained in the two decades prior to 1972 has made 4.5 b.y. a popularly accepted “universal constant” even though the foundations on which it was based have been virtually removed.”[xxii]

“Other data based on radioisotopes give estimates ranging from comparatively young ages to billions of years more than 4.6 billion years. There are dozens of natural chronometers based on the principle of uniformity (not accounting for a catastrophic flood) that give estimates for the age of the earth ranging from less than 10,000 years to millions of years. The majority of these chronometers give ages vastly younger than the presently accepted evolutionary age for the earth.”[xxiii]

Also, currently there is still a lot of radioactive material on the earth that “accounts for half of Earth’s heat.” So from an old earth view, there would have been a lot more radioactive material and thus more radiation and heat in the past. Would that higher dosage of radiation and heat have been harmful or helpful to evolution?[xxiv]

Naturalistic scientists have used many methods to try to figure out when the supernovae created the majority of uranium, and naturalists say “that the results from the various methods used are independently derived, making the age determinations that much more reliable. The blind spot in evolutionary thinking is the basic assumptions evolutionists make employing each method. Their strong bias for a very old universe causes them to make assumptions that will favor their bias.”

“Professor Richard Arculus assumes that 6.5 billion years ago supernovae created most of the uranium for our planet. He bases this on the belief that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and that the production ratio of U-235 and U-238 in a supernova is about 1.65. He says this is an oversimplification and concludes that about 10 supernovae from over 6 billion years ago to about 200 million years ago contributed to the uranium stores on earth to produce the unique ratio of U-235/U-238. It seems it is impossible to ever know what were the initial amounts of U-238 and Pb-206. The same is true for dating methods using other isotopes.”

In fact, if stars exploded and sent radioactive elements out into space, “this long period of interstellar residency would see the extinction of short and medium-lived isotopes, such as polonium since they would decay to lead long before reaching the earth.”

“The measured thorium and neodymium ratios of stars in our stellar neighborhood, if accepted at face value, strongly indicate that no significant amount of time has passed since the creation of these isotopes. Virtually all the initial thorium is still there, meaning not enough time has passed for significant decay of thorium. The spectroscopic evidence from 20 nearby stars presented by H. R. Butcher confirmed what Nobel physicist William Fowler advocated for many years: the universe was much younger than most astronomers accepted.”[xxv]

One researcher “explains that the U.S. Geological Survey used to have much younger uranium/lead ages accepted as correct. When older dates were obtained by a different way of measuring the ratio of lead and uranium, geologists decided the older dates were correct.” Scientists assumed that the rocks that appeared younger have lost some of the daughter isotope making them look younger. The fact that there are “too young” and “too old” results may indicate that the dating methods are not reliable.[xxvi]

The previous example goes against the typical naturalistic assumption that isotopes are locked within rocks, but are they? “Uranium, radium and lead salts are soluble in water. No one knows how much of each has been transported in or out of the rocks…Lead’s mobility increases with increased temperature and pressure…Gaseous argon can easily escape wherever microfractures exist in rock…In many cases the resulting dates are discordant due to loss of Lead or Uranium.”

Ultimately, there are many processes that give evidence that the Earth and the Universe are young, contrary to the “billions of years” models. The evidence is still interpreted based on many assumptions on both sides. Naturalists assume that the earth and universe have slowly, uniformly progressed over a long period of time. They think it has to have happened that way, and a motivating factor is that “the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable.”[xxvii] Creationists assume that the earth and universe were created not that long ago and large catastrophes (like the flood) played a large role on radiometric dating. Creationists base their assumptions on the historical records of the Bible.

 

What the Bible Says: Gen 1:1

 

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Pictures to add:

[i] Tas Walker, Oxidizable carbon ratio dating, July 20, 2014, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/oxidizable-carbon-ratio-dating, accessed August 5, 2014.

[ii] Vance Ferrell, The Evolution Handbook, Evolution Facts, Inc, Altamont, TN, 2001, p. 186-187.

Theodore W. Rybka, Consequences of Time Dependent Nuclear Decay Indices on Half Lives, 1982, Acts & Facts 11(4), Institute for Creation Research, http://www.icr.org/article/200/, accessed August 8, 2014.

[iii] Andrew Snelling, The failure of U-Th-Pb ‘dating’ at Koongarra, Australia, April 1995, Journal of Creation 9(1):71-92, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-failure-of-u-th-pb-dating-at-koongarra-australia, accessed August 7, 2014.

Steven A. Austin, Grand Canyon Lava Flows: A Survey of Isotope Dating Methods, 1988, Acts & Facts 17(4), Institute for Creation Research, http://www.icr.org/article/grand-canyon-lava-flows-survey-isotope-dating-meth/, accessed August 7, 2014.

[iv] Jonathan Sarfati, Diamonds: a creationist’s best friend: Radiocarbon in diamonds: enemy of billions of years, September 2006, Creation 28(4):26-27, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/diamonds-a-creationists-best-friend, accessed August 5, 2014.

[v] Bryan Nickel, The Origin of Earth’s Radioactivity, Center for Scientific Creation, http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/Radioactivity2.html, accessed August 8, 2014.

  1. P. Hahn et al., “Survey on the Rate Perturbation of Nuclear Decay,” Radiochimica Acta, Vol. 23, 1976, pp. 23–37.

[vi] Radiocarbon Calibration, University of Oxford, July 22, 2014, http://c14.arch.ox.ac.uk/embed.php?File=calibration.html, accessed July 31, 2014.

[vii] John Woodmorappe, Much-inflate carbon-14 dates from subfossil trees:a new mechanism, December 2001, Journal of Creation 15(3):43-44, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/much-inflated-carbon-14-dates-from-subfossil-trees-a-new-mechanism#f1, accessed August 5, 2014.

[viii] Paul Giem, Carbon-14 Content of Fossil Carbon, 2001, Geoscience Research Institute, Origins 51:6-30, http://www.grisda.org/origins/51006.htm, accessed August 5, 2014.

[ix] Don Batten, Age of the earth: 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe, June 4, 2009, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/age-of-the-earth, accessed August 5, 2014.

Don Batten, David Catchpoole, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland, The Creation Answers Book: Chapter 4: What about carbon dating?, January 1, 2007, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/images/pdfs/cabook/chapter4.pdf, accessed August 5, 2014.

Jonathan Sarfati, Diamonds: a creationist’s best friend: Radiocarbon in diamonds: enemy of billions of years, September 2006, Creation 28(4):26-27, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/diamonds-a-creationists-best-friend, accessed August 5, 2014.

Russell Humphreys, Don DeYoung, Eugene Chaffin, Andrew Snelling, John Baumgardner, and Steven Austin, Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, March 9, 2011, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/geology/radiometric-dating/radioisotopes-and-the-age-of-the-earth/, accessed August 5, 2014.

[x] Don Batten, David Catchpoole, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland, The Creation Answers Book: Chapter 4: What about carbon dating?, January 1, 2007, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/images/pdfs/cabook/chapter4.pdf, accessed August 5, 2014.

[xi] Robert Doolan, How do you date a New Zealand volcano?, December 1990, Creation 13(1):15, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/how-do-you-date-a-new-zealand-volcano, accessed August 7, 2014.

Steven A. Austin, Excess Argon within Mineral Concentrates from the New Dacite Lava Dome at Mount St. Helens Volcano, 1996, Creation Science Foundation, Ltd. A.C.N. 010 120 304 Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal Vol. 10 (Part 3) – ISSN 1036 CEN Tech. J., Institute for Creation Research, http://www.icr.org/research/index/researchp_sa_r01/, accessed August 7, 2014.

[xii] Mike Riddle, The New Answers Book, Chapter 9: Does Radiometric Dating Prove the Earth Is Old?, October 4, 2007, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/geology/radiometric-dating/does-radiometric-dating-prove-the-earth-is-old/, accessed August 5, 2014.

[xiii] Andrew Snelling, Radiometric Dating: Problems with the Assumptions, September 2, 2009, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/geology/radiometric-dating/radiometric-dating-problems-with-the-assumptions/, accessed August 5, 2014.

[xiv] Tas Walker, Radioactive dating methods: Ways they make conflicting results tell the same story, October 2010, Creation 32(4):30-31, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/radioactive-dating-anomalies, accessed August 5, 2014.

Andrew Snelling, Geological conflict: Young radiocarbon date for ancient fossil wood challenges fossil dating, March 2000, Creation 22(2):44-47, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/geological-conflict, accessed August 5, 2014.

Tas Walker, The dating game, December 2003, Creation 26(1):36-39, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-dating-game, accessed August 5, 2014.

Marvin L. Lubenow, The pigs took it all, June 1995, Creation 17(3):36-38, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-pigs-took-it-all, accessed August 5, 2014.

Don Batten, David Catchpoole, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland, The Creation Answers Book: Chapter 4: What about carbon dating?, January 1, 2007, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/images/pdfs/cabook/chapter4.pdf, accessed August 5, 2014.

Russell Humphreys, Don DeYoung, Eugene Chaffin, Andrew Snelling, John Baumgardner, and Steven Austin, Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, March 9, 2011, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/geology/radiometric-dating/radioisotopes-and-the-age-of-the-earth/, accessed August 5, 2014.

[xv] Time and Time Again, August 14, 2008, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/geology/radiometric-dating/time-and-time-again/, accessed August 5, 2014.

Sid Perkins, A Grand Old Canyon, November 29, 2012, Science AAAS, Latest News, http://news.sciencemag.org/2012/11/grand-old-canyon, accessed August 5, 2014.

[xvi] Jon Covey, The Unreliability of Radiometric Dating, Creation in the Crossfire, http://www.creationinthecrossfire.org/Articles/Radiometric%20Dating.html, accessed August 8, 2014.

Whitcomb, J. C., DeYoung, D. B., The Moon: Its Creation, Form and Significance, BMH Books, Winona Lake, p. 100, (1978). The table data was taken from the following sources:

  • Proceedings of the Second Lunar Science Conference, Vol. 2, pp. 1117, 1494, 1496, 1499, 1516, 1539, 1593, 1620, 1631 (1971).
  • Apollo 12 Preliminary Science Report (NASA SP-235), pp. 205-208 (1970).
  • Science, 167, 3918, pp. 462-463, 471-473, 479-480, 555-558 (1970).
  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 14, 281 (1972)
  • Proceedings of the Third Lunar Science Conference, Vol. 2, 1550 (1972)
  • Proceedings of the Fourth Lunar Science Conference, Vol. 2, pp. 1200 and 1804 (1973).
  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters, pp. 17, 36 (1972).

[xvii] Tas Walker, Radioactive dating methods: Ways they make conflicting results tell the same story, October 2010, Creation 32(4):30-31, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/radioactive-dating-anomalies, accessed August 5, 2014.

[xviii] Tas Walker, The dating game, December 2003, Creation 26(1):36-39, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-dating-game, accessed August 5, 2014.

Bowler, J.M. and Magee, J.W., Redating Australia’s oldest human remains: a sceptic’s view, Journal of Human Evolution 38:719–726, 2000.

Ralph W. Matthews, Radiometric dating and the age of the Earth, December 1982, Creation 5(1):41-44, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/radiometric-dating-age-of-earth, accessed August 6, 2014.

[xix] Andrew Snelling, Radiometric Dating: Problems with the Assumptions, September 2, 2009, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/geology/radiometric-dating/radiometric-dating-problems-with-the-assumptions/, accessed August 5, 2014.

[xx] R. Humphreys, Young helium diffusion age of zircons supports accelerated nuclear decay, in Vardiman et al., Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, 2005, 74.

Mike Riddle, The New Answers Book, Chapter 9: Does Radiometric Dating Prove the Earth Is Old?, October 4, 2007, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/geology/radiometric-dating/does-radiometric-dating-prove-the-earth-is-old/, accessed August 5, 2014.

Don Batten, David Catchpoole, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland, The Creation Answers Book: Chapter 4: What about carbon dating?, January 1, 2007, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/images/pdfs/cabook/chapter4.pdf, accessed August 5, 2014.

[xxi] Don Batten, David Catchpoole, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland, The Creation Answers Book: Chapter 4: What about carbon dating?, January 1, 2007, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/images/pdfs/cabook/chapter4.pdf, accessed August 5, 2014.

[xxii] Ralph W. Matthews, Radiometric dating and the age of the Earth, December 1982, Creation 5(1):41-44, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/radiometric-dating-age-of-earth, accessed August 6, 2014.

[xxiii] Ralph Matthews, Reflections on the emperor’s new clothes, September 1995, Creation 17(4):35-37, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/reflections-on-the-emperors-new-clothes, accessed August 6, 2014.

Theodore W. Rybka, Geophysical and Astronomical Clocks, American Writing and Publishing Co., Irvine (California), 1992.

[xxiv] Hamish Johnston, Radioactive decay accounts for half of Earth’s heat, July 19, 2011, Physics World, http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2011/jul/19/radioactive-decay-accounts-for-half-of-earths-heat, accessed August 8, 2014.

[xxv] Jon Covey, The Unreliability of Radiometric Dating, Creation in the Crossfire, http://www.creationinthecrossfire.org/Articles/Radiometric%20Dating.html, accessed August 8, 2014.

Butcher, H. R., 1987, “Thorium in G-dwarf Stars as a Chronometer for the Galaxy,” Nature 328:127

[xxvi] Jon Covey, The Unreliability of Radiometric Dating, Creation in the Crossfire, http://www.creationinthecrossfire.org/Articles/Radiometric%20Dating.html, accessed August 8, 2014.

Faure, Gunter, Principles of Isotope Geology, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, (1986), p. 282.

[xxvii] Sir Arthur Keith, 1959, quoted by Kent Hovind, Scientists’ Quotes About Evolution, September 7, 2010, Creation Today, http://creationtoday.org/scientists-quotes-about-evolution/, accessed August 20, 2014.

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