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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Carbon 14/Radiometric Dating and etc. Part two

First, announcements and such...

I have previously stated the following:
  • Belief in a young Earth is not necessary to be a Christian.
  • Belief in Darwinism does not disqualify one from being a Christian.
  • Belief in YEC is the most logical position based on the wording of the Bible.
  • In my opinion, belief in YEC is far and away the most logical view based on evidence.
  • Young Earth Creationism is a scientific discipline based on evidence.
  • The Bible is evidence. It is one piece of evidence only, but a strong one.
  • Naturalism is not "scientific" but rather an assumption made that is metaphysical rather than scientific in nature.
  • Accepting the possibility of the supernatural does not automatically include it, but rather simply allows for that possibility.
  • The Discovery Institute is not a YEC organization and many of their membership are most definitely NOT Christians. They are an organization that studies the Intelligent Design of organisms and in fact all material things.
  • I have not ruled out talkorigins as a source because of any reason other than the fact that they post information they know is incorrect in order to confuse or fool the ignorant.
  • Family Research Council is not a scientific organization and is never linked to any scientific posts.
  • I have also ruled Dr. Dino out and a few other sites that ostensibly promote YEC because they will post knowingly false information.
  • Whereas I have posted things that I later discovered were incorrect (and said so) I do not intentionally post false data and have no plan to begin to do so.
  • Therefore when a commenter begins saying I lie intentionally, readers, he is trying to draw attention away from the subject at hand. So if a commenter says that I am lying, be sure to re-read the post because there is something in there he is afraid that you will believe.
Rules of engagement:
  • If I or one of my commenters correctly quotes another source and that source turns out to be false, we should acknowledge that mistake made by the source. I will not call creeper a liar for posting things from talkorigins, I simply refuse to pay attention to them and it would appear that creeper feels the same way about FRC. Fair enough.
  • Swearing or pornography of any kind detected on the threads will be deleted. A commenter who disagrees with me will not be banned or erased, but keep the language civil even if the argument is intense.
  • I admit fully that I have a worldview and that worldview has changed over time. If you read this blog for very long and do not yet understand that you have a worldview then you are not paying attention. Know thyself!


What about carbon dating? (Illustrations available at weblink)

Here are a few excerpts from the pdf:

How does the carbon ‘clock’ work?
• Is it reliable?
• What does carbon dating really show?
• What about other radiometric dating methods?
• Is there evidence that the Earth is young?

PEOPLE who ask about carbon-14 (14C) dating usually want to
know about the radiometric ( Also known as isotope or radioisotope dating)
dating methods that are claimed to give
millions and billions of years—carbon dating can only give
thousands of years. People wonder how millions of years could be
squeezed into the biblical account of history.

Clearly, such huge time periods cannot be fitted into the Bible without
compromising what the Bible says about the goodness of God and the
origin of sin, death and suffering—the reason Jesus came into the world
(see Chapter 2).

Christians, by definition, take the statements of Jesus Christ seriously.
He said, ‘But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and
female’ (Mark 10:6). This only makes sense with a time line
beginning with the creation week thousands of years ago. It makes no
sense at all if man appeared at the end of billions of years.

We will deal with carbon dating first and then with the other dating
methods.



How the carbon clock works

Carbon has unique properties that are essential for life on Earth. Familiar
to us as the black substance in charred wood, as diamonds, and as the
graphite in ‘lead’ pencils, carbon comes in several forms, or isotopes.
One rare form has atoms that are 14 times as heavy as hydrogen atoms:
carbon-14, or 14C, or radiocarbon.

Carbon-14 is made when cosmic rays knock neutrons out of atomic
nuclei in the upper atmosphere. These displaced neutrons, now moving
fast, hit ordinary nitrogen (14N) at lower altitudes, converting it into
14C. Unlike common carbon (12C), 14C is unstable and slowly decays,
changing back into nitrogen and releasing energy. This instability makes
it radioactive.

Ordinary carbon (12C) is found in the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the
air, which is taken up by plants, which in turn are eaten by animals.
So a bone, or a leaf of a tree, or even a pieceof wooden furniture,
contains carbon. When 14C has been formed, like ordinary carbon
(12C), it combines with oxygen to give carbon dioxide (14CO2), and
so italso gets cycled through the cells of plants and animals.

We can take a sample of air, count how many 12C atoms there are for
every 14C atom, and calculate the 14C/12C. 14C is gained by living things
but lost after death.


Upper atmosphere conversion of 14N to 14C 14C in carbon dioxide taken
up by plants 14C regained as animals eat plants. Some loss of 14C by decay ratio.
14N Loss of 14C by decay and no replacement from eating 14N After death:


What about carbon dating?

Because 14C is so well mixed up with 12C, we expect to find that
this ratio is the same if we sample a leaf from a tree, or a part of your body.

In living things, although 14C atoms are constantly changing back
to 14N, they are still exchanging carbon with their surroundings, so the
mixture remains about the same as in the atmosphere. However, as
soon as a plant or animal dies, the 14C atoms which decay are no longer
replaced, so the amount of 14C in that once-living thing decreases as
time goes on (Figure 1). In other words, the 14C/12C ratio gets smaller.

So, we have a ‘clock’ which starts ticking the moment something
dies

Obviously, this works only for things which were once living. It
cannot be used to date volcanic rocks, for example.
The rate of decay of 14C is such that half of an amount will convert
back to 14N in 5,730 ± 40 years. This is the ‘half-life’. So, in two halflives,
or 11,460 years, only one-quarter will be left. Thus, if the amount
of 14C relative to 12C in a sample is one-quarter of that in living organisms
at present, then it has a theoretical age of 11,460 years. Anything over
about 50,000 years old should theoretically have no detectable 14C left.

That is why radiocarbon dating cannot give millions of years. In fact,
if a sample contains 14C, it is good evidence that it is not millions of
years old. However, things are not quite so simple. Firstly, plants discriminate
against carbon dioxide containing 14C. That is, they take up less than would be
expected and so they test older than they really are.Furthermore, different
types of plants discriminate differently. This also has to be corrected for.2

2. Today, a stable carbon isotope, 13C, is measured as an indication of the level of discrimination
against 14C.

~


Secondly, the ratio of 14C/12C in the atmosphere has not been
constant—for example it was higher before the industrial era when the
massive burning of fossil fuels released a lot of carbon dioxide that was
depleted in 14C. This would make things which died at that time appear
older in terms of carbon dating. Then there was a rise in 14CO2 with
the advent of atmospheric testing of atomic bombs in the 1950s.3 This
would make things carbon- dated from that time appear younger than
their true age.

Measurement of 14C in historically dated objects (e.g. seeds in
the graves of historically dated tombs) enables the level of 14C in the
atmosphere at that time to be estimated, and so partial calibration of the
‘clock’ is possible. Accordingly, carbon dating carefully applied to items
from historical times can be useful. However, even with such historical
calibration, archaeologists do not regard 14C dates as absolute because
of frequent anomalies. They rely more on dating methods that link into
historical records.

Outside the range of recorded history, calibration of the 14C ‘clock’ is not possible.4
Other factors affecting carbon dating
The amount of cosmic rays penetrating Earth’s atmosphere affects the
amount of 14C produced and therefore the dating system. The amount
of cosmic rays reaching the Earth varies with the sun’s activity, and with
the Earth’s passage through magnetic clouds as the solar system travels
around the Milky Way galaxy.

The strength of the Earth’s magnetic field affects the amount of
cosmic rays entering the atmosphere. A stronger magnetic field deflects
more cosmic rays away from the Earth. Overall, the energy of the Earth’s
magnetic field has been decreasing,5 so more 14C is being produced now than in
the past. This will make old things look older than they really are.

3. Radiation from atomic testing, like cosmic rays, causes the conversion of 14N to 14C.

4. Tree ring dating (dendrochronology) has been used in an attempt to extend the calibration
of carbon-14 dating earlier than historical records allow, but this depends on temporal
placement of fragments of wood (from long-dead trees) using carbon-14 dating, assuming
straight-line extrapolation backwards. Then cross-matching of ring patterns is used
to calibrate the carbon ‘clock’—a somewhat circular process which does not give an
independent calibration of the carbon dating system.

5. McDonald, K.L. and Gunst, R.H., 1965. An analysis of the earth’s magnetic field from
1835 to 1965. ESSA Technical Report IER 46-IES, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C., p. 14.

What about carbon dating?~71

Also, the Genesis Flood would have greatly upset the carbon balance.
The Flood buried a huge amount of carbon, which became coal, oil, etc.,
lowering the total 12C in the biosphere (including the atmosphere—plants
regrowing after the Flood absorb CO2 which is not replaced by the decay
of the buried vegetation).6 Total 14C is also proportionately lowered at
this time, but whereas no terrestrial process generates any more 12C, 14C
is continually being produced, and at a rate which does not depend on
carbon levels (it comes from nitrogen). Therefore the 14C level relative
to 12C increases after the Flood. So the 14C/12C ratio in plants/animals/
the atmosphere before the Flood had to be lower than what it is now.

Unless this effect (which is additional to the magnetic field issue just discussed)
were corrected for, carbon dating of fossils formed in the Flood would give
ages much older than the true ages.

Creationist researchers have suggested that dates of 35,000–45,000
years should be recalibrated to the biblical date for the Flood.7 Such a
recalibration makes sense of anomalous data from carbon dating—for
example, very discordant ‘dates’ for different parts of a frozen musk ox
carcass from Alaska and an inordinately slow rate of accumulation of
ground sloth dung pellets in the older layers of a cave where the layers
were carbon dated.7

6. Taylor, B.J., 1994. Carbon dioxide in the antediluvian atmosphere. Creation Research
Society Quarterly 30(4):193–197.

7. Brown, R.H., 1992. Correlation of C-14 age with real time. Creation Research Society
Quarterly 29:45–47. Musk ox muscle was dated at 24,000 years, but hair was dated at
17,000 years. Corrected dates bring the difference in age approximately within the life span
of a musk ox. With sloth cave dung, standard carbon dates of the lower layers suggested
less than 2 pellets per year were produced by the sloths. Correcting the dates increased
the number to a more realistic 1.4 per day.

~

Okay, the above is only about one-third of the article, which you can read by following the link. A similar article is found below:

~

A handbook for students, parents, and teachers countering the latest arguments for evolution

by Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D., F.M.

How old is the earth?

First published in Refuting Evolution, Chapter 8

For particles-to-people evolution to have occurred, the earth would need to be billions of years old. So Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science presents what it claims is evidence for vast time spans. This is graphically illustrated in a chart on pages 36–37: man’s existence is in such a tiny segment at the end of a 5-billion-year time-line that it has to be diagrammatically magnified twice to show up.

On the other hand, basing one’s ideas on the Bible gives a very different picture. The Bible states that man was made six days after creation, about 6,000 years ago. So a time-line of the world constructed on biblical data would have man almost at the beginning, not the end. If we took the same 15-inch (39 cm) time-line as does Teaching about Evolution to represent the biblical history of the earth, man would be about 1/1000 of a mm away from the beginning! Also, Christians, by definition, take the statements of Jesus Christ seriously. He said: ‘But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female’ (Mark 10:6), which would make sense with the proposed biblical time-line, but is diametrically opposed to the Teaching about Evolution time-line.

This chapter analyzes rock formation and dating methods in terms of what these two competing models would predict.

The rocks

The vast thicknesses of sedimentary rocks around the world are commonly used as evidence for vast age. First, Teaching about Evolution gives a useful definition on page 33:

Sedimentary rocks are formed when solid materials carried by wind and water accumulate in layers and then are compressed by overlying deposits. Sedimentary rocks sometimes contain fossils formed from the parts of organisms deposited along with other solid materials.

The ‘deep time’ indoctrination comes with the statement ‘often reaching great thicknesses over long periods of time.’ However, this goes beyond the evidence. Great thicknesses could conceivably be produced either by a little water over long periods, or a lot of water over short periods. We have already discussed how different biases can result in different interpretations of the same data, in this case the rock layers. It is a philosophical decision, not a scientific one, to prefer the former interpretation. Because sedimentation usually occurs slowly today, it is assumed that it must have always occurred slowly. If so, then the rock layers must have formed over vast ages. The philosophy that processes have always occurred at roughly constant rates (‘the present is the key to the past’) is often called uniformitarianism.

Uniformitarianism was defined this way in my own university geology class in 1983, and was contrasted with catastrophism. But more recently, the word ‘uniformitarianism’ has been applied in other contexts to mean also constancy of natural laws, sometimes called ‘methodological uniformitarianism,’ as opposed to what some have called ‘substantive uniformitarianism.’

It should also be pointed out that uniformitarian geologists have long allowed for the occasional (localized) catastrophic event. However, modern historical geology grew out of this general ‘slow and gradual’ principle, which is still the predominantly preferred framework of explanation for any geological formation. Nevertheless, the evidence for catastrophic formation is so pervasive that there is a growing body of neo-catastrophists. But because of their naturalistic bias, they prefer, of course, to reject the explanation of the Genesis (global) flood.

However, a cataclysmic globe-covering (and fossil-forming) flood would have eroded huge quantities of sediment, and deposited them elsewhere. Many organisms would have been buried very quickly and fossilized.

Also, recent catastrophes show that violent events like the flood described in Genesis could form many rock layers very quickly. The Mount St. Helens eruption in Washington state produced 25 feet (7.6 meters) of finely layered sediment in a single afternoon!1 And a rapidly pumped sand slurry was observed to deposit 3 to 4 feet (about 1 meter) of fine layers on a beach over an area the size of a football field. Sedimentation experiments by the creationist Guy Berthault, sometimes working with non-creationists, have shown that fine layers can form by a self-sorting mechanism during the settling of differently sized particles.2,3

In one of Berthault’s experiments, finely layered sandstone and diatomite rocks were broken into their constituent particles, and allowed to settle under running water at various speeds. It was found that the same layer thicknesses were reproduced, regardless of flow rate. This suggests that the original rock was produced by a similar self-sorting mechanism, followed by cementing of the particles together.4The journal Nature reported similar experiments by evolutionists a decade after Berthault’s first experiments.5

So when we start from the bias that the Bible is God’s Word and is thus true, we can derive reasonable interpretations of the data. Not that every problem has been solved, but many of them have been.

Conversely, how does the ‘slow and gradual’ explanation fare? Think how long dead organisms normally last. Scavengers and rotting normally remove all traces within weeks. Dead jellyfish normally melt away in days. Yet Teaching about Evolution has a photo of a fossil jellyfish on page 36. It clearly couldn’t have been buried slowly, but must have been buried quickly by sediments carried by water. This water would also have contained dissolved minerals, which would have caused the sediments to have been cemented together, and so hardened quickly.

The booklet Stones and Bones6 shows other fossils that must have formed rapidly. One is a 7-foot (2m) long ichthyosaur (extinct fish-shaped marine reptile) fossilized while giving birth. Another is a fish fossilized in the middle of its lunch. And there is a vertical tree trunk that penetrates several rock layers (hence the term polystrate fossil). If the upper sedimentary layers really took millions or even hundreds of years to form, then the top of the tree trunk would have rotted away.

Ironically, NASA scientists accept that there have been ‘catastrophic floods’ on Mars7 that carved out canyons8 although no liquid water is present today. But they deny that a global flood happened on earth, where there is enough water to cover the whole planet to a depth of 1.7 miles (2.7 km) if it were completely uniform, and even now covers 71 percent of the earth’s surface! If it weren’t for the fact that the Bible teaches it, they probably wouldn’t have any problem with a global flood on earth. This demonstrates again how the biases of scientists affect their interpretation of the evidence.

Radiometric dating

As shown above, the evidence from the geological record is consistent with catastrophes, and there are many features that are hard to explain by slow and gradual processes. However, evolutionists point to dating methods that allegedly support deep time. The best known is radiometric dating. This is accurately described on page 35 of Teaching about Evolution:

Some elements, such as uranium, undergo radioactive decay to produce other elements. By measuring the quantities of radioactive elements and the elements into which they decay in rocks, geologists can determine how much time has elapsed since the rock has cooled from an initially molten state.

However, the deep time ‘determination’ is an interpretation; the actual scientific data are isotope ratios. Each chemical element usually has several different forms, or isotopes, which have different masses. There are other possible interpretations, depending on the assumptions. This can be illustrated with an hourglass. When it is up-ended, sand flows from the top container to the bottom one at a rate that can be measured. If we observe an hourglass with the sand still flowing, we can determine how long ago it was up-ended from the quantities of sand in both containers and the flow rate. Or can we? First, we must assume three things:

Hourglass illustration

An hourglass ‘clock’ tells us the elapsed time by comparing the amount of sand in the top bowl (‘Parent’) with the amount in the bottom bowl (‘Daughter’).

  1. We know the quantities of sand in both containers at the start. Normally, an hourglass is up-ended when the top container is empty. But if this were not so, then it would take less time for the sand to fill the new bottom container to a particular level.
  2. The rate has stayed constant. For example, if the sand had become damp recently, it would flow more slowly now than in the past. If the flow were greater in the past, it would take less time for the sand to reach a certain level than it would if the sand had always flowed at the present rate.
  3. The system has remained closed. That is, no sand has been added or removed from either container. However, suppose that, without your knowledge, sand had been added to the bottom container, or removed from the top container. Then if you calculated the time since the last up-ending by measuring the sand in both containers, it would be longer than the actual time.

Teaching about Evolution addresses assumption 2:

For example, it requires that the rate of radioactive decay is constant over time and is not influenced by such factors as temperature and pressure—conclusions supported by extensive research in physics.

It is true that in today’s world, radioactive decay rates seem constant, and are unaffected by heat or pressure. However, we have tested decay rates for only about 100 years, so we can’t be sure that they were constant over the alleged billions of years. Physicist Dr Russell Humphreys suggests that decay rates were faster during creation week, and have remained constant since then. There is some basis for this, for example radiohalo analysis, but it is still tentative.

Teaching about Evolution also addresses assumption 3:

It also assumes that the rocks being analyzed have not been altered over time by migration of atoms in or out of the rocks, which requires detailed information from both the geologic and chemical sciences.

This is a huge assumption. Potassium and uranium, both common parent elements, are easily dissolved in water, so could be leached out of rocks. Argon, produced by decay from potassium, is a gas, so moves quite readily.

Anomalies

There are many examples where the dating methods give ‘dates’ that are wrong for rocks of known historical age. One example is rock from a dacite lava dome at Mount St Helens volcano. Although we know the rock was formed in 1986, the rock was ‘dated’ by the potassium-argon (K-Ar) method as 0.35 ± 0.05 million years old.9 Another example is K-Ar ‘dating’ of five andesite lava flows from Mt Ngauruhoe in New Zealand. The ‘dates’ ranged from <>

What happened was that excess radiogenic argon (40Ar*) from the magma (molten rock) was retained in the rock when it solidified. The secular scientific literature also lists many examples of excess 40Ar* causing ‘dates’ of millions of years in rocks of known historical age. This excess appears to have come from the upper mantle, below the earth’s crust. This is consistent with a young world—the argon has had too little time to escape.10

  • If excess 40Ar* can cause exaggerated dates for rocks of known age, then why should we trust the method for rocks of unknown age?

Another problem is the conflicting dates between different methods. If two methods disagree, then at least one of them must be wrong. For example, in Australia, some wood was buried by a basalt lava flow, as can be seen from the charring. The wood was ‘dated’ by radiocarbon (14C) analysis at about 45,000 years old, but the basalt was ‘dated’ by the K-Ar method at c. 45 million years old!11 Other fossil wood from Upper Permian rock layers has been found with 14C still present. Detectable 14C would have all disintegrated if the wood were really older than 50,000 years, let alone the 250 million years that evolutionists assign to these Upper Permian rock layers.12[Update: see also Radiometric dating breakthroughs for more examples of 14C in coal and diamonds, allegedly millions of years old.]

According to the Bible’s chronology, great age cannot be the true cause of the observed isotope ratios. Anomalies like the above are good supporting evidence, but we are not yet sure of the true cause in all cases. A group of creationist Ph.D. geologists and physicists from theCreation Research Society and the Institute for Creation Research are currently working on this topic. Their aim is to find out the precise geochemical and/or geophysical causes of the observed isotope ratios.13 One promising lead is questioning Assumption 1—the initial conditions are not what the evolutionists think, but are affected, for example, by the chemistry of the rock that melted to form the magma. [Update: it turned out that Assumption 2 was the most vulnerable, with strong evidence that decay rates were much faster in the past. See the results of their experiments in Radioisotopes & the Age of the Earth volumes 1 and 2.]

Evidence for a young world

Actually, 90 percent of the methods that have been used to estimate the age of the earth point to an age far less than the billions of years asserted by evolutionists. A few of them:

  • Red blood cells and hemoglobin have been found in some (unfossilized!) dinosaur bone. But these could not last more than a few thousand years—certainly not the 65 million years from when evolutionists think the last dinosaur lived.14
  • The earth’s magnetic field has been decaying so fast that it couldn’t be more than about 10,000 years old. Rapid reversals during the flood year and fluctuations shortly after just caused the field energy to drop even faster.15
  • Helium is pouring into the atmosphere from radioactive decay, but not much is escaping. But the total amount in the atmosphere is only 1/2000 of that expected if the atmosphere were really billions of years old. This helium originally escaped from rocks. This happens quite fast, yet so much helium is still in some rocks that it couldn’t have had time to escape—certainly not billions of years.16
  • A supernova is an explosion of a massive star—the explosion is so bright that it briefly outshines the rest of the galaxy. The supernova remnants (SNRs) should keep expanding for hundreds of thousands of years, according to the physical equations. Yet there are no very old, widely expanded (Stage 3) SNRs, and few moderately old (Stage 2) ones in our galaxy, the Milky Way, or in its satellite galaxies, the Magellanic clouds. This is just what we would expect if these galaxies had not existed long enough for wide expansion.17
  • The moon is slowly receding from earth at about 1½ inches (4 cm) per year, and the rate would have been greater in the past. But even if the moon had started receding from being in contact with the earth, it would have taken only 1.37 billion years to reach its present distance. This gives a maximum possible age of the moon—not the actual age. This is far too young for evolution (and much younger than the radiometric ‘dates’ assigned to moon rocks).18
  • Salt is pouring into the sea much faster than it is escaping. The sea is not nearly salty enough for this to have been happening for billions of years. Even granting generous assumptions to evolutionists, the seas could not be more than 62 million years old—far younger than the billions of years believed by evolutionists. Again, this indicates a maximum age, not the actual age.19

A number of other processes inconsistent with billions of years are given in the booklet Evidence for a Young World, by Dr Russell Humphreys.

Creationists admit that they can’t prove the age of the earth using a particular scientific method. They realize that all science is tentative because we do not have all the data, especially when dealing with the past. This is true of both creationist and evolutionist scientific arguments—evolutionists have had to abandon many ‘proofs’ for evolution as well. For example, the atheistic evolutionist W.B. Provine admits: ‘Most of what I learned of the field in graduate (1964–68) school is either wrong or significantly changed.’20 Creationists understand the limitations of these dating methods better than evolutionists who claim that they can use certain present processes to ‘prove’ that the earth is billions of years old. In reality, all age-dating methods, including those which point to a young earth, rely on unprovable assumptions.

Creationists ultimately date the earth using the chronology of the Bible. This is because they believe that this is an accurate eyewitness account of world history, which can be shown to be consistent with much data.

Addendum: John Woodmorappe has just published a detailed study demonstrating the fallacy of radiometric ‘dating,’ including the ‘high-tech’ isochron method: The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods (El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1999).

References and notes

  1. S.A. Austin, Mount St. Helens and Catastrophism, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Creationism, 1:3–9, ed. R.E. Walsh, R.S. Crowell, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, 1986; for a simplified article, see K. Ham, I got excited at Mount St Helens! Creation 15(3):14–19, June–August 1993. Return to text.
  2. Don Batten, Sandy stripes, Creation 19(1):39–40, December 1996–February 1997. Return to text.
  3. P. Julien, Y. Lan, and G. Berthault, Experiments on Stratification of Heterogeneous Sand Mixtures, Journal of Creation 8(1):37–50, 1994. Return to text.
  4. G. Berthault, Experiments on Lamination of Sediments, Journal of Creation 3:25–29, 1988. Return to text.
  5. H.A. Makse, S. Havlin, P.R. King, and H.E. Stanley, Spontaneous Stratification in Granular Mixtures, Nature 386(6623):379–382, 27 March 1997. See also A. Snelling, Nature Finally Catches Up, Journal of Creation 11(2):125–6, 1997. Return to text.
  6. Carl Wieland, Stones and Bones, (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, Inc., 1994). Return to text.
  7. R.A. Kerr, Pathfinder Tells a Geologic Tale with One Starring Role, Science 279(5348):175, 9 January 1998. Return to text.
  8. O. Morton, Flatlands, New Scientist 159(2143):36–39, 18 July 1998. Return to text.
  9. S.A. Austin, Excess Argon within mineral Concentrates from the New Dacite Lava Dome at Mount St. Helens Volcano, Journal of Creation 10(3):335–343, 1986. Return to text.
  10. A.A. Snelling, The Cause of Anomalous Potassium-Argon ‘Ages’ for Recent Andesite Flows at Mt. Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, and the Implications for Potassium-Argon ‘Dating,’ Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, ed. E. Walsh, 1998, p. 503–525. This document lists many examples. For example, six were reported by D. Krummenacher, Isotopic Composition of Argon in Modern Surface Rocks, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 8(2):109–117, April 1970; five were reported by G.B. Dalrymple, 40Ar/36Ar Analysis of Historic Lava Flows, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 6(1):47–55, 1969. Also, a large excess was reported in D.E. Fisher, Excess Rare Gases in a Subaerial Basalt from Nigeria, Nature Physical Science 232(29):60–61, 19 July 1971. Return to text.
  11. A.A. Snelling, Radiometric dating in conflict, Creation 20(1):24–27, December 1997–February 1998. Return to text.
  12. A.A. Snelling, Stumping old-age dogma, Creation 20(4):48–50, September–November 1998. Return to text.
  13. Institute for Creation Research, Acts and Facts 27(7), July 1998. Return to text.
  14. C. Wieland, Sensational dinosaur blood report!Creation 19(4):42–43, September–November 1997; based on research by M. Schweitzer and T. Staedter, The Real Jurassic Park, Earth, June 1997, p. 55–57. [Update: see Squirming at the Squishosaur and the linked articles for more recent evidence of elastic blood vessels in T. rex bones.] Return to text.
  15. D.R. Humphreys, Reversals of the Earth’s Magnetic Field During the Genesis Flood, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Creationism, vol. 2 (Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship, 1986), p. 113–126; J.D. Sarfati, The earth’s magnetic field: evidence that the earth is young, Creation 20(2):15–19, March–May 1998. Return to text.
  16. L. Vardiman, The Age of the Earth’s Atmosphere: A Study of the Helium Flux through the Atmosphere (El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1990); J.D. Sarfati, Blowing old-earth belief away: helium gives evidence that the earth is young, Creation 20(3):19–21, June–August 1998. Return to text.
  17. K. Davies, Distribution of Supernova Remnants in the Galaxy, Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism, ed. R.E. Walsh, 1994, p. 175–184; J.D. Sarfati, Exploding stars point to a young universe, Creation 19(3):46–49, June–August 1998. See also How do spiral galaxies and supernova remnants fit in with Dr Humphreys’ cosmological model? Dr Russell Humphreys himself explains …. Return to text.
  18. D. DeYoung, The Earth-Moon System, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, vol. 2, ed. R.E. Walsh and C.L Brooks, 1990, 79–84; J.D. Sarfati, The moon: the light that rules the night, Creation 20(4):36–39, September–November 1998. Return to text.
  19. S.A. Austin and D.R. Humphreys, The Sea’s Missing Salt: A Dilemma for Evolutionists, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, Vol. 2, 1990, 17–33; J.D. Sarfati, Salty seas: evidence for a young earth, Creation 21(1):16–17, December 1998–February 1999. Return to text.
  20. Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science, A Review by Dr Will B. Provine; available online from (cited 18 February 1999). Return to text.


17 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

[sigh]

Why do you do so much block-quoting, Radar? Don't you understand these topics well enough to use words of your own composing?

And could you please find some more credible sources to quote? Each and every one of the creationists you refer to has his own problems with honesty and integrity, and a well-established record of avoiding specifics when challenged. Humphreys' helium-zircon problems have already been addressed. Sarfati has similar problems with his defenses of the Ark and his attempts to establish a creationist version of taxonomy.

In all this wordage, the only thing new to me is the claim about Berthault's sedimentation experiments. Which, as I expected, turn out on closer examination to be much less significant than Sarfati claimed. The rest of it? Seen it all before, countered it all before.

In the end, as a YEC you have the same basic problem with critiques of geology that you have with critiques of biology, taxonomy, and palaeontology. You are forced into impossibly elaborate 'explanations' of simple facts, and equally elaborate 'disproofs' of modern science, all because you can't let go of the assumption that the Bible is literally true. You grab isolated data points, such as the T-rex skeleton that was found with a few fragments of heme inside, and inflate them out of all proportion. One datum, against the entire weight of knowledge accumulated over three hundred years and millions of man-hours. You do the same with radiometric dating, with cherry-picked cases of anomalies, dark hints about possible causes of error that have no real evidence for them, and equally dark hints about the competence of the many scientists who have worked on the various methods of radiometric dating. If you take the time to really learn the facts about radiometric dating, as I did, you'll find that it really does make sense, and it holds together much better than Sarfati would have you believe.

So many problems caused by the young-earth interpretation, so little gained by it. A truly objective observer would begin to wonder if that one assumption was really valid after all.

Hawkeye® said...

Radar,
Interesting stuff. Thanks. Seems like there are more anomalies and problems with dating than there are valid examples.

Jon Woolf said...

That's because Radar and his sources are engaged in a deceptive propaganda tactic known as "selective editing." I also call it "data dropout." (Sorry, Radar, but you are.) Data dropout occurs when a source does not give you the whole story, but only the parts that support their point of view.

There are tens of thousands of examples of radiometric dating studies in the geologic literature. The vast majority of them (as in, more than 95%) support conventional theory. In some cases the accuracy of radiometric dating tests is so striking it even impresses me -- such as the lab that ran a sample of ash from Vesuvius through an argon-argon test and got an answer that was off by about 0.4% from the ash's known, verified, historical age.

creeper said...

IIRC, Radar, you said you had wanted to show dating methods that indicated a young Earth, i.e. an Earth younger than 10,000 years. There's no sign of that in this post. What am I missing here?

It's just the usual tactic of trying to poke little holes here and there into all the evidence for an old Earth, pointing out a very minor inconsistency here or a potential (real or imagined) problem there. None of that gets you anywhere close to dating methods that indicate a young Earth. The vast preponderance of the evidence indicates an old Earth and is quite consistent in indicating an age of the Earth of approx. 4.6 billion years, using different dating methods.

To claim that the evidence better supports a young Earth than an old one, you (or rather someone else, since all you appear capable of is cut and pasting other people's articles and posts) would have to show why all these methods are off by multiple orders of magnitude. None of the aspects listed here come anywhere close to doing that.

Various attempts are made to fudge the results, mutterings of accelerated decay and other factors, but that is not really thought through. You could pose it as a hypothesis and make falsifiable predictions based on that, but they would all fail.

Hopefully there's at least a part three in which you finally present the alleged dating methods indicating a young Earth that you had promised. But I'm inclined to doubt it.

-- creeper

creeper said...

Interesting that Sarfati would say this: "Creationists admit that they can’t prove the age of the earth using a particular scientific method. They realize that all science is tentative because we do not have all the data, especially when dealing with the past."

I thought it was just a matter of interpreting the data that was available to everyone else in a different way?

And is Sarfati seriously suggesting that they don't know the age of the Earth other than their interpretation of a part of the Bible?

-- creeper

radar said...

Jon Woolf, I am throwing down the gauntlet. Sarfati is far more accomplished than you or any source you link. When you challenge Sarfati on honesty then I know you are a fake, maybe even one of those guys assigned to clutter up creationists posts?

It is simple, dating methods with long age assumptions wind up with readings all over the map. I assert it is because they do not take a worldwide flood into account.

"In one of Berthault’s experiments, finely layered sandstone and diatomite rocks were broken into their constituent particles, and allowed to settle under running water at various speeds. It was found that the same layer thicknesses were reproduced, regardless of flow rate. This suggests that the original rock was produced by a similar self-sorting mechanism, followed by cementing of the particles together.4The journal Nature reported similar experiments by evolutionists a decade after Berthault’s first experiments."

The rock layers are from the flood.

radar said...

Sarfati is just being honest, unlike people like Dawkins and Myers. He is saying that based on the measurements of any kind of rock or any systems we can observe today we cannot prove the age of the Earth. There is not one process that has been observed long enough to absolutely prove the age of the Earth. But there are facts such as the lifespan of a the specific type of Sun we have and the orbit of the Moon and the ratio of carbon in the atmosphere and the observation of the magnetic field that tell us that millions of years is out of the question.

creeper said...

”Belief in a young Earth is not necessary to be a Christian.”

And yet there’s this, right at the beginning of the Sarfati article you quoted: ”Clearly, such huge time periods cannot be fitted into the Bible without
compromising what the Bible says about the goodness of God and the
origin of sin, death and suffering—the reason Jesus came into the world”


So... how does that add up?

”Belief in Darwinism does not disqualify one from being a Christian.”

Depends on what you mean by “Darwinism” this week. Sometimes you take it to mean “atheists”, and I would think that kinda disqualifies one from being a Christian.

”Belief in YEC is the most logical position based on the wording of the Bible.”

As we’ve previously pointed out to you, experts in the field are inclined to disagree. Somehow you won’t take a Hebrew scholar’s word for it, for example. Highboy should give you a slap on the wrist for that one.

”In my opinion, belief in YEC is far and away the most logical view based on evidence.
Young Earth Creationism is a scientific discipline based on evidence.”


Then why be so coy with the evidence? Why just take potshots at mainstream science? Is it really just to distract from the fact that you have no science to back up YEC? Where are the dating methods that indicate a young Earth? How do you explain the incredibly consistent positioning of fossils in the fossil record? Etc.

”The Bible is evidence. It is one piece of evidence only, but a strong one.”

If it is evidence, then let’s treat it as such. Let’s examine it as we examine all other evidence. You’re attempting a special pleading here, including it as evidence without the scrutiny to which one would normally subject any evidence.

Should we include all religious texts as ironclad evidence in science? If yes, how do we sort out the differences between their claims? If no, then how do we figure out which texts we can and can’t include?

”Naturalism is not "scientific" but rather an assumption made that is metaphysical rather than scientific in nature.”

The scientific method is one of methodical natural materialism. There is nothing unscientific about it.

”Accepting the possibility of the supernatural does not automatically include it, but rather simply allows for that possibility.”

Ah, you’re learning. Good. So it’s possible but not a given that the supernatural exists. But in order to reach the supernatural as a conclusion, how would we test for it? It’s not simply the default position for all scientific questions unless and until a non-supernatural explanation has been found.

”The Discovery Institute is not a YEC organization and many of their membership are most definitely NOT Christians."

The DI mostly advocates ID, not YEC, yep. But “many of their membership are most definitely NOT Christians”...? You know this how exactly? Do you have a link re. the composition of DI membership and their religious affiliations?

Or are you playing the usual bait-and-switch that you previously attempted on the prison population discussion? In which case, congrats, we have yet another fallacy, in this case the “No true Scotsman fallacy”.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Sarfati is far more accomplished than you or any source you link. When you challenge Sarfati on honesty then I know you are a fake, maybe even one of those guys assigned to clutter up creationists posts?"

Jon clearly demonstrated Sarfati's lack of honesty in the links he presented. How would that make Jon a fake?

Sarfati may well be an accomplished man, and we all know he's a heck of a chess-player, but strictly logically speaking that tells us nothing about his level of honesty.

-- creeper

radar said...

creeper, you are trapped in your worldview and the interesting thing is that you do not realize the trap you are in. You are like a bird in a cage who does not realize that the cage prevents you from going places you've never attempted to go. Yes, naturalism is a worldview. Philosophy 101. If you cannot see the bars you will never escape them.

As to salvation, you do not understand what I am saying. You see, while to me a logical Christian will decide to read Genesis as a factual account. But Jesus did not come into the world to train and explain YEC to the Darwinists. He came to seek and to save those who were lost.

Jesus lived and died and lived again, taking the penalty of sin and the substance of sin upon Himself so that he could be a substitute for a wicked heart like mine. Now that I have received Him as my Lord, He has changed me on the inside. Now, a logical view of scripture is more intellectually honest and satisfying. But salvation is about the cross, not the beginning.

radar said...

Whereas Woolf is apparently happy with the counter evidence he show us, that evidence does not satisfy science and it never will. Science is about inquiry and if the solution presented does not completely satisfy that inquiry then the search will go on.

YEC scientists are working to put together a table of life such as Linnaeus attempted to do. However, since we have better information than Linnaeus we can do a better job of it.

We do not even spend much time working on the failed hypothesis of Darwinism anymore because we know enough about reproduction and speciation to make Darwinism dead in the water. It may take ten or twenty years but before long people will be awed by the intolerable intentional ignorance of the defenders of Darwinism.

No, the helium-zircon "addressing" has been falsified. No, the Ark and taxonomy issues do not trend your way. You can just stand up and yell but facts refuse to go away.

I fight against ignorance both spiritual and scientific. People like Woolf and creeper are on the other side so of course they are going to lob bombs at me. It is not personal to me, I would rather that they came to know Christ.

Some Christians I know do not believe in young ages for the Earth. But they remain Christians and we sometimes have respectful and friendly dialogues about it. But Darwinists? I rarely find anyone who comments in a way that is anything but deceptive. In many cases you guys probably believe the lies, so...hey, I am a patient guy.

creeper said...

You lecture me about worldview and how I am a bird in a cage and then proceed to demonstrate how your religious worldview is so locked in that it must color your perception of everything else, requiring you to overlook factual inconsistencies.

I've freely admitted that I have a worldview, and that we all have worldviews. But we don't have to have worldviews trump facts, and I believe that ideally we shouldn't. Ideally they should line up. Observable evidence shouldn't be in contradiction of beliefs. If the claims you make on the basis of your religious beliefs are actually true, i.e. if they do apply to the real, physical world, then there wouldn't be any discussions like these. Radiometric dating would quite simply indicate a young Earth with astonishing (but routine) consistency. We would find dinosaurs mixed up with present-day species all over the place, and because of a global flood we would find tons and tons and tons more buried organisms than we're actually finding. And so on.

I don't consider my worldview a cage, since it doesn't require me to overlook such obvious contradictions. I can look at fossils sorted by layers in the fossil record and conclude that they were laid down in subsequent ages; you look at them and have absolutely no explanation for this. Something like this should not be possible at all in the scenario that your worldview forces you to believe. And yet there it is, and you have no answer.

I look at that and don't see what is "intellectually honest and satisfying" about that.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"the helium-zircon "addressing" has been falsified"

Where and how? Be specific.

And as for dating methods, may I remind you of your claim?

"All dating methods thought up by Darwinists and Naturalists ignore the idea of the Flood and all of them have major flaws and questions. One will find this out if one studies the evidence presented by both sides (all three sides, depending on how you look at it). For every method that presents old ages there is another method that shows a very young earth. Creationists have been very successful finding dating methods that are not likely skewed by a Flood event and those methods give us young ages."

You're still short of any answers to the questions naturally raised by your claim:

1. What are the methods (plural) that indicate a very young Earth? So far we have a grand total of none.

2. Why are all the results indicated by all dating methods that do indicate an old Earth interpreted falsely, and how should they have been interpreted and why?

All the special pleading you've done since then (it says so in the Bible which we should accept as evidence, but we shouldn't subject the Bible to scientific scrutiny), doesn't come close to answering these questions.

Do you intend to answer them, or is this going to be just another one of your "proclaim victory while heading for the exit" adventures?

-- creeper

radar said...

Since I have already posted evidence for a young Earth, creeper, that makes your entire comment an intentional misrepresentation for the purpose of running away from the facts so you can just say "radar is a Christian." Polonium radiohalos, helium-zircon, carbon 14 corrected dating are three examples of dating methods that yield a young Earth that have been discussed on this blog. There are plenty of them.

You previously have said that you do not consider naturalism a worldview and now you DO consider it a worldview? Make up your mind.
Are you admitting it or not?

radar said...

Also I do not say the Bible should not receive scientific scrutiny and in fact I do say the Bible should be considered as part of the evidence for origins. So pretty much everything you asserted was incorrect.

Jon Woolf said...

Also I do not say the Bible should not receive scientific scrutiny

Well, actually, from my point of view you do say exactly that. From your "intro to dating methods" post a few days ago:

Proposition number one: No dating method that does not take the Bible into account is reliable.

Now, suppose you subject the Bible to scientific scrutiny, and that scrutiny produces solid evidence that the Bible's chronology is wrong? Will you still hold to the above proposition?

It is simple, dating methods with long age assumptions wind up with readings all over the map.

No, they don't. My essay on radiometric dating contains examples of how radiometric dates can be checked and double-checked.

Jon Woolf, I am throwing down the gauntlet. Sarfati is far more accomplished than you or any source you link.

I believe I've told you once or twice before that arguments from authority carry no weight with me. I don't care who they come from, or whether or not the source agrees with me on evolution. SHOW ME THE FACTS. If you have facts, I'll listen. If you have none, I won't. If you promise me facts and instead spew dogma, ad hominems, logical fallacies, misstatements of fact, and other doubletalk, I'm not going to view you or your arguments very favorably.

My Grand Canyon article demonstrates clearly that neither the rocks of the Colorado Plateau nor the canyons that cut through them could have been formed by the biblical Flood.

Can you prove that statement wrong?

Don't quote authorities at me, please. Put it in your own words, based on your own observations and your own understanding. If you can't do that right now, using only facts from the scientific literature, then go away and study until you can.

creeper said...

For starters I'll note that this question remains unaddressed:

Radar:"the helium-zircon "addressing" has been falsified"

creeper: "Where and how? Be specific."


"Since I have already posted evidence for a young Earth, creeper, that makes your entire comment an intentional misrepresentation for the purpose of running away from the facts so you can just say "radar is a Christian.""

What evidence would that be?

And for the umpteenth time, this is not a Christian vs. atheist issue. Plenty of Christians and people of other faiths have issues with YEC claims.

"Polonium radiohalos, helium-zircon, carbon 14 corrected dating are three examples of dating methods that yield a young Earth that have been discussed on this blog."

1. First, polonium radiohalos are not a dating method, and second, their significance according to Gentry were refuted here and here.

2. Helium-zircon: see the question above.

3. Carbon 14 corrected dating: if there is such a dating method, your articles here are being mighty shy to tell us. There's a list of various factors that a YEC claims may have added to an appearance of age in an attempt to take potshots of the consistent results using different methods that indicate an age of the Earth of approx. 4.6 billion years, but this is left at a speculative stage, and no dating method as you propose is presented or verified.

"There are plenty of them."

Which others do you imagine there to be?

"You previously have said that you do not consider naturalism a worldview and now you DO consider it a worldview? Make up your mind.
Are you admitting it or not?"


I'm confused. Which of my statements here do you consider in conflict with an earlier statement?

"Also I do not say the Bible should not receive scientific scrutiny and in fact I do say the Bible should be considered as part of the evidence for origins."

Given past discussions on this blog, that's pretty much exactly the impression of your position that you convey. How many times have I asked how we would differentiate the literal validity of the Bible (which you insist must be included as scientific evidence) from that of other religious texts? You remain silent on that.

Are there any circumstances under which you'd arrive at the conclusion that any statement in the Bible is not literally true?

"So pretty much everything you asserted was incorrect."

Seeing as most of what I "asserted" were questions, only one of which you attempted to answer, and there was only one assertion, which still holds, it appears you're wrong on this one.

-- creeper