What’s NEW at ChristianAnswers.Net?

How accurate are Carbon-14 and other radioactive dating methods?


See this page in: Hungarian, Russian, Spanish

Test tube. Photo copyrighted. People who ask about carbon-14 (14C) dating usually want to know about the radiometric[1] 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 Six Days? Honestly!).

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 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 it back to 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 or a tree, or even a piece of wooden furniture, contains carbon. When the 14C has been formed, like ordinary carbon (12C), it combines with oxygen to give carbon dioxide (14CO2), and so it also 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 ratio. 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. 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 years (plus or minus 40 years). This is the “half-life.” So, in two half-lives, or 11,460 years, only 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. First, 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]

Second, 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 the Earth's atmosphere affects the amount of 14C produced and therefore dating the 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.

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). 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/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 re-calibrated to the biblical date of the flood.[6] Such a re-calibration 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]

Also, volcanoes emit much CO2 depleted in 14C. Since the flood was accompanied by much volcanism (see Noah's Flood…, How did animals get from the Ark to isolated places?, and What About Continental Drift?), fossils formed in the early post-flood period would give radiocarbon ages older than they really are.

In summary, the carbon-14 method, when corrected for the effects of the flood, can give useful results, but needs to be applied carefully. It does not give dates of millions of years and when corrected properly fits well with the biblical flood.

Other radiometric dating methods

There are various other radiometric dating methods used today to give ages of millions or billions of years for rocks. These techniques, unlike carbon dating, mostly use the relative concentrations of parent and daughter products in radioactive decay chains. For example, potassium-40 decays to argon-40; uranium-238 decays to lead-206 via other elements like radium; uranium-235 decays to lead-207; rubidium-87 decays to strontium-87; etc. These techniques are applied to igneous rocks, and are normally seen as giving the time since solidification.

The isotope concentrations can be measured very accurately, but isotope concentrations are not dates. To derive ages from such measurements, unprovable assumptions have to be made such as:

  1. The starting conditions are known (for example, that there was no daughter isotope present at the start, or that we know how much was there).

  2. Decay rates have always been constant.

  3. Systems were closed or isolated so that no parent or daughter isotopes were lost or added.

There are patterns in the isotope data.

There is plenty of evidence that the radioisotope dating systems are not the infallible techniques many think, and that they are not measuring millions of years. However, there are still patterns to be explained. For example, deeper rocks often tend to give older “ages.” Creationists agree that the deeper rocks are generally older, but not by millions of years. Geologist John Woodmorappe, in his devastating critique of radioactive dating,[8] points out that there are other large-scale trends in the rocks that have nothing to do with radioactive decay.

“Bad” dates

When a “date” differs from that expected, researchers readily invent excuses for rejecting the result. The common application of such posterior reasoning shows that radiometric dating has serious problems. Woodmorappe cites hundreds of examples of excuses used to explain “bad” dates.[9]

For example, researchers applied posterior reasoning to the dating of Australopithecus ramidus fossils.[10] Most samples of basalt closest to the fossil-bearing strata give dates of about 23 Ma (Mega annum, million years) by the argon-argon method. The authors decided that was “too old,” according to their beliefs about the place of the fossils in the evolutionary grand scheme of things. So they looked at some basalt further removed from the fossils and selected 17 of 26 samples to get an acceptable maximum age of 4.4 Ma. The other nine samples again gave much older dates but the authors decided they must be contaminated and discarded them. That is how radiometric dating works. It is very much driven by the existing long-age world view that pervades academia today.

A similar story surrounds the dating of the primate skull known as KNM-ER 1470.[11] This started with an initial 212 to 230 Ma, which, according to the fossils, was considered way off the mark (humans “weren't around then"). Various other attempts were made to date the volcanic rocks in the area. Over the years an age of 2.9 Ma was settled upon because of the agreement between several different published studies (although the studies involved selection of “good” from “bad” results, just like Australopithecus ramidus, above).

However, preconceived notions about human evolution could not cope with a skull like 1470 being “that old.” A study of pig fossils in Africa readily convinced most anthropologists that the 1470 skull was much younger. After this was widely accepted, further studies of the rocks brought the radiometric age down to about 1.9 Ma—again several studies “confirmed” this date. Such is the dating game.

Are we suggesting that evolutionists are conspiring to massage the data to get what they want? No, not generally. It is simply that all observations must fit the prevailing paradigm. The paradigm, or belief system, of molecules-to-man evolution over eons of time, is so strongly entrenched it is not questioned—it is a “fact.” So every observation must fit this paradigm. Unconsciously, the researchers, who are supposedly “objective scientists” in the eyes of the public, select the observations to fit the basic belief system.

We must remember that the past is not open to the normal processes of experimental science, that is, repeatable experiments in the present. A scientist cannot do experiments on events that happened in the past. Scientists do not measure the age of rocks, they measure isotope concentrations, and these can be measured extremely accurately. However, the “age” is calculated using assumptions about the past that cannot be proven.

We should remember God's admonition to Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38:4).

Those involved with unrecorded history gather information in the present and construct stories about the past. The level of proof demanded for such stories seems to be much less than for studies in the empirical sciences, such as physics, chemistry, molecular biology, physiology, etc.

Williams, an expert in the environmental fate of radioactive elements, identified 17 flaws in the isotope dating reported in just three widely respected seminal papers that supposedly established the age of the Earth at 4.6 billion years.[12] John Woodmorappe has produced an incisive critique of these dating methods.[13] He exposes hundreds of myths that have grown up around the techniques. He shows that the few “good” dates left after the “bad” dates are filtered out could easily be explained as fortunate coincidences.

What date would you like?

The forms issued by radioisotope laboratories for submission with samples to be dated commonly ask how old the sample is expected to be. Why? If the techniques were absolutely objective and reliable, such information would not be necessary. Presumably, the laboratories know that anomalous dates are common, so they need some check on whether they have obtained a “good” date.

Testing radiometric dating methods

If the long-age dating techniques were really objective means of finding the ages of rocks, they should work in situations where we know the age. Furthermore, different techniques should consistently agree with one another.

Methods should work reliably on things of known age

There are many examples where the dating methods give “dates” that are wrong for rocks of known age. One example is K-Ar “dating” of five historical andesite lava flows from Mount Nguaruhoe in New Zealand. Although one lava flow occurred in 1949, three in 1954, and one in 1975, the “dates” range from less than 0.27 to 3.5 Ma.[14]

Again, using hindsight, it is argued that “excess” argon from the magma (molten rock) was retained in the rock when it solidified. The secular scientific literature lists many examples of excess argon causing dates of millions of years in rocks of known historical age.[15] 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.[16] If excess argon can cause exaggerated dates for rocks of known age, then why should we trust the method for rocks of unknown age?

Other techniques, such as the use of isochrons,[17] make different assumptions about starting conditions, but there is a growing recognition that such “foolproof” techniques can also give “bad” dates. So data are again selected according to what the researcher already believes about the age of the rock.

Geologist Dr. Steve Austin sampled basalt from the base of the Grand Canyon strata and from the lava that spilled over the edge of the canyon. By evolutionary reckoning, the latter should be a billion years younger than the basalt from the bottom. Standard laboratories analyzed the isotopes. The rubidium-strontium isochron technique suggested that the recent lava flow was 270 Ma older than the basalts beneath the Grand Canyon—an impossibility.

Different dating techniques should consistently agree

If the dating methods are an objective and reliable means of determining ages, they should agree. If a chemist were measuring the sugar content of blood, all valid methods for the determination would give the same answer (within the limits of experimental error). However, with radiometric dating, the different techniques often give quite different results.

In the study of the Grand Canyon rocks by Austin, different techniques gave different results.[18] Again, all sorts of reasons can be suggested for the “bad” dates, but this is again posterior reasoning. Techniques that give results that can be dismissed just because they don't agree with what we already believe cannot be considered objective.

In Australia, some wood found the Tertiary basalt was clearly buried in the lava flow that formed the basalt, 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 potassium-argon method at 45 million years old![19]

Isotope ratios or uraninite crystals from the Koongarra uranium body in the Northern Territory of Australia gave lead-lead isochron ages of 841 Ma, plus or minus 140 Ma.[20] This contrasts with an age of 1550-1650 Ma based on other isotope ratios,[21] and ages of 275, 61, 0,0,and 0 Ma for thorium/lead (232Th/208Pb) ratios in five uraninite grains. The latter figures are significant because thorium-derived dates should be the more reliable, since thorium is less mobile than the uranium minerals that are the parents of the lead isotopes in lead-lead system.[22] The “zero” ages in this case are consistent with the Bible.

More evidence something is wrong—
14C in fossils supposedly millions of years old

Carbon Dating in many cases seriously embarrasses evolutionists by giving ages that are much younger than those expected from their model of early history. A specimen older than 50,000 years should have too little 14C to measure.

Laboratories that measure 14C would like a source of organic material with zero 14C to use as a blank to check that their lab procedures do not add 14C. Coal is an obvious candidate because the youngest coal is supposed to be millions of years old, and most of it is supposed to be tens or hundreds of millions of years old. Such old coal should be devoid of 14C. It isn't. No source of coal has been found that completely lacks 14C.

Fossil wood found in “Upper Permian” rock that is supposedly 250 Ma old still contained 14C.[23] Recently, a sample of wood found in rock classified as “middle Triassic,” supposedly some 230 million years old, gave a 14C date of 33,720 years, plus or minus 430 years.[24] The accompanying checks showed that the 14C date was not due to contamination and that the “date” was valid, within the standard (long ages) understanding of this dating system.

It is an unsolved mystery to evolutionists as to why coal has 14C in it,[25], or wood supposedly millions of years old still has 14C present, but it makes perfect sense in a creationist world view.

Many physical evidences contradict the “billions of years”

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

  • Evidence for a rapid formation of geological strata, as in the biblical flood. Some of the evidences are: lack of erosion between rock layers supposedly separated in age by many millions of years; lack of disturbance of rock strata by biological activity (worms, roots, etc.); lack of soil layers; polystrate fossils (which traverse several rock layers vertically—these could not have stood vertically for eons of time while they slowly got buried); thick layers of “rock” bent without fracturing, indicating that the rock was all soft when bent; and more. For more, see books by geologists Morris[26] and Austin.[27]

  • 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 Ma since the last dinosaurs lived, according to evolutionists.[28]

  • The Earth's magnetic field has been decaying so fast that it looks like it is less than 10,000 years old. Rapid reversals during the flood year and fluctuations shortly after would have caused the field energy to drop even faster.[29]

  • Radioactive decay releases helium into the atmosphere, but not much is escaping. The total amount in the atmosphere is 1/2000th of that expected if the universe is 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 has not had time to escape—certainly not billions of years.[30]

  • 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 physical equations. Yet there are no very old, widely expanded (Stage 3) SNRs, and few moderately old (Stage 1) ones in our galaxy, the Milky Way, or in its satellite galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds. This is just what we would expect for “young” galaxies that have not existed long enough for wide expansion.[31]

  • The moon is slowly receding for the Earth at about 4 centimeters (1.5 inches) per year, and this 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 from the Earth. This gives a maximum age of the moon, not the actual age. This is far too young for evolutionists who claim the moon is 4.6 billion years old. It is also much younger than the radiometric “dates” assigned to moon rocks.[32]

  • Salt is entering 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 sea could not be more than 62 Ma years old—far younger than the billions of years believed by the evolutionists. Again, this indicates a maximum age, not the actual age.[33]

Dr. Russell Humphreys gives other processes inconsistent with billions of years in the pamphlet Evidence for a Young World.[34]

Creationists cannot prove the age of the Earth using a particular scientific method, any more than evolutionists can. 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 just as creationists have also had to modify their arguments. The atheistic evolutionist W.B. Provine admitted:

“Most of what I learned of the field [evolutionary biology] in graduate (1964-68) school is either wrong or significantly changed.”[35]

Creationists understand the limitations of dating methods better than evolutionists who claim that they can use processes observed in the present to “prove” that the Earth is billions of years old. In reality, all dating methods, including those that point to a young Earth, rely on unprovable assumptions.

Creationists ultimately date the Earth historically using the chronology of the Bible. This is because they believe that this is an accurate eyewitness account of world history, which bears the evidence within it that it is the Word of God, and therefore totally reliable and error-free.

Then what do the radiometric “dates” mean?

What the do the radiometric dates of millions of years mean, if they are not true ages? To answer this question, it is necessary to scrutinize further the experimental results from the various dating techniques, the interpretations made on the basis of the results and the assumptions underlying those interpretations.

The isochron dating technique was thought to be infallible because it supposedly covered the assumptions about starting conditions and closed systems.

Geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling worked on “dating the Koongarra uranium deposits in the Northern Territory of Australia, primarily using the uranium-thorium-lead (U-Th-Pb) method. He found that even highly weathered soil samples from the area, which are definitely not closed systems, gave apparently valid “isochron” lines with “ages” of up to 1,445 Ma.

Such “false isochrons” are so common that a whole terminology has grown up to describe them, such as apparent isochron, mantle isochron, pseudoisochron, secondary isochron, inherited isochron, erupted isochron, mixing line and mixing isochron. Zheng wrote:

Some of the basic assumptions of the conventional Rb-Sr [rubidium-strontium] isochron method have to be modified and an observed isochron does not certainly define valid age information for a geological system, even if a goodness of fit of the experimental results is obtained in plotting 87Sr/86Sr. This problem cannot be overlooked, especially in evaluating the numerical time scale. Similar questions can also arise in applying Sm-Nd [samarium-neodymium] and U-Pb [uranium-lead] isochron methods.[37]

Clearly, there are factors other than age responsible for the straight lines obtained from graphing isotope ratios. Again, the only way to know if an isochron is “good” is by comparing the result with what is already believed.

Another currently popular dating method is the uranium-lead concordia technique. This effectively combines the two uranium-lead decay series into one diagram. Results that lie on the concordia curve have the same age according to the two lead series and are called “concordant.” However, the results from zircons (a type of gemstone), for example, generally lie off the concordia curve—they are discordant. Numerous models, or stories, have been developed to explain such data.[38] However, such exercises in story-telling can hardly be considered as objective science that proves an old Earth. Again, the stories are evaluated according to their own success in agreeing with the existing long ages belief system.

Andrew Snelling has suggested that fractionation (sorting) of elements in the molten state in the Earth's mantle could be a significant factor in explaining the ratios of isotope concentrations which are interpreted as ages.

As long ago as 1966, Nobel Prize nominee Melvin Cook, professor of metallurgy at the University of Utah, pointed out evidence that lead isotope ratios, for example, may involve alteration by important factors other than radioactive decay.[39] Cook noted that, in ores from the Katanga mine, for example, there was an abundance of lead-208, a stable isotope, but no Thorium-232 as a source for lead-208. Thorium has a long half-life (decays very slowly) and is not easily moved out of the rock, so if the lead-208 came from thorium decay, some thorium should still be there. The concentrations of lead-206, lead-207, and lead-208 suggest that the lead-208 came about by neutron capture conversion of lead-206 to lead-207 to lead-208. When the isotope concentrations are adjusted for such conversions, the ages calculated are reduced from some 600 Ma to recent. Other ore bodies seemed to show similar evidence. Cook recognized that the current understanding of nuclear physics did not seem to allow for such a conversion under normal conditions, but he presents evidence that such did happen, and even suggests how it could happen.

Anomalies in deep rock crystals

Physicist Dr. Robert Gentry has pointed out that the amount of helium and lead in zircons from deep bores is not consistent with an evolutionary age of 1,500 Ma for the granite rocks in which they are found.[40] The amount of lead may be consistent with current rates of decay over millions of years, but it would have diffused out of the crystals in that time.

Furthermore, the amount of helium in zircons from hot rock is also much more consistent with a young Earth (helium derives from the decay of radioactive elements).

The lead and helium results suggest that rates of radioactive decay may have been much higher in the recent past. Humphreys has suggested that this may have occurred during creation week and the flood. This would make things look much older than they really are when current rates of decay are applied to dating. Whatever caused such elevated rates of decay may also have been responsible for the lead isotope conversions claimed by Cook (above).

Orphan radiohalos

Decaying radioactive particles in solid rock cause spherical zones of damage to the surrounding crystal structure. A speck of radioactive element such as Uranium-238, for example, will leave a sphere of discoloration of characteristically different radius for each element it produces in its decay chain to lead-206.[41] Viewed in cross-section with a microscope, these spheres appear as rings called radiohalos. Dr. Gentry has researched radiohalos for many years, and published his results in leading scientific journals.[42]

Some of the intermediate decay products—such as the polonium isotopes—have very short half-lives (they decay quickly). For example, 218Po has a half-life of just 3 minutes. Curiously, rings formed by polonium decay are often found embedded in crystals without the parent uranium halos. Now the polonium has to get into the rock before the rock solidifies, but it cannot derive a from a uranium speck in the solid rock, otherwise there would be a uranium halo. Either the polonium was created (primordial, not derived from uranium), or there have been radical changes in decay rates in the past.

Gentry has addressed all attempts to criticize his work.[43] There have been many attempts, because the orphan halos speak of conditions in the past, either at creation or after, perhaps even during the flood, which do not fit with the uniformitarian view of the past, which is the basis of the radiometric dating systems. Whatever process was responsible for the halos could be a key also to understanding radiometric dating.[44]

Conclusion

There are many lines of evidence that the radiometric dates are not the objective evidence for an old Earth that many claim, and that the world is really only thousands of years old. We don't have all the answers, but we do have the sure testimony of the Word of God to the true history of the world.

Footnotes

  1. Also known as isotope or radioisotope dating.

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

  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 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. K.L. McDonald and R.H. Gunst, “An Analysis of the Earth's Magnetic Field from 1835 to 1965,” ESSA Technical Report IER 46-IES, 1965, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., p. 14.

  6. B.J. Taylor, “Carbon Dioxide in the Antediluvian Atmosphere,” Creation Research Society Quarterly, 1994, 30(4):193-197.

  7. R.H. Brown, “Correlation of C-14 Age with Real Time,” Creation Research Society Quarterly, 1992, 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 an 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.

  8. J. Woodmorappe, The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods (San Diego, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1999).

  9. Ibid.

  10. G. WoldeGabriel et al., “Ecological and Temporal Placement of Early Pliocene Hominids at Aramis, Ethiopia,” Nature, 1994, 371:330-333.

  11. M. Lubenow, “The Pigs Took It All,” Creation, 1995, 17(3):36-38.
    M. Lubenow, Bones of Contention (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993), pp. 247-266.

  12. A.R. Williams, “Long-age Isotope Dating Short on Credibility,” CEN Technical Journal, 1992, 6(1):2-5.

  13. Woodmorappe, The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods.

  14. A.A. Snelling, “The Cause of Anomalous Potassium-argon 'Ages' for Recent Andesite Flows at Mt. Nguaruhoe, New Zealand, and the Implications for Potassium-argon 'Dating,'” Proc. 4th ICC, 1998, pp.503-525.

  15. Footnote 14 lists many instances. For example, six cases were reported by D. Krummenacher, “Isotopic Composition of Argon in Modern Surface Rocks,” Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 1969, 6:47-55. A large excess was reported in D.E. Fisher, “Excess Rare Gases in a Subaerial Basalt in Nigeria,” Nature, 1970, 232:60-61.

  16. Snelling, “The Cause of Anomalous Potassium-argon 'Ages'…,” p. 520.

  17. The isochron technique involves collecting a number of rock samples from different parts of the rock unit being dated. The concentration of a parent radioactive isotope, such as rubidium-87, is graphed against the concentration of a daughter isotope, such as strontium-87, for all the samples. A straight line is drawn through these points, representing the ratio of the parent:daughter, from which a date is calculated. If the line is of good fit and the “age” is acceptable, it is a “good” date. The method involves dividing both the parent and daughter concentrations by the concentration of a similar stable isotope—in this case, strontium-86.

  18. S.A. Austin, editor, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe (Santee, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1994), pp. 120-131.

  19. A.A. Snelling, “Radiometric Dating in Conflict,” Creation, 1998, 20(1):24-27.

  20. A.A. Snelling, “The Failure of U-Th-Pb 'Dating' at Koongarra, Australia,” CEN Technical Journal, 1995, 9(1):71-92.

  21. R. Maas, “Nd-Sr Isotope Constraints on the Age and Origin of Unconformity-type Uranium Deposits in the Alligator Rivers Uranium Field, Northern Territory, Australia, Economic Geology, 1989, 84:64-90.

  22. Snelling, “The Failure of U-Th-Pb ‘Dating’…”

  23. A.A. Snelling, Stumping Old-age Dogma. Creation, 1998, 20(4):48-50.

  24. A.A. Snelling, “Dating Dilemma,” Creation, 1999, 21(3):39-41.

  25. D.C. Lowe, “Problems Associated with the Use of Coal as a Source of 14C Free Background Material,” Radiocarbon, 1989, 31:117-120.

  26. J. Morris, The Young Earth (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1994).

  27. Austin, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe.

  28. C. Wieland, “Sensational Dinosaur Blood Report!” Creation, 1997, 19(4):42-43, based on M. Schweitzer and T. Staedter, “The Real Jurassic Park,” Earth, June 1997, pp. 55-57.

  29. D.R. Humphreys, “Reversals of the Earth's Magnetic Field During the Genesis Flood,” Proc. First ICC, Pittsburgh, PA, 1986, 2:113-126.
    J.D. Sarfati, “The Earth's Magnetic Field: Evidence That the Earth Is Young,” Creation, 1998, 20(2):15-19.

  30. L. Vardiman, The Age of the Earth's Atmosphere: A Study of the Helium Flux through the Atmosphere (San Diego, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1990).
    J.D. Sarfati, “Blowing Old-Earth Belief Away: Helium Gives Evidence That the Earth is Young,” Creation, 1998, 20(3):19-21.

  31. K. Davies, “Distribution of Supernova Remnants in the Galaxy,” Proc. Third ICC, R.E. Walsh, editor, 1994, pp. 175-184.

  32. D. DeYoung, “The Earth-Moon System,” Proc. Second ICC, 1990, 2:79-84, R.E. Walsh and C.L. Brooks, editors.
    J.D. Sarfati, “The Moon: The Light That Rules the Night,” Creation, 1998, 20(4):36-39.

  33. S.A. Austin and D.R. Humphreys, “The Sea's Missing Salt: A Dilemma for Evolutionists,” Proc. Second ICC, 1990, 2:17-33.
    J.D. Sarfati, “Salty Seas: Evidence for a Young Earth,” Creation, 1999, 21(1):16-17.

  34. Russell Humphreys, Evidence for a Young World (Answers in Genesis, 1999).

  35. A review of Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science (National Academy of Science USA, 1998) by Dr. Will B. Provine, online at http://fp.bio.utk.edu/darwin/NAS_guidebook/provine_1.html, February 18, 1999.

  36. See Woodmorappe, The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods, for one such thorough evaluation.

  37. Y.F. Zheng, “Influence of the Nature of Initial Rb-Sr System on Isochron Validity,” Chemical Geology, 1989, 80:1-16 (p. 14).

  38. E. Jager and J.C. Hunziker, editors, Lectures in Isotope Geology, “U-Th-Pb Dating of Minerals,” by D. Gebauer and M. Grunenfelder (New York: Springer Verlag, 1979), pp. 105-131.

  39. M.A. Cook, Prehistory and Earth Models (London: Max Parrish, 1966).

  40. R.V. Gentry, Creation's Tiny Mystery (Knoxville, TN: Earth Science Associates, 1986).

  41. Only those that undergo alpha decay (releasing a helium nucleus).

  42. Gentry, Creation's Tiny Mystery.

  43. Ibid.
    K.P. Wise, letter to the editor, and replies by M. Armitage and R. Gentry, CEN Technical Journal, 1998, 12(3):285-90.

  44. An international team of creationist scientists is actively pursuing a creationist understanding of radioisotope dating. Known as the RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) group, it combines the skills of various physicists and geologists to enable a multi-disciplinary approach to the subject. Interesting insights are likely to come from such a group.

Edited by Don Batten, Ph.D. / Authors: Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland, adapted from The Revised & Expanded Answers Book (Master Books, 2000).

Supplied by Creation Ministries International

Text copyright © 1996, 1999, 2000, Creation Ministries International, All Rights Reserved - except as noted on attached “Usage and Copyright” page that grants ChristianAnswers.Net users generous rights for putting this page to work in their homes, personal witnessing, churches and schools. Illustrations and layout copyright, 1999, 2003, Films for Christ

ChristianAnswers.Net
Christian Answers Network
PO Box 1167
Marysville WA 98270-1167         Submit your Questions

Go to index page Christian Answers home page
home page
directory
Christian Answers Network HOMEPAGE and DIRECTORY