OLD AGE METHODS—What evidences are used to support the idea of a multiple billions of years old Earth?
List of Processes Suggested by Some as Evidence for a Multiple Billions-of-years Old Earth
(in alphabetical order and not necessarily complete — Inclusion on this list is NOT an indication of the author’s opinion of their relative validity.)
Continental drift—estimates of rate of spreading of continents.
Coral “reefs” thickness. 1
“Expanding” universe - Doppler effect interpretation of redshift of galaxies is said to indicate an expanding universe focused on an initial point. Extrapolation of “measured” velocities indicate the “Big Bang” at 8 to 15 billion years ago (although estimates have varied from 2 to 20 billion years).
Isochron method - uses radioactive age estimates from a group of samples of a rock in an attempt to discover a reliable pattern (an isochron line of best fit) by which to calculate an age estimate. [problems with this method]
Lead - ratio of accumulation of Lead-207 to Lead-206 (used with galena and pyrite) (Accuracy is generally considered very doubtful for age estimation). [general rebuttal concerning radioactive dating methods]
Lutetium - rate of decay of Lutetium-176 into Hafnium-176 (rare earth minerals) (usefulness is generally considered very dubious). [general rebuttal concerning radioactive dating methods]
Magma cooling—estimates of time required for Earth’s supposed early hot magmas to cool and crystallize.
Metamorphic rock formation - supposed high pressures required.
Nuclides - “Only 7” naturally occurring radioactive nuclides “are actually found.” “If the Earth were only 10,000 years old, there should be detectable amounts of all 47 in nature because 10,000 years is not enough time for them to decay totally …[yet] all 17 nuclides with half-lives longer than 50 million years are found in nature.” 2
Potassium - rate of decay of Potassium-40 into Argon-40 (used with muscovite, biotite, glauconite, potash feldspar.) [general rebuttal concerning radioactive dating methods]
Potassium - rate of decay of Potassium-40 into Calcium-40 (used with sylvite) (usefulness for “dating” is generally considered very limited). [general rebuttal concerning radioactive dating methods]
Rhenium - rate of decay of Rhenium-187 into Osmium-187 (used with molybdenite) (usefulness for “dating” is generally considered very dubious). [general rebuttal concerning radioactive dating methods]
Rubidium - rate of decay of Rubidium-87 into Strontium-87 (used with muscovite, biotite, glauconite, potash feldspar land epidolite). [general rebuttal concerning radioactive dating methods]
Samarium - rate of decay of Samarium-147. [general rebuttal concerning radioactive dating methods]
Sedimentation - estimates of rate of sedimentation and lithification of Earth’s strata. [rebuttal]
Sedimentation - varve units in varved sediments. [rebuttal]
Stars - speed of light and the distance of stars. [rebuttal]
Thorium - rate of decay of Thorium-232 into Lead-208 and Helium-4 (used with shale). [general rebuttal concerning radioactive dating methods]
Uranium - rate of decay of Uranium-237 into Lead-205 (used with monazite, rock containing uranium). [general rebuttal concerning radioactive dating methods]
Uranium - rate of decay of Uranium-235 into Lead-207 and Helium-4 (used with uraninite, zircon). [general rebuttal concerning radioactive dating methods]
Uranium - rate of decay of Uranium-238 into Lead-206 and Helium-4. [general rebuttal concerning radioactive dating methods]
Uranium - accumulation of helium in rocks due to the disintegration of uranium. [general rebuttal concerning radioactive dating methods]
References & Endnotes
Dan Wonderly, God’s Time-Records in Ancient Sediments (Flint, Michigan: Crystal Press Publishing, 1977).
For rebuttals to this argument, see:
- Henry Morris and John Morris, Science, Scripture, and a Young Earth (El Cajon, California: Institute for Creation Research, 1982), pp. 29-30.
- Gerald Mallman, “Questions & Answers: Can the Rate of Coral Growth Be Used As Evidence for an Ancient Earth?” Bible-Science Newsletter, Vol. 27, No. 6 (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bible-Science Association, June 1989), p. 16, and “Questions & Answers on Creationism,” Bible-Science Newsletter, Vol. 24, No. 3 (March 1986), p. 12.
Stanley Freske, “Evidence for Supporting a Great Age for the Universe,” Creation/Evolution, Vol. 1, No. 2 (1980), pp. 34-39.
The isochron method, which was thought by many to be quite reliable, has come under increasing suspicion. Isochron expert Y.-F. Zheng of Geochemical Institute of the University of Gttingen, Germany:
“…Some of the basic assumptions of the conventional Rb-Sr isochron method have to be modified and an observed isochron does not certainly define a valid age information for a geological system, even if a goodness of fit of the experimental data points is obtained in plotting 87Sr/86Sr vs. 87Rb/86Sr. This problem cannot be overlooked, especially in evaluating the numerical time scale. Similar questions can also arise in applying Sm-Nd and U-Pb isochron methods. [p. 14] …As the method was gradually applied to a large range of geological problems, it soon became apparent that a linear relationship between 87Sr/86Sr and 87Rb/86Sr ratios could sometimes yield an anomalous isochron which had no distinct geological meaning. A number of anomalous isochrons have been reported in the literature and various terms have been invented, such as apparent isochron, mantle isochron and pseudoisochron, secondary isochron, inherited isochron, source isochron, erupted isochron, mixing line, and mixing isochron. Even a suite of samples which do not have identical ages and initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios can be fitted to isochrons, such as areal isochrons. [p. 1] …The theoretical basis of the classical Rb-Sr isochron is being challenged and some limitations of its basic assumptions are being revealed. [p. 2] As it is impossible to distinguish a valid isochron from an apparent isochron in the light of Rb-Sr isotopic data alone, caution must be taken in explaining the Rb-Sr isochron age of any geological system.” [from Abstract, p. 1]
[Y.F. Zheng, “Influences of the Nature of the Initial Rb-Sr System on Isochron Validity,” Chemical Geology, Isotope Geoscience Section, Vol. 80, No. 1 (December 20, 1989), pp. 1-16 (emphasis added).]
It is questionable whether there is any reliable way to determine the speed at which many sediments were deposited. And there is no way to measure the original thickness of rock laid down during the supposed geological periods. In regard to sedimentation rates, Evolutionist Adolph Knopf has stated:
“The great differences in the estimates of maximum thickness of many of the systems [geologic periods] manifestly indicate that thicknesses are unreliable measures of geologic time. As long ago as 1936 the conclusion had already been reached by Twenhofel that estimates of time based on thickness of strata ‘are hardly worth the paper they are written on’… rocks generally give no internal evidence of the rate at which they were formed.”
[J.F. White, Study of the Earth (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1962), p. 46 (emphasis added).]
There is increasing evidence that various varves and laminations in sediment were deposited far more quickly than had been thought. Examples of recent downscales:
John Horgan, “Blame It on the Moon: Australian ‘Solar Varves’ Turn Out to be Mostly Lunar,” Scientific American, Vol. 260, No. 2 (February 1989), p. 18. / David I. Nutting, “Origin of Bedded Salt Deposits: A Critique of Evaporative Models and Defense of a Hydrothermal Model,” Unpublished M.S. thesis (Santee, California: Institute for Creation Research, 1984), 107 p. / D.J.W. Piper, “Turbidite Origin of Some Laminated Mudstones,” Geology Magazine, Vol. 109, pp. 115-126. / Henry M. Morris and John D. Morris, Science, Scripture, and a Young Earth (El Cajon, California: Institute for Creation Research, 1989), pp. 33-36.
Resources in rebuttal of starlight argument
- D. Russell Humphreys, Starlight and Time: Solving the Puzzle of Distant Starlight in a Young Universe (Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books, 1994), 137 pp. Also, an on-line archive of the debate surrounding Dr. Humphreys’ starlight research can be found off-site at: http://www.trueorigin.org/ca_rh_03.htm
- Richard Niessen, “Starlight and the Age of the Universe,” ICR Impact Series, No. 121, Acts & Facts (July 1983).
- Harold S. Slusher, Age of the Cosmos, ICR Technical Monograph No. 9, (El Cajon, California: Institute for Creation Research, 1980), pp. 25-37.
- Jerry Bergman, Ph.D. suggests that the starlight question is also a problem for Evolutionism:
“The most distant galaxy ever observed is estimated to be 14.5 billion light years away. Thus, if this is true, the light we are now seeing is what the galaxy looked like 14.5 billion years ago. As this light shows it to be a mature galaxy, it is obviously likewise billions or even trillions of years old… As the sun and Earth are believed to be only 4.6 billion years old, there are thus problems in explaining the newness of our solar system.”
[Jerry Bergman, “The Problem of Time,” in Proceedings of the First Intl. Conference on Creationism, Vol. 1 (362 Ashland, Pittsburgh, PA 15228: Creation Science Fellowship, 1986), p. 13 (emphasis added).]
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