Study Questions on the Age of the Earth
WHY IS TIME SO IMPORTANT TO EVOLUTIONISTS?
The very basis of Evolutionism is that development transpired slowly, by means of chance, natural processes. If Evolution by natural processes were possible, it would undoubtedly require billions and even trillions of years to go from non-living matter to one-celled animals and from them to humans. A younger universe would make Evolution all the more impossible.
RELIABILITY OF SCIENTIFIC AGE ESTIMATION METHODS—Have Evolutionists scientifically proven that Earth is billions of years old?
No, the evidences used to estimate long ages for Earth are few—and not necessarily reliable.
Ultimately, every method suffers from similar difficulties—extrapolation over the unknown past, questionable assumptions or unprovable assumptions, etc.
The three main methods used by Evolutionists are the uranium/thorium-lead method, the rubidium-strontium method, and the potassium-argon method. These all require a constant decay rate over billions of years, an isolated system (over billions of years), and known initial conditions. None of these assumptions are provable by finite human beings. Even some Evolutionists, such as Frederick Jueneman, are beginning to recognize the problems:
"The age of our globe is presently thought to be some 4.5 billion years old, based on radio-decay rates of uranium and thorium. Such `confirmation' may be shortlived, as nature is not to be discovered quite so easily. There has been in recent years the horrible realization that radio-decay rates are not as constant as previously thought, nor are they immune to environmental influences. And this could mean that the atomic clocks are reset during some global disaster, and events which brought the Mesozoic to a close may not be 65 million years ago, but rather, within the age and memory of man." (“Secular Catastrophism”, Industrial Research and Development, June 1982, p. 21)
No foolproof, scientific method for determining the age of the Earth has yet been discovered. Absolute proof of one of these methods would require billions of years of on-site measurements and observations.
Some aspects of this subject are quite technical. If you would like to learn more about problems with these methods, we suggest The Illustrated ORIGINS Answer Book. In the back of the book, the reference section for this topic contains a good bibliography and many interesting quotations and notes.
- OLD AGE METHODS - What evidences are used to support the idea of a multiple billions of years old Earth? Answer
- According to Evolutionists, what is the age of the Earth and universe? Answer
- RADIOACTIVE AGE ESTIMATION METHODS - Do they prove the Earth is billions of years old? Answer
- How can light get to us from stars which are millions of light years away in a universe which the Bible claims is only thousands of years old? Answer
CARBON-14 AGE ESTIMATION—Can the Carbon-14 method be used for estimating the age of rocks? Petrified wood?
The Carbon-14 system does not work on rocks or thoroughly mineralized fossils; it is only useful for relatively well-preserved organic materials such as cloth, wood, and other non-petrified objects.
IS THE CARBON-14 METHOD A WORTHLESS SYSTEM?
Generally, Creationists consider Carbon-14 age estimates to be legitimate and useful. It is a system in good agreement with Creationism when properly understood and calibrated.
Carbon-14 is useful for much archaeological work, when used with care. As with all age estimating systems, many variables and assumptions are involved. These are listed in the The Illustrated ORIGINS Answer Book.
Both Creationists and Evolutionists agree that Carbon-14 would be useless for estimating the age of anything that was supposed to be millions of years old. Carbon-14 has a relatively short half-life. There would be no useful measurable amount left in 30 to 100 thousand years.
The Carbon-14 system seems to be fairly accurate for ages of approximately 3,000 years or less. However, when it comes to older ages, there are greater problems to consider. Those Creationists who are experts on this system stress that the differences in the pre-Flood and post-Flood worlds would greatly affect its accuracy. The closer one gets to the Flood, the farther off the age estimates produced by Carbon-14 will be. Objects will appear to be older than they actually are. One must take this into account and recalibrate the system accordingly. Some scientists are working on this.
SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE FOR A YOUNG EARTH—List some scientific evidences that our Earth is relatively young.
The Illustrated ORIGINS Answer Book lists 103 age estimation methods which seem to indicate that the Earth is not billions of years old.
(Briefly, read some representative items in this list to give people an idea of the range and nature of these methods. Feel free to describe some of them more fully, if you have time.)
In some cases, as with arguments from the dust on the moon and the shrinking of the sun, updated information is available in the textbook. You can read these for yourself to get an up-to-date description of current thinking.
In all cases, just as with the old-age methods, there are none that are totally reliable. They are all based on assumptions. However, it is interesting that there are so many more methods which seem to indicate Earth is not billions of years old.
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