Z: Radio-active Dating
Check this out:
Now, I looked at the article you posted (above). I didn’t read the whole thing, but I am somewhat familiar with radio-metric dating. Here’s my summary of how it works (I compiled this from both a creationist book and an evolutionary site):
“Radiometric dating (often called radioactive dating) is a technique used to date materials such as rocks, usually based on a comparison between the observed abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, using known decay rates. It is the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself, and can be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials. Together with stratigraphic principles, radiometric dating methods are used in geochronology to establish the geological time scale. Among the best-known techniques are radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon dating and uranium-lead dating. By allowing the establishment of geological timescales, it provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and the deduced rates of evolutionary change. Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.” (Wikipedia, radio-metric dating, introduction)
The way that radio-metric dating works is fairly simple. Certain elements in rocks break down, or decay, over time into other elements at a steady rate. Scientists can judge how old the rock is by measuring how much of the original element (called the mother element) is present and how much of the one it breaks down into (called the daughter element). This makes sense right? Well, the problem is that they make three big assumptions.
- Known amount of element.
The method requires that the amount of the mother element be known. This dating system is often likened to an hourglass. The sand in an hourglass falls at a known rate, so anyone who knows both the rate at which the sand is falling, and the amount of sand that was originally in the top of the hourglass, can, by measuring how much sand is in the bottom part, determine how long it has been since the glass was inverted.
2. The rate of decay is known throughout the entire time.
This is obviously important. If you don’t know the rate of decay, then how can you measure how long the decay has been going on? You can’t. Scientists claim to know the rate of decay, and they do. That is, they know the rate at which the elements are decaying now. However, they do not know whether this has been perfectly consistent throughout the whole history of the rock. This testing has only been going on for about 100 years, so we can’t be sure that the rates have always remained constant for the claimed billions of years. In fact, a well known creation scientist, nuclear physicist Dr. Russel Humphreys, has theorized that the decay of the rocks may have been much faster during creation week. There is some evidence for this, for example, radiohalo analysis, but it is still very tentative.
- None of the elements have been added to or lost throughout the entire time it has been decaying.
If any of the elements have been added to or lost, then this would make the rock appear either much
older or much younger than it really is. The daughter elements are fairly stable (except argon, which is a gas and can sometimes escape), but two of the mother elements which are often tested for (uranium, and potassium) are very water soluble, and leach out of the rocks easily. Now, this would pose quite a problem if there was a world-wide flood, because many of the elements would be washed away, and this would make the rock appear to be many times older than what it is.
There is no way to prove scientifically that these assumptions are correct, yet what do we always hear? “We know that the earth is billions of years old because of radio-metric dating.” This is also called radio-active dating, and radioisotope dating. There is also uranium-lead dating, potassium/argon dating, and radiocarbon dating, which are forms of radio-metric dating. We are also told that the dates rendered by these methods all agree. This is not true. Sure, all the dates that we hear about which are given by these methods agree, but that is because any dates that don’t fall within a time frame that agrees with evolution are discarded as contaminated samples.
Then there are the cases of proven inaccuracy of these dating methods. For example, Dr. Steven Austin’s work. In 1992 a creation geologist, Dr. Steven Austin, climbed to the top of Mount St. Helens, and removed a fifteen pound piece of rock from high on the lava dome. Part of it was crushed, and part was left whole. It was then sent for testing to the Geochron Laboratories of Cambridge, which is a well known and respected evolutionary lab. The particular radio-metric dating method used was the potassium/argon method. Potassium decays into argon, so they measure the amount of argon to determine the rock’s age. The lab was told that the sample came from dactite, and that argon (the daughter element that they were testing for), would be low. The radio-metric “clock” is supposed to start “ticking” when rock which comes from lava solidifies. In other words, if the rock being tested was liquid lava up to ten years ago, then it should date to ten years old. The results from the lab varied from .35 million years to 2.8 million years! This was ridiculous since the rock was less than fifteen years old. And this isn’t the only example where rocks of known age have been “proven” to be millions of years old. This website: http://www.creationism.org/articles/swenson1.htm, has several other examples. Of course, the evolutionists tried to discredit this work in various ways. The primary one is that they say that the equipment at the lab which the rock was sent to wasn’t sensitive enough to detect the amount of argon present in the rock. In other words, they say that it was too young to date accurately. Well, then why didn’t they say that in the results? If they really knew that there wasn’t enough argon to be dated with their equipment, then they would have said “Not enough argon to be dated”, instead of “350,000 to 2.8 million years”. The other way that they try to discredit it, is they say that Dr. Austin must not have been careful to remove older rock from his sample, and so the computer dated the old rock. Dr. Austin was a geologist. Geologists don’t just chop out any ol’ piece of rock to perform an experiment with. He was being very careful. If this was the only example of inaccuracy in this dating, then I would be inclined to believe that what the evolutionists are saying is true, but there are many examples. If you read the above article it mentions several others. If these methods are unreliable for the dating of rocks of known ages, then how far can we trust them for the dating of rocks of unknown ages? I would say that we at least have room for doubting the dating methods used to “prove” the age of the earth.
Some people claim to have researched both sides of this question, and say that the evidence for evolution outweighs that for Creation. In this debate, I answered many of the common “scientific” objections for young earth creation to the best of my ability. What I would ask an evolutionist to do is to rethink his/her decision on this subject. If you claim to have researched this thoroughly, did you know these things? Creationists aren’t allowed to even mention this in school, and the media practically never shows evidence against evolution, but if you really did a thorough job, then you should know a good deal of what I’ve talked about. There is even more evidence for creation, and against evolution. There is a ton that I haven’t even touched on! Like I said, I encourage you to research again, and this time look at the evidence available on reliable creationist websites like Answers in Genesis. Also, check out some things at your local library. Here’s a few:
Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution- this is a set of three documentary films which covers a large number of animals that pose big problems for the theory of evolution.
Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed- this is a documentary by Ben Stein. The documentary is about the suppression of evidence for “intelligent design”, and it is very interesting, especially the way that it shows how evolution was such a big part of the Holocaust. Although it was made by a man who was not a Christian, he was (to all appearances) about as unbiased as anyone could be. I would definitely say that his work is worth a good deal.
A Closer Look at the Evidence. This is a book by Richard and Tina Kleiss, and is in devotional format- one page for every day of the year, for example, August 10 might be about the bent geological formations seen in some hills, and how this is a problem for evolution. Since it is in this format, it is easy to read one page daily, so you can get a large amount of interesting information with very little exertion every day. It is made up mainly of pieces from various books on creation. This book played a big role in teaching me how to defend my faith with real evidence from science.
The Case for a Creator. This is one of a set of three documentaries, and although I don’t agree with one certain thing that was said in it, it is very good. It is the story of the former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel. He made the documentary, and it is about how he searched for the truth when he began to wonder what was up with Christianity, and what he found. The other two documentaries are: The Case for Christ, and The Case for Faith.
Another documentary we have enjoyed is one called God of Wonders. It also is excellent.
Another resource is Vision Forum’s Jonathan Park radio drama series. They have a ton of science in them, and are very interesting, and are distinctly Christian. (However, I am not sure that children should be listening to high-excitement, fast-paced audio adventures, as it can tend to create an undue appetite for other fast-paced adventures, not real-life stories. Also, I think that Vision Forum stretched them out a little too far.) These are what originally gave me an interest in science, and specifically in Creation science.
One more thing and then I’m done- evolution is based in atheism. The real, radical, evolutionists, the ones who kind of set the standard for everyone else, (like Richard Dawkins), believe that there is no right or wrong. Lying, cheating, stealing, even murder, are all okay according to evolution, because man is not accountable to God, and we are just the result of random processes; basically, we’re an accident. These are the men who control what you hear in school, and on TV. Now, who do you think is more likely to tell you the truth- an atheist, who believes that there is no right or wrong, or a creationist, who believes that there is a God to whom he (or she) will have to render an account someday? If you truly want to find the truth, Jesus said to ask, seek, and knock. Just because “all” the “real scientists” say that the Bible is a fake, and that evolution happened, doesn’t make that so. You need to search the Bible, and find out what it really says, and see whether that agrees with the evidence better than what evolution says.