Tag Archives: radiometric dating

Blindness to Worldviews

Dear hijas,

In picking back up in my review of Dr. John K. Reed’s book “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geologic Timescale”, I love these particular quotes from Chapter 6 titled ‘Unreliable Clocks’:

At its core, the geologic timescale is a weapon that secularism has used to good effect against Christianity.

Or this:

Furthermore, if the various clocks used by stratigraphers all worked as claimed, then they would all agree. It is clear that they do not. Different radiometric methods yield different ages. Dates of rocks of known ages are incorrect. Paleontologists discard radiometric dates that contradict fossil assemblages. And no one thinks that these disagreements pose serious problems, they just ‘know’ that the template is correct.

Or how about this one:

Most of the public thinks that radiometric dating is the one infallible clock. But scientists recognize that is not true and so they rely instead on combinations of fallible, malleable methods. Then they argue that the timescale is more certain because of independent overlapping lines of evidence. But do they overlap each other like shingles, forming an impenetrable seal, or like a house of cards? This need of many clocks tells us an important truth; there is not one single infallible chronometer. Would you rather have one watch that kept time or a dozen that didn’t?

Or:

…professional stratigraphers have known all along that the real ‘clock’ is biological evolution. Rocks are ordered by fossils and fossils by their evolutionary stage. This is why geologists share the panic of biologists when evolution is attacked. The credibility of the timescale is linked to that of evolution. If evolution falters, the timescale does too.

And then this classic from Chapter 4:

Christians can no longer remain blind to the worldview behind the timescale.

With love,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios mis hijas

From whence comes thy criticism?

Dear hijas,

It is often noted that those Christians who criticize the recent creation and young earth position (the orthodox position of the Church for 1800 years), vying instead for the secular version of earth history and it’s billions and millions of years, almost never offer their criticism from Scripture. The criticism usually comes from unwarranted belief in supposed secular interpretations of astronomical age, radiometric dating, tree-ring dating, varves, ice cores, and the like, ad absurdum.

But very rarely does a criticism come from the Scriptures and from a theological rendering of the Biblical text. The reason is that you can’t find theological support from Scripture for billions and millions of years. It just isn’t there. And if one’s final authority is not in Scripture, then where is it? Obviously in something other than Scripture (man’s autonomous ideas), which for the Christian poses a big problem; a big 2nd commandment problem; a big idolatry problem.

…for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…(Ex. 20:5)

Few Christians today who accept an old earth and old cosmos understand this connection. They honor and accept autonomous secular man’s ideas of how old the earth and cosmos are, never investigating and understanding where these ideas came from and the impetus behind them in the first place, and in the same instance dishonor the God they say they have placed their trust in.

They get their knowledge and base their salvation on the words of Scripture in the Gospels concerning Christ’s death and resurrection and solution for their sin problem, yet on the other hand disbelieve and discount these same Scriptures in Genesis when it comes to Creation in six days and a young earth. It’s a sad and harmful intellectual schizophrenia.

Few realize they are dishonoring the Christ they say they love, for He Himself in His work of Creation was Holy, and pure, and blameless. Attributing to Christ the deaths of millions and millions of His very own created creatures, let alone the natural evils of killer earthquakes, asteroid bombardment, mega-tsunamis, disease, decay, and massive destruction against His very own work in Creation over billions and millions of years, and all before Adam sinned, is a charge against Christ that is nothing but unadulterated blasphemy.

We are told to “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matt. 22:37), yet few realize what loving God with all your mind requires. It requires an evaluation of one’s intellectual thinking on any matter whatsoever and slicing and dicing it up against the words of God Himself in Scripture. Does it comport, or is there variance? If variance, what warrant is there for believing man’s ideas against the almighty and omnipotent Creator of the universe? Does the creature have warrant and justification for shaking his fist at God and saying to the Almighty he thinks he knows better; that the Almighty doesn’t really mean what He says He means? He does so to his own jeopardy and peril.

With love, I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Radiometric Dating: The Novarupta-Katmai Eruption of 1912: Support for Millions and Billions of Years?

Dear hijas,

millions and billions

As we’ve detailed in several previous posts, the Judeo-Christian Scriptures provide no place for even a hint of “millions and billions of years”. What we do find and what our Scriptures do provide are genealogical records that result in thousands of years of history, not millions and billions. As we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, we look at the Creation days in Genesis 1, with their self-evident reference to normal, 24-hour days, and see this confirmed in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17. We look at Romans 1:20 that “since the creation of the world His (God’s) invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen…” and realize that those doing the ‘seeing’ must be humans and that they were there since the beginning of creation (Mark 10:6).

We understand that the Biblical picture of Creation-fall-redemption-renewal, and geologically, Creation-Flood-Ice Age-Present is built upon the premise that the earth and cosmos are only thousands of years old and utterly falls into theological confusion, chaos, and inconsistency if built upon the premise that the earth and cosmos are billions and millions of years old.very good

When we come to radiometric dating and the decay of parent isotope into daughter isotope we must understand that it is the dominant method used as evidence supporting secular models of earth history and a 4.55 billion year old age for the earth (Radiometric dating involves measuring the ratio of a radioactive isotope to its decay product. The older a rock, the more decay product it should contain). As no observers were present over these millions and billions of years, assumptions are used to extrapolate today’s observed rate backwards into the supposedly long ago past.

When we come to what we ‘can’ observe in the present and to what humans have observed in our not so distant past, we find numerous problems and anomalies with the radiometric dating method. One of those was the Novarupta volcano eruption of June 6-8 1912. Also called Novarupta-Katmai, in Alaska’s peninsula chain, it was one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, the largest since Krakatoa in 1883, and 30 times larger than the Mt. St. Helen’s blast of 1980.

Map_of_Alaska_Peninsula_Volcanoes

Novarupta-Katmai formed a dome after June 8, 1912, and it is this dome that was subsequently radiometrically dated. Since we have recorded human history that this dome is just over a 100 years old, we should be able to confirm this with radiometric dating, shouldn’t we? Several attempts over the years since the dome first formed have been made to do just that, but the results are not what were expected. When using the Ar40/Ar39 radiometric dating method on a sample (deemed to have its “argon clock” set to zero) of the Novarupta dome formed in 1912, it gave dates as high as 5.5 million years old and an integrated age estimate of 2.36 million years old. Can you see the problem here? If the Ar/Ar method were reliable, then this sample would have been below the detection limit levels of Ar*. It should have given an age that couldn’t be detected because the sample was young (formed in 1912).

What we discover (and Novarupta-Katmai is not the only example) is that dates obtained from rocks of known age provide the best samples for demonstrating the method’s unreliability. What should that tell us about the results from dating rocks of ‘unknown’ age?

It should tell us that the Word of God is surer and more trustworthy than fallen, unregenerate man’s attempts to explain his origins and the age of things apart from God’s spoken and recorded directives in Scripture.

With love,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Radiometric Dating: The Biases and Assumptions

Dear hijas,

The concept of a biased scientist may come as a shock to many (they tend to put scientists on a pedastal), but in reality, all investigators come to their studies and investigations with bias. It is with bias that the experiment is chosen, and it is with bias that it is conducted and carried out. The question is, “Which bias is the right bias to be biased with?”

scientist on pedastal

Scripture proclaims an orderly progression of six 24-hour historical calendar days only thousands of years ago during which time all things were created. The earth and cosmos were fully prepared step by step with rocks and minerals, oceans and rivers, sun, moon, stars and planets, plants and trees, a vast biodiversity of animal life, and finally man. They were each formed with creative processes by an almighty and omnipotent God which were quite unlike processes we observe today. Each in its place and each accomplishing it’s purpose. With man as it’s steward it was declared ‘very good’ (Gen. 1:31) from the very Creator’s providential perspective. There is an all-important Creator-creature distinction established right from the beginning that those of us who are the “created thing” – the “creature”, should never forget.

When we come to radiometric dating, we have to remember the assumptions involved in the extrapolation of dates into millions and billions of years. We know that parent elements decay into daughter elements. We’ve got scientific, technological machines that can detect and count the individual atoms. What we need to remember in arriving at dates of millions and billions of years for a particular piece of rock or mineral are the assumptions inherent to this conclusion. They are as follows:

Assumption #1: The rate of radioisotopic decay has always been constant.

Assumption #2: The isotopic abundances in a specimen have not been altered by processes other than radioactive decay.

Assumption #3: The amount of daughter isotopes when the rock was first formed is nil or negligible, or the original isotopic composition can be determined.

Think of an hour-glass as an illustration of these points:

hourglassrd

The grains of sand in the top of the glass represent the parent element (uranium in the 2nd hourglass), and the grains in the bottom represent the daughter (Pb-or lead). Over time, the parent element decays into the daughter element. Seems rather straightforward, doesn’t it? If we start with no grains of daughter in the bottom and only grains of parent in the top and start the clock (let the grains of sand start flowing), we should have a reliable chronometer, shouldn’t we?

But what if the grains of sand were sped up and were falling faster at some point in the past, or unbeknownst to us the top of the hourglass was removed, and someone had added more sand and closed it up again without us knowing, or somehow got more sand in the bottom part of the glass and we didn’t start with it completely empty? Would that affect our time estimate calculations? It most certainly would!

So, here’s the deal. When we come to ancient rocks where no one was around to see them form, we’re basing our conclusions on assumptions that can’t be verified in an absolute sense. We’re taking today’s measured rate of decay, and assuming that #’s 1, 2, & 3 above are correct. By assuming that 1, 2, & 3 are correct, scientist’s extrapolate the rate out to come up with the millions and billions of years. But wait a minute. What does the eye-witness testimony of the One who created all things have to say? Shouldn’t we consult the Creator’s handbook to see if He has something to say about it?

Lo and behold, God has not left this question ambiguous. While there isn’t a verse that says the cosmos and earth are x number of years old, God has given us enough clues to infer an approximate age, and enough information to calculate a starting point. What we find, from Scripture, is that the entire cosmos, including the earth, are on the order of thousands of years old, not millions and billions of years old. So, who are we to believe: the scientific unregenerate man who in his rebellion against God has no use for Scripture nor any desire to see and understand what his Creator has said, or the very Creator Himself who said He did it all in six days?

With love I remain,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios mis hijas!

Radiometric Dating: The Geologic Column

geological time scale

Dear hijas,

Did you realize that the geologic column came before and preceded radiometric dating and the counting and extrapolating of parent and daughter isotopes into millions and billions of years? Radiometric dating as a science didn’t come to fore until the early 1900’s, yet the geologic column and it’s eons, era’s and periods were established in the 1800’s.

Why is this significant? It was Nicholas Steno, a Christian and creationist, who in the late 1600’s introduced the idea of superposition; that rock layers (or strata) are laid down in succession, each layer representing a ‘slice’ of time, and that any given stratum is probably older than those above it, and younger than those below. The principles were simple, applying them to real rocks wasn’t.

Steno believed that those ‘slices’ of time were a result of the universal and global judgement of God in the Flood of Noah. He believed that the sediments laid down in ‘layers’ came from and were a result of this global year-long Flood. Read Genesis 6-9 again and pay special attention to the dates given in the text. Take note of when the text says a particular year, month, and day. Add up the dates. It’s a simple exercise, and yet you’ll find the floodwaters upon the earth were not just 40 days and 40 nights.

It was others then, who came after Steno, like Hutton and Lyell, who took these ‘slices’ of time, not dealing with the Biblical text which indicated a massive and global tectonic event like Noah’s year-long Flood, and inserted the idea of millions of years into the rocks. They believed that an older layer like the Cambrian must be millions of years older than a younger layer like the Pleistocene. They used present processes observed at their time for deposition and erosion of rocks and extrapolated unwarranted into an unseen past. This might seem logical to do, but this is not science, for rates may have not been the same over this unseen period of time, and there may have been one or more events that catastrophically altered these processes that they can’t and are unable to see. One of those major events was a worldwide global flood.

From a starting point of no Flood, (a wrong starting point), men like Hutton, Lyell, and others came to wrong conclusions (millions and millions of years). An incorrect starting point that there was no act of God in judging mankind on the earth with a global and universal Flood, gave wrong conclusions that there were millions and millions of years in each of the layers of the geologic column. And remember, all this before the advent and discovery of radiometric dating.

One might ask, “But doesn’t radiometric dating prove that these men were right in their millions and millions of years assumption? Who cares if radiometric dating came afterwards? It proves today that they were right”.

Not so fast. Radiometric dating is fraught with assumptions and discordances that throw the whole effort into a tizzy with questions about its reliability. Different pair elements give different dates for the same rock. But more on that in my next post.

Vaya con Dios mis hijas,

Dear ol’ Dad

Radiometric Dating: Support for Evolution?

rd

Dear hijas,

I’m going to do a series on radiometric dating, the supposed lynch pin of all old earth theories. What the assumptions are, how the ages are extrapolated into millions and billions of years, and what current research is finding out about this supposed icon of old earth evolution.

We’ll need to get down into the nitty gritty, so hold on to your hats, and be prepared to think back to your chemistry classes in days of yore. Atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, alpha and beta decay will need to be covered, as well as the elements uranium, lead, potassium, argon, rubidium, strontium, samarium and neodymium.

We’ll talk about the different types of rock: igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary, but don’t despair, it’ll be fun and exciting. We’ll need a handle on the geologic column and it’s eras, periods, and epochs as well.

Stay tuned,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios mis hijas