Tag Archives: six days

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:


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!