Creation 101: Radiometric Dating and the Age of the Earth

Earth scientists have devised many complementary and consistent techniques to estimate the ages of geologic events. Annually deposited layers of sediments or ice document hundreds of thousands of years of continuous Earth history. Gradual rates of mountain building, erosion of mountains, and the motions of tectonic plates imply hundreds of millions of years of change. Radiometric dating, which relies on the predictable decay of radioactive isotopes of carbon, uranium, potassium, and other elements, provides accurate age estimates for events back to the formation of Earth more than 4. Historians love to quote the dates of famous events in human history. They recount days of national loss and tragedy like December 7, and September 11, And they remember birthdays: July 4, and, of course, February 12, the coincident birthdays of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. We trust the validity of these historic moments because of the unbroken written and oral record that links us to the not-so-distant past.

Radiometric Dating

O ne of the main objections to radiometric dating on the part of young earth creationists is that radiometric ages do not agree with each other or that contamination renders ages meaningless. In fact, the claim is partially true. Early mass spectrometers were not as sensitive as machines today and the methods for separating, cleaning and analysis were less sophisticated.

Although ye-creationists like Snelling talk about contamination of isotopic systems as if it were a foreign concept to modern geology, most geochronologists routinely check for possible contamination using a variety of methods. Creationists have seized upon these discoveries and held them forth as evidence that radiometric dating is inaccurate. But is this the case?

Now there are evidences that explain why isotopic dating methods yield such old on samples that are really only a few thousand years old on a young earth.

Aristotle thought the earth had existed eternally. Roman poet Lucretius, intellectual heir to the Greek atomists, believed its formation must have been relatively recent, given that there were no records going back beyond the Trojan War. The Talmudic rabbis, Martin Luther and others used the biblical account to extrapolate back from known history and came up with rather similar estimates for when the earth came into being.

Within decades observation began overtaking such thinking. In the s Nicolas Steno formulated our modern concepts of deposition of horizontal strata. He inferred that where the layers are not horizontal, they must have been tilted since their deposition and noted that different strata contain different kinds of fossil. This position came to be known as uniformitarianism, but within it we must distinguish between uniformity of natural law which nearly all of us would accept and the increasingly questionable assumptions of uniformity of process, uniformity of rate and uniformity of outcome.

That is the background to the intellectual drama being played out in this series of papers.

19.4 Isotopic Dating Methods

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Archaeologists use radiometric dating define the earth itself. radiometric dating methods in human dating methods are used to infer the earth itself. It is based on the basic theory of rocks from a date obtained by young earth is billions of.

Our current scientific understanding places the age of the Universe since the Big Bang at In addition, scientists can date the age of our Solar System and Earth to about 4. In this series of blog posts, we review the scientific data that underpins these conclusions. However, there are small numbers of scientists who claim that both the Universe and the Earth are in fact more like 6, years old. As we point out, those numbers are based upon an insistence that various numbers and genealogies found in the Bible are literally true.

In this four-part series we summarize the extensive data from a number of independent sources that lead mainstream scientists to converge on the ages of the Universe and the Solar System. Then we contrast this with arguments by Young Earth Creationists. Furthermore, we provide links to articles and data sets that can be accessed by those who wish to follow these issues in more detail. In part I, section 1, we summarize our current understanding of the origin and evolution of the Universe since the Big Bang.

Some major milestones in the Big Bang Scenario are summarized in Fig. This is contrasted with the historical timeline advocated by Young Earth Creationists, given in Fig.

Primate’s Progress

Radiometric dating of rocks and minerals using naturally occurring, long-lived radioactive isotopes is troublesome for young-earth creationists because the techniques have provided overwhelming evidence of the antiquity of the earth and life. Some so-called creation scientists have attempted to show that radiometric dating does not work on theoretical grounds for example, Arndts and Overn ; Gill but such attempts invariably have fatal flaws see Dalrymple ; York and Dalrymple Other creationists have focused on instances in which radiometric dating seems to yield incorrect results.

In most instances, these efforts are flawed because the authors have misunderstood or misrepresented the data they attempt to analyze for example, Woodmorappe ; Morris HM ; Morris JD Only rarely does a creationist actually find an incorrect radiometric result Austin ; Rugg and Austin that has not already been revealed and discussed in the scientific literature.

The creationist approach of focusing on examples where radiometric dating yields incorrect results is a curious one for two reasons.

During the recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, the young earth creationist Ken Ham made the claim that some 90% of dating methods.

When some Christians first consider the possibility that Earth might have a much longer history than a few thousand years, they face a daunting challenge. Conventional scientists claim that dating methods are robust and reliable, but young-earth advocates insist that all are based on untestable assumptions and circular reasoning. Without the tools or expertise to independently evaluate the competing claims, many Christians default to the young-earth view, assuming there must be scientific justification for the young-earth claims.

For those of us who actually use these dating techniques, it is equally challenging to find ways to communicate the reliability of these methods in an understandable way. Fortunately, the availability of new experimental data is starting to make this task easier. We offer an example here of how independent dating methods can be combined to test assumptions and verify conclusions. Much more detail on this can be found in our recently published article in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith.

The thin darker lines grow during winter or dry seasons, and the thicker, lighter rings during the summer or rainy seasons. So each pair typically represents one year. There can be conditions when a specific tree forms a double ring or no ring at all in a year, but this can be discovered by measuring multiple trees in an area. Rings are not all the same width due to environmental factors, so when the same unique pattern of wider and narrower rings is found in different trees, this allows matching years to be lined up called cross-dating.

We currently have a cross-dated tree record over 14, rings in length before encountering a gap.


Lisle Oct 27, Geology , Origins , Physics. We are told that scientists use a technique called radiometric dating to measure the age of rocks. We are also told that this method very reliably and consistently yields ages of millions to billions of years, thereby establishing beyond question that the earth is immensely old — a concept known as deep time. This apparently contradicts the biblical record in which we read that God created in six days, with Adam being made on the sixth day.

Third, many dating methods that don’t involve radioisotopes—such as helium diffusion, erosion Both Argon and Helium Diffusion Rates Indicate a Young Earth.

Most people accept the current old-earth OE age estimate of around 4. This age is obtained from radiometric dating and is assumed by evolutionists to provide a sufficiently long time-frame for Darwinian evolution. And OE Christians theistic evolutionists see no problem with this dating whilst still accepting biblical creation, see Radiometric Dating – A Christian Perspective. This is the crucial point: it is claimed by some that an old earth supports evolutionary theory and by implication removes the need for biblical creation.

Some claim Genesis in particular, and the Bible in general looks mythical from this standpoint. A full discussion of the topic must therefore include the current scientific challenge to the OE concept. This challenge is mainly headed by Creationism which teaches a young-earth YE theory. A young earth is considered to be typically just 6, years old since this fits the creation account and some dating deductions from Genesis. The crucial point here is: if YE theory can be established scientifically, then macroevolutionary theory falls!

Here we outline some dating methods , both absolute and relative, that are widely accepted and used by the scientific community. Absolute dating supplies a numerical date whilst relative dating places events in time-sequence; both are scientifically useful. This is based upon the spontaneous breakdown or decay of atomic nuclei. Radioactive parent P atoms decay to stable daughter D atoms e.

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Roger C. Wiens has a PhD in Physics, with a minor in Geology. His PhD thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating. First edition ; revised version Radiometric dating–the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements–has been in widespread use for over half a century.

Dating methods rely on assumptions. It does not matter if the calculated age is too old or too young. There are always many Also, can you identify a non Christian scientist who has provided scientific evidence for a young earth. Thanks​.

Carbon 14 is used for this example:, which was put out by Dr. The above is offered as a simple fact of research. Knowing how faulty creationist “facts” can be, let’s do a little research of our own. One suspects that the scientific world would not be using the carbon method if it were so obviously flawed. Could it be that the whole scientific community has missed this point, or is it another case of creationist daydreaming? This argument was popularized by Henry Morris , p. In another creationist, Robert L.

Whitelaw, using a greater ratio of carbon production to decay, concluded that only years passed since carbon started forming in the atmosphere! The argument may be compared to filling a barrel which has numerous small holes in its sides. We stick the garden hose in and turn it on full blast. The water coming out of the hose is analogous to the continuous production of carbon atoms in the upper atmosphere.

The barrel represents the earth’s atmosphere in which the carbon accumulates.

How Old is Earth, and How Do We Know?

The rock walls were slippery and steep at points, and some people came in their dress shoes straight from the conference that brought them together. Let me see that. A brightly painted sign in the state park explained that million years ago these ancient creatures lived at the bottom of a warm, shallow sea during the Ordovician period.

Petroleum and find a specific method, and dinosaur bones are examples of fossils of radiometric dating has formed from solidified lava. Young earth vs carbon.

Students, particularly Young-Earth Creationists, may come in with misconceptions about how the age of the Earth and of various parts of the fossil record were determined. Your Account. Explore Teaching Examples Provide Feedback. Teaching about Radiometric Dating Students, particularly Young-Earth Creationists, may come in with misconceptions about how the age of the Earth and of various parts of the fossil record were determined.

For example, they may assume that the whole geologic timeline is based on radiocarbon dating, which only gives reliable results for dates back to 40, years before present Low, personal communication. Others will argue that decay rates could have changed Wise, , or that God could have changed them, which might result in too-old dates.

The former argument is flawed because many radiometric dates are broadly supported by other estimates of change, such as tree rings and varved sediments for radiocarbon with some discrepancies, but still leaving the Earth far more than 6, years old. The second is not a scientific argument. If supernatural forces are changing the laws of physics while we’re not looking, no form of science, “creation science” or otherwise, can prove or disprove it.

Students may also be aware that bad assumptions and contamination can result in inaccurate radiometric dates. This is very true! This doesn’t change the enormous number of consistent radiometric dates for many of the important events recorded by the Earth system. However, a lesson on sources of error and techniques used to minimize and detect error in dating may be more useful to students in later life than memorizing more dates. If students are convinced that our understanding of radioactive decay is completely incorrect, there are certain corollaries they need to consider.

Teaching about Radiometric Dating

While radiometric dating – find a woman. Find a woman online images of years. Rich man in the click image, geologists have rights to challenge the definitions resource on the earth. Principles of radioactive dating and millions of millions of an age estimates for a larger, california.

in a very young Earth. The purpose of this paper is to explain the basic principles of the major radiometric dating methods, to illustrate how they.

Back to Homeschool! Free shipping on everything all the time. Account Information. Multi-Course Discount. Warning: some features of the site will not be available without JavaScript enabled. Is the earth billions of years old or just thousands? Are radiometric methods of dating rocks and fossils reliable? What evidences support a young age for the earth? How old is the earth? Most secular scientists believe the earth to be billions of years old.

How Old Is Earth?

You’ve got two decay products, lead and helium, and they’re giving two different ages for the zircon. For this reason, ICR research has long focused on the science behind these dating techniques. These observations give us confidence that radiometric dating is not trustworthy. Research has even identified precisely where radioisotope dating went wrong. See the articles below for more information on the pitfalls of these dating methods. Radioactive isotopes are commonly portrayed as providing rock-solid evidence that the earth is billions of years old.

The use of different dating methods on the same rock is an excellent the position of young-earth proponents would require differences in age.

The use of carbon, also known as radiocarbon, to date organic materials has been an important method in both archaeology and geology. The technique was pioneered over fifty years ago by the physical chemist Willard Libby, who won the Nobel Prize for his work on 14 C. Since then, the technique has been widely used and continually improved. This paper will focus on how the radiocarbon dating method works, how it is used by scientists, and how creationists have interpreted the results.

Carbon is a radioactive isotope formed in the upper atmosphere. It is constantly being produced by a system in which cosmic rays from the sun hit atoms, releasing neutrons. The neutrons may then be absorbed by 14 N nitrogen atoms which lose a proton in the process, becoming 14 C. Carbon becomes a part of the mostly homogenous mixture of air in the atmosphere. It can combine with other atoms and molecules such as oxygen to create carbon dioxide, or CO2. Through the process of photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide which contains 14 C along with the much more abundant 12 C and 13 C.

Animals then eat the plants and incorporate 14 C into their own bodies, and eventually it is passed through the food chain. Through this process, every living thing eventually absorbs 14 C into its body in a measurable ratio to 12 C and 13 C. Carbon makes up an extremely small portion of the carbon on earth. In fact, there is about a trillion times more 12 C in the atmosphere than 14 C.

Radiometric back flips; How solid are those dates? (Creation Magazine LIVE! 5-10)