|"Nobel Prize winner Dr. Francis Crick (co-discoverer of one of the most important discoveries of 20th century biology) arrived at the theory that life could never have evolved by chance on planet earth."
Two Worldviews in Conflict
What do thousands of scientists believe about creation and evolution?
- One need only look in virtually any reference text to
quickly find that the earth is thought to be some 4.5 billion
years old. As the Encyclopedia Britannica notes, methods such
as measuring radioactive decay (radiometric dating) make it
possible to estimate the time period when earth’s rocks and
associated fossils were formed.
- The most commonly used radiometric dating methods
are potassium-argon, uranium-lead, and rubidium-strontium.
The concept of how these methods work is simple: one element
decays into another at a rather predictable rate. Potassium
decays and becomes argon. Uranium decays into lead. And rubidium decays into strontium. All three of these decay
processes have half-lives measured in billions of years. Half-life
is simply the time required for half of the atoms in a pound of
uranium, for example, to disintegrate into lead. That time is
approximately 4.5 billion years.
- The accuracy of these dating methods depends “critically”
on several assumptions. To date a rock by radiometric
means, one must first assume:
- What the initial amount of the parent atoms was at the
time that the rock formed.
- That the original composition of the rock contained no
- That neither parent nor daughter atoms have ever been
added or removed from the rock.
- That the decay rate of parent atom to daughter atom has
always remained constant.
- If these assumptions are correct, then the radiometric
dates are correct. However, there is no way to independently
test these assumptions. If they are wrong, the method could
yield faulty dates that might be far too old.
- To illustrate, suppose there is a burning candle sitting
on the table. How long has that candle been burning? This
can be calculated if the candle’s burn rate and original length
is known. However, if the original length is not known, or if
it cannot be verified that the burning rate has been constant,
it is impossible to tell for sure how long the candle was burning.
A similar problem occurs with radiometric dating of rocks.
Since the initial physical state of the rock is unknowable, the
age can only be estimated according to certain assumptions.
- When dating a rock, the geochronologist (scientist who
performs the dating procedure) must first assume the rock’s age before it is dated. For example, if a scientist believes a piece
of rock is 4.5 billion years old, he or she may then use the
uranium-lead dating method because it has a half-life of about
4.5 billion years. This involves circular reasoning, as is clearly
evident in the article on dating in the Encyclopedia Britannica:
“Most geologists must rely on geochronologists for their results.
In turn, the geochronologist relies on the geologist for
relative ages.” The geochronologist must also be sure that
the rate of decay, from uranium to lead for example, has remained
constant in the rock over the past 4.5 billion years.
Furthermore, the amount of uranium in the rock that was
present to begin with must also be assumed. And neither uranium
nor lead can have ever been added or removed from the
specimen by any natural circumstances, catastrophic or otherwise.
If all of these assumptions are correct, then the resulting
dates are correct. However if even one of these assumptions is
wrong, then the resulting dates are erroneous.
- Why does radiometric dating repeatedly result in very
old dates (such as billions of years)? While one explanation is
that these dates show the specimens’ true age, another is that
one or more of these large assumptions associated with this
method of dating is wrong.
- Scientists have dated lava rock samples from various active
volcanoes with the radiometric method. Because the formation
of these rocks has recently been observed, radiometric
dating should not give them an age of millions of years. Yet
there are many such examples. Consider the following:
- Rock which was formed in 1986 from a lava dome at
Mount St. Helens volcano was dated by the potassiumargon
method as 0.35 ± 0.05 million years old.
- Rocks from five recent lava flows at Mount Ngauruhoe
in New Zealand were dated using the potassium-argon
method, and resulted in dates ranging from <0.27 to 3.5 million years — but one lava flow occurred in 1949,
three in 1954, and one in 1975.
- Salt Lake Crater on Oahu was determined to be 92–147
million years, 140–680 million years, 930–1,580 million
years, 1,230–1,960 million years, 1,290–2,050 million
years, and 1,360–1,900 years old, using different
radiometric dating methods.
- How did 1,000-year-old carbon-dated trees in the
Auckland volcanic field of New Zealand get buried under
145,000-465,000 year old potassium-argon-dated
- One explanation given by scientists for some of these incorrect
dates is that excess argon was retained in the rocks when
they solidified from a molten state. According to the Canadian
Journal of Earth Sciences, “It is common to discard ages which
are substantially too high or too low compared with the rest of
the group or with other available data such as the geological
time scale. . . . The discrepancies between the rejected and the
accepted are arbitrarily attributed to excess or loss of argon.”
- But if excess argon can cause exaggerated dates for rocks
of known age, then why should this dating method be trusted
for rocks of unknown age?
- No one knows for sure if any of the assumptions of
radiometric dating are correct, however this is the only
method of dating that is considered “absolute.”Physics
professor and researcher Dr. Saami Shaibani, a leading consultant
for America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),
who has 100 scholarly articles to his credit and has been designated
“international expert” in his field by the U.S. Departments
of Labor and Justice, realizes, “In man-made dating
methods, there is assumption upon assumption, plus a
couple of more assumptions sprinkled in, plus some blind guesswork. And this masquerades as wonderful, legitimate
methodology, but it’s not.”
- Creationist scientists distrust the radiometric method of
dating, reasoning that 90 percent of the methods that have
been used to estimate the age of the earth give far younger
ages than those of radiometric dating. “The age of our globe
is presently thought to be some 4.5 billion years, based on
[radiometric dating]. Such ‘confirmation’ may be short-lived,
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 [the dinosaur age] to
a close may not be 65 million years ago, but rather, within the
age and memory of man.”