Young earth dating techniques

After a certain amount of time, the ratio of 14 C to 12 C, compared to a modern sample of the same type, will give a date for the object in question.

evidences for a young age of the Earth and the universe - RationalWiki

Carbon decays into 14 N through the process called Beta decay with a half-life of approximately 5, years. The beta decay process consists of the atom of 14 C ejecting an electron, or beta particle, out of the nucleus, converting a neutron to a proton in the process. The resulting atom, or daughter product, is 14 N which has the same atomic number, but contains one more proton than the parent product. A half-life works the same way in any type of decay.

In the case of 14 C, every 5, years half of the original 14 C decays into nitrogen. Eventually, there is too little 14 C left in a sample to accurately measure without contamination. Theoretically, radiocarbon techniques have the ability to date samples to around 75, years, but the working threshold of reliable dating is around 50, years. Samples significantly older than this have very little or even no measurable 14 C left.

In order to function properly, natural clocks need an irreversible process that occurs at a constant and known rate. Nuclear decay has a constant rate of decay, but as it turns out, the formation of 14 C in the atmosphere is not always constant. However, cross-checking techniques such as tree ring dating and coral analysis, 14 C has been reliably calibrated to tens of thousands of years. The newest limit using cross-checking methods is around 26, years Dotinga Carbon isotopes are generally measured through the use of a machine called the accelerated mass spectrometer.

A small portion of the sample is put into the machine which then vaporizes it. Taking advantage of the distinct mass of individual isotopes, the machine distinguishes the 14 C from all of the other atoms and molecules present and is able to count the individual atoms. Charcoal, cloth, bone, or any other material that contains organic carbon can be dated using an accelerated mass spectrometer.


In conjunction with other creationist organizations, the Institute for Creation Research has assembled a team of researchers to challenge existing notions about the age of the Earth. The RATE team Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth have studied a variety of subjects pertaining to the age of the Earth including radiocarbon dating. In the traditional model of science, radiocarbon has little to do with the age of the Earth, since its lifespan is so short.

Scientific Evidence for a Young Earth

However, RATE is attempting to fit all radiometric dating into a young earth model. The RATE research in the area of radiocarbon has focused on the "blank" sample date. According to the science behind radiocarbon dating, very old samples should have no measurable 14 C left.

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However, conventional scientific research projects, as well as RATE research on coal beds and diamonds, have found samples which should no longer have any 14 C but actually contain very small amounts of it. Since the accelerated mass spectrometer can detect 14 C to a higher precision than what was found in the samples, the 14 C is thought to exist because of some sort of unexplained phenomenon or contamination. Therefore, the RATE team has identified a valid anomaly in radiocarbon research which deserves further research.

Before proposing their alternate theory about the residual 14 C found in very old samples, the Rate team first discusses the possibility of contamination. Besides the cosmic rays creating 14 C in the atmosphere, other ways to create 14 C have been identified.

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Alpha particle emissions from uranium and thorium decay can convert 14 N into 14 C just as it is formed in the atmosphere. However, as Baumgardner discusses the possible contamination through these processes, he concludes that "production of 14 C by thermal neutrons at presently observed levels in unable, by several orders of magnitude, to account for the 14 C levels we measure" Baumgardner The RATE team has used this anomaly to advance an alternative theory.

Noting that 14 C exists in samples which should be 14 C dead and thus providing an age for the samples around 50, years, the RATE team has come up with a theory for how such an inconsistency could occur. After rejecting contamination as a possibility for the presence of background radiocarbon, the team has come up with a model in which the accounts outlined in the Bible, specifically Noah's flood, explains the observed 14 C. All of the individuals who participated in the research began with the same view on the age of the earth: This means that we regard the bible as a uniquely inspired book given to mankind from the Creator" DeYoung In creating their 14 C model, that premise is used as the foundation.

The logic for the theory is as follows: This means that radiocarbon dating actually proves the fossils are 5, years old, not 50, An Earth that was thousands of years old remained the dominant view during the Early Modern Period — and is found typically referenced in the works of famous poets and playwrights of the era, including William Shakespeare:.

The Age of the Earth

The poor world is almost 6, years old. Support for an Earth that was created thousands of years ago declined among the scientists and philosophers from the 18th century onwards with the development of the Age of Enlightenment , the scientific revolution , and new scientific discoveries. In particular, discoveries in geology required an Earth that was much older than thousands of years, and proposals such as Abraham Gottlob Werner 's Neptunism attempted to incorporate what was understood from geological investigations into a coherent description of Earth's natural history.

James Hutton , now regarded as the father of modern geology, went further and opened up the concept of deep time for scientific inquiry. Rather than accepting that the Earth was deteriorating from a primal state, he maintained that the Earth was infinitely old. Hutton's main line of argument was that the tremendous displacements and changes he was seeing did not happen in a short period of time by means of catastrophe, but that the incremental processes of uplift and erosion happening on the Earth in the present day had caused them.

As these processes were very gradual, the Earth needed to be ancient, in order to allow time for the changes to occur. While his ideas of Plutonism were hotly contested, scientific inquiries on competing ideas of catastrophism pushed back the age of the Earth into the millions of years — still much younger than commonly accepted by modern scientists, but a great change from the literalist view of an Earth that was only a few thousand years old. Hutton's ideas, called uniformitarianism or gradualism , were popularized by Sir Charles Lyell in the early 19th century.

The energetic advocacy and rhetoric of Lyell led to the public and scientific communities largely accepting an ancient Earth. By this time, the Reverends William Buckland , Adam Sedgwick and other early geologists had abandoned their earlier ideas of catastrophism related to a biblical flood and confined their explanations to local floods.

Professor Timothy H. Heaton

By the s, mainstream science had abandoned a young Earth as a serious hypothesis. He subscribed to the latter theory indefinite days and found support from the side of Yale professor James Dwight Dana , one of the fathers of Mineralogy , who wrote a paper consisting of four articles named 'Science and the Bible' on the topic. The decline of support for a biblically literal young Earth during the 19th century was opposed by first the scriptural geologists [40] and then by the founders of the Victoria Institute. The rise of fundamentalist Christianity at the start of the 20th century saw a renewed interest in proposals that the Earth was thousands of years old, as a part of the movement's rejection of evolution.

White described the impact of the Great Flood on the shape of the Earth. Although not an accredited geologist, Price's writings, which were based on reading geological texts and documents rather than field or laboratory work, [43] provide an explicitly fundamentalist perspective on geology.


The book attracted a small following, with its advocates almost all being Lutheran pastors and Seventh-day Adventists in America. Laurence Kulp , a geologist and in fellowship with the Plymouth Brethren , and other scientists, [46] Ramm influenced Christian organizations such as the American Scientific Affiliation ASA in not supporting flood geology. Price's work was subsequently adapted and updated by Henry M. Morris and John C. Morris and Whitcomb argued that the Earth was geologically recent and that the Great Flood had laid down most of the geological strata in the space of a single year, reviving pre-uniformitarian arguments.

Given this history, they argued, "the last refuge of the case for evolution immediately vanishes away, and the record of the rocks becomes a tremendous witness This became the foundation of a new generation of young Earth creationist believers, who organized themselves around Morris' Institute for Creation Research.

Sister organizations such as the Creation Research Society have sought to re-interpret geological formations within a Young Earth Creationist viewpoint. It is, therefore, no surprise that in their theological works, as opposed to their creation science writings, creationists regard evolution and all other theories associated with it, as the intellectual source for and intellectual justification of everything that is to them evil and destructive in modern society.

For them all that is spiritually healthy and creative has been for a century or more under attack by "that most complex of godless movements spawned by the pervasive and powerful system of evolutionary uniformitarianism", "If the system of flood geology can be established on a sound scientific basis This in turn would mean that every anti-Christian system and movement communism, racism, humanism , libertarianism , behaviorism , and all the rest would be deprived of their pseudo-intellectual foundation", "It [evolution] has served effectively as the pseudo-scientific basis of atheism , agnosticism, socialism, fascism, and numerous faulty and dangerous philosophies over the past century.

Young Earth creationism directly contradicts the scientific consensus of the scientific community. A joint statement of InterAcademy Panel on International Issues IAP by 68 national and international science academies enumerated the scientific facts that young Earth creationism contradicts, in particular that the universe, the Earth, and life are billions of years old, that each has undergone continual change over those billions of years, and that life on Earth has evolved from a common primordial origin into the diverse forms observed in the fossil record and present today.

As such, young Earth creationism is dismissed by the academic and the scientific communities. One estimate found that " scientists Arkansas Board of Education as no witness was able to produce any articles that had been refused publication and the judge could not conceive how "a loose knit group of independent thinkers in all the varied fields of science could, or would, so effectively censor new scientific thought".

Morris' ideas had a considerable impact on creationism and fundamentalist Christianity. Armed with the backing of conservative organizations and individuals, his brand of "creation science" was widely promoted throughout the United States and overseas, with his books being translated into at least ten different languages.

Strengths and weaknesses of radiometric and other dating methods

The inauguration of so-called "Young Earth Creationism" as a religious position has, on occasion, impacted science education in the United States , where periodic controversies have raged over the appropriateness of teaching YEC doctrine and creation science in public schools see Teach the Controversy alongside or in replacement of the theory of evolution.

Young Earth creationism has not had as large an impact in the less literalist circles of Christianity. Some churches, such as the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches , accede to the possibility of theistic evolution ; though individual church members support young Earth creationism and do so without those churches' explicit condemnation.

Adherence to Young Earth Creationism and rejection of evolution is higher in the U. About one third of Americans believed that humans evolved with God's guidance and 15 per cent said humans evolved , but that God had no part in the process.