The Answers Are Always In Reason, Never In Genesis!!
Dating methods explained and YEC debunked
Our pseudoscience purveying friends at www.answersingenesis.org believe the Earth to be around 6000 years old. They start with this conclusion because of the bible. They freely admit this in their statement:
That’s why, when discussing the age of the earth, Christians must be ready to explain the importance of starting points and assumptions. Reaching the correct conclusions requires the right starting point.
The Bible is that starting point. This is the revealed Word of the almighty, faithful, and true Creator, who was present to observe all events of earth history and who gave mankind an infallible record of key events in the past.
So that is science out the window, as was explained in my previous article Logic, reason and pseudo-science.
Yet in the same breath AIG will attempt to use science to work backwards and misrepresent science to suit their need, and of course employ their favourite of all, show scientific errors in the past in an attempt to discredit all dating methods and their findings due to a handful of mistakes made.
There are many many many dating methods used by various branches of science and quiet often 1 or more are used to gauge the ages of the materials being dated. I heard a wonderful fallacy named by my friend and colleague here at AIR, “The Vietnam Fallacy – You weren’t there, man!”. The thing is we don’t have to have been there, and besides, by that logic they should be dismissing the genesis account as they were not there…
We have wood – Dendochronology
The simplest example I can give is the rings of a tree. Each year the tree forms a light and dark part due to change of rates in growth in Summer and Winter which manifests as a ring. Each ring represents 1 year. We can accurately date the tree going by this. The tree is actually much more likely to not produce a ring and its age be estimated as less than it really is. We can then use another dating method and calibrate it to the age of the tree that we know. Over years the methods used now employ thousands of tweaks, if not millions, in order to calibrate each dating event. Yes science has gotten materials mixed up, or identical younger or older materials have leaked in to the sample, but since then science has learned to allow for this. A simple Google search on variations in C14 and head for the scholarly docs and you have best part of 100, 000 hits on articles delving deeply into how the experts have honed their calibration skills to allow for most any event they can think of which may lead to a bad result returned. The problem is that AIG either don’t research and report the fact that science knows the possible pit falls of C14 dating, and allows for it, or they choose not to inform their readers that this is all in hand, and prefer to mention the mistakes and not how they are used to correct and return even more accurate results.
There are trees called clonal trees which, depending on which species, can live up to 3000 to 4000 years but the interesting part is that their root system stays in tact and, if you take the Huon Pine it can be dated to 10,000 years. The Norway Spruce’s oldest known root system dates at 9,550 years. The Palmer Oak to 13,000 years old and the Quaking Aspen 80,000 to 100,000 years. Without going to dating method 2 we have already debunked AIG YEC problems with dating claims and refuted a young earth. This also doesn’t bode well for the flood myth. Over 1 year of being drenched would most likely leave the roots sodden and dead and would certainly leave traces of different minerals and environmental evidence within the ring structure of the tree, but we can address the flood in another article…
Breaking it down – When parents become daughters?!?!
Radioactive elements were incorporated into the Earth when the Solar System formed. All rocks and minerals contain tiny amounts of these radioactive elements. Radioactive elements are unstable; they breakdown spontaneously into more stable atoms over time, a process known as radioactive decay. Radioactive decay occurs at a constant rate, specific to each radioactive isotope. Since the 1950s, geologists have used radioactive elements as natural “clocks” for determining numerical ages of certain types of rocks. Spontaneous breakdown or decay of atomic nuclei, termed radioactive decay, is the basis for all radiometric dating methods.
As radioactive Parent atoms decay to stable daughter atoms (as uranium decays to lead) each disintegration results in one more atom of the daughter than was initially present and one less atom of the parent. The probability of a parent atom decaying in a fixed period of time is always the same for all atoms of that type regardless of temperature, pressure, or chemical conditions. This probability of decay is the decay constant. The time required for one-half of any original number of parent atoms to decay is the half-life, which is related to the decay constant by a simple mathematical formula.
All rocks and minerals contain long-lived radioactive elements that were incorporated into Earth when the Solar System formed. These radioactive elements constitute independent clocks that allow geologists to determine the age of the rocks in which they occur.
That was just 2 dating methods which are employed to “take us back in time, as if we were there”.
Lets look at the geological layer/column now. Creationists love to mention how Mt St Helens eruption formed several layers of rock layer in just 3 hours. Evolution and old earth debunked and refuted as far as they are concerned by this event alone. Not so fast creationists. Geologists and palaeontologists are fully aware of how igneous rock forms. Radiometric dates are “reset” when new rocks form. To claim that this instance plays any part in the big picture of geological dating is such an absurdity, and again relies on people needing it as a confirmation bias to support their preferred belief.
Another ploy is to mention that the geological layer is incomplete. Well if you like to confirm your bias by listening to arguments from ignorance, then great:
Now that we understand those starting points, we can take a closer look at the geologic record. There is no place on earth where we can find every rock layer in a continuous sequence. The geologic column presented in textbooks is a composite of many smaller columns that can be identified from direct observation. However, the presence of a general order in the rock record is undeniable. – https://answersingenesis.org/geology/geologic-time-scale/geologic-column/
Geological layer, list of areas where it can be found in its entirety
• The Ghadames Basin in Libya • The Beni Mellal Basin in Morrocco • The Tunisian Basin in Tunisia • The Oman Interior Basin in Oman • The Western Desert Basin in Egypt • The Adana Basin in Turkey • The Iskenderun Basin in Turkey • The Moesian Platform in Bulgaria • The Carpathian Basin in Poland • The Baltic Basin• The Yeniseiy-Khatanga Basin• The Farah Basin in Afghanistan • The Helmand Basin in Afghanistan • The Yazd-Kerman-Tabas Basin in Iran • The Manhai-Subei Basin in China • The Jiuxi Basin China • The Tung t’in – Yuan Shui Basin China • The Tarim Basin China • The Szechwan Basin China • The Yukon-Porcupine Province Alaska • The Williston Basin in North Dakota • The Tampico Embayment Mexico • The Bogata Basin Colombia • The Bonaparte Basin, Australia • The Beaufort Sea Basin/McKenzie River Delta
So what does the geological layer tell us?
It gives us a snapshot and timeline of history. Basically, scientists have learned that rocks are stacked in layers containing fossils with the oldest fossils at the deepest layers, and the youngest, or most recent fossils, near the top. It’s as if rock layers are a vertical timeline. At the bottom of the timeline there are no fossils of modern animals. As you move towards the surface, you find fish, then amphibians, then reptiles, mammals, birds, and finally modern mammals including humans. It shows an emergence of life in order of appearance. The cry of the creationist apologist is, “Satan has done this to trick you into believing in old earth and evolution”. My reply, and those of my peers is, “Please support this assertion or STFU”. Unfortunately they dont STFU. Quite the opposite. They repeat the same assertion again seemingly believing that by repeating it enough it will become accepted. Who else in history thought that? Do I fall foul of Godwin’s Law if I mention Goebbels?
Back to my columns. The layers of sediment usually form horizontally, sitting nicely on top of each other, most recent down to oldest and the law of superposition describes the layers of rock, usually with oldest at bottom to youngest at the top. Using such principles as uniformitarianism, original horizontality, superposition, and cross-cutting relations, we can construct the geologic history of a region. The principle of fossil succession states that the assemblage of fossils in strata changes from base to top of a sequence. Once a species becomes extinct, it never reappears. Strata are not necessarily deposited continuously at a location. An interval of non-deposition or erosion is called an unconformity. Geologists recognize three kinds: angular unconformity, nonconformity, and disconformity. A stratigraphic column shows the succession of strata in a region. A given succession of strata that can be traced over a fairly broad region is called a stratigraphic formation. The process of determining the relationship between strata at two separate locations is called correlation. A geologic map shows the distribution of formations and geologic structures.
The process of determining the relationship between strata at two separate locations is called correlation. A geologic map shows the distribution of formations and geologic structures. A composite chart that represents the entirety of geologic time is called the geologic column. The column’s largest subdivisions, each of which represents a specific interval of time, are eons. Eons are subdivided into eras, eras into periods, and periods into epochs. The numerical age of rocks can be determined by isotopic (radiometric) dating. This is because radioactive elements decay at a rate characterized by a known half-life. The isotopic age of a mineral specifies the time at which the mineral cooled below a closure temperature. We can use isotopic dating to determine when an igneous rock solidified and when a metamorphic rock cooled. To date sedimentary strata, we must examine cross-cutting relations with dated igneous or metamorphic rock. Other methods for dating materials include counting growth rings in trees and seasonal layers in glaciers. Isotopic dating indicates that the Earth is 4.57 billion years old.
Simple, right? Basically younger at the top, older the lower you go in the column. Radiometric dating confirms this. This method can be employed in any of the earth’s crust and returns the same results. To say there may be changes and the decay constant may not be correct becomes an assumption as there is no reason to think that may be the case. An appeal to ignorance fallacy, if only there was an article out there dealing with the logical fallacies commonly put forward by theists. Found one www.ansers-in-reason.com your one stop shop resource. Theist fallacy article here.
The fossils of each eon in the timeline show which organisms lived at which period on the timeline and when they disappeared and the subtle(evolutionary) changes in the species which came after them which adapted and lived through the following eon, and this goes on and on and on, generation to generation, each fossil being a transitional fossil with slight change.
Let there be light – Thermoluminescence dating showing ages of 10,000 years
Thermoluminescence dating is a method for determining the age of objects containing crystalline minerals, such as ceramics or lava. These materials contain electrons that have been released from their atoms by ambient radiation, but have become trapped by imperfections in the mineral’s structure. When one of these minerals is heated, the trapped electrons are discharged and produce light, and that light can be measured and compared with the level of surrounding radiation to establish the amount of time that has passed since the material was last heated (and its trapped electrons were last released).
Although this technique can date objects up to approximately 230,000 years ago, is only accurate on objects 300 to 10,000 years in age. This is, however, still over 4,000 years older than the creationist figure for the age of the earth. Source Rationalwiki
Until we meet again
Of the few dating methods mentioned the YEC claim is already a no go, an absurdity put forward by those that have a worldview which conflicts with evidence from multiple branches of science. the YEC claim is untenable.
I have a list of methods still not mentioned as long as my arm and if you will indulge me I would like to publish a 2nd follow up article describing some of the many other methods in a follow up article but I feel I have taken up far too much of your time already. However you can look forward to such methods as Cosmic Jets and Space Weathering of Asteroids. Bringing it back down to earth with Continental Drift and Nitrogen Impurities in Diamonds culminating in Global Star Clusters and Distant light.