Whenever the worldview of evolution is questioned, the topic of carbon dating always comes up. Here is how carbon dating works and the assumptions it is based upon. Radiation from the sun strikes the atmosphere of the earth all day long. This energy converts about 21 pounds of nitrogen into radioactive carbon This radioactive carbon 14 slowly decays back into normal, stable nitrogen. Extensive laboratory testing has shown that about half of the C molecules will decay in 5, years. This is called the half-life.
At some point you would be putting it in and it would be leaking out at the same rate. You will not be able to fill the barrel past this point of equilibrium. In the same way the C is being formed and decaying simultaneously. A freshly created earth would require about 30, years for the amount of C in the atmosphere to reach this point of equilibrium because it would leak out as it is being filled.
Tests indicate that the earth has still not reached equilibrium. There is more C in the atmosphere now than there was 40 years ago. This would prove the earth is not yet 30, years old!
This also means that plants and animals that lived in the past had less C in them than do plants and animals today.
Just this one fact totally upsets data obtained by C dating. Animals eat the plants and make it part of their tissues. A very small percentage of the carbon plants take in is radioactive C When a plant or animal dies, it stops taking in air and food so it should not be able to get any new C The C in the plant or animal will begin to decay back to normal nitrogen.
The older an object is, the less carbon 14 it contains. One gram of carbon from living plant material causes a Geiger counter to click 16 times per minute as the C decays.
A sample that causes 8 clicks per minute would be 5, years old the sample has gone through one half-life and so on. Although this technique looks good at first, carbon dating rests on at least two simple assumptions. These are, obviously, the assumption that the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere has always been constant and that its rate of decay has always been constant.
Neither of these assumptions is provable or reasonable. An illustration may help: Imagine you found a candle burning in a room, and you wanted to determine how long it was burning before you found it. You could measure the present height of the candle say, 7 inches and the rate of burn say, an inch per hour. In order to find the length of time since the candle was lit, we would be forced to make some assumptions.
How Creationism Taught Me Real Science 65 Dating Assumptions
We would, obviously, have to assume that the candle has always burned at the same rate, and assume an initial height of the candle. The answer changes based on the assumptions. Similarly, scientists do not know that the carbon decay rate has been constant. They do not know that the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere is constant.
Present testing shows the amount of C in the atmosphere has been increasing since it was first measured in the s.
Understand radiometric dating creationism opinion
This may be tied in to the declining strength of the magnetic field. In addition to the above assumptions, dating methods are all subject to the geologic column date to verify their accuracy. If a date obtained by radiometric dating does not match the assumed age from the geologic column, the radiometric date will be rejected. The so-called geologic column was developed in the early s over a century before there were any radio- metric dating methods.
There are about 7 or 8 radioactive elements that are used today to try to date objects. Each one has a different half-life and a different range of ages it is supposed to be used for. But many secular scientists continue to trust the potassium-argon model-age method on rocks of unknown age.
Oct 27, "Science has proved that the earth is billion years old." We have all heard this claim. 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. Radiometric Dating and Creation Science. The topic of radiometric dating (and other dating methods) has received some of the most vicious attacks by young earth creation science theorists. However, none of the criticisms of young earth creationists have any scientific merit. Radiometric dating remains a reliable scientific method. Radiometric dating is a much misunderstood phenomenon. Evolutionists often misunderstand the method, assuming it gives a definite age for tested samples. Creationists also often misunderstand it, claiming that the process is inaccurate. Radiometric Dating Is Not Inaccurate Perhaps a good place to start this article would be to affirm that radiometric dating is not inaccurate. It is.
If so, then their true ages are much less than their radiometric age estimates. The age estimate could be wrong by a factor of hundreds of thousands.
But how would you know? We must also note that rocks are not completely solid, but porous. And gas can indeed move through rocks, albeit rather slowly. So the assumption that all the produced argon will remain trapped in the rock is almost certainly wrong.
And it is also possible for argon to diffuse into the rock of course, depending on the relative concentration. So the system is not as closed as secularists would like to think. There are some mathematical methods by which scientists attempt to estimate the initial quantity of elements in a rock, so that they can compensate for elements like argon that might have been present when the rock first formed.
Such techniques are called isochron methods. They are mathematically clever, and we may explore them in a future article.
Q. How do you explain the results of radiometric dating which say the earth is billions of years old, and the Bible's account of creation? A. The age of the earth as presented in the Biblical account of creation, and the age of the earth as calculated using radiometric dating are vastly different (thousands of years compared to billions of years). For many people, radiometric dating might be the one scientific technique that most blatantly seems to challenge the Bible's record of recent creation. For this reason, ICR research has long focused on the science behind these dating techniques. If a date obtained by radiometric dating does not match the assumed age from the geologic column, the radiometric date will be rejected. The so-called geologic column was developed in the early s over a century before there were any radio- metric dating methods. Scientific Creationism by Henry Morris).
However, like the model-age method, they are known to give incorrect answers when applied to rocks of known age. And neither the model-age method nor the isochron method are able to assess the assumption that the decay rate is uniform.
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As we will see below, this assumption is very dubious. Years ago, a group of creation scientists set out to explore the question of why radiometric dating methods give inflated age estimates. We know they do because of the aforementioned tests on rocks whose origins were observed.
But why? Which of the three main assumptions initial conditions are known, rate of decay is known, the system is close is false? To answer this question, several creation geologists and physicists came together to form the RATE research initiative R adioisotopes and the A ge of T he E arth.
Radiometric dating creationism
This multi-year research project engaged in several different avenues of study, and found some fascinating results. As mentioned above, the isochron method uses some mathematical techniques in an attempt to estimate the initial conditions and assess the closed-ness of the system. However, neither it nor the model-age method allow for the possibility that radioactive decay might have occurred at a different rate in the past. In other words, all radiometric dating methods assume that the half-life of any given radioactive element has always been the same as it is today.
If that assumption is false, then all radiometric age estimates will be unreliable. As it turns out, there is compelling evidence that the half-lives of certain slow-decaying radioactive elements were much smaller in the past.
This may be the main reason why radiometric dating often gives vastly inflated age estimates. First, a bit of background information is in order. Most physicists had assumed that radioactive half-lives have always been what they are today. Many experiments have confirmed that most forms of radioactive decay are independent of temperature, pressure, external environment, etc. In other words, the half-life of carbon is years, and there is nothing you can do to change it.
Given the impossibility of altering these half-lives in a laboratory, it made sense for scientists to assume that such half-lives have always been the same throughout earth history. But we now know that this is wrong. In fact, it is very wrong. More recently, scientists have been able to change the half-lives of some forms of radioactive decay in a laboratory by drastic amounts. However, by ionizing the Rhenium removing all its electronsscientists were able to reduce the half-life to only 33 years!
In other words, the Rhenium decays over 1 billion times faster under such conditions. Thus, any age estimates based on Rhenium-Osmium decay may be vastly inflated. The RATE research initiative found compelling evidence that other radioactive elements also had much shorter half-lives in the past. Several lines of evidence suggest this. But for brevity and clarity, I will mention only one. This involves the decay of uranium into lead Unlike the potassium-argon decay, the uranium-lead decay is not a one-step process.
Rather, it is a step process. Uranium decays into thorium, which is also radioactive and decays into polonium, which decays into uranium, and so on, eventually resulting in lead, which is stable.
Eight of these fourteen decays release an alpha-particle: the nucleus of a helium atom which consists of two protons and two neutrons.
The helium nucleus quickly attracts a couple of electrons from the environment to become a neutral helium atom. So, for every one atom of uranium that converts into lead, eight helium atoms are produced.
Helium gas is therefore a byproduct of uranium decay. And since helium is a gas, it can leak through the rocks and will eventually escape into the atmosphere. The RATE scientists measured the rate at which helium escapes, and it is fairly high.
Therefore, if the rocks were billions of years old, the helium would have had plenty of time to escape, and there would be very little helium in the rocks. However, the RATE team found that rocks have a great deal of helium within them.
Young-earth creationists believe, on the basis of what they read in the Bible, that the Earth is 6, years old; this is the core reason that they try to undermine the validity of radiometric dating and this is why they go to the absurd length of positing accelerated rates of radiometric decay. Radiometric dating and the age of the Earth. by Ralph W. Matthews, Ph.D. [Click here for a summary of this article.]. Before , ages for the Earth based on uranium/thorium/lead ratios were generally about a billion years younger than the currently popular billion years. For decades creation scientists have shown that the answer to this question is a clear NO! Its results have been shown to be inconsistent, discordant, unreliable, and frequently bizarre in any model. Creationists have, in particular, pointed out the weak assumptions on which the method is based, and the contradictory nature of its results. A research consortium has recently convened at ICR to.
In fact, the amount of helium in the rocks is perfectly consistent with their biblical age of a few thousand years! It is wildly inconsistent with billions of years. But the fact that such helium is present also indicates that a great deal of radioactive decay has happened; a lot of uranium atoms have decayed into lead, producing the helium.
At the current half-life of uranium, this would take billions of years.
But if it actually took billions of years, then the helium would have escaped the rocks. The only reasonable explanation that fits all the data is that the half-life of uranium was much smaller in the past. That is, in the past, uranium transformed into lead much faster than it does today. The RATE team found similar evidence for other forms of radioactive decay. Apparently, during the creation week and possibly during the year of the global flood, radioactive decay rates were much faster than they are today.
The RATE team also found that the acceleration of radioactive decay was greater for elements with longer half-lives, and less for elements with shorter half-lives.
All radiometric dating methods used on rocks assume that the half-life of the decay has always been what it is today. But we now have compelling evidence that this assumption is false.
And since the decay rate was much faster in the past, those who do not compensate for this will end up with age-estimates that are vastly inflated from the true age of the rock. This of course is exactly what we observe.
We already knew that radiometric dating tends to give ages that are much older than the true age. Now we know why. For whatever reason, many people have the false impression that carbon dating is what secular scientists use to estimate the age of earth rocks at billions of years. Carbon dating is not used on rocks, because rocks do not have much carbon in them.
And with a half-life of only years, carbon does not last long enough to give an age estimate if something were truly millions of years old. All the carbon would be gone after one million years.
To estimate the ages of rocks, secular scientists use elements with much longer half-lives, such as uranium, potassium, and rubidium Animals and plants contain abundant carbon. Carbon dating is therefore used most frequently on animal or plant remains. The method gives an estimation of how long ago the organism died. Most carbon is c; the nucleus contains six protons and six neutrons. Carbon is stable.
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A small fraction of carbon is c, which contains eight neutrons rather than six. Carbon is produced in the upper atmosphere when cosmic rays produce neutrons that interact with nitrogen atoms, converting them to c The c naturally decays back into nitrogen with a half-life of years. Animals then eat the plants, by which c is integrated into their body. So all plants, animals, and people have a small, but measurable quantity of c in their body.
That c is slowly but continually decaying into nitrogen. But, while alive, plants and animals replenish the c by taking in additional carbon from their environment. Therefore, the ratio of c to c in a living animal or plant is roughly the same as it is in the atmosphere. But when an organism dies, it ceases to replenish its supply of c The c simply decays, and therefore the c to c ratio in a dead organism will be somewhat less than that of the atmosphere.
The older the organism, the lower the ratio. So, the ratio of c to c in animal or plant remains serves as a proxy for age, and can be used to estimate how long ago the organism died. Unlike rock-dating methods, carbon-dating tends to give the correct answer when tested on material whose age is known. We therefore have more confidence in carbon-dating methods than we do in these other methods, though none are perfect of course.
Interestingly, many fossils of plants and animals often contain some of the original material of the organism - including carbon. When this occurs, we can measure the ratio of c to c in these remains, and estimate the age. And what do we find? Very consistently, carbon-dating gives ages that confirm the biblical timescale of thousands of years. Even when we test specimens that evolutionists believe to be millions of years old, such as coal beds, carbon-dating consistently reveals age estimates of a few thousand years.
Yes, there are measurable levels of c in coal, which would be utterly impossible if coal were millions of years old. We have even carbon dated dinosaur fossils, and the age estimates always are in the range of thousands of years - never millions. The RATE team even found c in diamonds that secularists believe to be billions of years old. But after 1 million years, no c would remain. Therefore, diamonds are only thousands of years old at most.
And there would be no c left in such a specimen. But there always is. Without fail, carbon-dating confirms the biblical timescale. Even carbon dating has its assumptions of course. One of those is the assumption that the c to c ratio in the atmosphere has always been constant.
But we would not expect that to be the case. The earth may have had very little c in its atmosphere when God first created it.
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It takes time for c to build-up. Moreover, the earth had a stronger magnetic field in the past which deflects cosmic rays and would tend to reduce c production. At the time of the worldwide flood, creation scientists believe that the atmosphere had only a small fraction of its current level of c If we neglect this then our age-estimates will be inflated by a factor of ten or so.
This is exactly what we find. However, if these remains were millions of years old, there should be no c left in them, which is not what we find. Radiometric dating has been demonstrated to give wrong age estimates on rocks whose age is known. Yet, secularists continue to assume that it gives correct age estimates on rocks of unknown age.
This is the only reasonable way to make sense of the abundance of helium found trapped in various rocks. The abundance of helium indicates that much radioactive decay has happened.