Re: Bristlecone pines (Re: Radiometric Dating Techniques)

Arthur V. Chadwick (
Thu, 12 Feb 1998 15:06:53 -0800

At 02:25 PM 2/11/98 -0600, R. Joel Duff wrote:

>Referring only to the 4000 year old chronology, you don't seem to be
>questioning the veracity of that data. I have several questions. First, I
>was under the impression that a good portion of the White Mountains were
>volcanic in nature.

The bristlecones in the White Mountains are growing in Precambrian?
dolomite (thus the White Mountains). In the area are some of the earliest
Cambrian rocks known (Archaeocyathid "reefs"), although I cannot recall the
specific stratigraphic relationship of these rocks to the Dolomite, they
would presumably overlie it stratigraphically.

If so are the these trees growing on any volcanic
>rocks and further if they are when is it supposed that these volcanoes were
>created. I am still having trouble with placing the volcanoes before or
>during the flood. If post flood it would seem that it would have been some
>time before any of these 4000 year old trees could have become established.
>Even if not volcanic all pictures I see of these trees show them growing
>on highly weathered rock such that even if these mountains are were the
>result of mountain-building post-flood then these trees did not become
>established in their present position I would think for hundreds of years.
>The end result is that it seems that the presence of even these living
>trees on these mountains suggests that more than 4000 years have passed
>since a global flood.

The major anomaly in Ferguson's work occurs at 2700 B.C. which makes it
closer to 4700 years, if that helps. You have jogged me into trying with
Karen's help to retrieve some of this data. It will be very difficult, and
perhaps if you wish, we could discuss this further.

>Now I know that you may be somewhat sympathetic toward a flood date older
>than 4000 years ago but the creationists I know hold tightly to a strict
>chronology placing the flood at no more than 4200 years ago. When faced
>with tree ring data they can not accept even the 4000 year old date for the
>living trees and insist that that date is bogus because "it has been shown
>that these trees can grow multiple tree rings in one year." Seeing how you
>seem to accept the 4000 year old date I was wonding what you think of such
>criticisms. Further, if I might press you on this. Is this a situation,
>or is there any other scientific data, that you know of that compells (bad
>word because it implies you put science over Scripture) to accept an older
>date for the flood than 4000 ybp? It appears this is a sitution where
>extraBiblical data has caused creationists to reinterpret the Scriptures.
>I don't think the interpretation is wrong, I am just pointing out that all
>Christian do interpret the Bible based on external evidences at some point.

I am very loose on an exact date for anything that has no historical
pinnings. If I see no scriptural mandate and the scientific data seems
valid, as David suggests, i would go with the science. If I thought Bishop
Usher was correct, and that it made a difference, I would probably look
harder at the data. As you know, and as Glen is so fond of pointing out,
you can't reexxamine everything in science. So if I find something that
appears not to present a problem for me , I gladly accede to it. However I
will quickly add, that where I have spent years testing some point where
specifically, geology and scripture as I understand it did not agree, I
have invariably found a better explanation in consort with the Biblical
account. This gives me a strong measure of encouragement in the direction
I am going in science.