Re: Young Earth

Steve Dutch (DUTCHS@gbms01.uwgb.edu)
Wed, 24 Mar 1999 15:30:57 -0800 (PST)

> >Could you help or do you know someone who has the time. This guy is way over
> >my head. Here's his site. -
> <A HREF="http://www.theologyonline.com/rmcf/">Rocky Mountain Christian
> Fellowship</A>
> >
> >Ed
>
> >
> >Have you read that Astronomers have known for decades about the strange
> >'connection' between the galaxy NGC4319 and the quasar Markarian 205. There
> >are other issues such as light speed changes, Schwartzchild time, possible
> >distances are not so far after all...etc. I agree that there is a lot of
> >science to dig through, but the problem you have is that since you rely on
> >scientific evidence, your views will change with every tide. The bible has
> >remained consistent far longer than any scientific discovery.

How does he know? Did he actually SEE the Bible being written or handed
down across the centuries? Are the witnesses he relies on credible?

This probably refers to alleged physical connections between quasars and
normal galaxies, used for a long time by Halton Arp to argue that
"cosmological" redshifts may have other origins. Arp does not question
that the galaxy may be millions of light years away; he argues that the
quasar must be that close, perhaps given a high redshift by being expelled
at high speed or by some as-yet unknown mechanism. Discarding red shifts,
we can compare the brightness of supernovae in the galaxy, or its angular
dimensions compared with, say the Andromeda Galaxy, to estimate its
distance. Galaxies are still many millions of light-years away.

> >
> >It might also be pointed out that processes once thought to take long
> >periods of time -- millions and millions of years -- are now known to occur
> >in much shorter periods of time. It is generally assumed, for instance, that
> >oil is formed only after the original complex organic matter is covered by
> >several thousands of feet of overburden and after a lapse of several
> >millions of years. Yet Smith has found hydrocarbons (oil is a mixture of
> >hydrocarbons) in sediments dated as "Recent." A composite sample of
> >hydrocarbons taken from the Gulf of Mexico and dated by the C14 method gave
> >an age of 12,300 1,200 years,59 -- a far cry from the millions of years
> >previously thought necessary for their formation.

I point out to my classes regularly that lots of geologic processes happen
fairly quickly, cementation of sedimentary rocks, for example. So what?
It's like arguing that you can only be one second old because that's the
interval between your heartbeats.

> >So my statements regarding K-Ar dating are meaningless? What about New
> >Zealand's newest and most active volcano, Mt Ngauruhoe in the Taupo Volcanic
> >Zone, produced andesite flows in 1949 and 1954, and avalanche deposits in
> >1975. Potassium-argon "dating" of five of these flows and deposits yielded
> >K-Ar model "ages" from <0.27 Ma to 3.5 0.2 Ma. "Dates" could not be
> >reproduced, even from splits of the same samples from the same flow, the
> >explanation being variations in excess 40Ar* content. A survey of anomalous
> >K-Ar "dates" indicates they are common, particularly in basalts, xenoliths
> >and xenocrysts such as diamonds that are regarded as coming from the upper
> >mantle. In fact, it is now well established that there are large quantities
> >of excess 40Ar* in the mantle, which in part represent primordial argon not
> >produced by in situ radioactive decay of 40K and not yet outgassed. And
> >there are mantle-crust domains between, and within, which argon circulates
> >during global tectonic processes, magma genesis and mixing of crustal
> >materials. This has significant implications for the validity of K-Ar and
> >40Ar/39Ar "dating".

Why do YEC's fixate on K-Ar dating and ignore Rb-Sr, U-Th-Pb, etc? And why
do they ignore the fact that these dating methods give generally
consistent results? G. Brent Dalrymple's Age of the Earth gives a thorough
explanation of dating methods. The initial Ar issue has been beaten to
death by geochronologists. Anyone who brings the issue up reveals more
about his own ignorance than about any flaws in dating.

> >Since the matter of geochronological clocks is one of the central arguments
> >for an old earth, it is crucial to see how young-earth advocates look at
> >this evidence. Here are the foundational tenets necessary to read "time"
> >into a ratio of chemicals in a rock specimen:

> >1. The time units must be meaningful and readable.

> >2. The timer must be sensitive enough to measure the interval in question.
> >The same time would not be used for a hundred yard dash and the return of
> >Halley's comet.

True. This is why you can't use C-14 to date historical artifacts to
within a very close interval.

> >3. We must know when the time was started. True, some clocks have a
> >calendar, but a clock does not tell how many times its hands have gone
> >around.

Right, but this implies that the clock gives a MINIMUM age. In other
words, the material has to be older than the age indicated by the clock,
but it could be much older.

> >4. We must not only know when the timer was started, but what the reading
> >was on the timer scale when it started. Was the stop watch at zero when the
> >race began? Or was it on thirty seconds?

Depends on the race. For a sprint it's critical. For a round-the world
sailing race, who cares? Enough initial Ar to give a spurious age of 100
Ka would be fatal when dealing with a Quaternary lava flow,
inconsequential when dealing with a Paleozoic flow.

> >5. The timer must run at a uniform rate; if it does not, we must know what
> >the irregularities are in order to have a meaningful timer.

The existence of nuclear weapons demolishes this point. Nuclear properties
remain constant even in the midst of a nuclear explosion. If they didn't
we would never have been able to predict the behavior of the weapons. So
we can be confident that radioactive decay is not affected by
environmental factors.

The other mechanism often proposed to reset ages is nuclear bombardment.
Your pocket change disproves this one. Nickel consists of two stable
isotopes, Ni-58 and Ni-60. The intervening isotope, Ni-59, has a half-life
of about 40,000 years. How could the rocks be bombarded enough to affect
radioactive decay without turning a lot of common Ni into Ni-59? Your
pocket change should be hot as a cheap handgun if this mechanism had been
at work.

> >6. The timer must not have been disturbed in any way or reset since it was
> >started.

The only way to reset a stopwatch once it's running is to stop it or zero
it. In either case, the measured elapsed time is TOO SHORT. GEOLOGIC AGE
DATING METHODS GIVE MINIMUM AGES. Anything that perturbs the system resets
the clock. Rocks are therefore OLDER than their measured ages.

> >After a thorough and detailed study of each of the geochronological time
> >clocks, Kofahl and Segraves concluded the following:
> >
> >Generally speaking, the evidence as it has been presented indicates that the
> >radiometric and non-radiometric clocks being used by scientists to time
> >earth events fall short in one or more of the requirements for the ideal
> >clock which we studied earlier in this chapter. In particular, the last four
> >of the requirements . . . are normally not met by the usual methods for
> >measuring.
> >
> >There is no way to determine whether or not the "timer" was set at zero when
> >it was started. As a matter of fact, if the world was created, we would
> >expect it to display an appearance of age from the very beginning. Attempts
> >to date it, then, would generally be expected to make it appear older than
> >it really is.
> >
> >Similarly, the requirements that the timer ran at a uniform rate and that it
> >not be disturbed in any way are not subject to experimental verification.

If I pushed this guy down a flight of stairs, I doubt if he would accept
my argument that he didn't actually see me do it. Likewise I don't think
he'd buy a 79 Chevy as new if I told him it had been "created with an
appearance of age." Limiting knowledge to what we actually observe with
our own eyes restricts us to only the most trivial knowledge. If God could
create a universe with a spurious appearance of age he could also give us
scriptures with a spurious appearance of truth.

We
> >cannot prove that these requirements have been met over the years since the
> >earth came into existence. We know, however, of several kinds of events
> >which could have disturbed the timer or the rate at which it has run. The
> >development of the industrial age, great storms on the sun, and variations
> >in cosmic radiation are examples of such disturbances.

Variations in cosmic ray abundance do affect the production of C-14 in the
atmosphere. Unfortunately for YEC's, calibration of the C-14 clock against
tree ring data show that C-14 ages are systematically YOUNG during the
past 10 KA. See Colin Renfrew, Carbon 14 and the Prehistory of Europe,
Scientific American, October 1971, p. 63.

> >There is sufficient evidence "solid rock evidence", that dating techniques
> >are flawed. How do you deal with this?
> >
> >Thanks, in Him,
> >Ed

Lots of Christians slough off bad science as unimportant because of the
eternal issues involved. However, the Bible says, "If a man can be trusted
in small things he can be trusted in great. If a man cannot be trusted
in small things he cannot be trusted in great. If you cannot be trusted
with the treasure of this world, who will entrust you with the treasure of
the next?" If you can't tell the difference between good science and bad
science, where things can be weighed and touched, and controversial
observations can be repeated, what possible reason is there to assume
you're competent to interpret the Scriptures?

Steve Dutch
Professor, Natural and Applied Sciences
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay