Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
Review Published April 2006
Morris begins the answer to this question with a resounding no. He claims that you cannot trust it, and creation scientists have been showing this for decades. Why then is it still used?
Morris alludes to the Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth project. At the time Morris first answered this question, RATE was just getting started. Now, in 2006, it has been concluded, with no valid critiques of the radiometric dating procedure. For more on RATE, see the R.A.T.E. Project Rebuttals.
The main complaints he lists are the assumptions in radiometric dating. The first one he addresses is "decay rates have been constant throughout the past." He contrasts the sight-picture of a fast-forming polonium halo, and nearby is a full uranium halo which takes a long time to form. The polonium argument has been rebutted for many years. A summary can be seen here.
Another problem is heat. The decay rate that would be required to show a young earth would have melted the earth. For more on decay rates, see this article.
The second assumption he mentions is that "no parent or daughter material has been added to or taken from the specimen." Scientists understand this limitation, and look for evidences of contamination. The method Morris mentions is through ground water leeching, and he mentions that all rocks were affected by Noah's Flood. However, there is no evidence to suggest Noah's Flood was global, so this assumption does not have to be accounted for in radiometric dating.
The third assumption is that "no daughter material was present at the start." He uses radiogenic lead as an example. However, his claims are baseless. See this article for more.
Morris is not giving you the entire picture when it comes to radiometric dating. Yes, scientists know that some dates are bad. And young earth creationists can point to hundreds of bad dates. However, what young earth creationists will not show you are the hundreds of thousands of dates which are good. As in any scientific measurement, there is a degree of error. Radiometric dating is no different. Scientists know these limitations, and they watch out for problems related to them.
Overall, radiometric dating is reliable, if it is properly understood. For more on what a Christian should think about radiometric dating, see Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective.
To see some answers to some common young earth claims, see the Geology section of the Young Earth Creationist Argument Index.
If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth. Click here for more.
Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism? Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life? If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.
Section 5 - Physical Science
Q63 - Radiometric Dating
Section 2 - Biology (15 Questions)
Section 3 - Creation Questions (8 Questions)
Section 6 - Impact on Society (20 Questions)
Section 7 - Personal Application (11 Questions)
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about old earth creationism, see
Old Earth Belief,
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Can You Be A
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