Creation Science

Creation Science Book Review

Thousands...Not Billions

Chapter 8: Radioisotope Dating Case Studies


Review by Greg Neyman

© Old Earth Ministries

Published May 2006


     In this chapter, DeYoung summarizes the work of Andrew Snelling concerning case studies of radioisotope dating.  Concerning studies in radioisotope dating, it is known by geologists that if your intent is to disprove radiometric dating, you can pick samples which have known issues.  Such selective sampling means that you intentionally pick rock samples to prove your point.  This is typical of young earth creationist methods when trying to disprove radioisotope dating.  Another method would be to apply the wrong dating method to the wrong rock.  Not all methods are applicable to all rocks.  Again, this has been shown to be typical of the RATE team.  For more specifics on these claims, see RATE, More Faulty Creation Science from ICR.




     Based on the two rock samples in the previous chapter, RATE decided to sample some more rocks to see if this discordant trend continued.  As noted above, this is a highly subjective subject.  You can pick rock samples which you know will support discordance.  Naturally, the RATE study will not mention the thousands of other date studies which give valid results with no discordance.

     There are three questions they seek to answer.  First, does this general trend of discordance continue?  Second, if there is discordance, does the trend in Figure 7-3 continue?  And third, can physical explanations be identified for the discordant dates?




     The RATE rock samples were taken from ten new locations, thus upping their sample size to twelve total locations.  To simplify matters, they chose ten basaltic rock samples, varying in age from over 2.7 billion years old, to less than 100 years old.  




     DeYoung starts out by stating how the samples were prepared for testing.  This will sound fine to the casual reader, but it should be pointed out that none of the RATE scientists have practical experience in radioisotope dating.  This is a procedure that is rarely accomplished by them, or by the ICR graduate students, who probably aided or did the actual sample preparations.  Thus, having ICR personnel prepare samples for radiometric dating is like asking a pastor of a church to prepare chemical samples...his expertise is in theology, not chemistry.




     The results are presented in Table 8-1.  To summarize, as one can expect from amateurs working in radioisotope dating, the results are not uniform and show discordance.




     This section summarizes the discordance.  I admit that the data shows discordance.  The real issue is whether the RATE research is accurate.  Rather than discussing each point raised, I'll merely link to studies, where available, concerning the claims of RATE.  As you will see, RATE's methods are less than satisfactory.


A critique of ICR's dating of Grand Canyon Rocks, including the Cardenas Basalt and Bass Rapids


RATE, More Faulty Creation Science from ICR


Isochron Dating - An excellent summary of the method


Other Articles of Interest

Rats in RATE

RATE Deception


     You may find yourself thinking that I'm not addressing the claims of this chapter.  You are right, I am not directly addressing these claims.  But I am addressing the underlying basis of these claims...the methods used by ICR and RATE to obtain the results.  For the best explanation of Isochron Dating as it relates to young earth claims, see the Isochron Dating article.  Given the thoroughness of this article, it is unnecessary to repeat its arguments here.




     DeYoung notes that daughter isotopes may be incorporated into the rising magma bodies, and then become part of the rock once it cools.  This is true, and is a known limiting factor taken into consideration by geologists who do radiometric dating.

     Next, he focuses on the two young rocks...the Mount Ngauruhoe rocks, at less than 100 years old, and the Uinkaret Plateau rocks, at 1.16 million years old.  Dating of these rocks produced wild results, which is touted as evidence that daughter isotopes were present prior to the rock cooling.  Specifically, argon is mentioned.  Radiometric labs will tell you that you cannot date rocks less than about 2 million years old, as lab equipment is limited in its ability to detect the smaller amounts of argon.  Nonetheless, RATE throws their money away to have them K-Ar dated, knowing in advance that they will give unreliable results.

     The lead-lead method of dating these very young volcanics yielded ages in excess of 3 billion years.  DeYoung notes that other studies of recent volcanics (less than 100 yrs old) have yielded very ancient dates.  True...that is how geologists know not to date certain rock types.  Geochronologists recognize this limitation.  In this instance, context is everything.  Where was the rock found...what is its relationship to other rocks which have dated good?  Rather than accept these dates as the truth, geologists work around these false dates.  RATE gives the impression to the casual reader of this book that geologists blindly accept these dates...this is not the case.

     The remainder of this section deals with the magma sources from the earth's mantle, and with the mixing of mantle material as the magma rises.   




    DeYoung goes to great lengths to show that magma, as it rises, melts nearby rocks and incorporates that material into the magma body, thus "contaminating" the radiometric signature of the rock.  This leads into a discussion of argon contamination, therefore leading to exaggerated ages for rocks dated by K-Ar.  The problem of excess argon has long been known by geologists, and presents no barrier to accurate dating (when it is taken into consideration).




     This section notes that as you get closer to the surface, you get younger rocks.  An attempt to answer this by using the young earth theory of accelerated nuclear decay is used.  A "burst of nuclear decay" corresponding to billions of years worth of decay, during the creation week, helps explain all this decay.  As we have seen from earlier chapters, this would also melt the entire earth, and there would be no earth (the next chapter deals specifically with this theory).  DeYoung goes on to explain that another burst, equal to about 500 million years of decay, occurred during the Flood.  However, if these bursts occurred, then all flood rocks would date to about the same time, or 500 million years.  They do not.  This is explained as rocks deposited late in the Flood year experienced less decay, thus they date younger.  This is a neat theory, but one that fails when you consider that this one-year global flood model is unworkable.  There is no evidence of a global flood only 4,300 years ago.  For more, see Flood Articles.




     In summary, RATE has shown discordance among 12 rock samples.  This is still a statistically insignificant number, and cannot be used to indicate a trend.  It is based on selected samples, chosen by RATE scientists, who know which rocks to date to cast doubt upon radiometric dating.  In short, they found what they were looking for.  They were looking not for the truth, but to disprove radiometric dating.

     In reality, there are thousands of other rock samples which have provided valid radiometric dates.  No discussion of these, nor any efforts to disprove them, have been undertaken by the RATE group.  These thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, still stand unrefuted by young earth creationists. (No doubt many will point to the studies of young earth creationist John Woodmorappe, who identified about 200 bad dates.  However, these were not all bad, as some were the result of Woodmorappe’s twisting of the data.  For more, see the Henke rebuttals (


For More Reading

Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective



     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.



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Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11



Related Articles

R.A.T.E. Project Rebuttal Section



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