Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
Published May 2006
In this chapter, DeYoung summarizes the work of Eugene Chaffin concerning accelerated nuclear decay.
A CHALLENGE TO CONVENTIONAL SCIENCE
DeYoung begins by saying that one of the conclusions of the RATE study is that there was accelerated nuclear decay during the creation week, and during the year-long Flood of Noah. It should be noted that this is not a claim made as a result of the evidence. Instead, RATE acknowledged that there has been an apparent decay equal to billions of years. They must fit this decay into a time period of the last 6,000 years, therefore this decay must have happened during the formation of the rocks, which mostly occurred during the creation week and during the Flood. Thus, it is not an argument from the evidence...it is an argument based on the need to show how billions of years of decay could occur.
Part of their proof of this accelerated nuclear decay, or accelerated nuclear decay for short, is helium retention in zircons. This has already been dealt with in Chapter 4 of this review.
As DeYoung notes, nuclear decay is very constant today, and any accelerated rate in the past would have profound implications. However, there is no scientific evidence to support accelerated nuclear decay. In the end, DeYoung gives a defense of the validity of young earth creation science, which some regard as backwards and less than scientific. While this is largely true, with this RATE work and other ongoing works, it is evident that young earth creation scientists are trying to appear "scientific." To anyone willing to look inside the windows of young earth creationism, it is easy to note that this scientific appearance is nothing more than a facade...once you get past the walls and windows, the truth reveals the errors of their scientific work. While "beauty is only skin deep," young earth creation "science" is also only skin deep.
THE SHELTERED NUCLEUS
As DeYoung notes, the nucleus of atoms are very stable, and experiments over the years to accelerate decay have largely produced little results. As a result, science has no evidence to support accelerated nuclear decay, and there is no evidence that accelerated nuclear decay has occurred in the past. It is clearly upon the shoulders of young earth creationists to explain how this could have happened scientifically.
THE NUCLEAR POTENTIAL WELL
DeYoung explains the nuclear potential well in this section. In short, the alpha particle must escape from the atom. Factors such as the energy of the particle, and the distance from the center of the nucleus are considered. RATE did calculations based on shortening the distance from the nucleus, which greatly increases the chances of the particle to escape. However, as DeYoung explains, methods of speeding up this decay, and shortening the half-life have had little effect. No mechanism or means has been theorized that shortens this nuclear potential well. Even if there were, this would be laboratory conditions. One would have to explain how this happened naturally.
RATE also did some theoretical calculations based on treating the alpha particle as a wave, and its relation to the Coulomb Barrier. While interesting to know, these theoretical adjustments are fictitious and could not occur in nature.
This section shows the wild grasping that the RATE group is doing in order to justify their accelerated nuclear decay theory. In String Theory, there are multiple dimensions, beyond just the length, width, depth, and time that we can experience. They speculate that through these extra dimensions it may be possible to account for this accelerated decay. However, if true, these dimensions are present today as well as during the creation week and the flood. Theoretically, if they caused accelerated nuclear decay, they would still be causing accelerated nuclear decay...hence, this is not a possible answer for young earth creationists.
THE EPISODES OF ACCELERATED DECAY
The young earth position proposes two periods of accelerated decay. Some 90 percent of the decay occurred during the creation week, and 10 percent occurred during the global Flood of Noah. There is no direct evidence to support this. Also the heat problem would even prevent it...more below.
Note that the radiation during the creation week had to occur prior to life forming, on Day Three. Thus, there was four billion years of decay crammed into Days 1&2 of creation.
FURTHER QUESTIONS TO PONDER
The next sections address these questions.
PURPOSE OF ACCELERATION
RATE does not propose any direct reasons why acceleration occurred. They merely state that God could have done it. In other words, it turns into a God of the Gaps type argument, with no real solution.
So, why would there be a two-day period of accelerated decay during creation, which accounts for 90 percent of all decay, and why would there be a year-long period of accelerated decay during the Flood, and why would it only account for 10 percent of all decay? Why would a year long event only account for 10 percent, and two days account for 90 percent? It would be more likely that two days would be 1 percent, and a whole year would be 99 percent. Why would God cause this accelerated decay in the first place? All these questions beg to be answered.
This is the biggest problem facing the accelerated nuclear decay theory. Releasing 4 billion years of nuclear decay in a period of two days would easily melt the earth. As we saw before, the uranium reserves in the United States alone would equal 6,700,000 nuclear bombs exploding during the two day period...and that does not include the uranium from the rest of the world!
They list only one possible output for this heat...Humphreys idea of cosmological cooling, basically dissipating the heat into the expansion of the fabric of space itself. There is no proof to back up this claim. With such heat dissipation, it would be a fine line between maintaining a warm enough temperature not to freeze the planet. Also, this effect would still be seen today...I guess without it, earth today would be thousands of degrees!
When scientists today observe nuclear decay, they also observe the heat generated from this decay. It does not dissipate into the "fabric of space." Humphreys has been watching too much Star Trek...he should come back down to earth.
Interestingly, DeYoung says that the heat problem is taken seriously, but it is not seen as an insurmountable problem. That is because no matter what the science says, it can be twisted to support a young earth. Give them time...they will twist some theory to neatly explain it, and we will be here to give you the truth.
As it stands now, they have no answer to this heat problem, nor to the "why" of accelerated nuclear decay.
This is a neat problem. Since there is so much potassium in our bodies, if 500 million years worth of decay occurred in the year of the flood, Noah, his family, and the animals, would have roasted from the inside due to the heat from the nuclear decay! DeYoung says this problem is a topic of current research.
This is also a problem with Carbon-14. He explains this away with the wild claim that prior to the flood, the carbon-14 content in an organism would have been 100 times less than it is today. However, carbon calibration charts prove what levels of carbon were in the atmosphere over the last 22,000+ years. At the time of the supposed flood, 4,300-4,500 years ago, there is no significant change to carbon levels. To see for yourself, check out the carbon calibration charts linked from Chapter 3 of this review.
DeYoung says that "The exploration of accelerated nuclear decay mechanisms has taken us to many unexpected topics." Young earth creationists have hinted at accelerated decay for years, but have not addressed it. Finally, with RATE, they realized, "Hey, this is a real problem." So far they have failed to answer the problem, but given long enough, they will find a way to twist science and come up with an explanation.
WHAT THEY DIDN'T TELL YOU
Another problem is one of a "very good" creation. By their understanding, this decay occurred during Days 1 and 2 of creation, before the creation of any life. Is not decay bad? And, by admitting this decay, they are admitting that there was harmful radiation as a part of the "very good" creation. It would appear that this radiation would destroy the young earth arguments for death and decay prior to sin.
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.
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