Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
First Published 28 January 2003
How accurate is radiometric dating? Is it as unreliable as the young earth creation scientists say? If you accept the young earth creation science model, you MUST deny that this dating method is inaccurate, regardless of whether or not you are right.
Unfortunately, to begin with the starting point that "all radiometric dates" of millions of years are wrong is very bad science. As I've stated in other articles, the scientific method consists of doing an experiment, observing the results, and then making conclusions. However, the young earth scientist has already reached the conclusion, before they even consider any experiments. This is one reason their scientific results are so transparent.
It is interesting to note that creation scientists who are adamant in their refusal to accept radiometric dating a as a reliable age indicator, are so willing to trust in radiological methods when it supports their cause. For example, consider the article "The Collapse of Geologic Time" on the Answers in Genesis website. In this article they use radiometric evidence to support a young earth. However, the theory of the half-life of radioactive isotopes is the same for their theory, and for its use in radiometric dating. What's the difference? One supports a young earth, the other does not. What we have here is a double standard. Accept what you can prove supports the young earth theory, and discard it if it contradicts it! Amazing, isn't it.
Yes, its true that you can go to Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research websites, and read about a radiometric dating procedure that is not accurate. What you won't read about is the sample size of radiometric dates that are wrong. There have been millions of radiometric dating procedures performed, and judging by their websites, you could probably find at least 100 erroneous dates. Given a low figure such as 1 million, that is an error rate of 1/100th of 1 percent. You are going to have errors in any procedure performed by humans. What's the chances of me hitting the wrong key while typing this? It is going to happen. Does that make "all typing" trash? If I misspell one word in 10,000, should I throw the whole thing away and start over? Of course not!
This is one of the great tricks of young earth creation science. They reason that if they can cast doubt upon one experiment, even though the sample size is "millions," then they can convince the reader that they are correct, and the reader should disregard all the "millions" of experiments.
The authors explain that in order to form the radiohalos from polonium-210, the wood would have to be saturated quickly, within a year. Ok, no problem. What's that got to do with the price of beans in China? They haven't said anything about the age of the coalified wood. They have only proved that the wood was saturated with water containing polonium-210. However, this saturation could have happened 6,000 years ago, or 60 million years ago...it doesn't matter. (This is a common trick used by young earth scientists. If they can convince the reader, through something that is totally unimportant, that they are knowledgeable in their field, then the reader is much more likely to accept the conclusion, despite the fact that the article itself doesn't even prove the conclusion!)
This next claim is astounding! The authors claim this was an amazing event, because they found this at three separate locations within this region...therefore it must be a cataclysmic event! (author's assumption). Great detective work! The only way to know that this was the same event was to be there to witness it. It is like me saying, "I found a Wendy's hamburger on the street in Cincinnati OH, Louisville, KY, and Nashville, TN. Since Louisville, KY is between the other two, all three hamburgers came from the same restaurant in Louisville. Do you believe me? Of course not! My question to the author's is...can you prove it was from the same cataclysmic event? No, because they were not there to witness it.
The text box at the bottom discusses radiometric dating "assumptions" which cannot be proved. So what's their point? We all make assumptions. So, how much stuff do young earthers assume? We have already seen an assumption in this article. How about another?
We only have to look at the section on dinosaur footprints. The authors state, "The pattern of tracks suggests that the animals were fleeing from an imminent catastrophe. Nearby, a huge dinosaur graveyard has been found at Dinosaur National Monument (Vernal, Utah) in Jurassic sediments. Obviously, the dinosaurs that made these tracks didn’t escape." Excuse me, but how do you know which dinosaurs made these tracks? Were they there when they ran across this sediment, and then did they see them die? This is clearly another example of twisting evidence to prove their point. They state the dinosaurs were "fleeing." Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe it was a common practice of the dinosaurs to "run." How do the author's know they were fleeing a catastrophe? In all likelihood they were probably running from a predator, or just migrating. You see, a young earth creation scientist can make assumptions, but they deny everyone else that right. (Footnote: One of the big debates going on right now among paleontologists is the speed at which dinosaurs can run. Many computer simulations are being conducted…why? Because most of the footprints we have are all of dinosaurs which were walking! If we knew the stride length and size from the footprints, we would not need computer simulations. This is further proof that the claim that these dinosaurs were “fleeing” a catastrophe is wrong…they were probably just walking along.)
One more point...in their section titled "More Confirming Evidence" they talk about there not being any lead-206 in the radiohalos. While they talk about the radioactive decay series, they fail to state, from U-238 to Pb-206, how long the entire process takes? I don't know...but I assume that since they failed to discuss this, in reality, there should be very little lead-206 present anyway. Here is another common deception by young earth scientists...only give a part of the puzzle. If the reader does not have all the information, then they are less likely to disprove their theory.
Anyway, if you like, you can ignore this entire article. After all, in their conclusion, the authors state "It is, however, consistent with the vast fossil-bearing, sedimentary rock deposits of the Colorado Plateau having been laid down rapidly by the catastrophic global Flood described in the Bible, some 4,300 years ago." I've already proved that you can't lay down the vast sediments of the Grand Canyon, so the flood model's ability to lay down these sediments is equally transparent. It doesn't matter how many radiohalos you study, if you can't lay down the sediment, it is a moot point.
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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