By Greg Neyman
© 2010, Old Earth Ministries
First Published 14 April 2010
In a daily article for the Instutute for Creation Research website posted on 12 April 2010, science writer Brian Thomas asks the question 'Why aren't Earth's Oldest Trees Older?1 He claims that "the majority of them (old trees) are consistent with a biblical timeframe for earth history."
The source of tree information that he is using as evidence comes from Wired Science, which compiled a list of 12 ancient, still-living trees. Thomas states that two of the trees are 'clonal trees', which he states have estimated ages based on presumed rates of outward spreading. The other 10 trees, he claims, are dated by "extrapolating growth estimates back into the past or by counting their tree rings."
Thomas then focuses on a single tree, named Methuselah, which is the oldest living single tree (not clonal), at about 4,800 years old. Thomas mentions that this date was obtained by tree ring count. From this point, he mentions that some trees, notably tropical trees, add a new ring of growth several times a year. He notes that the tree's location today is in an arid region. Thomas claims that during the Ice Age (YEC belief is forced to accept only a single ice age that occurred after the Flood), it could have been less arid, implying that during the YEC ice age it could have added more than one ring per year. It is important to note that most Noah's Flood is widely thought by young earth creationists to have occurred around 4,300 years ago. Thus, Methuselah's life would only have to be shortened by about 500 years by the multiple rings per year caused by the ice age.
Of course, Thomas has no direct evidence for his theory. It is mere speculation on his part about how the evidence might be fit into the YEC model.
Unfortunately for Thomas, let's look at other evidence that he conveniently omitted from his article.
First, let's consider Methuselah. Yes, it was dated by tree ring counting. However, it has also been dated by carbon-14. In fact, it's rings have been used to calibrate the carbon-14 dating method.2
Second, Thomas ignores another tree in the list, the 9,550 year old clonal tree known as "Old Tjikko," a spruce tree in Norway. Although Thomas only claimed that clonal trees are dated from presumed rates of outward spreading, that is not how this tree was dated. It was carbon dated.2 Thus, instead of an estimated age, we have an age based on scientific data.
Third, one must consider other living organisms besides trees. A creosote bush, known as King Clone, has been carbon dated at 11,700 years old.2
Finally, consider the case of Pando. This is a clonal colony of Quaking Aspen trees in Utah, with a conservative age estimate of about 80,000 years. Upper estimates place the age at more thatn 1 million years.3 There may be still older colonies of Quaking Aspen that have yet to be discovered.
It goes without saying that these plants are far older than the young earth global flood, which they say occurred about 4,300 years ago. Although these old plants negate the possiblility of a young earth global flood, they have no impact upon a local flood, which is consistent with an old earth creationist understanding of the Bible.
Rather than address all of the issues that concern earth's oldest living organisms, Thomas singles out bits and pieces in order to craft an article that supports his theory of a young earth. When you consider all of the evidence, however, there is no doubt that his claim of earth's oldest trees supporting young earth creationism is wishful thinking.
Visit Old Earth Ministries on Facebook.
1 Thomas, Brian, Why Aren't Earth's Oldest Trees Older?, ICR News, 12 April 2010.
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.
Did you know that you can be a Christian,
and believe that the earth is billions of years old? You can even
believe in evolution and be a Christian. There is no conflict
between science and the Bible...all one needs is a proper
understanding how to merge science and the Bible. To learn more
about old earth creationism, see
Old Earth Belief,
or check out the article
Can You Be A
Christian and Believe in an Old Earth?
Feel free to check out more of this website. Our goal is to provide rebuttals to the bad science behind young earth creationism, and honor God by properly presenting His creation.