T W I N
C I T I E S
C R E A T I O N
S C I E N C E
A S S O C I A T I O N
HOW LONG AGO?
The Dating of Bones by Radio-isotopes
By Bill Overn
If a secure scientific method could be devised to date the dinosaur bones, and that method clearly indicated that they were millions of years old, one would have difficulty believing what our Creator reveals to us in His Bible. But the fact is, there is no reliable scientific way to date them.
The Bible was written by the One that was there at the beginning, Who is the author of all Truth. The "scientific" opinions have been formed by men who start by declaring that if God exists at all, He takes no part in nature, and never did. Therefor they force themselves to devise methods in which their hypothetical world and all the living things it contains formed by themselves. None of this is reality. It is these theories that a large portion of educated people regard as "science."
I am one of the early designers of the computer. If I were forced to believe that a computer came into existence by itself, since it's so impossible, I would at least start by expecting that it would have taken millions of years. Now a fish brain is infinitely more complex than a computer. So you see how absolutely necessary it is for a rational evolutionist to accept a millions-of-years old earth with no reservations whatsoever. It's an intellectual necessity. The only alternative is to accept a Creator.
But if God made us, then He owns us. He can make LAWS for us to follow. He can PUNISH us if we break those laws. That is so frightening to anybody who doesn't know his Savior, that he looks to his friends and says "That's not true, is it?". And they reassure each other that there is no Creator, and go about their scientific pursuits as if He did not exist.
Two-hundred years ago the scientists started to document their reasoning and speculations on the age of the earth. Since most of them were Bible-believers, they realized that when creation occurred, the world had to be completely functioning. So it couldn't have been condensing from a gas, or going through various forming processes at the beginning. So if Adam were to make scientific speculations at the time that the earth was one-week old, he could have reasoned that the age was millions or more years. He observed that the trees were mature, the soil neatly covered the rocks, and there was no indication of recent construction activity. But Adam knew better, since God revealed to him the historical truth that the earth was only seven days old.
These Bible-believing scientists realized that any measurement they devised would of necessity be older than the actual age, since it would be unable to read through the creation event. Since that time over fifty measuring systems have been devised. Although they are not very precise, they indicate the rough maximum in each case.
A number of these must be discarded simply because the result is ridiculous, although the source of the errors has not been determined. Among these is an age of the ocean of 500 years, based on the concentration of certain salts, and 20-million year radiometric readings obtained for an Hawaiian lava flow known to be less than 200 years old.
Some age-dating systems give maximum ages highly compatible with the Scriptural truth. Here are a few examples:
Marine concentrations of most salts give numbers clustering around 10,000 years.
Radio halos in coal (Probably deposited by the flood) give ages 3-5000 years.
Concentrations of Radioactive carbon in the atmosphere (C-14) indicate 6-7000 years.
Excess pressure in oil wells give maxima around 6000 years.
The rate of decay of the earth's magnetic field show that 10,000 years ago the earth would have been too hot for life.
The only known heat source for the sun is gravitational collapse. Five-million years ago, the sun would have been so large, that its proximity would have made the earth too hot for life. (More on this later.)
Soon, however, the culture started to adopt a more liberal view of the Bible, and the scientists started to consider their findings and speculations more secure than Scripture. Darwin published his book titled "On the Origin of Species, or the Survival of Favored Races by Natural Selection in the Struggle for Life". This book was immensely popular, since Britain was desperate to maintain its empire against a rising moral tide opposed to the exploitation of colonial people. Here was "scientific" justification for racism, and the book sold out in the first week.
Without the modern knowledge of genetics and biochemistry, evolution was immediately embraced by science, and family trees of development were devised. Those researchers with the strongest voices established where the various fossil specimens should be placed, and on which family tree. These were correlated with geologic studies in which careful attention was given to the fossils found in various rock layers. This kind of science became the vogue, wherein repeated experiment was replaced with majority opinion. The age of a rock layer was estimated on the basis of how long it takes to deposit a sediment, or the length of time a river might take to cut a canyon. Then on the basis of the family trees they had devised, certain "index fossils" were chosen to indicate the age of new rock formations in which they might be found.
After acceptance by generations of geologists and paleontologists this dating system is considered very secure, and is termed "stratigraphic" dating. But there are regular occurrences of evidence against it. For example, the coelacanth, the index fossil for the 70-Million-year era, was found living in 1938.
The system depends on gradualism, or uniformitarianism. "The present is the key to the past" was the watchword. The system would have no validity at all if there were gigantic catastrophes such as the great flood. But we know of the flood from Scripture. Most of the geologic column is completely explained by the flood, operating over a single year.
Radiometric methods, are used to create a false atmosphere of accuracy around the old pre-technology dating methods.
Scientists can no longer avoid catastrophism, since there is so much evidence for it. A canyon near Mt. St. Helens, 1/40th as deep as the Grand Canyon was observed to form in thirty hours. But stratigraphic dating is still adhered to with religious zeal. It also contains a logical flaw based on circular reasoning. The fossil is dated by the rock in which it is found, while the rock is dated by the fossil it contains.
Radiometric dating is a new technology that has developed over the last fifty years since good nuclear measuring instruments have been devised. The non-scientists have been told that the radiometric methods are absolute, but nothing could be farther from the case. The method hinges on the fact that many of the elements occur in different types, called "isotopes", having different numbers of nuclear neutrons. Some of these are "radioactive", that is they "decay" into other elements. The rate of decay is quite secure, so if you know how much was there in the beginning, you can tell how long the sample has been there by measuring how much is left. But we never know how much was there in the beginning. The entire art focuses on ways of estimating the initial amounts.
There are many systems used for different cases. Uranium to lead, potassium to argon, rubidium to strontium, and carbon-14 to nitrogen are examples. A scientific article or
text (not an encyclopedia or high-school text) will start out by claiming a rather secure foundation for this method, but will point out many unsolved problems. These start out with break-downs in the many assumptions required to estimate the initial conditions. Then they show how often the different systems give far-different results. These are attributed to the rocks not being "closed" over time, some of the parents or the daughters leaching in or out of the rock. Finally they carefully delineate which system is more likely to give "accurate" results for any particular type of rock. The definition of accuracy is agreement to the stratgraphic system. Thus it is true that the radiometric methods are simply calibrated to the "known" stratigraphic method, based on studies of fossils that were made a hundred years before the advent of radiometric methods.
So we see that the only thing we can say about the dating of dinosaurs by modern radiometric methods, is that it is used to create an atmosphere of accuracy around the old pre-technology dating methods, an atmosphere that is entirely false.
The PETROLEUM GAZETTE, 1998 vol 2, page 19 in an article on Australian land forms states, in a section dealing with the age of rocks:
"......However, radiometric dating is not exact. The method can introduce sources of error. What's more, the most suitable examples of dating are igneous rocks which contain no fossils. Thus a careful
correlation from dated igneous rocks to associated fossiliferic rock is required to establish the actual ages of geological time periods in millions of years......"
This quotation illustrates that the only acceptable dates are those that agree with the stratigraphic system. Modern technology has still failed to produce a secure method of measuring dates that is acceptable to an honest scientist.
All living things would be expected to have the same concentration of C-14 in their bodies as is contained in the atmosphere when they die. But at that time the C-14 decays to N-14 with a half-life of about 5730 years. Here the beginning point is quite secure (the same as the atmosphere). But this doesn't work on anything that is not formerly living, rocks for example. It doesn't work for fossilized bones either, since the living material has been replaced by rock.
There are still problems. The C-14 in the atmosphere is known to vary, so ancient dates are immediately suspected, since the beginning point is not secure. Also there are many other anomalies, such as living mollusks having their shells carbon dated at 3-thousand years. So the method has limited credibility. The method is useful in archeology, however, if used with discretion.
In order to accommodate the idea that life has developed over a billion-year span, a thermo-nuclear sun was invented.
When the popular consensus adopted the 8-900-Million year scenario for the development of life, The heating of the sun by gravitational collapse had to be discarded. Although this is based on very secure science, the shrinking sun sets an upper limit on the age of the world at 5-Million years and had to be rejected. So for 50 years there was no generally-accepted theory for the sun's heat source. Then radioactivity and thermo-nuclear reactions were discovered. So immediately a thermo-nuclear sun was invented.
But further research revealed that thermo-nuclear reactions produce neutrinos. In the 70's a neutrino detector was built a mile underground in the Homestake Mine in South Dakota to measure the solar neutrinos.
After fifteen years they finally admitted that the expected neutrinos are missing. "Science News" referred to it as a "neutrino crisis". Today the accepted view is that the sun's heat must be thermonuclear, or else the geologic column would collapse. However, it must turn off from time to time, and right now, it is off.