Opinions on faith and life

The Age of the Earth

2005-09-01

(Source)

How do you know how old something is? For people, we look at hair, skin, and sometimes height. But what about rocks and other geological components? What exactly is it that makes a rock look “old” or not, and how old is old? For example, how would someone who has never been to the US or been aware of the recent Mt. St. Helens eruptions know that there was any significant difference in age between the canyon it formed and the Grand Canyon?

Here are some points from the source article that takes a look at these questions of appearance of age, and how our preconceived notions are influenced not by nature but by ideology. Please see the full article for details. Let’s begin with some evidence that is consistent with an age for the earth that is in the thousands, not millions or billions.

  1. The continents are eroding too quickly.
  2. There is not enough helium in the atmosphere.
  3. Many fossils indicate that they must have formed quickly, and could not have taken long time-spans.
  4. Many processes, which we have been told take millions of years, do not need such time-spans at all.
  5. The oceans are nowhere near salty enough.
The fact is that the earth neither ’looks old’ nor ’looks young’ as such— it all depends on the ’glasses’ through which the evidence is interpreted. We all need to be aware of how much we have been conditioned by our culture to ’see’ geological things as ’looking old’.

But let us stretch our minds still further. It concerns the way we use words such as ’old’ or ’young’ for the earth’s age. I actually believe that the earth is old— very old. It is thousands of years old— as many as six thousand, in fact. Does that angle surprise you? My point is to make us aware of how we have allowed our culture to condition us into thinking that a thousand years is a very short time, and that ’old’ always means millions or billions of years.

That is why tourists, coming across the ’petrified waterwheel’ in Western Australia gawk in amazement. ’It only took sixty years to cover this thing in solid rock?’ Sixty years, with water carrying dissolved limestone dripping night and day onto an object, is actually an incredibly long time. It is our culture, soaked in the myth of ’deep time’, that has indoctrinated us into the belief that a million years (an unimaginable time period, in reality) is only like ’yesterday’.

So next time you hear someone say that the earth ’looks old’, you can respectfully disagree— it can look almost ’any age you want’, depending on how you interpret the factual evidence through the belief system in your mind.

And if someone says the earth is old— you can agree with them, so long as you define what you mean by old— it’s really, really old, in fact it’s ancient. Some six entire millennia have elapsed since God made the world (once perfect, now corrupted due to sin and the Curse) in six real days.

Now some facts about radioactive dating methods:

1. ALL dating methods (including ones that point to thousands, not billions of years, are based on assumptions— beliefs, no matter how reasonable- sounding, that you can’t prove, but must accept by faith. For example:
  • Assuming how much of a particular chemical was originally present
  • Assuming that there has been no leaching by water of the chemicals in or out of the rock
  • Assuming that radioactive decay rates have stayed the same for billions of years, and more
2. Radiometric ’dating’ labs do not measure age— they measure amounts of chemicals, then from this they infer age, based on the underlying assumptions.

3. When the assumptions are tested by measuring rocks of known age— e.g. recent lava flows— they often fail miserably.

4. Objects of the same age, tested by different methods, have been shown to give ’dates’ varying by a factor of a thousand.

5. The fact that there is some consistency to radiometric dates is explained in part by the tendency to publish only data consistent with the ’evolutionary age’ already ’established’ by fossils. Most radioactive dating laboratories prefer you to tell them what age you expect. It is hard to see why this would be necessary if these were ’absolute’ methods. The entire geological ’millions of years’ system was largely in place, based on the philosophical assumptions of men like Charles Lyell and James Hutton, before radioactivity was even discovered. Where a radioactive date contradicts the ’system’, it is invariably discarded.

6. If a ’radiometric’ date and a ’fossil’ (evolutionary) date conflict, the radiometric date is always discarded.