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Doesn’t carbon dating or Potassium Argon dating prove the Earth is millions of years old?


Carbon dating: Whenever the worldview of evolution is questioned, this topic always comes up. Let me first explain how carbon dating works and then show you the assumptions it is based on. Radiation from the sun strikes the atmosphere of the earth all day long. This energy converts about 21 pounds of nitrogen into radioactive carbon 14. This radioactive carbon 14 slowly decays back into normal, stable nitrogen. Extensive laboratory testing has shown that about half of the C-14 molecules will decay in 5730 years. This is called the half-life. After another 5730 years half of the remaining C-14 will decay leaving only ¼ of the original C-14. It goes from ½ to ¼ to 1/8, etc. In theory it would never totally disappear, but after about 5 half lives the difference is not measurable with any degree of accuracy. This is why most people say carbon dating is only good for objects less than 40,000 years old. Nothing on earth carbon dates in the millions of years, because the scope of carbon dating only extends a few thousand years. Willard Libby invented the carbon dating technique in the early 1950's. The amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere today (about .0000765%), is assumed there would be the same amount found in living plants or animals since the plants breath CO2 and animals eat plants. Carbon 14 is the radio-active version of carbon.

Since sunlight causes the formation of C-14 in the atmosphere, and normal radioactive decay takes it out, there must be a point where the formation rate and the decay rate equalizes. This is called the point of equilibrium. Let me illustrate: If you were trying to fill a barrel with water but there were holes drilled up the side of the barrel, as you filled the barrel it would begin leaking out the holes. At some point you would be putting it in and it would be leaking out at the same rate. You will not be able to fill the barrel past this point of equilibrium. In the same way the C-14 is being formed and decaying simultaneously. A freshly created earth would require about 30,000 years for the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere to reach this point of equilibrium because it would leak out as it is being filled. Tests indicate that the earth has still not reached equilibrium. There is more C-14 in the atmosphere now than there was 40 years ago. This would prove the earth is not yet 30,000 years old! This also means that plants and animals that lived in the past had less C-14 in them than do plants and animals today. Just this one fact totally upsets data obtained by C-14 dating.

The carbon in the atmosphere normally combines with oxygen to make carbon dioxide (CO2). Plants breathe CO2 and make it part of their tissue. Animals eat the plants and make it part of their tissues. A very small percentage of the carbon plants take in is radioactive C-14. When a plant or animal dies it stops taking in air and food so it should not be able to get any new C-14. The C-14 in the plant or animal will begin to decay back to normal nitrogen. The older an object is, the less carbon-14 it contains. One gram of carbon from living plant material causes a Geiger counter to click 16 times per minute as the C-14 decays. A sample that causes 8 clicks per minute would be 5,730 years old (the sample has gone through one half life), and so on. (See chart on page 46 about C-14).
Although this technique looks good at first, carbon-14 dating rests on two simple assumptions. They are, obviously, assuming the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere has always been constant, and its rate of decay has always been constant. Neither of these assumptions is provable or reasonable. An illustration may help: Imagine you found a candle burning in a room, and you wanted to determine how long it was burning before you found it. You could measure the present height of the candle (say, seven inches) and the rate of burn (say, an inch per hour). In order to find the length of time since the candle was lit we would be forced to make some assumptions. We would, obviously, have to assume that the candle has always burned at the same rate, and assumes an initial height of the candle. The answer changes based on the assumptions. Similarly, scientists do not know that the carbon-14 decay rate has been constant. They do not know that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere is constant. Present testing shows the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere has been increasing since it was first measured in the 1950's. This may be tied in to the declining strength of the magnetic field.

Potassium Argon dating: "Potassium Argon dating is based on many of the same assumptions and gives wild dates shown below. Since so many wrong dates are found, how would we know which dates are "correct?"

For years the KBS tuff, named for Kay Behrensmeyer, was dated using Potassium Argon (K-Ar) at 212-230 Million years. See Nature, April 18, 197, p. 226. Then skull #KNM-ER 1470 was found (in 1972) under the KBS tuff by Richard Leakey. It looks like modern humans but was dated at 2.9 million years old. Since a 2.9 million year old skull cannot logically be under a lava flow 212 million years old many immediately saw the dilemma. If the skull had not been found no one would have suspected the 212 million year dates as being wrong. Later, 10 different samples were taken from the KBS tuff and were dated as being .52- 2.64 Million years old. (way down from 212 million. Even the new "dates" show a 500% error!) Bones of Contention by Marvin Lubenow, pp. 247-266

Basalt from Mt. Etna, Sicily (122 BC) gave K-AR age of 250,000 years old.

Dalyrmple, G.B., 1969 40Ar/36Ar analysis of historic lava flows. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 6-47 55. See also: Impact #307 Jan. 1999

Lava from the 1801 Hawaiian volcano eruption gave a K-Ar date of 1.6 Million years old.

Dalyrmple, G.B., 1969 40Ar/36Ar analysis of historic lava flows. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 6-47 55. See also: Impact #307 Jan. 1999

Basalt from Mt. Kilauea Iki, Hawaii (AD 1959) gave K-AR age of 8,500,000 years old. Impact #307 Jan. 1999

Basalt from Mt. Etna, Sicily (AD 1972) gave K-AR age of 350,000 years old. Impact #307 Jan. 1999, See: www.icr.org for lots more on dating methods.

In addition to the above assumptions, dating methods are all subject to the geologic column date to verify their accuracy. If a date obtained by radiometric dating does not match the assumed age from the geologic column the radiometric date will be rejected. The so-called geologic column was developed in the early 1800's over a century before there were any radiometric dating methods. "Apart from very 'modern' examples, which are really archaeology, I can think of no cases of radioactive decay being used to date fossils."Ager, Derek V., "Fossil Frustrations," New Scientist, vol. 100 (November 10, 1983), p. 425. Laboratories will not carbon date dinosaur bones (even frozen ones which could easily be carbon dated) because dinosaurs are supposed to have lived 70 million years ago according to the fictitious geologic column. An object's supposed place on the geologic column determines the method used to date it. There are about 7 or 8 radioactive elements that are used today to try to date objects. Each one has a different half-life and a different range of ages it is supposed to be used for. No dating method cited by evolutionists is unbiased. For more information, see video tape #7 of the CSE video series on Creation, Evolution, and Dinosaurs; Bones of Contention by Marvin Lubenow, or Scientific Creationism by Henry Morris (all available from CSE).

A few examples of wild dates by radiometric dating:

Shells from living snails were carbon dated as being 27,000 years old. Science vol. 224, 1984, pp. 58-61

Living mollusk shells were dated up to 2300 years old. Science vol. 141, 1963, pp.634-637

A freshly killed seal was carbon dated as having died 1300 years ago! Antarctic Journal vol. 6, Sept-Oct. 1971, p.211

"One part of the Vollosovitch mammoth carbon dated at 29,500 years and another part at 44,000.
--Troy L. Pewe, Quaternary Stratigraphic Nomenclature in Unglaciated Central Alaska, Geological Survey Professional Paper 862 (U.S. Gov. printing office, 1975) p. 30.

"One part of Dima [a baby frozen mammoth] was 40,000, another part was 26,000 and the "wood immediately around the carcass" was 9-10,000.
--Troy L. Pewe, Quaternary Stratigraphic Nomenclature in Unglaciated Central Alaska, Geological Survey Professional Paper 862 (U.S. Gov. printing office, 1975) p. 30

"The lower leg of the Fairbanks Creek mammoth had a radiocarbon age of 15,380 RCY, while its skin and flesh were 21,300 RCY.
--In the Beginning Walt Brown p. 124

The two Colorado Creek mammoths had radiocarbon ages of 22,850 670 and 16,150 230 years respectively."
--In the Beginning Walt Brown p. 124

"A geologist at the Berkeley Geochronology Center, [Carl] Swisher uses the most advanced techniques to date human fossils. Last spring he was re-evaluating Homo erectus skulls found in Java in the 1930s by testing the sediment found with them. A hominid species assumed to be an ancestor of Homo sapiens, erectus was thought to have vanished some 250,000 years ago. But even though he used two different dating methods, Swisher kept making the same startling find: the bones were 53,000 years old at most and possibly no more than 27,000 years— a stretch of time contemporaneous with modern humans."
--Kaufman, Leslie, "Did a Third Human Species Live Among Us?" Newsweek (December 23, 1996), p. 52.

"Structure, metamorphism, sedimentary reworking, and other complications have to be considered. Radiometric dating would not have been feasible if the geologic column had not been erected first."
--O’Rourke, J. E., "Pragmatism versus Materialism in Stratigraphy," American Journal of Science, vol. 276 (January 1976), p. 54

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