Age of the Earth

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The historical and scientific evidence strongly indicates that the earth is approximately 6,000 years old.[1]

See also Counterexamples to an Old Earth.

The Age of the Earth has been a matter of interest to humans for millennia. All verifiable evidence indicates that the Earth is only about 6,000 years old. Yet with circular reasoning and implausible assumptions, liberals insist that the Earth is approximately 4.54 billion years (4.54 × 109 ± 1%).[2][3][4]

Old Earth advocates rely on one flawed assumption to the exclusion of other evidence, similar to how an investigator may mistakenly rely on one faulty eyewitness's opinion to the exclusion of all else. In fact, eyewitness testimony is proven to be less reliable to than other indicators, just as the assumption by Old Earth proponents that the rate of radioactive decay has always been constant is flawed. In fact, the rate of radioactive decay would slow down greatly as the universe cools.

Moreover, a large number of physical processes, such as neutron capture and fluctuations in solar radiation, affect the rate of radioactive decay of elements in the Earth's crust and render radioactive dating measurements unreliable, depending upon the specific methods used.[5] Even so, such an error will not cause a calculation of the age of the Earth based on radiometric dating to be off by up to five orders of magnitude.

Much scientific evidence points to a young age of the earth and the universe and the biblical creation organization Creation Ministries International published articles entitled 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe and How old is the earth? which summarize some of the evidence for a young age of the earth.

Contents

Historical views

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Widespread Historical Acceptance of Biblical Account

For most of recorded history humans of many backgrounds, such as St. Barnabas and St. Irenæus,[6] viewed the age of the Earth to be around 6,000 years.[7]

Saint Cyril, who came into Great Moravia (present day Slovakia and Moravia in Czech Republic) from Byzantine Empire in 863 AD as Christian missionary, wrote in his poem Proglas,[8] dedicated to his works on translation of the four biblical Gospels to Slavonic language, the following sentence that brings testimony about the perception of the age of the world that time:

To the holy Gospels I am the Foreword:
for as it was promised by the prophets long ago,
Christ comes to gather the nations,
for He sheds light on the world entire.
That is what has happened in our seventh millennium.
The seventh millennium since the Creation was calculated as follows:
5 508 years that had passed since the Creation till Jesus Christ’s birth plus
863 (the year when Constantine and Methodius had come to Moravia)
results in figure of 6 371.[9]

Prior to the onset of totalitarian and uniformitarian (i.e. long-age) scientism promoted by Lyell, Darwin, Huxley, and others in the 19th century, when most people and scientists in Europe and North America had a Christian or biblical worldview, the atheistic evolutionary concept of billions of years for the age of the earth was unknown to mainstream Western science beyond cursory philosophical speculations.[10]

For example, in his 1619 book the Harmonices Mundi (The Harmony of the World), Johannes Kepler, mathematician and astronomer, wrote that he does not care if his book will need to wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for him as an observer.[11] Kepler calculated a Creation date of 3992 BC, and Isaac Newton also strongly defended biblical chronology.[12]

In 1771, the first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, the oldest English-language general encyclopedia that was first published as a 3-volume set in Scotland, included a table of world events under the heading ‘Astronomy’ on page 493. These events begin with the creation of the world in the year 0, which they dated at 4007 years before Christ.[10][13]

In 1830, Dr. Hales published a list of 120 historical authorities from various cultures who had decided on an official date of creation. These ranged from 6984 B.C. to 3616 B.C.[14]

Included in Hales' list is James Ussher, who calculated the famous date of 4004 B.C. for creation. Young Earth creationists still consider this date to be close to the actual date.

Evolutionists vs. Kelvin

George-Louis Lecrerc, Count of Buffon, rejected Christianity, adopted evolutionary thought, and thus searched for materialistic explanations for the origin of earth.[15] In 1778, he proposed that the Earth was about 74,832 years old.[16] In the early nineteenth-century, the so called uniformitarians conspired to overthrow the Biblical chronology that would measure geologic time in generations of man.[17] The dictum as a fundamental maxim for their geological speculation was expressed through James Hutton’s 1785 aphorism[16]: “The revolt, therefore, of this physical inquiry is, that we find no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.“[18]

In 1830 Charles Lyell supported Hutton's idea in Principles of Geology [16], a book that later influenced Darwin. Lyell started his book with a self-serving history of geology that uncritically hailed any insight anticipating uniformitarianism and utterly dismissed the contributions of catastrophists. Before Darwin boarded the HMS Beagle, his Cambridge tutor Adam Sedgwick, who had supplied Darwin with a reading list for the voyage, conspicuously omitted controversial Lyell’s Principles. Darwin was however given a copy of the book by Robert FitzRoy.[15][19] Darwin was fascinated by book, he dedicated his own writings about the voyage to Lyell, and in his letters claimed that "I always feel as if my books came half out of Lyell's brains ... the great merit of the Principles, was that it altered the whole tone of one's mind & therefore that when seeing a thing never seen by Lyell, one yet saw it partially through his eyes."[20] It is believed a feeling of guilt at having helped Darwin arrive at his heretical theories was a factor that might have contributed to FitzRoy’s tragic decision to suicide on 30th April, 1865.[21]

In 1854 Hermann von Helmholtz estimated an age of between 20 and 40 million years.[16]

The doctrine that the Earth was of unlimited age allowed Uniformitarian geologists to evade explaining any phenomena by laws of physics and resort to blurring them by “reckless drafts on the bank of time” instead.

Around the same time Lord Kelvin put his mind to deriving an age, and came up with a range between 20 million years and 400 million years. He later refined that down to between 20 million and 40 million years.[16] More recent discoveries of radioactivity and mantle convection explain why the assumptions Helmholtz and Kelvin made resulted in dates that are much lower than current uniformitarian estimates.

The 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica discussed dates up to 500 million years.[22]

By about 1930, J. H. Jeans was arguing for an age of the Earth of around two billion years.[23]

The Scientific Dogma of 4.5 billion years

In his 1956 paper named Age of Meteorites and the Earth, Claire Patterson, using “certain assumptions which are apparently justified,” introduced for meteor age a figure of 4.55 ±0.07 × 109yr. and commented that since earth lead meets the requirement for definition of “the isotopic evolution of lead for any meteoritic body,” it is therefore “believed that the age for the earth is the same as for meteorites” and that "this is the time since the earth attained its present mass".[24] In spite of cautions and skepticism advised by the authors, this figure gradually became a scientific dogma that rarely anyone has dared to question.[25] Henry Morris explains that the unprovable assumptions are not the only problem with radiometric dating. One huge concern is that the results published are only a selected sample, chosen especially to agree with preconceived ideas about the earth, life, and evolution.[26]

When in 1972 N.H. Gale tried to corroborate this established figure, he discovered that U-Pb ages "showed apparent large excess of radiogenic lead compared with the amount expected from the decay of Uranium in the meteorites over 4.5AE. ... For each of the 4 meteorites there was an excess of radiogenic lead not supported by uranium decay over 4.5AE.” After short analysis:

  • “The superior modern analytical methods used made it impossible that analytical contamination could explain the result.
  • The circumstances ... make it extremely unlikely that terrestrial contamination could explain the results for this meteorites.
  • ... a considerable excess of radiogenic lead in most fractions ...is difficult to attribute to contamination,“

rather than starting to reckon with possibility to challenge the established figures and methods, after recalling that “Patterson was the first to show that several stony meteorites yield a ... model of 4.5AE,” he proposed the new explanation for discovered discrepancy: "discordant results can be attributed to contamination." Consequently, his research of the Earth’s age turned into calculation of "the correct sample ratios" from "observed ratios" so that the Table in his paper could finally show the “correct” preconceived age, established in this field of research.[27]

Using circular logic -- assuming that decay rates remained constant despite necessarily changing physical characteristics as time approached the origin -- Old Earth proponents insist that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old based on an assumption of constancy in Potassium-argon (K:Ar) decay rates and other radiometric methods.[28]

In 1978, Geotimes magazine published by American Geological Institute quoted John Eddy, a famous astronomer, who argued that due to “some new and unexpected results“ scientists could live with bishop Ussher’s 4004 B.C. value for the age of Earth and Sun, a fortiori since there is not much in the way of observational evidence in astronomy to conflict with his calculations.[29][30]

Geology

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William R. Corliss is a cataloger of scientific anomalies (observations and facts that challenge prevailing scientific paradigms) and has published many works on the subject.[31] He also wrote 13 books for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a dozen educational booklets for the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), and a dozen articles for the National Science Foundation (NSF).[32] The science magazine New Scientist had an article which focused on the career of William Corliss.[33] New Scientist wrote regarding Corliss's work: "All I can say to Corliss is carry on cataloging". [34] Arthur C. Clarke described Corliss as "Fort's latter-day - and much more scientific - successor."[35]

Corliss's work on geological anomalies catalogs scores of anomalies which challenge the old-earth paradigm.[36]

Bibliography

External Links

Notes

  1. 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe
  2. How old is the earth?
  3. polling
  4. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899536205000138#bib6
  5. Burnet, p. 259.
  6. Burnet, p. 258.
  7. Proglas (Slovak). sme.sk. “The parchment version of Proglas in Cyrillic from 13th century was discovered in 1858 by Russian Slavic scholar Hilferding”
  8. Proglas, the foreword to the Old Church Slavonic translation of the four Gospels. The Centre for Information on Literature, Slovakia. “Explanations: in our seventh millennium – it means the seventh millennium since the Creation. It was calculated as follows: 5 508 years that had passed since the Creation till Jesus Christ’s birth plus 863 AD (the year when Constantine and Methodius had come to Moravia) added to the year 6 371 -- that is seventh millennium.”
  9. 10.0 10.1 Encyclopaedia Britannica: supporting a young earth!. creation.com. Retrieved on November 8, 2014. “The concept of billions of years for the age of the earth was unknown to science (or to the church[4]) before the rise of uniformitarianism in the 19th century. This is strong evidence that modern long-age views of creation do not originate in Genesis, but are a misguided attempt by some Christian leaders to try to reconcile what God has said with the atheistic pronouncements of evolutionary ‘science’.”
  10. Johannes Kepler (1997). The Harmony of the World. American Philosophical Society, IX, XXXVII, 391, 410. “O, Almighty God, I am thinking Thy thoughts after Thee! ... The book is written, to be read either now or by posterity, I care not which. It may be well to wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer.” 
  11. Jonathan Sarfati (2010). The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution. Creation Books Publishers, 311. ISBN 978-1921-643064. “Kepler calculated a Creation date of 3992 BC, and Isaac Newton (1643-1727), probably the greatest scientist of all time, also strongly defended biblical chronology.” 
  12. Encyclopaedia Britannica: supporting a young earth!. creation.com. Retrieved on November 8, 2014. “The notion that the world in billions of years old has only been popular for about 200 years. Before that time most scientists understood that Noah's Flood was responsible for laying down the rocks which today are associated with millions of years. Richard Fangrad and Calvin Smith discuss the details.”
  13. Batten 2002 quotes from "Young’s Analytical Concordance of the Holy Bible", 1879 8th Edition, 1939, which relates this, and reproduces the selection of the dates from Young.
  14. 15.0 15.1 E.J. Larson (2006). Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory. New York: Modern Library, 13-18, 39, 58-62. ISBN 0-8129-6849-2. 
  15. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 INGV
  16. F.M. Richter (1986). Geological Notes: Kelvin and the Age of Earth. 94. Journal of Geology. pp. 395-401. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30068713. 
  17. W. Thomson (Lord Kelvin) (1869). On Geological Dynamics. Transactions of the Geological Society of Glasgow.
  18. The Voyage of Charles Darwin, Part 1 7-part series Part 1, 46min:15sec. BBC (1978). Retrieved on May 17, 2015.
  19. Ch.Darwin. Darwin Correspondence Database: Darwin, C. R. to Horner, Leonard 29 Aug 1844. Darwin Correspondence Project by Cambridge University Library. Retrieved on May 17, 2015.
  20. FitzRoy's Bicentenary. The Friends of Charles Darwin. Retrieved on May 17, 2015. “The ridicule over the weather forecasts was probably the last straw that drove FitzRoy to suicide on 30th April, 1865. But there were numerous other factors that might have contributed to his tragic decision: his failed New Zealand governorship; a feeling of guilt at having helped Darwin arrive at his heretical theories; his belief that suicide was a family trait; who knows what else might have helped push him over the edge?”
  21. Encyclopædia Britannica, pp 650-651.
  22. Universal History of the World, p.76.
  23. Claire Patterson. Age of meteorites and the earth.
  24. Ralph W. Matthews (December 1982). Radiometric dating and the age of the Earth. 5. Creation. pp. 41–44. "In spite of cautions and skepticism advised by the authors this number has been widely and enthusiastically accepted and is usually quoted as if the evidence was decisive and conclusive. It has assumed something of the status of a universal constant to which all other data must be fitted, thus it has become common practice to assume that data which does not fit this result is either wrong or unintelligible.". 
  25. Michael J. Oard. Once upon a time … A Review of The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods by John Woodmorappe. Retrieved on November 9, 2014.
  26. Gale, N.H., Arden, J. and Hutchison, R. (1972). U-Pb studies of the appley bridge meteorite. Nature Phys. Science.
  27. Peck, 2000, p.376.
  28. John Eddy quoted by R.G. Kazmann (1978). It’s About Time: 4.5 Billion Years (report on Symposium at Louisiana State University). Geotimes magazine (from 09/2008 renamed to Earth magazine) of American Geological Institute. pp. 18-20. "I suspect that the Sun is 4.5 billion years old. However, given some new and unexpected results to the contrary, and some time for some frantic recalculation and theoretical readjustment, I suspect that we could live with bishop Ussher’s value for the age of Earth and Sun. I don’t think we have much in the way of observational evidence in astronomy to conflict with that.". 
  29. Jon Covey (January 3, 2013). Age of the Universe. Creation In The Crossfire. Retrieved on December 30, 2014. “Evolutionary astronomers confidently argue the universe is 12-20 billion years old, although there is no certainty about any astronomical observations. John Eddy, a famous astronomer, once said that there isn’t much in the way of observational astronomy that proves the universe is old. He said that with “frantic theoretical readjustment” if new evidence showed that astronomers have been wrong, they could live with Bishop Ussher’s date of 4,004 B.C.”
  30. Science Frontiers (Corliss' web-site)
  31. Corliss, 2002
  32. Adrian Hope, Finding a Home for Stray Fact, New Scientist, July 14, 1977, p. 83
  33. Quoted on the Science Frontiers web-site
  34. Clarke, Arthur C. (1990) Astounding Days: A Science Fictional Autobiography. Gollancz. Page 110
  35. Geological Catalogs (Science Frontiers)
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