Talk:Old Earth

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There is already an article on this, check out this page: Old Earth Creationism. This article should be deleted or merged. --Tash 20:47, 14 September 2007 (EDT)

It's not the same thing because evolution proponents also support an old earth as well as OEC. --PeterMacKay 20:47, 14 September 2007 (EDT)

This is true. DanH 20:50, 14 September 2007 (EDT)

The "4.5 billion years old" number just hangs there, suggesting a precision that does not exist and lacking an explanation of where it came from. I doubt 1 in 10 believers in an old earth could identify that number, and I don't even think that number has remain fixed for them.--Aschlafly 10:27, 15 September 2007 (EDT)

I think that the educational value of this page would be enhanced if it was made more thorough. For example, I think detail regarding the processes by which earth came into existence by the old earth model would be a great help to anyone doing research here. Also, I am confused: how is it a fallacy to assume that radioactive decay rates are constant? Nobody knows of any reason why they shouldn't be, as the rate of radioactive decay of any given element is inherent in its structure. Besides, the vast range in rock ages as measured by radioactive dating shows that however decay rates may have changed, some rocks are billions of years older than others. Therefore, even if decay rates weren't constant, comparison with other dating methods would still enable adequate dating. Additionally, the 4.5 billion figure contains a margin of error of up to 500,000,000 years in either direction and has remained fixed for a long time. With current dating methods the 500,000,00 year margin is a reasonable amount of precision, while not so much as to appear suspicious from a statistical standpoint. As for an explanation of how scientists arrived at that figure, I would be happy to add one as I agree that it would be instrumental in improving the article's quality.BlueMoon 16:16, 24 June 2009 (EDT)

Claiming that radioactive decay rates have been constant throughout all of history is the same thing as saying the earth is old. The two claims tautological; one does not prove the other.
The claim that radioactive decay was constant for all time is presumptively false because there is no reason to expect a rate of decay (or rate of movement of continents, or rate of recession of planets, or rate of burning of suns, etc.) to remain constant over time.--Andy Schlafly 16:21, 24 June 2009 (EDT)
Things like the rate of movement of continents (which is pretty close to constant), the rate of burning of suns (which is pretty close to constant for any given star), and the rate of recession of planets are all large-scale phenomena which are much more subject to entropy and to small variations of the environmental conditions involved than the rate of radioactive decay of an element, because radioactive decay rate is inherent in the structure of the element in question. If Uranium-238 didn't have a half-life of 4.47 billion years, than it wouldn't be Uranium-238. BlueMoon 22:27, 24 June 2009 (EDT)
Your statement does not withstand scrutiny. Continental drift must have slowed down over time, and none of the other rates have always been constant either.
If you want to assign a new name to your element when you realize its decay rate has likely changed over time, that's fine with me. Call it "Real World Uranium-238" if you like, because in the real world rates are not constant for all time.--Andy Schlafly 23:03, 24 June 2009 (EDT)
You wrote "Continental drift must have slowed down over time." Why must it have? Also, if there is actually evidence showing non-constant rates for any of the processes dicussed above, then they should be cited in the article. AddisonDM 11:35, 25 June 2009 (EDT)
Entropy is one reason why. Perpetual machines are impossible for the same reason. Lower energy is another reason. Friction is pertinent to continental drift. There are many manifestations of the basic phenomenon. It's silly for Old Earthers to pretend it doesn't exist.--Andy Schlafly 13:09, 25 June 2009 (EDT)
What does entropy have to do with this? I think AddisonDM is correct. If you are going to make broad assertions about continental drift and deny that the rate of decay of uranium is not constant you are going to have to provide justification for your statements. You did not do it yet. There are problems with carbon dating but the constancy of the decay rate of uranium is not one of them. Lexfundamen 13:34, 25 June 2009 (EDT)
The burden is on those who claim the decay rate was always constant. Prove it. Given that perpetual motion machines are impossible (do you doubt that?), the claim is implausible. The rates for everything else (as cite above) have obviously changed over time, and there is no reason to think that the decay rate is forever unchanged.--Andy Schlafly 13:58, 25 June 2009 (EDT)
Is not the burden on the person who wrote the article stating "But it is a logical tautology to assume that radioactive decay rates have always been constant, even at higher energy levels. Such assumption is identical to assuming that the Earth is old, and hence that argument is circular." This statement is not supported. You have not provided support. Why is friction different now than it was many years ago? Lexfundamen 14:20, 25 June 2009 (EDT)
I'm not sure about the friction argument. The plates "float" on the mantle and the mantle and liquid and its currents can drag the plates along. The plates are not necessarily slowing down, and they were not necessarily moving much faster in the past. Because of the liquid nature of the mantle, the impossibility of perpetually sustained motion does not imply a must faster rate in the past.
Also, 1) if the continents were once one landmass and 2) if the Earth is really young (6000 years) then the plates would have had to move at incredible rates that could not be observed or repeated. The catastrophic plate tectonics models that currently exist (hydroplate and runaway subduction) are lacking, and the latter cannot even work without a miracle. AddisonDM 18:42, 25 June 2009 (EDT)
Perpetual motion is not impossible, Superfluid fountains are perpetual in nature for several different gravities, including earth normal gravity. ThisVideo Clipillustrates a perpetual motion fountain. Furthermore, Lexfundamen is correct in his statement in the fact that no change in radioactive decay of any element has ever been shown to change, only the amount of the material is in flux and decays at a predicted rate. Since the claim that it DOES change goes against what I learned in my education in nuclear engineering, I am curious where Mr. Schlafly gets this idea from. If requested I can point you to several nuclear engineering books in both academic and industrial applications that hold the decay rate to be constant.
Addison has a point if you assume a young earth, plate tectonics would have been impossible as the forces needed to accomplish the movement would have damaged the lithosphere to such a degree where volcanic activity would occur at a rate that would extinguish life. The plates would have had to move so fast as to open up many cracks in the crust. However, if you want to argue that the rate of tectonic movement is dynamic; your theory would have to explain the effects of magnetic striping. Which is as yet to be explained by any other theory.--RichB 20:18, 25 June 2009 (EDT)
In response to Addison, I would never expect the rate of movement of the continents today to be as fast as they moved near the beginning of the continental drift. Today the San Francisco peninsula is moving at a slow rate, presumably much slower than in the past. The moon is receding from the earth now, but I would not expect that rate to have always been constant.
In response to Lexfundamen, entropy is what makes a perpetual motion machine impossible, and it is what slows down rates of virtually everything over time.
In response to RichB, you say a perpetual motion machine is possible and I have nothing to add to that except to disagree.
In response to all, there is no reason to expect the rate of decay of uranium to have been forever constant, even into the early seconds of the Big Bang. Indeed, it is preposterous to pretend it was always constant, even then.--Andy Schlafly 00:20, 26 June 2009 (EDT)
If we may have just one more round of this: 1), if all of these rates were faster in the past, do you think that the Earth once rotated at rapid speeds? Or do you only think continetal drift and nuclear decay were much faster because that is necessary for a young Earth?
2), the standard view of the Big Bang is that it began as energy, and that during the time after the Big Bang matter and the elements as we know them came into existence. Once the elements existed, there is no reason to think that their rate of decay was different. AddisonDM 13:39, 26 June 2009 (EDT)
In reply to (1), I expect faster motion when the energy is higher and/or the time is closer to the starting point. For example, I expect the velocity of a batted ball or thrown football to be faster just after being hit or released than later in time. I would never expect the rate of movement observed for the San Francisco peninsula today to have been forever constant in the past. I would expect that movement rate to have been higher in the past. Wouldn't you?
In reply to (2), I cannot imagine a point of discontinuity in the history of the world after the creation or Big Bang. I would expect that the elements formed as part of a continuum, and that their decay rate would have been continuously changing also.--Andy Schlafly 13:49, 26 June 2009 (EDT)
As for number 2, I really don't know enough to discuss it further! But you say for number 1, "I expect faster motion when the energy is higher and/or the time is closer to the starting point." If your starting point is a few thousand years ago, the astronomical speeds for continetal drift that you require cannot be adequately explained by any existing model. That is, perhaps the rate was faster in the past, but it could hardly have been fast enough for a young Earth that began with a single supercontinent.
North America is 3000 miles from Europe. If the Earth is 6000 years old, that would be roughly a half mile per year, and faster closer to the origin. Something doesn't have to move extraordinarily fast to cover a half-mile a year. How many feet per second is that? Compared to creation itself, it seems pretty tame.--Andy Schlafly 14:20, 26 June 2009 (EDT)
I think what you may be missing is that radioactive decay rates are not fundamental constants. They are derived from quantum mechanics, based upon the fundamental constants themselves. So the slightest change in a decay rate could only be caused by variations in the fundamental constants, which we know to be impossible as God fine-tuned the constants to allow the planets, etc. to exist at all. Changing strong-nuclear force a bit would stop the sun from working. LarsJ 14:17, 26 June 2009 (EDT)
Far less challenging of an obstacle than creation itself. Are you seriously proposing that a discontinuity occurred after creation? That seems implausible.--Andy Schlafly 14:31, 26 June 2009 (EDT)


Unindent. In response to Mr. Schlafly. My link to the perpetual motion superfuild fountain is valid and testable. As helium approaches absolute zero heat(around 2 Kelvin), it gains zero viscosity and zero entropy. Thus the demonstrated perpetual motion is verifiable. Granted it exists in perpetual motion only when viewed from inside the system as to create conditions for a superfuild to exist on earth does take energy, it does not nullify the odd characteristics of superfuild and condensate like materials. Now this does not have much to do with plate tectonics but I figured it deserved to be cleared up.

Back on the tectonic front, assuming the Mr. Schlafly is correct in a non standard rate of radioactive decay any case for a dynamic speed of tectonic movement must explain magnetic stripping. Where under sea fault lines deposit periodic amount of magma as the plates spread outward. If we are to argue that the rate of movement has varied, magnetic stripping should show longer deposits around 6,000 years ago corresponding to greater movements of the past. As this is not the case, a young earth argument might want to assume that the current tectonic state was present at the moment of creation and thus has moved constantly. Otherwise, another verifiable explanation of magnetic stripping is needed. Thoughts?--RichB 14:46, 26 June 2009 (EDT)

In response to Mr Schlafly's roughly half a mile per year continental drift, yes, that's correct. But that's an average of half mile per year. It would be much faster than half a mile a year in the past, since it is so slow now, according to you. Furthermore, unless you assume that the supercontinent began to break up the moment the earth was created, you have less than 6000 years- more like 4500, if you start, as in flood geology, with the Flood. Thus the early drift rates, in order to average half a mile per year, would have had to have been extremely faster than half a mile per year in the beginning. There is simply no evidence that the plates ever moved that fast, or that they even could. AddisonDM 15:51, 26 June 2009 (EDT)
A rate of one thousand miles a year is only one-tenth of a mile per hour. Compared to creation itself, that rate of speed would seem like a nothing. In fact, I'm not sure one would even notice such slow movement.--Andy Schlafly 17:23, 26 June 2009 (EDT)
One thousand miles a year is 8.8 feet per minute. That is noticeable. Also, such fast movement would create a lot of heat excess heat which could cause damage to life at the beginning.
I don't want to extend this debate too long, but it comes down to this: is there a plausible scientific means by which the plates could actually move this fast? Remember, they float on the mantle and are moved by currents in the mantle- the analogy to a thrown football is not exactly correct. AddisonDM 18:15, 26 June 2009 (EDT)
Since this debate seems to be cooling down, we are left as we started. But why should the YEC viewpoint have to incorporate having a singular landmass at creation? Chinese history which is dated near or soon after the YEC start date makes mention of Chinese geography that is inconsistent with either rapid tectonic movement and non supportive of a super-continent that close in the past. Young Earth Creation has always found itself against the entire breath of scientific theory since accepting this viewpoint means assuming that many fundamental constants used by science are not, while presenting no evidence that the constants are in flux. YEC currently cannot combat the scientific argument on scientific grounds but remains untouched on Faith. Perhaps that is where we should leave it. One either accepts that the laws of chemistry, physics, and geology are constant or one does not. However I must insist that anyone who casts out the basis of modern scientific thought without understanding the concepts will have great difficulty in obtaining expertise in any field requiring a Bachelor of Science or further scientific credentials, as one would have to learn topics which their worldview considers false. Perhaps this is why the majority of the Abrahamic religions have moved away from a literal interpretation of a young earth. Genesis states that the sun was created on the 4th "day" and who are we to assume that days 1-3 were solar in length? No sun means that the earth was not orbiting, with it not orbiting, then it was not spinning. If it was not spinning, then a solar day as we experience it was not occurring. Maybe we should all embrace the concept that god's day was perhaps a great deal longer than a current day.--RichB 13:45, 28 June 2009 (EDT)

This article on "old Earth" is mostly an article against an old earth. It seems that a more balanced aproach would improve the quality and credibility. That seems to be the consensus among most of the contributors on this talk page. If their is no objection, i will update this page in a couple of days. thanks. --Rarelight 15:22, 21 June 2011 (EDT)

Religious roots of OEC

I think that Old Earth Creationism has religious roots, and that it is not only an "evolutionist" attack on Creationism. The false division of origins into (a) YEC and (b) Evolution is a problem here. It's a trap set by evolutionists, and it has divided Creationists.

Creationists are united in believing that God created (1) the universe (space and matter), (2) the planet Earth, and (3) all life on earth. The chief point of difference is whether God created the Earth around 10,000 years ago (Young Earth) or as geologists assert, billions of years ago (Old Earth).

I'd like to read more in our article about religious people (and scientists who are religious) who support the Old Earth concept - and, of course, their reasons for doing so. --Ed Poor Talk 12:04, 15 September 2011 (EDT)

The Circular argument issue

Who assumes that physical laws such as the rate of radioactive decay have remained constant? Is this a matter of faith? Is it (considered) a proven fact? Radiation has only been studied for a century and a half. Can we extrapolate from recent experience to all of history? If so, on what basis? --Ed Poor Talk 12:34, 15 September 2011 (EDT)

The science is complicated (and my background is in biology) but within a naturalistic framework then yes, observations of decay rates can be extrapolated into an assumption that they've remained constant. For them to vary would require changes in various constants, and without the intervention of an all-powerful intelligent force (which is where science breaks down...) the consequences of this would be somewhere between the universe cooling rapidly to absolute zero as fusion shut down or it collapsing back into an infinitely dense, infinitely hot point. It's hard science; decay rates don't seem to vary. Of course it takes no account of God, and personally I believe that with God's intervention decay rates DID vary. --SamCoulter 12:47, 15 September 2011 (EDT)
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